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Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry

Graduate students are eligible to become formal candidates for the Ph.D. degree after taking the department placement examinations, satisfactorily completing most of the formal lecture course requirements, and beginning satisfactory progress on a dissertation research project. They then file for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. This filing must be done before June of the second year of graduate registration.

After taking the departmental placement examinations, students select research advisers by first interviewing members of the Chemistry faculty about their research. Students then file an Application to Start Research form with the Department of Chemistry graduate study committee and begin research on their Ph.D. dissertation under the supervision of the adviser. All students in good standing are required to start research by the end of Winter Quarter of the first year of graduate registration.

There is no foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. degree.

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree are required to participate continually in the department colloquium (CHEM 300), and in the division seminar of the major subject. In addition, continuous enrollment in CHEM 301 is expected after the student has chosen a research supervisor. As part of graduate training, Ph.D. candidates are required to gain experience as teaching assistants.

Before candidates may request scheduling of the University oral examination, clearance must be obtained from the major professor and the chair of the department's Graduate Study Committee. Conditions that must be fulfilled before clearance is granted vary with the different divisions of the department and may be ascertained by consulting the chair of the committee.

It is the policy of the department to encourage and support in every possible way the pursuit of research and other advanced work by qualified students. Information about faculty members with lists of their recent research publications is found in Chemistry at Stanford, the Directory of Graduate Research published by the American Chemical Society, and at


Students may major in biophysical, inorganic, organic, or physical chemistry. All graduate students are required to take six graduate-level lecture courses (course numbers greater than 199) of at least 3 units each in chemistry or related disciplines (for example, biochemistry, electrical engineering, mathematics, pharmacology, physics, and so on), to be selected in consultation with their research adviser and the Graduate Study Committee. At least four of these courses should be taken by the end of the first year. Required courses must be taken for a letter grade.

In addition, students majoring in organic chemistry must take 3 units of CHEM 231 in the second year and 3 units of 233 in the second and third year. Students in physical or biophysical chemistry or chemical physics must take CHEM 271, 273, and 275 in the first year, and 2 units of CHEM 278 in the second and third year. Students majoring in inorganic chemistry must take 3 units of CHEM 258 in the second, third, and fourth year.


Students with an exceptionally strong background in physics and mathematics may, upon special arrangement, pursue a program of studies in chemical physics.

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