Feb 26, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Chemistry Major, PhD


The faculty of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, seek to prepare their students to join the international ranks of professional chemists in fundamental areas of chemistry as well as cross-disciplinary sciences in which chemical expertise plays a critical role in the development of new knowledge and technologies. Students planning to major in chemistry for the master’s or doctoral degree will ordinarily have attained a satisfactory record in the traditional areas of chemistry. The department, however, recognizes that modern chemistry transcends traditional disciplinary divisions. Therefore, it encourages students with undergraduate majors in chemical engineering, the biological sciences, physics, mathematics, computer science, or other fields to apply for admission to our program.

Concentrations (Required)


Analytical Chemistry
Chemical Physics  (with Department of Physics and Astronomy)
Environmental Chemistry
Inorganic Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Physical Chemistry
Polymer Chemistry
Theoretical Chemistry

Campus Code


Knoxville Campus

Admissions Standards/Procedures


Admission to the graduate program is decided on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration an applicant’s undergraduate record (traditionally including courses in general, analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry) and supporting information such as references from previous faculty and research mentors, co-authorship of research presentations or papers, and awards. Recommendation for a student’s initial course of study in graduate school is based on the desired specialization, previous training and experience, and performance on departmental diagnostic exams administered following arrival in the department.

Analytical Chemistry


Analytical chemistry involves the qualitative and quantitative detection of chemical substances using modern instrumentation.

Credit Hours Required


  • 52 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree
  • 31 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree

Required Courses


Non-Course Requirements


  • A final oral examination is conducted in which the dissertation is defended.
  • Graduation with a PhD in Chemistry requires the publication of two articles in peer-reviewed journals describing research performed during graduate studies. One of the articles must list the graduating student as first author (or an equally contributing first author). Accepted articles will count toward this requirement. Each student must present their research at one regional, national, or international conference.

Chemical Physics


The PhD program with a concentration in chemical physics is conducted jointly with the Department of Physics.

Credit Hours Required


  • 52 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree
  • 31 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree

Required Courses


Non-Course Requirements


  • A final oral examination is conducted in which the dissertation is defended.
  • Graduation with a PhD in Chemistry requires the publication of two articles in peer-reviewed journals describing research performed during graduate studies. One of the articles must list the graduating student as first author (or an equally contributing first author). Accepted articles will count toward this requirement. Each student must present their research at one regional, national, or international conference.

Environmental Chemistry


Environmental chemistry seeks to apply the tools of chemistry to study and protect the natural environment.

Credit Hours Required


  • 52 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree
  • 31 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree

Required Courses


Non-Course Requirements


  • A final oral examination is conducted in which the dissertation is defended.
  • Graduation with a PhD in Chemistry requires the publication of two articles in peer-reviewed journals describing research performed during graduate studies. One of the articles must list the graduating student as first author (or an equally contributing first author). Accepted articles will count toward this requirement. Each student must present their research at one regional, national, or international conference.

Inorganic Chemistry


Inorganic chemistry involves the study of molecules built with atoms other than carbon, and particularly metals.

Credit Hours Required


  • 52 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree
  • 31 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree

Required Courses


Non-Course Requirements


  • A final oral examination is conducted in which the dissertation is defended.
  • Graduation with a PhD in Chemistry requires the publication of two articles in peer-reviewed journals describing research performed during graduate studies. One of the articles must list the graduating student as first author (or an equally contributing first author). Accepted articles will count toward this requirement. Each student must present their research at one regional, national, or international conference.

Organic Chemistry


Organic chemistry involves the synthesis, study and application of carbon-based molecules.

Credit Hours Required


  • 52 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree
  • 31 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree

Required Courses


Non-Course Requirements


  • A final oral examination is conducted in which the dissertation is defended.
  • Graduation with a PhD in Chemistry requires the publication of two articles in peer-reviewed journals describing research performed during graduate studies. One of the articles must list the graduating student as first author (or an equally contributing first author). Accepted articles will count toward this requirement. Each student must present their research at one regional, national, or international conference.

Physical Chemistry


Physical chemistry seeks to understand how chemicals behave at the molecular and atomic level and how reactions occur.

Credit Hours Required


  • 52 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree
  • 31 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree

Required Courses


Non-Course Requirements


  • A final oral examination is conducted in which the dissertation is defended.
  • Graduation with a PhD in Chemistry requires the publication of two articles in peer-reviewed journals describing research performed during graduate studies. One of the articles must list the graduating student as first author (or an equally contributing first author). Accepted articles will count toward this requirement. Each student must present their research at one regional, national, or international conference.

Polymer Chemistry


Polymer chemistry is the study of the synthesis and properties of macromolecules composed of repeating chemical subunits.

Credit Hours Required


  • 52 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree
  • 31 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree

Required Courses


Non-Course Requirements


  • A final oral examination is conducted in which the dissertation is defended.
  • Graduation with a PhD in Chemistry requires the publication of two articles in peer-reviewed journals describing research performed during graduate studies. One of the articles must list the graduating student as first author (or an equally contributing first author). Accepted articles will count toward this requirement. Each student must present their research at one regional, national, or international conference.

Theoretical Chemistry


Theoretical chemistry studies the structural and dynamic properties of molecules and materials using quantum chemistry and statistical mechanics.

Credit Hours Required


  • 52 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree
  • 31 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree

Required Courses


Non-Course Requirements


  • A final oral examination is conducted in which the dissertation is defended.
  • Graduation with a PhD in Chemistry requires the publication of two articles in peer-reviewed journals describing research performed during graduate studies. One of the articles must list the graduating student as first author (or an equally contributing first author). Accepted articles will count toward this requirement. Each student must present their research at one regional, national, or international conference.