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Chemistry, Ph.D.

Saint Louis University’s chemistry Ph.D. program offers specializations, including traditional areas of analytical, physical, organic and inorganic chemistry, as well as cross-disciplinary areas of materials and biological chemistry. Students must complete intensive research culminating in a dissertation.  

Program Highlights

The chemistry program offers students:

  • Close mentoring relationships
  • Small research group size
  • Opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary research

Graduate students in SLU's Department of Chemistry have access to a number of research tools, including:

  • Bruker 400 and 700 MHz NMR spectrometers
  • Bruker-EMX EPR, UV-Vis and FTIR spectrometers
  • Research-grade spectrofluorometers
  • GC-MS and LC-MS
  • Electrochemical analyzers
  • Gas chromatographs
  • A scanning electron micrograph
  • Computational facilities with modern molecular software
  • A Bruker CCD X-ray diffractometer facility

Curriculum Overview

SLU's Ph.D. in chemistry requires a minimum of 39 post-baccalaureate credits, with at least 27 credits of coursework and 12 credits of dissertation research.

Graduate Handbook

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

Our graduate students are active in the research areas of analytical, organic, physical, synthetic, materials, environmental and biological chemistry. Our research groups regularly publish in top-ranked journals and present at national and international conferences.

Research is externally supported by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Petroleum Research Fund, and the American Heart Association, among others.

Careers

Doctoral graduates pursue different paths, including teaching, postdoctoral studies, or careers in industry or with government agencies, such as the FDA.

Past students from SLU's chemistry Ph.D. program have gone on to careers as research scientists, teachers, university faculty, and in various capacities in pharmaceutical companies and government agencies.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should possess sufficient GPA and TOEFL (if applicable) scores and a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Bachelor's degrees usually are in chemistry or biochemistry, although other science majors will be considered.

Admission normally requires a minimum of 18 semester credits (minimum 2.8 GPA) of upper-division undergraduate chemistry courses, including organic chemistry (two semesters), quantitative analysis (one semester) and physical chemistry (two semesters). Students who do not meet these criteria may complete these prerequisites as part of their graduate program, though not for graduate credit.

Students who have not completed equivalent coursework in upper-level undergraduate Inorganic Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis will also be required to complete these courses, but they can be taken for departmental graduate credit.

Application Requirements

  • Application form and fee
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Résumé
  • Goal statement
  • Interview (desired)

Requirements for International Students

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Application Deadlines

Students who want to be considered for the summer and fall semesters must submit applications by Jan. 15. Students who want to be considered for the spring semester should apply by Oct. 1.

Review Process

A three-person committee votes on whether to accept applicants.

Scholarships, Assistantships and Financial Aid

For priority consideration for a graduate assistantship, apply by the program admission deadlines listed. Fellowships and assistantships provide a stipend and may include health insurance and a tuition scholarship for the duration of the award. 

For more information, visit http://www.slu.edu/financial-aid.

  1. Graduates will be able to demonstrate advanced level knowledge in both
    1. synthesis and materials chemistry and
    2. analytical and physical chemistry methods, with a higher level of knowledge expected in the student’s area of research.
  2. Graduates will be able to use standard search tools and retrieval methods to obtain information about a topic, substance, technique, or an issue relating to chemistry and assess relevant studies from the chemical literature.
  3. Graduates will be able to communicate scientific findings from literature and original findings from the student's own independent research in written publications and oral presentations.
  4. Graduates will be able to acquire the basic tools, including chemical practices and theories, needed to conduct advanced chemical research. Students will become proficient in their specialized area of chemistry and complete an advanced, independent research project resulting in peer-reviewed publications.
  5. Graduates will be able to adhere to accepted ethical and professional standards in chemistry.
Synthesis and Materials Chemistry Courses
Select two of the following:6
CHEM 5160
Advanced Synthetic Chemistry
CHEM 5400
Organic Spectroscopy
CHEM 5440
Bioorganic Chemistry
CHEM 5450
Advanced Organic Chemistry
CHEM 5460
Synthetic Organic Chemistry
CHEM 5470
Principles of Medicinal Chemistry
CHEM 5500
Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 5550
Organometallic Chemistry
CHEM 5560
Solid State Chemistry
CHEM 5610
Biochemistry 1
CHEM 5615
Biochemistry 2
CHEM 5800
Fundamentals and Design of Nanomaterials
Analytical and Physical Methods Courses
Select two of the following:6
CHEM 5200
Analytical Chemistry II
CHEM 5230
Mass Spectrometry
CHEM 5260
Analytical Separations
CHEM 5270
Electroanalytical Chemistry
CHEM 5300
Mathematical Techniques in Chemistry
CHEM 5370
Computational Chemistry
CHEM 5390
Special Topics: Physical Chemistry
CHEM 5450
Advanced Organic Chemistry
CHEM 5570
Group Theory & Spectroscopy
CHEM 5620
Biophysical Chemistry
CHEM 5630
Introduction to Chemical Biology and Biotechnology
CHEM 5800
Fundamentals and Design of Nanomaterials
Required Research Courses
CHEM 5970Research Topics3
CHEM 6900Introduction to Proposal Writing and Oral Presentations3
CHEM 6990Dissertation Research (taken over multiple semesters)12
Research Elective Courses
Select one of the following:3
CHEM 5299
Introduction to Analytical Research
CHEM 5399
Introduction to Physical Research
CHEM 5499
Introduction to Organic Research
CHEM 5599
Introduction to Inorganic Research
Chemistry Elective
Chemistry courses listed above for synthesis and materials chemistry or analytical and physical methods. Electives can also be fulfilled by taking 5000-level courses in other disciplines such as biology, math, computer science, engineering, and pharmacology with approval by Graduate Program Coordinator and student’s committee.6
Total Credits39

Non-Course Requirements

  • Completion of research progress exam
  • Completion of written comprehensive exam
  • Completion of oral defense of research proposal
  • A public oral presentation and a private oral examination

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester.  Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
Synthesis & Materials Chemistry course 3
Analytical & Physical Methods course 3
CHEM 5X99Introduction to Research 3
 Credits9
Spring
Synthesis & Materials Chemistry course 3
Analytical & Physical Methods course 3
 Credits6
Summer
CHEM 5970 Research Topics 3
 Credits3
Year Two
Fall
Chemistry electives 3-6
 Credits3-6
Spring
Completion of Research Progress Exam  
Chemistry electives 3-0
 Credits3-0
Summer
CHEM 6990 Dissertation Research (See information in Program Notes) 3
 Credits3
Year Three
Fall
Completion of Written Comprehensive Exam  
CHEM 6900 Introduction to Proposal Writing and Oral Presentations 3
CHEM 6990 Dissertation Research 1
 Credits4
Spring
CHEM 6990 Dissertation Research 2
 Credits2
Summer
CHEM 6990 Dissertation Research 1
 Credits1
Year Four
Fall
CHEM 6990 Dissertation Research 1
 Credits1
Spring
CHEM 6990 Dissertation Research 1
 Credits1
Summer
CHEM 6990 Dissertation Research 1
 Credits1
Year Five
Fall
CHEM 6990 Dissertation Research 1
 Credits1
Spring
CHEM 6990 Dissertation Research 1
 Credits1
 Total Credits39

Students are required to complete a minimum of 12 credits of dissertation research. The number of credits can vary each semester, but a student cannot register for zero credits of research until the 12 credits have been completed.

Program Notes

Synthesis and Materials Chemistry Courses

Must take two courses.

CHEM 5160Advanced Synthetic Chemistry3
CHEM 5400Organic Spectroscopy3
CHEM 5440Bioorganic Chemistry3
CHEM 5450Advanced Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 5460Synthetic Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 5470Principles of Medicinal Chemistry3
CHEM 5500Inorganic Chemistry3
CHEM 5550Organometallic Chemistry3
CHEM 5560Solid State Chemistry3
CHEM 5610Biochemistry 13
CHEM 5615Biochemistry 23
CHEM 5800Fundamentals and Design of Nanomaterials3

Analytical and Physical Methods Courses

Must take two courses.

CHEM 5200Analytical Chemistry II3
CHEM 5230Mass Spectrometry3
CHEM 5260Analytical Separations3
CHEM 5270Electroanalytical Chemistry3
CHEM 5300Mathematical Techniques in Chemistry3
CHEM 5370Computational Chemistry3
CHEM 5390Special Topics: Physical Chemistry3
CHEM 5450Advanced Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 5570Group Theory & Spectroscopy3
CHEM 5620Biophysical Chemistry3
CHEM 5630Introduction to Chemical Biology and Biotechnology3
CHEM 5800Fundamentals and Design of Nanomaterials3

Chemistry Electives

Must take at least two courses.

Chemistry courses listed above for synthesis and materials chemistry or analytical and physical methods. Electives can also be fulfilled by taking 5000-level courses in other disciplines such as biology, math, computer science, engineering, and pharmacology with approval by the graduate program coordinator and the student’s committee.

For additional information about our program, please contact:

Marvin Meyers, Ph.D.
Chemistry Graduate Program Coordinator
chemgrad@slu.edu