Chemical Physics PhD Requirements

Chemical Physics students may choose to be so designated upon admission to the PhD program in Chemistry or Physics. Students entering through the Department of Chemistry must satisfy the registration examination, the literature seminar, preliminary examination, and original research proposal requirements of Physical Chemistry. Please refer to the guidelines for each of these requirements in this manual. Students entering through the Department of Physics must satisfy the qualifying examination requirement in the Department of Physics.

Each Chemical Physics PhD student is expected to obtain a firm background in (a) Classical Mechanics, (b) Quantum Mechanics, (c) Statistical Mechanics, (d) Electricity and Magnetism, and (e) Physical Chemistry. The choice of specific classes is determined by the research interests of the student and the student’s background. Students entering through the Department of Chemistry must complete the coursework requirements of Physical Chemistry in addition to demonstrating proficiency in Classical Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism.

Per Section 5.2.6, a Chemical Physics PhD student entering through the Department of Chemistry is expected to enroll in CHEM 599 Thesis Research every semester, not PHYS 597/599, regardless of the home department of their advisor. It is usual but not mandatory that the research advisor be on the faculty of the Department of Chemistry or Department of Physics. The Chemistry and Physics departmental websites provide information about faculty members carrying out research related to Chemical Physics.  For a Chemistry student working with a faculty member with no formal Chemistry affiliation, a tenured Chemistry faculty member will be appointed as an advisor of record, and this faculty member will also serve as the chair of the thesis committee (see Section 5.2.11).

For each student entering through Chemistry, the research advisor, in consultation with the student, will recommend a thesis committee for appointment by the Dean of the Graduate College by the end of the first year. The thesis committee must have at least two faculty members who hold at least 50% appointments in the Department of Chemistry. In addition, the thesis committee must have at least one faculty member who holds at least a 50% appointment in the Department of Physics.

Students entering through Chemistry are required to follow the preliminary examination and original research proposal guidelines provided in this manual. In particular, the preliminary examination must be completed by the end of the fifth semester, following the completion of coursework and the literature seminar requirement, and the original research proposal must be submitted before the end of the eighth semester.