Materials Chemistry, Ph.D.

On Campus

Materials Chemistry

In today’s complex industrial world, the strict divisions between chemistry, biology, and engineering no longer hold. Now more than ever, we need scientists who can navigate easily across these boundaries.

With this in mind, the PhD in Materials Chemistry program cultivates an interdisciplinary exchange between students and faculty. Together you collaborate on the latest in cutting-edge research — from the synthesis of polymeric materials to properties of synthetic and biological macromolecules. Our faculty specializes in the integration of biotechnology to create catalysts, sensors, and macromolecules for a variety of uses.

As a materials chemistry student, you’ll examine how combinations of molecules and materials result in different properties. You’ll see how this knowledge leads to the synthesis of new materials, with applications in superconductors, artificial organs, and other devices.

Curriculum

To obtain a Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry at the School of Engineering, you must complete 75 credits as described below.

Of those 75 credits required, at least 45 credits must be taken at the School of Engineering, including a minimum of 24 credits of dissertation research. If the courses transferred from another institution do not include all 4 core courses, the missing core courses must be taken at the School of Engineering. The remaining courses to satisfy the doctoral degree are selected in consultation with your adviser.

You must have an overall B average in the core courses, as well as in the core and elective courses (excluding seminar, chemical literature, and thesis).

You are required to declare a concentration by taking 3 courses from 1 of the following 5 areas: physical chemistry, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, and polymer chemistry. One of the 3 courses can be a core course. The course description indicates which courses qualify for the five areas. The GPA of the 3 courses must be B or better. You must be in continuous attendance at the departmental colloquia (CM 9710).


Physical Chemistry

3 Credits Statistical Thermodynamics and Kinetics CM-GY7043
This course covers statistical mechanics for chemical systems. Also covered are ensembles, partition functions, thermodynamic functions, applications to various systems, including non-ideal gas, gas of diatomic molecules, polymer, surface phenomena, chemical equilibria, biophysics and reaction kinetics.
Prerequisite: Undergraduate physical chemistry and physics or adviser’s approval.

Organic Chemistry

3 Credits Physical Organic Chemistry CM-GY9033
This course covers molecular structure and bonding. Also covered are stereochemical and conformational principles; theories of bonding; physical parameters of stable and reactive molecular states; and applications in biochemistry and polymer chemistry.
Prerequisite: Undergraduate organic chemistry or adviser’s approval.

Analytical Chemistry (1 of the Following 2)

3 Credits Principles of Spectroscopy CM-GY8023
This course covers rotational, vibrational and electronic states of atoms and molecules. Also covered are the interaction of radiation with atoms and molecules; molecular symmetry; rotational and vibrational spectroscopy; and electronic spectroscopy.
Prerequisite: Undergraduate physical chemistry or adviser approval.
3 Credits Organic Spectroscopy CM-GY8073
This course covers structure elucidation by joint applications of spectroscopic techniques such as proton and carbon-13 magnetic resonance, infrared and mass spectroscopy and other methods.
Prerequisite: Undergraduate organic chemistry or adviser’s approval. Prerequisite: CM-GY 9033.

Inorganic Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry, or Biochemistry (1 of the Following 3)

3 Credits Advanced Inorganic Chemistry CM-GY6013
This course covers theories of bonding in inorganic compounds. It introduces group theory as applied to molecular orbital and ligand field theories. Also covered are spectra of inorganic compounds and non-aqueous solvent. The transition to metal chemistry is introduced.
Prerequisite: Adviser’s approval.
3 Credits Biochemistry I CM-GY9413
This course covers structure and function of biological macromolecules: proteins, nucleicacids, polysaccharides. Also covered are enzymatic kinetics, mechanism and control.
Prerequisite: Undergraduate biochemistry or adviser’s approval.
3 Credits Synthesis of Macromolecules CM-GY7723
This course covers organic aspects, including chemistry of monomer and polymer formation; modern mechanistic analyses of reactions; stereochemistry of polymer structures; forces of stereo regulation; condensation, free radical (bulk, suspension, emulsion, solution), ionic, ring-opening and non-classical polymerization reactions.
Prerequisite: Undergraduate organic chemistry or adviser’s approval.


Choose two courses from CM listing and two courses from CM, BE, BT and CBE listings.


1.5 Credits Seminar in Chemistry I CM-GY9731
This course covers chemical topics of current interest and is presented by participating students, staff and outside speakers. One semester is required for MS chemistry students; three semesters required for PhD candidates.
1.5 Credits Seminar in Chemistry II CM-GY9741
This course covers chemical topics of current interest and is presented by participating students, staff and outside speakers. One semester is required for MS chemistry students; three semesters required for PhD candidates.
1.5 Credits Seminar in Chemistry III CM-GY9751
This course covers chemical topics of current interest and is presented by participating students, staff and outside speakers. One semester is required for MS chemistry students; three semesters required for PhD candidates.


1.5 Credits Information Sources for the Chemical Sciences CM-GY5021
This course is a hands-on introduction to methods and tools for searching and includes both electronic (CD-ROM and online) as well as print databases. Students may emphasize topics related to their research. Graduate students are required to take this course.


Chemical Colloquium CM-GY9710


Chemical Laboratory Safety CM-GY5040
This course discusses problems of health and safety in chemical laboratories, including how to work safely with dangerous chemicals. This course must be completed by graduate and undergraduate chemistry students before they begin laboratory research.



The rest, if any, credits remaining are electives (from CM, BE, BT, and CBE listings) up to 9 credits.


You must pass a comprehensive qualifying examination in chemistry and present a doctoral dissertation. The qualifying exam is given once a year. You can obtain additional details on the qualifying examination from your graduate adviser.