Milestones & Degree Requirements

The major milestones and degree requirements for the chemistry Ph.D. can be found on the Graduate School website and are available in this pdf.


  • Chemistry students must take six graded courses, and must receive a B- or higher in each course. Areas may include organic, physical, inorganic, analytical, biochemistry, biology, molecular biology, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, biomedical engineering, math, materials science, physics, computer science, geology, and pharmacy, among others.
  • Coursework choices are subject to approval by the supervising professor and the graduate adviser.
  • Students must register for nine hours every long semester (3 hours during summer session) until completion of your degree.  Hours may include graded courses, research hours and professional development (CH 398T).
  • Every student must register for 398T once during his or her program.
  • New students will meet with their appropriate division coordinator or supervising professor for assistance with course selection.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 average, and no course with a grade of less than B- will be counted as one of the six courses in the program of work
  • A typical course schedule for Chemistry:
    • Fall of 1st Year: two graded classes plus CH398T (TA course), or three graded classes.
    • Spring of 1st Year: two graded classes plus group meeting or three graded classes.
    • Summer of 1st Year: research credit hours.
    • Fall, Spring of 2nd Year: completion of graded classes, full load of research hours.

Selection of Supervising Professor

Choosing a research adviser will be the most significant activity of your graduate years.

You may join the group of any faculty member in the Department of Chemistry or any faculty member who has a joint appointment with this department, or any faculty member from another department who is a member of our Graduate Studies Committee.

There are no divisional boundaries in terms of what type of research you undertake or what group you join.

There are no formal deadlines, but popular groups fill up fast.

To help make your decision:

  • attend seminars by faculty members.
  • meet individually with faculty members.
  • consult with other graduate students.

Compact for Chemistry

The Compact for Chemistry is a contract signed by the student and the supervising professor when the student joins the research group.  It outlines commitments and responsibilities for both parties, and clarifies academic research goals and expectations for graduation.  The compact specifically details the roles and responsibilities within the graduate student-faculty mentor relationship.

Qualifying Exams

All graduate students undertake their qualifying exams, either an oral exam or series of written exams, or combination thereof, during the second year of the program.

Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy

After students pass their qualifying exams, complete all required graded courses, and satisfactorily perform their TA service, they are eligible for advancement into doctoral candidacy. Each grad student would normally expect to reach this point by the end of the third year. Doctoral Candidacy allows students to focus on research and register each semester for Dissertation coursework and is also a degree requirement of the chemistry Ph.D.

Advancement into candidacy requires an application and approval by the student’s supervising professor, the departmental Graduate Adviser, and the UT Graduate Dean.

The first part of the application procedure is completing the departmental candidacy paper application. This consists of selecting the dissertation committee and obtaining signatures of the proposed committee members. Applications can be printed (CandidacyApplicationPacket.pdf) or obtained from the Chemistry Graduate Office, NMS 3.306.

After completion of the departmental application and approval by the Graduate Office, then the online UT doctoral candidacy application is undertaken. The name and rank of each person serving on the doctoral committee and an abstract of the doctoral research are submitted. The doctoral abstract can be broad and is changeable as the student progresses in the program. Once the on-line portion is submitted, it must be approved by the student’s supervising professor, the Graduate Adviser, and the Graduate Dean.

PLEASE NOTE: The Graduate Adviser will not approve the on-line portion of the application unless the student completes the departmental application (PDF above). If you have questions about this process, please contact the Chemistry Graduate Office.


  • Advancement to doctoral candidacy and registration for dissertation hours
  • Completion of doctoral research and compilation of dissertation
  • Consult with Chemistry Graduate Office on graduation timeline and procedure
  • Visit the UT Office of Graduate Studies website for complete graduation guidelines
  • Schedule and defend dissertation, as approved by defense committee
  • Submit all required graduation paperwork to Graduate School
  • Example of a chemistry graduate student’s CV
  • Apply to walk in the annual Graduate School Convocation!

Financial Support

All qualified first-year students are offered a teaching assistantship. After the first year, graduate students who are making satisfactory progress are typically appointed as a teaching assistant (TA) or research assistant (GRA), at the discretion of their supervising professor, or may be supported by a fellowship. Neither TA nor GRA appointments are guaranteed; they depend on the progress of the student, the availability of funds, and the assessment of teaching performance. Teaching assistants receive tuition assistance that covers most of their tuition expenses, and many research assistant positions will also help pay tuition. A student must be registered full-time in order to maintain a TA or GRA appointment.

The University and the Department of Chemistry offer a wide array of fellowships awarded on the basis of teaching performance or academic excellence. A large number of these are full fellowships that allow for full-time research. Funding for travel to professional conferences is also available.

Research programs are supported by grants that are awarded to individual faculty members by the federal government, private foundations, and other outside sources.

Further information on financial assistance for graduate students is provided by the Office of Graduate studies.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Our degree program has a requirement that all students serve as teaching assistants for a minimum of one long semester for at least 10 hours per week
  • A variety of teaching positions are available, some involving lab sections, discussion sections, tutoring, lecturing, grading, etc.
  • Students are matched to teaching positions based on their background, performance, and individual and faculty preference
  • A 20-hour TA position will involve a variety of activities both in and out of the classroom
  • Attendance at office hours, lab hours, TA meetings, etc., is mandatory
  • Poor performance will not be tolerated
  • Three Golden Rules for Teaching Assistants:
    • All contact with undergraduates, staff and faculty involves a high degree of responsibility, diplomacy and courtesy
    • Your reputation in the department is partially established by your teaching performance
    • The Graduate Office reserves the right to refuse any graduate student an assignment as a teaching assistant
  • Basic training for Teaching Assistants is provided during orientation week.

Procedures for Conflict Resolution

Graduate students have the right to seek redress of any grievance related to academic or nonacademic matters. Every effort will be made to resolve grievances informally between the student and the faculty member involved or with the assistance of the graduate adviser, Graduate Studies Committee chair, or department chair. For further details about the College of Natural Sciences grievance policies, please read the Graduate Student Grievance Policies here.