PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry

How to Apply

Admissions requirements for the PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry

Students entering the program are required to have completed a B.S. degree in chemistry or biochemistry or related areas with appropriate chemical/biochemical/pharmaceutical/biological sciences background. This background will include courses in organic chemistry (one year plus lab), biochemistry (one year plus lab), analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry. Students will be required to address deficiencies in any of these subjects prior to beginning the Ph.D. curriculum. Students who have previously completed an M.S. degree may request an evaluation of M.S. degree coursework to judge whether it counts toward the coursework requirements for the Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biochemistry. Students will also be able to transfer into the Ph.D. program from either of the Department’s M.S. programs (Chemistry or Biochemistry), as long as all admissions requirements have been fulfilled.

Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and must meet the requirements for admission of the Graduate School of UNCG. Students may submit GRE scores if they choose to do so.  The absence of GRE scores will not impact a decision, and any included GRE scores will be considered when making decisions.

Documents to be Submitted for Admission

  1. Graduate Application
  2. Official transcripts of all academic work attempted after high school, including evidence of the completion of a Bachelors degree
  3. OPTIONAL – Official report of GRE scores
  4. Personal statement indicating the applicant’s interest in the program (1-2 pages)
  5. Three letters of recommendation from former Instructors, advisors, or employers
  6. A current Curriculum vitae 
  7. For international students, official TOEFL scores

Degree Requirements

1. Total hours required

Minimum credits (semester hours) required for the Ph.D. program will be 64, distributed between coursework and research credits.

2. Proportion of courses open only to graduate students to be required in program (graduate programs only)

All core coursework counting toward this degree will be at the 600- level and above (graduate students only). A minimum of 75% of all non-dissertation coursework for the degree must be at the 600 level or above.

3. Grades required

Graduate students must have a GPA of 3.0 or above to graduate from the program. Students receiving a grade of C or worse in two courses will be dismissed from the program. Only grades of B or better will count toward the Ph.D. degree.

4. Amount of transfer credits accepted (if applicable)

Students entering the program with graduate credits received while enrolled in another doctoral program may transfer up to 1/3 of the total required non-dissertation credits. Students must provide syllabi from the courses for which they would like to receive transfer credit.

5. Other requirements: Directed graduate research. Students will choose a research advisor and should begin their dissertation research within the first 3 months of the starting the program.

  • Qualifiers: Students will be required to pass two oral examinations for full admission into the program. These examinations must occur within 24 months of entering the program. The first examination will be given after the student has chosen a dissertation advisor and will be in the form of a public presentation of a research proposal, based on the research the student will be performing. A second exam will follow in which that proposal, written in the NIH style, will be defended in a private meeting with the students dissertation committee. The student must satisfactorily complete the oral presentation before defending the written proposal. Students will be given one opportunity to re-take the qualifiers if they are unsuccessful on the first attempt. After successful completion of the qualifiers, students may begin enrolling for dissertation research, CHE 799. Prior to the completion of the qualifiers, students may enroll in “Research Problems in Chemistry and Biochemistry” CHE 780.
  • Internship: A particularly novel aspect of the PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry is the potential for internship experience. During one summer or semester, the student may work in a full time internship position in a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company within North Carolina . This experience will provide the student with first-hand knowledge about how industry works. Students will work on a project to be determined by the company sponsoring the internship, with the approval of the student’s dissertation committee. Students whose future workplace is in industry will have a distinct advantage after this experience, because they will have gained knowledge about industry that cannot be acquired in an academic department. Students whose future workplace is in academia or government laboratories will also have gained a valuable understanding of how industry works.
  • Seminar: Students are required to attend all departmental seminars on Friday afternoons.
  • Dissertation Committee: Students must choose a dissertation committee prior to the completion of 18 semester hours in the program. The committee must consist of 4 members of the graduate faculty, two of which must be full members. The chair of the committee must be a graduate faculty member of the home department.
  • Dissertation: Students must complete a written research dissertation and give a public oral presentation of their completed work while registered for Che 752 seminar. In addition, the student must defend this dissertation orally to his/her dissertation committee. The seminar and dissertation defense should occur in the same term that the student applies for graduation.
  • Annual Reports: Each year students meet with their committee and review a brief written report (prepared by the student), which details research progress made during the preceding year.

6. Time limits for completion: A student must spend at least 4 years, and must have completed all requirements in the program for graduation. Students must successfully defend the dissertation within 7 academic years to successfully complete all of the requirements for the PhD degree.

A completed application for any of the graduate programs will include:

  • Graduate Application
  • Official transcripts of all academic work attempted after high school, including evidence of the completion of a Bachelors degree
  • OPTIONAL – Official report of GRE scores
  • Personal statement indicating the applicant’s interest in the program (1-2 pages).
  • Three letters of recommendation from former Instructors, advisors, or employers
  • A current Curriculum vitae
  • For international students, official TOEFL scores.

Fall term application due dates:

Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biochemistry:
January 15
Best consideration by December 15

All Ph.D. students receive financial support (teaching assistantship plus tuition waiver or funds)

M.S. in Chemistry and MS in Chemistry – Biochemistry Concentration:
March 15 for full consideration (admission plus financial support)
We accept applications after March 15, however, it is likely we cannot offer financial support to late applicants.

Note: For international students, if the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) course-by-course evaluation requirement represents a significant financial burden please contact the Graduate Program Director, Dr. Liam Duffy (

In some circumstances, students may be admitted for a term other than fall, including spring and/or summer with the approval of the Graduate Program Director and the Director of Graduate Admissions. Requests for an exception would need to be emailed to the Graduate Program Director. For other information about the Chemistry or Biochemistry program, contact:

Professor Liam Duffy – Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
435 Sullivan Science Building
UNC Greensboro
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170

Voice: 336-334-4604