PhD Degree in Chemistry

The PhD degree is awarded in any of six main areas of chemistry: analytical, inorganic, organic, physical, educational or polymer chemistry. The degree recipient must demonstrate scholastic breadth in chemistry and contribute significantly to scientific advancement in a chosen major area. Requirements of the program include coursework, candidacy examinations, a chemical information retrieval or technical writing course, and successful completion of a publishable PhD thesis.

Candidacy Requirements

To become a candidate for the PhD in chemistry at Drexel, a student must pass a prescribed set of cumulative examinations.

Cumulative Examinations

Written examinations designed to test a student’s background in his or her major area are given monthly during the academic year and occasionally during the summer at the discretion of the faculty. Students should begin taking these examinations after having completed three courses in the major area (usually the main sequence courses), though beginning these exams earlier is possible for well-prepared students. Students normally begin taking these examinations in the fall term of their second year.

Research Seminar

The literature review seminar is designed to help the student conduct his/her research more efficiently by (i) promoting a greater fundamental understanding about the student's own specific research project and (ii) providing context and perspective about previous accomplishments in the field by other research groups as well as her/his own. The subject of the seminar will be related to but broader than that of the thesis research. The examination at which the research seminar is defended is held no later than the end of the winter term of the second year for full-time students or the end of the spring term of the second year for part-time students. A written report is submitted to the committee no later than two weeks before the examination. A passing grade on this examination is required for continuation in the PhD program.


A PhD thesis — the heart of the PhD degree — must be written, accepted by the research supervisor, presented to a PhD Thesis Examining Committee, and defended orally to the satisfaction of the Examining Committee. It is the responsibility of the student, not the research supervisor, to submit an acceptable thesis. It is expected that the students will have at least one peer-reviewed research article accepted for publication by the time of the thesis defense.


Requirements for Admission

Degree Requirements: PhD Chemistry

Chemistry Course Descriptions

For information on course scheduling or waiving specific course requirements, please contact the graduate advisor:

Tina Lewinski