School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The PhD program is designed to produce graduates with a focus on innovation and problem solving in interdisciplinary cutting edge research areas such as organic materials, inorganic materials, nanotechnology, biochemistry, chemical biology, biotechnology, and polymer chemistry. These graduates, with their broad course background, research skills, and practical attitudes should find ready employment in industry or academic positions. A spectrum of courses provides the student with a broad knowledge of chemistry at the interface with other disciplines.
The Master of Science program offers students the opportunity to prepare for positions in industry, for further training in related scientific fields, or for further training in chemistry.
The department has the equipment and facilities necessary for routine use by its faculty and students in teaching and research. Larger items include: 270 MHz (2), 400 MHz, 500 MHz multi-nuclear FT-NMR spectrometers; 600 MHz solid state NMR, powder and single crystal x-ray diffractometer; MALDI-TOF MS mass spectrometer, several GC-MS and HPLC-MS; assorted spectrophotometers utilizing fluorescence, phosphorescence and absorption; peptide synthesizers; gel permeation chromatographs; workstations with molecular modeling software; and scanning tunneling, atomic force microscopes, and transmission electron microscope. Chemistry also participates in the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute, which houses instrumentation for modern materials science research. Facilities external to chemistry, but readily available to its use, include a library, the computer center, the cleanroom, and well-equipped machine and electronics shops.
The University's general admission requirements are discussed on the Graduate Admission page.
Undergraduate preparation equivalent to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Chemistry is required. The Chemistry program has no other requirements above the general admission requirements. However, admission is competitive and is decided case by case on the basis of the quality of previous relevant academic work, GRE combined score of 295 for the verbal and quantitative components, letters of reference, the student's statement of academic interests and, for foreign students, evidence of fluency in English. Foreign students with TOEFL scores less than 600 (paper test), 250 (computer test), or 100 (internet test) are admitted only in special circumstances.
The University's general degree requirements are discussed on the Graduate Policies and Procedures page.
Master of Science in Chemistry
30 semester credit hours minimum
A minimum of 30 total graduate semester credit hours is required. The MS degree can be pursued on a full- or part-time basis.
Graduate students in chemistry are expected to demonstrate fundamental knowledge of lecture and laboratory skills by completing three of the five following courses with a grade of B or better.
CHEM 5314 Advanced Physical Chemistry
CHEM 5331 Advanced Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 5341 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry I
CHEM 5355 Analytical Techniques I
CHEM 5361 Advanced Biochemistry
In addition, all graduate students are required to complete CHEM 6389 Scientific Literature and Communication Skills with a grade of B or better.
Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry
75 semester credit hours minimum beyond the baccalaureate degree
Normally pursued by full-time students enrolled in a minimum of 9 semester credit hours of approved graduate level courses per semester.
Other Course Requirements
For a PhD student, the three core courses and CHEM 6389 must be completed successfully within the first two semesters of enrollment. In addition to these 12-semester credit hour course requirements, students seeking the PhD degree must take two upper-level elective courses, at least one of which must be offered by the Chemistry/Biochemistry Department, that are approved by the student's faculty research advisor and the Chemistry graduate advisor. PhD students are expected to complete these six required courses within the first two years of their enrollment. CHEM 8V99 is also required as part of the preparation of the dissertation. Additional elective courses may be taken with approval of the student's faculty research advisor and the Chemistry graduate advisor.
Well-prepared students may request substitution of portions of the course requirements from the Committee on Graduate Studies in Chemistry. At least three organized courses must be taken at The University of Texas at Dallas.
Qualifying Examination: Original Research Proposal
All PhD students must take the qualifying examination in the fall of their second year in the graduate program after successful completion of their three core courses and CHEM 6389. Students seeking the PhD degree are required to write, present, and defend an original research proposal (Qualifying Examination). A one-page outline (double-spaced) abstract presenting an overview of the proposal will be provided to members of the student's committee for approval. A written report (15 pages) should be submitted to each member of the committee at least one month before the public presentation. In addition to providing valuable experience to the student, this exam is used to assess the student's originality and skills in organizing an effective approach to solving a novel problem. The results of this examination will be one criterion upon which admission to doctoral candidacy will be judged.
Students have the option of completing a thesis master's degree as part of their doctoral candidacy preparation, unless this requirement has been satisfied at the time of admission. The doctoral research project may be conducted in the same laboratory as the master's degree research or, in order to gain a broader research experience, in another laboratory. A manuscript embodying a substantial portion of the PhD dissertation research accomplished by the student must be submitted to a suitable professional refereed journal prior to the public seminar and dissertation defense. A public seminar, successful defense of the dissertation, and its acceptance by the Supervising Committee and the Graduate Dean conclude the requirements for the PhD.
Representative Research Areas
Within the Chemistry program, opportunities exist for coursework and/or research in nanotechnology, biochemistry/biotechnology, organic, inorganic, materials, analytical, polymer chemistry, and physical chemistry. The opportunity to take coursework in several of the other University programs allows the student to prepare for interdisciplinary work. Electives from other departments should be approved by the student's research advisor and by the graduate advisor. Specific topics within these broad research areas include nanoscience (carbon nanotubes, sensors, actuators, nanoscale devices, synthesis of nanoporous materials); organic solid-state and polymer chemistry (energy storage, electrochromism, light-emitting polymers, solar cells, membrane separations); inorganic solid-state (zeolites, membranes, laser ablation, sensors, fuel cells, electrospinning); biological NMR (structural biology, using NMR active tracers to follow metabolism in cells, isolated tissues and in vivo); supramolecular chemistry (design of novel host-guest systems; biologically responsive MRI agents, design, synthesis and study of macrocyclic receptors with applications in catalysis, materials science, and medicine); scanning probe microscopy (instrument development, image contrast, application to polymer microstructure); bioanalytical and bionano chemistry, synthetic chemistry (macrocycles, metalloprotein function); biochemistry/enzymology (study of oxidative stress; oxidative metabolism of signaling molecules; molecular modeling; and catalysis).