Chemistry PhD

Develop the expertise to lead chemistry research and spearhead new discoveries with the Chemistry PhD in the College of Science and Technology at Temple University. This doctorate degree program provides you with the skills to perform independent and collaborative research, contributing solutions to complex chemical problems. You can pursue careers in industries that specialize in biochemistry, catalysis, chemical engineering, material and analytical chemistry, forensic chemistry, synthetic organic and inorganic chemistry, and more. For doctoral candidates who aspire to pursue careers in academia, the curriculum offers the opportunity to earn credits toward a Teaching in Higher Education Certificate.

The degree program’s research-oriented coursework depends on your area of specialization. You may choose from one of the following specializations.

  • Analytical Chemistry covers chemical kinetics, imaging instrumentation such as the electron probe microanalyzer and scanning electron microscope, and the principles and applications of physical and spectroscopic methods in quantitative analysis.
  • Biochemistry offers students an interdisciplinary course of study focused on cellular and molecular biosciences, investigation into biological chemical processes in living systems, and protein and nucleic acid structure and function.
  • Inorganic Chemistry explores topics such as synthetic inorganic chemistry, catalysis, bioinorganic chemistry and inorganic materials chemistry.
  • Organic Chemistry focuses on chemical synthesis, organic reaction mechanisms, as well as synthetic methods of development (e.g., silicon and hypervalent iodine reagents), organometallic chemistry and radical chemistry.
  • Physical Chemistry provides students with an interdisciplinary course of study that investigates the dynamics of chemical reactions, quantum mechanics, statistical thermodynamics and molecular spectroscopy.

Chemistry faculty research projects encompass chemistry subfields such as

  • catalysis,
  • chemical biology,
  • computational chemistry and theory,
  • environmental chemistry,
  • materials and polymers,
  • medicinal chemistry,
  • nanoscience and nanomaterials,
  • natural products synthesis,
  • photonics,
  • plasmonics, and
  • surface and interface science.

Current faculty research includes chemical advances in biologically relevant metals, the development of novel synthetic methodology, the structure and dynamics of proteins and peptidomimetics, and ultrafast dynamics. Learn more about faculty research in chemistry.

Students are encouraged to pursue oppportunities in Temple’s cutting-edge centers and research institutions, including the Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology, the Center for Advanced Photonics Research, the Center for Computational Design of Functional Layered Materials and the Institute for Computational Molecular Science.

Learn more about Chemistry research centers and facilities.

Program Requirements

Doctoral candidates must fulfill four requirements for successful completion of a Chemistry PhD. These requirements include

  • the literature seminar, a 30-minute seminar presentation on a doctoral student’s current research or literature topic of the student’s choosing;
  • the cumulative examinations, which are written by department faculty and are offered six times a year (students must pass five examinations within the first two years of their time in the program to be considered for candidacy);
  • the original research proposal, which demonstrates a student’s ability to formulate and defend an original research hypothesis related to the student’s area of research, including a description of the research that will be pursued for the final dissertation; and
  • the doctoral dissertation, an original study that makes a significant contribution to the field of chemistry, which will be defended before a dissertation committee.

All dissertation research is conducted under the guidance of a Doctoral Advisory Committee and culminates in a final dissertation defense. All students must successfully pass the dissertation defense to complete the program.  

Doctoral candidates have seven years to complete the program. 

Temple chemistry professor wearing a labcoat, safety goggles and gloves in a darkened lab touching a device amidst many similar devices.

Classes & Curriculum

The Chemistry PhD curriculum is a blend of research and coursework. Classes are tailored to your specific area of specialization and might include

  • Advanced Polymer Structure and Properties,
  • Bioinorganic Chemistry,
  • Drug Analysis,
  • Nanomaterials Chemistry and Physics,
  • Organic Syntheses,
  • Physical Methods in Organic Chemistry, and
  • Quantum Chemistry.

Learn more about the curriculum for the Chemistry PhD.

Related Graduate Degrees

Related Graduate Certificates

Tuition & Fees

In keeping with Temple’s commitment to access and affordability, this Doctor of Philosophy offers a competitive level of tuition with multiple opportunities for financial support.

Tuition rates are set annually by the university and are affected by multiple factors, including program degree level (undergraduate or graduate), course load (full- or part-time), in-state or out-of-state residency, and more. These tuition costs apply to the 2023–2024 academic year.

Pennsylvania resident: $1,301.00 per credit
Out-of-state: $1,696.00 per credit

Learn more about our tuition and fees.

Financial Support

Students admitted full time to the Chemistry PhD program typically receive full financial support in the form of teaching or research assistantships, including a full tuition waiver. The first-year student stipend is $28,000 per academic year for 2020–2021, and the student health insurance is paid.

Find out more about the financial support available to you as a Chemistry PhD student.


Additional Program Information