PhD Program

Program Requirements

Course and Performance Requirements

Analytical Chemistry students:

  • All PhD students in Analytical Chemistry are required to enroll in and pass 4 one-term graduate courses (3 of which must be Chemistry graduate courses), and
  • normally include CHEM 512, 514, 516, and 518 as part of the required 4 graduate courses.

Inorganic Chemistry students:

  • All PhD students in Inorganic Chemistry are required to enroll in and pass 4 one-term graduate courses (3 of which must be Chemistry graduate courses).
Organic Chemistry students:
  • All PhD students in Organic Chemistry are required to enroll in and pass 4 one-term graduate courses, one of which may be a graduate course in another area of chemistry.

Physical Chemistry students:

  • All PhD students in Physical Chemistry are required to enroll in and pass 4 one-term graduate courses.
  • Physical Chemistry students may include up to 2 one-term approved courses in Physics and/or Mathematics as part of the required 4 courses.
All students:
  • In order to continue in the PhD program, a student must achieve a grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 or greater on all courses taken in the first year, and must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater in the second and subsequent years. The GPA referred to here is the cumulative GPA on all courses taken in the Chemistry graduate program, including undergraduate courses taken to meet clearance requirements.

Graduate Seminar

Every PhD student is required to present a seminar to the Department on a subject other than his or her research topic. Staff members present at the seminar grade the student's performance, and the Divisional member of the Graduate Seminar Committee gives the student an overall rating (pass or fail) on the seminar. Students who fail their seminar are required to present further seminars until a passing grade is achieved.

The following regulations govern Graduate Seminars:

  • Graduate students normally present seminars during their second year of graduate study, and must do so before the end of their third year.
  • The seminar topic must be outside the scope of the research being done in the student's research group.
  • The topic must be approved by the student's research supervisor and by the Graduate Seminar Committee.
  • The seminar should be approximately 40 minutes in length in order to allow time for discussion.
  • The seminar should include:
    • Discussion of relevant background material to introduce the topic and put it into perspective. Some of this material may be at the level of a text for a graduate course (not more than 20 minutes).
    • Presentation of the most recent significant developments in the field. If the topic has been the subject of a recent review, the presentation must include significant material which has not been cited in the review literature.

Candidacy Oral Examination

Graduate students for the PhD degree must pass an oral examination in subjects relevant to the field of research in order to become a PhD candidate. At the candidacy examination the student must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the examining committee that he or she possesses (a) an adequate knowledge of his or her discipline and of the subject matter relevant to his or her thesis, and (b) the ability to pursue and complete original research at an advanced level.

The candidacy examination will be held normally at the end of the second year, but not later than the end of the third year.

Thesis and PhD Oral Examination

PhD students must conduct research under the direction of a supervisor and must submit the results of this research as a PhD thesis to a committee. The examination committee will consist of the research supervisor, two members of the student's supervisory committee, one arm's length examiner, and an external examiner or reader who is a recognized expert in the area of the thesis research.

PhD Seminar

A PhD student must present his or her thesis work to the Department in a seminar. This seminar may be either of two formats:

  • The PhD seminar will be approximately 50 minutes in duration and will be directed to all staff and students in the Department.
  • The seminar and defense may be merged. First, the seminar of approximately 30 minutes in duration will be delivered to the whole Department. After a brief question period, the candidate and examining committee will then retire to the examination room for the PhD oral examination.

Change of Category

A student enrolled in the MSc program may change categories and become enrolled in a PhD program. The student must meet the performance requirements for the program. The change of category is requested by the student's research supervisor and must be approved by the student's supervisory committee.