Become a Leader in Chemical Research
Develop expertise in the theories, practices and tools of modern chemistry with a PhD in Chemistry from the University at Albany. Advance into an adept researcher capable of identifying, exploring, and answering significant research questions in the field. You will be prepared for a research career across academia, government and private industry.
Collaborate with highly active faculty mentors who have secured millions of dollars in extramural funding to support meaningful research. These resources support an optimal environment for conducting substantive research for your PhD dissertation, as well as coursework that develops your technical skills.
Program of Study
The doctoral program in chemistry requires a combination of coursework, research and teaching. In the first years of the program you will take letter-graded classes while conducting experimental lab research. Then go on to conduct undergraduate laboratory teaching for at least two semesters.
By year three, you are on track for PhD candidacy, which requires passage of written and oral examinations. There are written exams for all major areas of the PhD curriculum – organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry and physical chemistry. The oral exam entails the defense of a research proposal that you will create in collaboration with your mentor.
The remainder of the program leads toward the dissertation defense. Your dissertation is an original research contribution that you will defend before a departmental committee.
Course Requirements (60 credits minimum)
A minimum of six 3-credit letter-graded graduate courses in chemistry as advised. Three courses are to be chosen from the following set of six core courses:
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Physical Organic Chemistry I
- Physical Organic Chemistry II
- Advanced Physical Chemistry I
- Advanced Physical Chemistry II
- Theory and Techniques of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry
Qualifying (Cumulative) Examinations
You must pass two cumulative examinations within the first two years and a total of six cumulative examinations within the first three years.
Each of the four sectors: biochemistry, organic, inorganic, and physical will give a separate exam. Your subject of specialization is determined by your selection of cumulative examinations. A minimum of four examinations must be passed in your chosen major sector.
You must complete the proposition requirement before being admitted to candidacy. You will submit a written description of the research you intend to conduct for your dissertation to your doctoral subcommittee. This description should include highlighting the background, significance and planned approach that will be used to conduct this study. This written proposal will be defended in a formal presentation to the Committee before the end of the fifth semester of your graduate study.
Full Time Study in Residence
You are required to engage in full-time study beyond the master's degree or equivalent at the University in at least two sessions after admission to the advanced program. This requirement is designed to insure a sustained period of intensive intellectual growth. You will enroll in full-time study (12 credits) taken in each of two sessions, or in a regular session and a summer session, not necessarily consecutive.
Admission to Candidacy
You will be admitted to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry upon the following:
- Satisfactory record in course and seminar study
- Satisfactory completion of the research tool requirement
- Completion of University residence requirements
- Satisfactory completion of the doctoral qualifying examination
The final requirement is the completion of research, writing of a dissertation (thesis) on this work, and presentation of a thesis seminar.
The thesis seminar will be scheduled to take place within two weeks after the date of submission of the thesis to the doctoral committee. Following the public presentation the student and the doctoral committee meet to discuss necessary changes, if any, before the final copy is submitted.
The Chemistry Department offers research specializations in subjects including forensic/analytical, biophysical/biochemical, organic/medicinal, inorganic/materials, and structural/computational. Undertaking extensive research in these areas will improve the quality of your dissertation and help you build a productive relationship with faculty members who will provide guidance and mentorship.
You will be prepared to compete for positions in fields such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, government and forensic science or explore postdoctoral training at research institutions.
Potential job titles for a PhD in Chemistry include:
- Medicinal chemist
- Analytical chemist
- Organic chemist
- Synthetic polymer chemist
- Process development chemist
- Professor of chemistry
- Principal scientist
- Associate scientist
- Postdoctoral researcher
Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.
- Ability to independently conceive and resolve significant research problems.
- Development of advanced laboratory skills including familiarity with modern instrumentation and preparative techniques.
- Preparation for employment or further advanced study at the post-doctoral level.
- Rigorously thorough understanding of the underlying principles that explain chemical behavior.