Chemistry Degree Requirements

The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide.


The Chemistry Department’s graduate program is designed to lead to the PhD degree, and it is expected that all students who enroll are pursuing the doctorate. However, a student leaving the Doctoral Program is eligible to receive a terminal master’s degree provided appropriate requirements delineated in the Departmental Graduate Program Guide are met.

Coursework Requirements

  • Nine units of graduate-level coursework in chemistry are required.
  • Total Required Units: 9
  • Research Requirements: Sufficient research to complete master’s thesis is required prior to degree completion.


Each division within the chemistry program has its own set of core course requirements.

Other PhD Degree Requirements

  • Examinations: placement examinations in inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry; Scoring above an established threshold on a given exam allows a student to place out of the respective required principle course in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry; qualifying exam consisting of written document and oral examination prior to end of seven quarters of graduate study
  • Original research proposal (ORP) has specific requirements in the third and fourth years of graduate study and at the dissertation defense. See the chemistry graduate program guide for further details. The ORP is not an extension of the dissertation topic.
  • PhD Dissertation: must describe original research
  • Final Evaluations: oral dissertation defense when all other requirements completed
  • Other: all full-time students are required to teach for four quarters in their first two years of study. In order to complete the teaching requirement, all International students must comply with English proficiency requirements.