PhD in Chemistry

The PhD in chemistry is primarily a research degree. It is awarded to students who have displayed competence in planning and conducting original research in the field of chemistry, demonstrated a broad familiarity with the science of chemistry, understanding in the application of the scientific method, and gained a thorough knowledge of their field of specialization.

Students build a solid foundation in all four core areas of chemistry (analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical), and a thorough knowledge of their chosen field of specialization. In the first part of the PhD program, students take at least one formal classroom course in each the core areas of chemistry as outlined in the course requirements below. The courses must be completed successfully (B- or better) by the end of the third semester.

Since original research is the primary requirement for the PhD degree, a student selects a research supervisor and begins research before the end the first year. The student and research supervisor then select two faculty members to serve as the student's Doctoral Research Committee. The Committee, in conjunction with the student's research adviser, take over the advisory function from the graduate committee and guides the student's work to promote development as an independent investigator.

Tufts University has a unique system through which students develop and demonstrate a thorough knowledge of their field of specialization. Each student must complete two independent study topics. The subject of a study topic is proposed by the student to their Research Committee. In this way, each student plays an active part in shaping their program. A student may begin work on a study topic as soon as an adequate understanding of the fundamentals has been demonstrated. Students must complete two study topics before the end of their fourth semester in residence.

Thus, in addition to research each student must complete the following requirements:

  • Service as a teaching assistant
  • Presentation of two study topics, one as a departmental seminar
  • Defense of an original research proposal.
  • Completion of a dissertation reporting significant work of publishable quality

Course Requirements

At least one of the following analytical chemistry courses:

  • Chem 141: Instrumental Analysis
  • Chem 142: Advanced Analytical Methods
  • Chem 144: Spectroscopic Methods of Analysis
  • Chem 145: Separation Science
  • Chem 146: Electroanalytical Chemistry

At least one of the following inorganic chemistry courses: 

  • Chem 161: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • Chem 162: Chemistry of Transition Elements
  • Chem 164: Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • Chem 165: Physical Methods In Inorganic Chemistry

At least one of the following organic chemistry courses:

  • Chem 150: Intermediate Organic Chemistry
  • Chem 151: Physical Organic Chemistry
  • Chem 152: Advanced Organic Synthesis

At least one of the following physical chemistry courses: 

  • Chem 131: Statistical Thermodynamics
  • Chem 132: Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics
  • Chem 133: Quantum Mechanics
  • Chem 134: Biophysical Chemistry
  • Chem 136: Spectroscopy and Molecular Structure
  • Two additional classroom courses, exclusive of research, must be completed satisfactorily by the end of the fourth semester