About Our Program

Program Overview:

Entering students take standardized proficiency exams in analytical, biological, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. The scores on these exams are used by the Graduate Program Committee to help new students accelerate the course-work component of their Ph.D. program. Entering students demonstrating proficiency in these areas are only required to complete 18 credit hours of graded coursework, which may be completed in the first year. During this time, Ph.D. candidates also take cumulative exams, of which the student must pass four of 16 exams administered during the first 2 years of study. Having completed the course work and cumulative exam requirements, the candidate undergoes an oral qualifying exam in which he or she answers questions posed by his or her special advisory committee usually relating to the student's initial research plan. After that, the path is clear to the Ph.D. degree, and additional time in graduate school is simply a function of research success.
Our department offers a variety of courses including two core courses in each of the five divisions.  Additionally, we offer several advanced courses including Chemical Crystallography, Neurochemistry, Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry, Environmental Chemistry, Spectroscopy and Photophysics, and Inorganic Chemistry of Non-Metals. Also offered are Special Topics (CHE 580) courses. Examples of recent Special Topics courses include Materials Chemistry, Organometallic Chemistry, and Polymer Chemistry. Students typically take 6 courses in their first year, and generally complete two remaining requirements in the first semester of their second year.  It is possible to complete courses sooner by passing entrance exams and earning course exemptions or by transferring credit from approved M.S. programs.
At least one out-of-department course or one out-of-area course is required for graduation. Some examples of courses taken by our students include Electrochemical Energy Storage (MSE 599) and Scientific Communications (BCH 780). Students considering a career in teaching may participate in the Preparing Future Faculty program. Seminars and courses are aimed to help those with academic ambitions.
Financial Aid:
Assistantships are provided to each student accepted to the PhD program. Tuition and benefits are covered by your assistantship.  Most entering graduate students are supported by Teaching Assistantships. Being a TA is a requirement for graduation and requires a commitment of up to 20 hours of work per week, which includes classroom time, office hours, and grading. Teaching assistantships in the Department of Chemistry are competitive, particularly considering the very low cost of living in Lexington, Kentucky (for a comparison of cost-of-living in various cities, visit this site). The stipend for a graduate student in their first year is at least $23,097 and can be larger if students are supported by research groups in the summers. Additionally, numerous fellowships can increase the level of support received by graduate students, and qualified students are automatically considered for these fellowships and scholarships upon submitting an application.  After the first year, students may be supported by Research Assistantships. About half of our students are supported as Research Assistants.
Visiting the Department:
The department typically holds a recruiting event in mid-February or early March for admitted graduate students.  This is a great opportunity to visit our department as well as meet with our faculty members and graduate students.  Funds are also available for a few candidates to visit the department outside the recruiting event.  The department can reimburse applicants for travel and meal expenses, provided they arrange the visit through our office. To set up a visit, we ask that you review the research of faculty members with whom you are interested in meeting. Feel free to contact any of our faculty members directly if you have questions about his or her research or interests. Afterwards, use the contact form (select the Application Question option) to submit a request for a visit.  Please include professors' names and the dates on which you are available to visit the department. Note that, due to costs, this option is limited to domestic applicants. 
To Apply:

The application processes are managed entirely by the UK Graduate School with a system called ApplyYourself. Visit our Apply Online webpage for more information.  

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