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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rensselaer Graduate Chemistry
Graduate Chemistry
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Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
120 Cogswell
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Troy, NY 12180

Phone: (518) 276-6456
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Graduate Admission Requirements

The M.S. degree requires 30 credit hours beyond the B.S. and the Ph.D. 90 credit hours beyond the B.S. The M.S degree is not a prerequisite for the Ph.D. degree.

Coursework Requirements

No overall courses are required for the Ph.D.; requirements are determined for each student based on the results of initial placement exams, the student's background, and proposed area of research. Normally, students will be expected to have graduate level understanding in at least four of the areas of Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry, as shown by examination results or by taking courses in those areas. At least 21 course credits (15 at the 6000 level or above) are required for the M.S. degree; there is no fixed number required for the Ph.D. Teaching assistants are required to attend a 1-credit Teaching Seminar, and all graduate students are expected to participate in the Departmental seminar program.

Test Requirements

  • GRE General Test – Required
  • GRE Subject Tests in Chemistry or Biochemistry – Highly Recommended (but not required)
  • TOEFL - Required for International Applicants ONLY

Ph.D. Requirements

Most Ph.D. students complete all their course work by the end of the third semester of residence, and thereafter concentrate on their research. Each doctoral candidate takes a written qualifying exam or a set of cumulative exams, depending on the division, and an oral candidacy exam, the format of which is set by the student's doctoral committee. The final and by far the most important requirement for the Ph.D. is successful completion of a research problem which culminates in writing and defense of the dissertation.

M.S. Requirements

The requirements for the M.S. are parallel to, but less demanding than, those for the Ph.D.; the major difference is the research problem is more focused. There is no qualifying or candidacy examination and no oral thesis defense. Prior to submitting an application for the M.S. program, we highly recommend contacting the chair of the graduate admission committee to discuss research interests within the department.

Graduate Application & Instructions


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