The challenging path to earning a doctorate in chemistry demands hours of laboratory work and classroom lectures–and all these render distance learning unfeasible. The traditional educational set-up ensures quality education for future research scientists. If the fees related to accommodation and living expenses make you rethink pursuing this career, worry not because almost all institutions offer scholarships to worthy applicants.

The Doctor of Chemistry (D. Chem) is a rare title awarded by some universities. The most popular degree is “Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (Ph.D. Chem.)”. The academic degree “Doctor of Science in Chemistry (D.Sci. Chem.)” is also another equivalent title.

What does a chemist do?

A chemist is a scientist who studies the properties of matter and the changes it undergoes. They observe and measure chemical reactions of compounds through experiments in laboratories. Chemists also engage in fieldwork to collect data samples to be analyzed using sophisticated scientific instruments.

In the modern world, chemists work in teams with scientists and professionals from other disciplines. Practical applications of advanced knowledge in chemistry include industrial production, waste recovery, food, hormones, medical drugs, explosives, environmental sciences, and many more. Chemists also work with engineers to develop new product prototypes, materials, and protocols.

It is also important to note that chemists and chemical engineers are different. While both professions deal with chemicals, the latter focuses more on the application of principles of math and physics to produce new material that is deemed to benefit the future. On the other hand, chemists emphasize the organic, inorganic, and analytical aspects in their discipline.

What sort of accreditation should I look for in a school?

In the United States, doctorate programs in Chemistry, whether D.Chem, D.Sc., or Ph.D., are accredited by American Chemical Society (ACS). The Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) may also provide accreditation to interdisciplinary programs.

How do I earn my D.Chem. Degree?

If you are willing to earn a doctorate in Chemistry, you must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the scientific field.  Upon application, you might need to undergo an examination to assess your scientific knowledge and research skills. The graduate school committee might test you further, like requiring to conduct sample research, before they consider you for admission. Other documentation includes the statement of intent, recommendation letters, and official scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and TOEFL/IELTS if you are a non-native English speaker.

A Chemistry doctorate degree program usually lasts for 3-8 years. For those who have previously earned a bachelor’s degree, a straight D.Chem. program might be offered. This means that in 3 to 8 years, the graduate student will receive both masters and doctorate degrees. Aspirants who enter with a master’s diploma might need to study the prerequisite subjects in the coursework. In many cases, a graduate student may assist professors in their research work or teach in lower-level classes.

Doctorate programs in Chemistry revolve around the classroom and laboratory (and sometimes on the field). Specialization is required for the training. You can specialize in the following subdisciplines in chemistry:

  • Inorganic chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Nuclear chemistry
  • Thermochemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • …and many more

Like many Ph.D. programs, the dissertation is necessary for the completion of the D.Chem. course. Most programs focus on independent research while some slowly adapt team research endeavors.

What type of degree do I need to pursue research or educate others in Chemistry?

A Ph.D., D.Sci., or D.Chem degree is necessary to assume a teaching position in Chemistry institutions. Continuing education is also essential for the security of tenureship and career advancement. Lastly, there are several peer-reviewed journals in circulation that chemists have published. Attending to these academic conferences will build ties with other scientists in your field and, consequently, create opportunities to propagate new knowledge.

How do I earn a transitional or bridge D.Chem. Degree?

Because lab work is essential in the D.Chem curriculum, an online program might be a problematic and ineffective option. Graduate students in chemistry perform the daunting task of checking their specimens in the lab periodically. Performing lab tests in a remote setting undoubtedly affect the quality of training and education.

What kind of career and salary can I expect with my D.Chem. Degree?

Chemists with doctorate-level degrees can work either in the academic or industrial setting. In the academic setting, they work in as professors and researchers. By teaching students and conducting experiments in the lab, they make an average of $76,280 per year. Chemists working in various industries (e.g., oil) can earn anywhere from $78,300 to $129,420 annually. In both settings, D.Chem graduates work with a team of scientists.

Do I need a license to be a chemist?

As of 2018, there is no licensure exam in the United States for those who want to work as chemists or chemical technicians. Masters and doctoral diplomas double as certificates that permit the transport of chemicals for experimental purposes. Thus, even without a license, a chemist may work for a research and development department in any setting.

The US government through agencies like the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) oversees the rules in transporting hazardous chemicals. Chemistry graduate degree holders are allowed to be in possession of these chemicals for scientific purposes.

What schools offer Doctor of Applied Science degrees?

There are more than 200 ACS-accredited schools in the US and all of them follow the traditional educational brick-and-mortar format. Most of them offer scholarship grants to applicants with good academic standing like the following institutions: The University of Akron in Akron, OH; University of Oregon in Eugene, OR; and Michigan State University in East Lansing MI.

The following schools bridge programs – John Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD; University of Houston in Houston, TX; University of California Berkeley in Berkeley, CA; The University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS; and Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL.

Be the next Marie Curie or Alfred Nobel. Pursue a doctorate degree in Chemistry and be deployed to the frontline of this ambitiously experimental and solution-finding era of human civilization.

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UNIVERSITY OF AKRON

akron

PH.D. IN CHEMISTRY

School Highlights: Chemistry is one of this outstanding, 150-year-old school’s most sophisticated disciplines. Students attending the University of Akron’s Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry degree receive free tuition by participating in teaching or research assistantships for the academic year and summer. It is well-suited to students with a prior Master’s in Chemistry, or the presiding department provides a short preparatory curriculum leading to the Ph.D. for students without the necessary prerequisite coursework. Individuals attending Akron have the privilege of utilizing high-quality facilities and machinery such as that in the Mass Spectrometry Center and the Center for Laster & Optical Spectroscopy. Well-seasoned graduates of Akron refine their skills as researchers, managers, and educators in chemistry.

Coursework Sample:

  • Thermodynamics & Statistical Thermodynamics
  • X-Ray Crystallography
  • Enzymatic Reactions

Campus Location: Akron, OH

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
    Chicago, Illinois 60604
    www.hlcommission.com, (800) 621-7440

Acceptance Rate: 69% Retention Rate: 73% Graduation Rate: 38%

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON’S PH.D. IN CHEMISTRY

UNIVERSITY OF OREGON

oregon

DOCTORAL PROGRAM IN CHEMISTRY

School Highlights: The University of Oregon allows Ph.D. students of Chemistry to engage in research at the forefront of chemical science that spans a diverse breadth of cross-disciplinary fields. The concentration options listed below outline the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry commitments to the discipline, emphasizing the classic areas of chemistry. The University of Oregon maintains a state-of-the-art science complex with high-tech laboratory facilities, all of which are available to doctoral students and their independent pursuits. The entire school provides a collaborative and supportive atmosphere that nurtures skills in leadership and teamwork. Graduates go on to provide the industry with pivotal research findings.

Concentration Options:

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology and Biophysical Chemistry
  • Organic-Inorganic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry

Campus Location: Eugene, OR

Accreditation:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
    8060 165th Avenue NE, Suite 200
    Redmond, Washington 98052
    www.nwccu.org, (205) 525-9848

Acceptance Rate: 83% Retention Rate: 86% Graduation Rate: 72%

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON’S DOCTORAL PROGRAM IN CHEMISTRY

MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

michigan state

CHEMISTRY, PH.D.

School Highlights: Michigan State University offers a well-funded and diverse Ph.D. in Chemistry that includes a wide range of emphases. The graduate program enrolls around 200 students every year, and research endeavors are supported by a fund of over $9 million. According to the program website, this degree is one of the “most dynamic in the U.S.” The Chemistry Building is home to an incredibly impressive array of research equipment and laboratories, such as the Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory or the Shard Laser Facility. Financial opportunities at MSU are abundant, as well, and include grants, scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships. Doctoral students work closely with their expert faculty members and produce outstanding research findings that are often printed in major scientific publications.

Concentration Options:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Chemical Physics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Nuclear Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Theoretical and Computational Chemistry

Campus Location:

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
    Chicago, Illinois 60604
    www.hlcommission.com, (800) 621-7440

Acceptance Rate: 78% Retention Rate: 91% Graduation Rate: 78%

LEARN MORE ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY’S CHEMISTRY, PH.D.

JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

johns hopkins university

PH.D. DEGREE IN CHEMISTRY

School Highlights: The Ph. D. degree in Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University aligns entirely with a student’s professional and academic backgrounds and personal goals. It is a bridge program that supplies a pathway to earn a master’s and a Ph.D. in one curriculum. There are six graduate courses required for acceptance to the doctoral program, which is also made up of six courses. Students also participate in departmental seminar series, research dissertations, and a one-year teaching assistantship. Johns Hopkins University is an extremely well-endowed and prestigious school of science. It has been included on innumerable lists of the most outstanding doctoral degrees. Students exiting the program can look forward to fabulous networking connections and an impressive diploma that stands out across the world.

Coursework Sample:

  • Organometallic Chemistry
  • Chemistry of Inorganic Compounds
  • Spectroscopy

Campus Location: Baltimore, MD

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    3624 Market Street, Suite 2 West
    Philadelphia, PA 19104
    www.msche.org, (267) 284-5000

Acceptance Rate: 11% Retention Rate: 97% Graduation Rate: 92%

LEARN MORE ABOUT JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY’S PH.D. DEGREE IN CHEMISTRY

UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON

houston

CHEMISTRY, PH.D.

School Highlights: At the University of Houston, doctoral students of chemistry learn from award-winning, internationally renowned faculty members. They assist their professors during intensive research projects, which offers an astoundingly rich academic experience. Located in a bustling metropolis of scientific and entrepreneurial opportunity, the campus provides connections to global corporations and national agencies and laboratories throughout Houston. Students of all concentration options listed below collaborate during fascinating projects in areas such as supramolecular chemistry and renewable energy. Graduates of the Ph.D. in Chemistry now hold high-level positions of employment in government and industry labs and prestigious universities.

Concentration Options:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Theoretical Chemistry

Campus Location: Houston, TX

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
    Chicago, Illinois 60604
    www.hlcommission.com, (800) 621-7440

Acceptance Rate: 62% Retention Rate: 85% Graduation Rate: 59%

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON’S CHEMISTRY, PH.D.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

uc berkeley

CHEMISTRY PH.D. PROGRAM

School Highlights: The Chemistry Ph.D. at UC Berkeley is designed to enhance students’ ability to perform creative scientific research. The three concentration options have specific degree requirements, but each allows individual students to create their own innovative and far-reaching chemistry project. For example, those in the Physical Chemistry concentration explore areas such as analytical, biochemical, and nuclear chemistry. The independent research project is the most essential part of the entire degree, aside from the teaching component. The Department of Chemistry requires all doctoral students to assist in an instructional program during the first three years of their residency. The cumulative experiences at Berkeley are invaluable and prepare graduates to enter the highest level of employment in their particular field.

Coursework Sample:

  • Physical Chemistry
  • Synthetic Chemistry
  • Chemical Biology

Campus Location: Berkeley, CA

Accreditation:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
    533 Airport Boulevard, Suite 200
    Burlingame, CA 94010
    www.acswasc.org, (650) 696-1060

Acceptance Rate: 15% Retention Rate: 97% Graduation Rate: 92%

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY’S CHEMISTRY PH.D. PROGRAM

UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI

mississippi

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN CHEMISTRY

School Highlights: The Doctor of Philosophy Program in Chemistry at the University of Mississippi is a 54-credit degree that requires students to take coursework from each of the concentrations listed below. It is an in-depth yet straightforward curriculum designed to enhance students’ understanding of all of the traditional areas of the profession. There are four cumulative examinations, an oral examination, and a dissertation presentation and defense. It is a perfect program for chemists with careers in education, government and industrial research, and specialized chemistry vocations. The University of Mississippi has strong ties to national agencies and labs such as NASA, the American Chemical Society, and the National Institute of Justice. Students often complete research projects in collaboration with these industries and develop strong networking connections in the process.

Coursework Sample:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry

Campus Location: Oxford, MS

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
    Chicago, Illinois 60604
    www.hlcommission.com, (800) 621-7440

Acceptance Rate: 88% Retention Rate: 85% Graduation Rate: 59%

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI’S DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN CHEMISTRY

FLORIDA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

florida tech

PH.D. IN CHEMISTRY

School Highlights: The Florida Institute of Technology prides itself on an incredibly diverse chemistry education environment. The Ph.D. is a combination of one-on-one mentorship, internships, assistantships, peer networking, faculty-led research projects, and fieldwork. Florida Tech has strong ties to the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and Kennedy Space Center, which results in incredible opportunities for doctoral students. The F.W. Olin Physical Sciences Center is a 70,000 square foot research center that facilitates fascinating research endeavors. Past projects have spanned a vast array of topics, such as degenerative disease approaches, DNA analysis and chromosome replication, and counter-measures for biological threat agents. Students exit Florida Tech with the knowledge, skill, and expertise to effect massive change in the industry.

Coursework Sample:

  • Interpretation of Chemical Spectra
  • Organic Synthesis
  • Natural Products

Campus Location: Melbourne, FL

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
    Chicago, Illinois 60604
    www.hlcommission.com, (800) 621-7440

Acceptance Rate: 65% Retention Rate: 80% Graduation Rate: 57%

LEARN MORE ABOUT FLORIDA TECH’S PH.D. IN CHEMISTRY