Chemistry PhD


Learn more about the Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry.

About the Program

The Chemistry graduate program is designed to provide a solid background in the chosen area of specialization. It emphasizes the acquisition of skills that enable students to gain further knowledge in their research and professional careers. For this reason, the Chemistry graduate degree program is research oriented, and seminar attendance and familiarization with the chemical literature are considered integral. The course requirements are comparatively light, although a wide variety of intermediate and advanced courses in related areas are offered. Students are encouraged to take courses, according to their research interests, in related areas such as Biology, Computer Science and Physics.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Interdisciplinary Study: A Chemical Physics program is offered jointly with the Department of Physics.

Areas of Specialization: The Department of Chemistry offers programs leading to the MA and PhD degrees in Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry. Areas of specialization include environmental chemistry, materials and polymers, medicinal, nanoscience, photonics and surface science.

Job Prospects: The majority of students find employment in the chemical industry. Some go on to academic positions or positions in government laboratories.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students are allowed to take up to 9 credits before admission into a degree program must be sought.

Financing Opportunities: The duties of a Teaching Assistant typically involve leading recitation sections and/or overseeing laboratories, as well as grading lab assignments, tests and quizzes, when applicable. After their first year, most students are supported by a research assistantship.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: December 15
Spring: September 15

For Fall admissions, priority is given to applications submitted by December 15. Applications submitted after December 15 will be considered on a case-by-case basis for admissions and financial assistance.

Applications for Spring admission should be received by September 15. Note, however, that Spring admission is rare as coursework is designed to start in the Fall.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from faculty or people in industry who are familiar with the academic and/or research aptitude of the candidate.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A master's degree is not required for admission into the PhD program.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree is required. Typically, the undergraduate degree has been earned in Chemistry, Biochemistry or a related field.

Statement of Goals: Identify your specific interest in Temple's program, research goals, future career goals, and academic and research achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE: Optional

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 88
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 60
  • Duolingo: 110

Regardless of score, all international students are required to take a SPEAK test upon arrival at Temple.

Resume: Current resume required.

Writing Sample: Submission of research papers with the applicant as a co-author or any other material associated with the applicant's research aptitude is recommended.

Advanced Standing: Students who enter the PhD program, whether with or without a master's degree in Chemistry or a closely related field, may be considered for advanced standing. The Graduate Committee recommends the awarding of advanced standing on a case-by-case basis based on a review of graduate coursework completed at another institution. The credits must be equivalent to graduate chemistry coursework offered at Temple, and the student must have completed the course(s) with a grade of "B" or better. The maximum number of advanced standing credits awarded is 18.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 36

Required Courses:

Core Courses
CHEM 5901Responsibility and Ethics in Chemical Research1
CHEM 8985Teaching in Higher Ed:Phys Sci 11
CHEM 9900Seminar2
CHEM 9901Original Research Proposal Preparation1
Core Courses by Area of Study 29
Chemistry Electives9
Research Courses13
Master's Research Projects
Preliminary Examination Preparation
Pre-Dissertation Research / Elevation to Candidacy
Dissertation Research 3
Total Credit Hours36

Core Courses by Area of Study

Analytical Chemistry9
Chemical Kinetics
Select two courses from the following:
Physical Methods in Organic Chemistry
Special Topics in Analytical Chemistry (Mass Spectroscopy)
Analytical Separations
Electron Optical Techniques
Biochemistry I
Select two courses from the following:
Fundamentals of Biochemistry
Fundamentals of Biochem
Enzymes and Proteins
Special Topics in Biochemistry (Nucleic Acids)
Bioinorganic Chemistry
Inorganic Chemistry9
Advanced Inorganic Chemistry I
Physical Methods in Organic Chemistry
Bioinorganic Chemistry
Organic Chemistry9
Physical Methods in Organic Chemistry
Organic Reaction Mechanisms
Organic Syntheses
Physical Chemistry9
Quantum Chemistry
Statistical Thermodynamics
Chemical Kinetics

Culminating Events:
Literature Seminar:
The PhD student makes the presentation of one departmental seminar on a current literature topic or their research, as approved by the seminar professor. The seminar is 30 minutes in length and should include any background material needed to allow the audience to appreciate the topic(s) discussed.

Cumulative Examinations:
Cumulative examinations are a major part of the preliminary examinations. Written by the Graduate Faculty, cumulative examinations are offered seven times a year. Each cumulative examination is evaluated by at least two Graduate Faculty members. Students must pass a total of five "cumes" within the first two years of matriculation. Note that students who began their program of study prior to Fall 2012 must pass six cumes in three years.

Original Research Proposal:
To obtain PhD candidacy, the student is required to write, present and defend an Original Research Proposal (ORP). The topic of the ORP can be related to the student’s research, but must still be original. The proposal is an opportunity for the student to use their scientific knowledge to demonstrate their ability to formulate experiments, calculations, theory and the like to address an important scientific problem. The ORP should also contain a description of the actual research that the student will pursue for their PhD.

The student must consult with their research advisor for guidance prior to writing the ORP. It is understood by writing this document that a general experience in research will help evolve new chemistry through observations made during the course of an ongoing research problem. The ORP needs to be defended within 30 months of matriculation. Note that students who started prior to Fall 2012 must defend the document within 42 months of matriculation.

The doctoral dissertation is an original study that makes a significant contribution to the field of Chemistry. It should expand the existing knowledge and demonstrate the student's knowledge of research methods and a mastery of their primary area of interest. The dissertation should be rigorously investigated; uphold the ethics and standard of the field of Chemistry; demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the primary area of interest and the broader field of Chemistry; and be prepared for publication in a professional journal.

The Doctoral Advisory Committee is formed to oversee the student's doctoral research and is comprised of at least three Graduate Faculty members. Two members, including the Chair, must be from the Chemistry Department. Committee compositions must be approved by the Graduate Committee. The Chair is responsible for overseeing and guiding the student's progress, coordinating the responses of the Committee members, and informing the student of their academic progress.

The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the student's dissertation and oral defense. This committee is comprised of the Doctoral Advisory Committee and at least one additional Graduate Faculty member from outside the Chemistry Department. The Outside Examiner should be identified no later than the beginning of the academic term in which the student will defend the dissertation. The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the student's ability to express verbally their research question, methodological approach, primary findings and implications. The Committee votes to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense.

If a student needs to change a member of a Committee, the new member must be approved by the department's Graduate Committee and registered with the department and the Graduate School.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation should confirm a time and date with their Dissertation Examining Committee and register with the department at least 15 days before the defense is to be scheduled. The time, date and room are arranged within two working days, and the appropriate forms are forwarded to the student. After the defense has been scheduled, the student is required to send the Graduate School a completed "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms,” at least 10 days before the defense. The student posts flyers announcing the defense.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Dept. of Chemistry

130 Beury Hall

1901 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6014


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


Graduate Secretary


Department Chairperson:

Ann M. Valentine, PhD