UMass Boston

Chemistry PhD

Request Info

Loading...

Pursue the highest level of academic achievement in chemistry and become an accomplished scientist.

UMass Boston's Chemistry Department offers a comprehensive Doctor of Philosophy degree, dedicated to cultivating creative and conscientious scientists. The department offers educational opportunities in six doctoral tracks: Biological Chemistry, Chemistry Education Research, Green Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physical/Analytical Chemistry, with a special emphasis on interdisciplinary research. Students immerse themselves in research labs early in the program and tailor their academic plan in accordance with their research interests.

Students are required to complete 60 credits of coursework, consisting of two core courses, three elective courses, a graduate seminar course and a dissertation research course. The set of core courses is dictated by the student’s track. In addition, the department’s emphasis on Green Chemistry permeates the curricula of all of its doctoral tracks. Our PhD program culminates in a public defense of the student’s research and the publication of the dissertation.

The specialty of the Department is in the field of Green Chemistry, and we are proud to be the first school in the country to offer a doctoral degree via the PhD in Chemistry/Green Chemistry Track. It focuses specifically on preparing chemistry doctoral students to direct, design, and implement chemical research using strategies that reduce or eliminate the impact on human health or the environment. It provides experiences, tools, and skills needed for conducting research in a more environmentally sustainable fashion. The strength of the green chemistry curriculum lies in its overlapping interdisciplinary themes of research. Our faculty is committed to research designed to benefit society, and this emphasis is reflected in our course selections at all levels of education.

Start Your Application

Chemistry PhD (Biological Track)

Students in the Biological Chemistry PhD track are required to take one core course, two core biological chemistry track courses, three elective courses, and at least six credits of Graduate Seminar and twenty credits of dissertation research. Of the three elective courses, one must be in the Chemistry Department, whereas up to two can be from other departments upon approval from the student's dissertation committee.

View the Curriculum

Chemistry PhD (Chemistry Education Research Track)

Students in the Chemistry Education PhD track are required to take one core course, two core chemistry education track courses, three elective courses, and at least six credits of Graduate Seminar and twenty credits of dissertation research. Of the three elective courses, one must be in the Chemistry Department, whereas up to two can be from other departments upon approval from the student's dissertation committee.

View the Curriculum

Chemistry PhD (Green Track)

The Green Chemistry Track in the Chemistry PhD Program is the first such program in the world. Students obtaining a degree from this program will be prepared for conventional chemistry jobs in industry, government, and academia. In addition to traditional training in the chemical sciences, required and elective courses in the Biology Department and School for the Environment provide graduates with the tools and experience to assess human impact on health and the environment.

Green chemistry involves an ecologically sustainable view of chemical research, development, and manufacture. Toxicological understanding and environmental fate are necessary components to understanding the entire "molecular life cycle" of any commercial endeavor.

Typically, universities and academic departments lack the appropriate personnel and facilities to pursue a program of this kind. The unique complement of Chemistry, the School for the Environment, and Biology Department faculty has allowed the University of Massachusetts Boston to create such a program.

View the Curriculum

Chemistry PhD (Inorganic Track)

Students in the Inorganic Chemistry PhD track are required to take one core course, two core inorganic chemistry track courses, three elective courses, and at least six credits of Graduate Seminar and twenty credits of dissertation research. Of the three elective courses, one must be in the Chemistry Department, whereas up to two can be from other departments upon approval from the student's dissertation committee.

View the Curriculum

Chemistry PhD (Organic Track)

Students in the Organic Chemistry PhD track are required to take one core course, two core organic chemistry track courses, three elective courses, and at least six credits of Graduate Seminar and twenty credits of dissertation research. Of the three elective courses, one must be in the Chemistry Department, whereas up to two can be from other departments upon approval from the student's dissertation committee.

View the Curriculum

Chemistry PhD (Physical/Analytical Track)

Students in the Physical/Analytical Chemistry PhD track are required to take one core course, two core physical/analytical chemistry track courses, three elective courses, and at least six credits of Graduate Seminar and twenty credits of dissertation research. Of the three elective courses, one must be in the Chemistry Department, whereas up to two can be from other departments upon approval from the student's dissertation committee.

View the Curriculum

Plan Your Education

How to Apply

Applicants must meet general graduate admission requirements in addition to the following program-specific requirements:

  • Test Scores: GRE recommended
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose

Deadlines & Cost

Deadlines: January 15 (priority deadline) or June 1 (final deadline, if space available) for fall, September 15 (priority deadline) or November 1 (final deadline, if space available) for spring

Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee is $75. UMass Boston alumni and current students that plan to complete degree requirements prior to graduate enrollment can submit the application without paying the application fee.

Program Cost Information: Bursar's website

Curriculum - Biological Track

COURSEWORK (Complete 60 credits.)

Students in the Biological Chemistry PhD track are required to take one core course, two core biological chemistry track courses, three elective courses, and at least six credits of Graduate Seminar and twenty credits of dissertation research. Of the three elective courses, one must be in the Chemistry Department, whereas up to two can be from other departments upon approval from the student's dissertation committee.

CORE COURSE IN CHEMISTRY PHD FOR ALL TRACKS (Choose one.)

CHEM 631 – Chemical Toxicology
CHEM 671 – Introduction to Green Chemistry

CORE COURSES IN BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY TRACK (Choose two from list.)

CHEM 658 – Medicinal Chemistry
CHEM 680 – Physical Biochemistry
CHEM 681 – Medical Biochemistry

ELECTIVE COURSES (Choose three from list.)

CHEM 601 – Thermodynamics and Kinetics
CHEM 602 – Quantum Mechanics
CHEM 611 – Organometallic Catalysis
CHEM 612 – Physical Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 621 – Synthetic Organic Chemistry
CHEM 622 – Physical Organic Chemistry
CHEM 631 – Chemical Toxicology
CHEM 641 – Chemistry and Biochemistry Education Research
CHEM 651 – Spectroscopic Identification of Organic Compounds
CHEM 654 – Biological Chemistry
CHEM 658 – Medicinal Chemistry
CHEM 661 – Analytical Instrumentation
CHEM 662 – Applied Chemometrics
CHEM 666 – Electrochemistry
CHEM 671 – Introduction to Green Chemistry
CHEM 680 – Physical Biochemistry
CHEM 681 – Medical Biochemistry
CHEM 687 – Topics in Chemistry
CHEM 688 – Topics in Physical Chemistry
CHEM 689 – Topics in Organic Chemistry
CHEM 690 – Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 696 – Independent Study
CHEM 697 – Special Topics in Chemistry

EXTRA-DEPARTMENTAL ELECTIVES

Students may choose electives from external departments if they are relevant to their course of study and research. Students choose courses with the permission of the advisor and Graduate Program Director.

Biology Department

BIOL 614 – Advanced Cell Chemistry
BIOL 678 – Protein Chemistry and Enzymology
BIOL 679 – Protein Chemistry and Enzymology Lecture
BIOL 685 – Biomedical Tracers

Physics Department

PHYSIC 601 – Electronic Instrumentation II: Digital
PHYSIC 612 – Electromagnetic Theory
PHYSIC 632 – Advanced Laser Optics (with lab)
PHYSIC 609 – Physics of Medical Imaging
PHYSIC 615 – Solid State Physics
PHYSIC 621 – Physics of Semiconductor Materials

School for the Environment

EEOS 611 – Applied Statistics
EEOS 640 – The Chemistry of Natural Waters
EEOS 710 – Environmental Biogeochemistry
EEOS 715 – Isotope Geochemistry

SEMINAR COURSES (Minimum of 6 credits)

CHEM 691 – Seminar I (fall)
CHEM 692 – Seminar II (spring)

DISSERTATION RESEARCH (Complete 20 credits.)

CHEM 899 – Dissertation Research

Curriculum - Chemistry Education Research Track

COURSEWORK (Complete 60 credits.)

CORE COURSE IN CHEMISTRY PhD FOR ALL TRACKS (Choose one.)

CHEM 631 – Chemical Toxicology
CHEM 671 – Introduction to Green Chemistry

CORE COURSES IN CHEMISTRY EDUCATION RESEARCH TRACK (Three courses.)

CHEM 641 – Chemistry and Biochemistry Education Research

At least two courses selected from the following three options:
* Quantitative Methods: EEOS 611 (Applied Statistics) or BIOL 607 (Computational Data Analysis for Biology)
* Qualitative Methods: HIGHED 752 (Research Methods in Higher Education: Qualitative Analysis) or PSYCLN 775 (Qualitative Methods in Clinical Psychology)
* Cognition: PSYDBS 762 (Knowledge Acquisition) or PSYDBS 620 (Cognitive Neuroscience)

ELECTIVE COURSES (Choose two from list.)

CHEM 601 – Thermodynamics and Kinetics
CHEM 602 – Quantum Mechanics
CHEM 611 – Organometallic Catalysis
CHEM 612 – Physical Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 621 – Synthetic Organic Chemistry
CHEM 622 – Physical Organic Chemistry
CHEM 631 – Chemical Toxicology
CHEM 641 – Chemistry and Biochemistry Education Research
CHEM 651 – Spectroscopic Identification of Organic Compounds
CHEM 654 – Biological Chemistry
CHEM 658 – Medicinal Chemistry
CHEM 661 – Analytical Instrumentation
CHEM 662 – Applied Chemometrics
CHEM 666 – Electrochemistry
CHEM 671 – Introduction to Green Chemistry
CHEM 680 – Physical Biochemistry
CHEM 681 – Medical Biochemistry
CHEM 687 – Topics in Chemistry
CHEM 688 – Topics in Physical Chemistry
CHEM 689 – Topics in Organic Chemistry
CHEM 690 – Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 696 – Independent Study
CHEM 697 – Special Topics in Chemistry

EXTRA-DEPARTMENTAL ELECTIVES

Students may choose electives from external departments if they are relevant to their course of study and research. Students choose courses with the permission of the advisor and Graduate Program Director.

Biology Department

BIOL 614 – Advanced Cell Chemistry
BIOL 678 – Protein Chemistry and Enzymology
BIOL 679 – Protein Chemistry and Enzymology Lecture
BIOL 685 – Biomedical Tracers

Education Departments

EDCG 606 – Sociocultural Foundations of Education
HIGHED 612 – Impact of College on Students
HIGHED 620 – Teaching, Learning and Curriculum in Urban Contexts
HIGHED 636 – Sociological Perspectives on Higher Education
EDCG 663 – Assessment in Teaching
EDCG 665 – Secondary Science Teaching Methods

Physics Department

PHYSIC 601 – Electronic Instrumentation II: Digital
PHYSIC 612 – Electromagnetic Theory
PHYSIC 632 – Advanced Laser Optics (with lab)
PHYSIC 609 – Physics of Medical Imaging
PHYSIC 615 – Solid State Physics
PHYSIC 621 – Physics of Semiconductor Materials

School for the Environment

ENVSCI 611 – Applied Statistics
ENVSCI 635 – Environmental Toxicology
ENVSCI 640 – The Chemistry of Natural Waters
ENVSCI 710 – Environmental Biogeochemistry
ENVSCI 715 – Isotope Geochemistry

SEMINAR COURSES (Enroll in seminar every semester.)

CHEM 691 – Seminar I (fall)
CHEM 692 – Seminar II (spring)

DISSERTATION RESEARCH (Complete 20 credits.)

CHEM 899 – Dissertation Research

Curriculum - Green Track

COURSEWORK (Complete 60 credits.)

Students in the Green Chemistry PhD track are required to take two core courses, four elective courses, and at least six credits of Graduate Seminar and twenty credits of dissertation research. Of the four elective courses, at least two must be in the Chemistry Department, whereas up to the two remaining courses can be from other departments upon approval from the student's dissertation committee.

CORE COURSES (Both core courses are required.)

CHEM 631 – Chemical Toxicology
CHEM 671 – Introduction to Green Chemistry

ELECTIVE COURSES (Choose four from list.)

CHEM 601 – Thermodynamics and Kinetics
CHEM 602 – Quantum Mechanics
CHEM 611 – Organometallic Catalysis
CHEM 612 – Physical Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 621 – Synthetic Organic Chemistry
CHEM 622 – Physical Organic Chemistry
CHEM 631 – Chemical Toxicology
CHEM 641 – Chemistry and Biochemistry Education Research
CHEM 651 – Spectroscopic Identification of Organic Compounds
CHEM 654 – Biological Chemistry
CHEM 658 – Medicinal Chemistry
CHEM 661 – Analytical Instrumentation
CHEM 662 – Applied Chemometrics
CHEM 666 – Electrochemistry
CHEM 671 – Introduction to Green Chemistry
CHEM 680 – Physical Biochemistry
CHEM 681 – Medical Biochemistry
CHEM 687 – Topics in Chemistry
CHEM 688 – Topics in Physical Chemistry
CHEM 689 – Topics in Organic Chemistry
CHEM 690 – Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 696 – Independent Study
CHEM 697 – Special Topics in Chemistry

EXTRA-DEPARTMENTAL ELECTIVES

Students may choose electives from external departments if they are relevant to their course of study and research. Students choose courses with the permission of the advisor and graduate program director.

Biology Department

BIOL 614 – Advanced Cell Chemistry
BIOL 678 – Protein Chemistry and Enzymology
BIOL 679 – Protein Chemistry and Enzymology Lecture
BIOL 685 – Biomedical Tracers

Physics Department

PHYSIC 601 – Electronic Instrumentation II: Digital
PHYSIC 612 – Electromagnetic Theory
PHYSIC 632 – Advanced Laser Optics (with lab)
PHYSIC 609 – Physics of Medical Imaging
PHYSIC 615 – Solid State Physics
PHYSIC 621 – Physics of Semiconductor Materials

School for the Environment

EEOS 611 – Applied Statistics
EEOS 640 – The Chemistry of Natural Waters
EEOS 710 – Environmental Biogeochemistry
EEOS 715 – Isotope Geochemistry

SEMINAR COURSES (Minimum of 6 credits.)

CHEM 691 – Seminar I (fall)
CHEM 692 – Seminar II (spring)

DISSERTATION RESEARCH (Complete 20 credits.)

CHEM 899 – Dissertation Research

Curriculum - Inorganic Track

COURSEWORK (Complete 60 credits.)

Students in the Inorganic Chemistry PhD track are required to take one core course, two core inorganic chemistry track courses, three elective courses, and at least six credits of Graduate Seminar and twenty credits of dissertation research. Of the three elective courses, one must be in the Chemistry Department, whereas up to two can be from other departments upon approval from the student's dissertation committee. For all courses see the university's Course Listings.

CORE COURSE IN CHEMISTRY PhD FOR ALL TRACKS (Choose one.)

CHEM 631 – Chemical Toxicology
CHEM 671 – Introduction to Green Chemistry

CORE COURSES IN THE INORGANIC CHEMISTRY TRACK (Choose two from list.)

CHEM 611 – Organometallic Catalysis
CHEM 612 – Physical Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 690 – Topics in Inorganic Chemistry

ELECTIVE COURSES (Choose three from list.)

CHEM 601 – Thermodynamics and Kinetics
CHEM 602 – Quantum Mechanics
CHEM 611 – Organometallic Catalysis
CHEM 612 – Physical Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 621 – Synthetic Organic Chemistry
CHEM 622 – Physical Organic Chemistry
CHEM 631 – Chemical Toxicology
CHEM 641 – Chemistry and Biochemistry Education Research
CHEM 651 – Spectroscopic Identification of Organic Compounds
CHEM 654 – Biological Chemistry
CHEM 658 – Medicinal Chemistry
CHEM 661 – Analytical Instrumentation
CHEM 662 – Applied Chemometrics
CHEM 666 – Electrochemistry
CHEM 671 – Introduction to Green Chemistry
CHEM 680 – Physical Biochemistry
CHEM 681 – Medical Biochemistry
CHEM 687 – Topics in Chemistry
CHEM 688 – Topics in Physical Chemistry
CHEM 689 – Topics in Organic Chemistry
CHEM 690 – Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 696 – Independent Study
CHEM 697 – Special Topics in Chemistry

EXTRA-DEPARTMENTAL ELECTIVES

Students may choose electives from external departments if they are relevant to their course of study and research. Students choose courses with the permission of the advisor and Graduate Program Director.

Biology Department

BIOL 614 – Advanced Cell Chemistry
BIOL 678 – Protein Chemistry and Enzymology
BIOL 679 – Protein Chemistry and Enzymology Lecture
BIOL 685 – Biomedical Tracers

Physics Department

PHYSIC 601 – Electronic Instrumentation II: Digital
PHYSIC 612 – Electromagnetic Theory
PHYSIC 632 – Advanced Laser Optics (with lab)
PHYSIC 609 – Physics of Medical Imaging
PHYSIC 615 – Solid State Physics
PHYSIC 621 – Physics of Semiconductor Materials

School for the Environment

EEOS 611 – Applied Statistics
EEOS 640 – The Chemistry of Natural Waters
EEOS 710 – Environmental Biogeochemistry
EEOS 715 – Isotope Geochemistry

SEMINAR COURSES (Minimum of 6 credits.)

CHEM 691 – Seminar I (fall)
CHEM 692 – Seminar II (spring)

DISSERTATION RESEARCH (Complete 20 credits.)

CHEM 899 – Dissertation Research

Curriculum - Organic Track

COURSEWORK (Complete 60 credits.)

CORE COURSE IN CHEMISTRY PHD FOR ALL TRACKS (Choose one.)

CHEM 631 – Chemical Toxicology
CHEM 671 – Introduction to Green Chemistry

CORE COURSES IN ORGANIC CHEMISTRY TRACK (Choose two from list.)

CHEM 621 – Synthetic Organic Chemistry
CHEM 622 – Physical Organic Chemistry
CHEM 658 – Medicinal Chemistry
CHEM 689 – Topics in Organic Chemistry

ELECTIVE COURSES (Choose three from list.)

CHEM 601 – Thermodynamics and Kinetics
CHEM 602 – Quantum Mechanics
CHEM 611 – Organometallic Catalysis
CHEM 612 – Physical Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 621 – Synthetic Organic Chemistry
CHEM 622 – Physical Organic Chemistry
CHEM 631 – Chemical Toxicology
CHEM 641 – Chemistry and Biochemistry Education Research
CHEM 651 – Spectroscopic Identification of Organic Compounds
CHEM 654 – Biological Chemistry
CHEM 658 – Medicinal Chemistry
CHEM 661 – Analytical Instrumentation
CHEM 662 – Applied Chemometrics
CHEM 666 – Electrochemistry
CHEM 671 – Introduction to Green Chemistry
CHEM 680 – Physical Biochemistry
CHEM 681 – Medical Biochemistry
CHEM 687 – Topics in Chemistry
CHEM 688 – Topics in Physical Chemistry
CHEM 689 – Topics in Organic Chemistry
CHEM 690 – Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 696 – Independent Study
CHEM 697 – Special Topics in Chemistry

EXTRA-DEPARTMENTAL ELECTIVES

Students may choose electives from external departments if they are relevant to their course of study and research. Students choose courses with the permission of the advisor and Graduate Program Director.

Biology Department

BIOL 614 – Advanced Cell Chemistry
BIOL 678 – Protein Chemistry and Enzymology
BIOL 679 – Protein Chemistry and Enzymology Lecture
BIOL 685 – Biomedical Tracers

Physics Department

PHYSIC 601 – Electronic Instrumentation II: Digital
PHYSIC 612 – Electromagnetic Theory
PHYSIC 632 – Advanced Laser Optics (with lab)
PHYSIC 609 – Physics of Medical Imaging
PHYSIC 615 – Solid State Physics
PHYSIC 621 – Physics of Semiconductor Materials

School for the Environment

EEOS 611 – Applied Statistics
EEOS 640 – The Chemistry of Natural Waters
EEOS 710 – Environmental Biogeochemistry
EEOS 715 – Isotope Geochemistry

SEMINAR COURSES (Minimum of 6 credits)

CHEM 691 – Seminar I (fall)
CHEM 692 – Seminar II (spring)

DISSERTATION RESEARCH (Complete 20 credits.)

CHEM 899 – Dissertation Research

Curriculum - Physical/Analytical Track

COURSEWORK (Complete 60 credits.)

CORE COURSE IN CHEMISTRY PhD FOR ALL TRACKS (Choose one.)

CHEM 631 – Chemical Toxicology
CHEM 671 – Introduction to Green Chemistry

CORE COURSES IN PHYSICAL/ANALYTICAL TRACK (Choose two from list.)

CHEM 601 – Thermodynamics and Kinetics
CHEM 602 – Quantum Mechanics
CHEM 661 – Analytical Instrumentation
CHEM 688 – Topics in Physical Chemistry

ELECTIVE COURSES (Choose three from list.)

CHEM 601 – Thermodynamics and Kinetics
CHEM 602 – Quantum Mechanics
CHEM 611 – Organometallic Catalysis
CHEM 612 – Physical Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 621 – Synthetic Organic Chemistry
CHEM 622 – Physical Organic Chemistry
CHEM 631 – Chemical Toxicology
CHEM 641 – Chemistry and Biochemistry Education Research
CHEM 651 – Spectroscopic Identification of Organic Compounds
CHEM 654 – Biological Chemistry
CHEM 658 – Medicinal Chemistry
CHEM 661 – Analytical Instrumentation
CHEM 662 – Applied Chemometrics
CHEM 666 – Electrochemistry
CHEM 671 – Introduction to Green Chemistry
CHEM 680 – Physical Biochemistry
CHEM 681 – Medical Biochemistry
CHEM 687 – Topics in Chemistry
CHEM 688 – Topics in Physical Chemistry
CHEM 689 – Topics in Organic Chemistry
CHEM 690 – Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 696 – Independent Study
CHEM 697 – Special Topics in Chemistry

EXTRA-DEPARTMENTAL ELECTIVES

Students may choose electives from external departments if they are relevant to their course of study and research. Students choose courses with the permission of the advisor and Graduate Program Director.

Biology Department

BIOL 614 – Advanced Cell Chemistry
BIOL 678 – Protein Chemistry and Enzymology
BIOL 679 – Protein Chemistry and Enzymology Lecture
BIOL 685 – Biomedical Tracers

Physics Department

PHYSIC 601 – Electronic Instrumentation II: Digital
PHYSIC 612 – Electromagnetic Theory
PHYSIC 632 – Advanced Laser Optics (with lab)
PHYSIC 609 – Physics of Medical Imaging
PHYSIC 615 – Solid State Physics
PHYSIC 621 – Physics of Semiconductor Materials

School for the Environment

EEOS 611 – Applied Statistics
EEOS 640 – The Chemistry of Natural Waters
EEOS 710 – Environmental Biogeochemistry
EEOS 715 – Isotope Geochemistry

SEMINAR COURSES (Enroll in seminar every semester.)

CHEM 691 – Seminar I (fall)
CHEM 692 – Seminar II (spring)

DISSERTATION RESEARCH (Complete 20 credits.)

CHEM 899 – Dissertation Research

Graduation Criteria

Complete a minimum of 60 credits from at least 15 courses including one core course, five track courses, six graduate seminars, and a minimum of 20 credits in dissertation courses.

Students must pass a literature seminar in the first year of study.

Track: Students must select a track from green chemistry, biological chemistry, chemistry education research, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, or physical/analytical chemistry.
Doctoral candidacy: Pass four written qualifying exams (at least two of which are in the track), and an oral qualifying exam.
Dissertation: Candidates must complete and defend a dissertation based on original research.

Statute of limitations: Seven years.

Plan of Study

Contact

Graduate Program Director Wei Zhang (Green Chemistry)
wei2.zhang [at] umb.edu
(617) 287-6147

Graduate Program Director Neil Reilly (Physical/Analytical Chemistry)
neil.reilly [at] umb.edu
(617) 287-4065

Graduate Program Assistant Rita Lam
graduate.chemistry [at] umb.edu
(617) 287-6190

Students hold test tubes.

Chemistry

Learn more about UMass Boston's Chemistry department, our research, and our faculty.

Explore the Department of Chemistry

College of Science & Mathematics

Learn more about the faculty, research, and programs that make up our College of Science and Mathematics.

Explore Now