2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
    May 07, 2021  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemistry PhD

College: Sciences Degree: PhD
Department: Chemistry Option: Dissertation
Program Websites: http://sciences.ucf.edu/chemistry/
Graduate Program Handbook

Program Description

The Chemistry PhD program focuses on Materials Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Forensic Science and Biochemistry. The training prepares future scientists and educators for research within contemporary fields to accommodate changing and growing industry demands.

The PhD program in Chemistry provides a doctoral education in three technical focal areas: Materials Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Forensic Science and Biochemistry, drawing upon the strengths of the Department of Chemistry and other units, such as the College of Optics and Photonics and Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center. These areas meet the ever-pressing demand for the development of new materials and the increasing urgency of addressing crucial environmental and security problems. The curriculum has been formulated in collaboration with industrial scientists and represents a response to current and projected competencies needed by the industry. The purpose of the program is to develop scientists and educators capable of conducting research to solve important problems in contemporary fields of the chemical sciences while preparing a highly skilled work force to ensure the technological/economic health and competitiveness in central Florida.


The Chemistry PhD program requires 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree with a minimum 18 credit hours of electives in the chosen sub-discipline, an original research project, and dissertation presentation. A maximum of 24 credit hours may be transferred for students that have completed an approved MS degree program. At least 27 hours of formal course work, exclusive of independent study, are required in order to fulfill degree requirements. This includes four core courses and four electives, three of which must be taken from Chemistry. Six credit hours of directed research are also required; additional courses may be specified by the student’s research adviser.

Total Credit Hours Required: 72 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor’s Degree

One of the primary means of education and training in the PhD program is achieved through successful completion of an original research project, close mentorship by their research adviser and the presentation and defense of the PhD dissertation. This intense research experience provides the education and training necessary for the student to substantiate his/her expertise and develop the skills necessary to become an independent professional.

By the second semester, students will choose a dissertation adviser and establish a program of study. Students will take a seminar course a minimum of seven times. A final seminar credit hour will be taken in preparation for the dissertation defense. During this semester, the student will present a seminar to the department on their dissertation research. The research adviser and graduate program director will establish an advisory committee for each student. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher.

Required Courses: 19 Credit Hours

Core: 12 Credit Hours

Students must take four of the following courses.

If a student successfully completes all five core courses, one course will count toward fulfilling the electives requirement.

Seminar: 7 Credit Hours

  • 1 Credit Hours (six seminar credits must be taken prior to presenting candidacy; the seventh seminar credit will be taken the semester before anticipated graduation)

Elective Courses: 18-38 Credit Hours in Chosen Concentration

Directed Research: 6 Credit Hours

  • CHM 6918 - Directed Research VAR Credit Hours

Elective Courses: 12 Credit Hours

  • Selected from courses list below or chosen by adviser

Additional Courses: 0-20 Credit Hours

Students who enter the program with a master’s degree need to take four elective courses (12 credit hours) and 6 credit hours of directed research. They may choose four courses from the departmental offerings or three courses from the departmental offerings and one from outside of the department. Directed research will always be within the department. Students who enter the program without a master’s degree will be required to take 20 additional hours for a total of 38 credit hours of a combination of elective and research courses.

A program of study requires 27 hours of total formal course work exclusive of independent study. Students and advisers need to be careful about how elective courses are selected so that at least 12 credit hours of electives must be formal course work, exclusive of independent study. Doctoral research, dissertation research, independent study and directed research may also be used to satisfy additional hours in the concentration.

Materials Chemistry Concentration

Choose from the following courses (one may be from outside the department) in addition to 6 hours of directed research.

Environmental Chemistry Concentration

Choose from the following courses (one may be from outside the department) in addition to 6 hours of directed research.

Courses from outside the Chemistry Department.

Forensic Science Concentration

Choose from the following courses in addition to 6 hours of directed research.

Biochemistry Concentration

Choose from the following courses (one may be from outside the department) in addition to 6 hours of directed research.

Dissertation: 15 Credit Hours Minimum

Within three months before defending the dissertation, the student will present a dissertation research seminar to the Department of Chemistry, registering for one credit hour of seminar.

  • CHM 7980 - Doctoral Dissertation 15 Credit Hours

Qualifying Examinations

Students will be expected to satisfy qualifying (proficiency) requirements (analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and physical chemistry) during the first year by taking exams in four of these five areas. Additional course work may be required if one or more of the qualifying exams is not satisfied. These exams may be waived if the entering student possesses an MS degree in the Chemical Sciences. Satisfaction of this requirement will help ensure that all students are adequately prepared for the core courses. If a student does not satisfy the proficiency exam requirements within the first year, the student may be subject to dismissal from the program.

Candidacy Examination

By the end of the sixth semester (excluding summers), students must pass the PhD candidacy oral examination. The candidacy examination consists of writing and orally defending an original research proposal to the student’s program faculty advisory committee. The research proposal will focus on a topic not directly related to the student’s dissertation research and must be approved by the adviser and advisory committee. Failure to pass the PhD candidacy exam will result in dismissal from the program.

Admission to Candidacy

The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours:

  • Completion of all required and formal elective course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the candidacy examination.
  • Successful defense of the written dissertation proposal.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submittal of an approved program of study.

Dissertation Defense

The final requirement for the PhD degree is completion of a satisfactory written dissertation of the student’s research, along with successful presentation and defense of the dissertation to the advisory committee, including one doctorate-holding non-program faculty member.

Equipment Fee

Full-time students in the Chemistry PhD program pay a $90 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $45 per semester.

Independent Learning

The grounding in scientific research methodology provided by the dissertation requirement is a central focus of the proposed program. Students will conduct research either on site or at the professional laboratories where they work. In either case, a member of the UCF Chemistry Department graduate faculty will act as research adviser and approve the research topic. This research culminates in the writing and presentation of the dissertation. The student will present his/her dissertation for examination by a committee consisting of a minimum of five members including the research adviser. One of the committee members will be from outside the Chemistry department. A majority of the program committee members will hold tenure-earning faculty appointments in the Chemistry Department. The committee has to be approved by the Graduate Coordinator of the Chemistry program and the department Chair. The dissertation must be judged worthy of publication by the dissertation committee and may not be submitted for examination until so deemed. For students performing their dissertation research off campus, the dissertation adviser will visit the student’s laboratory, where their research is to be performed, before the research begins and on a regular basis until the work is complete.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions  section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements , applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • A Bachelor of Science degree in the Chemical Sciences or a closely related field.
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
  • Three letters of recommendations.
  • A statement of purpose.
  • Résumé.

Meeting minimum UCF admission criteria does not guarantee program admission. Final admission is based on evaluation of the applicant’s abilities, past performance, recommendations, match of this program and faculty expertise to the applicant’s career/academic goals, and the applicant’s potential for completing the degree.

Application Deadlines

Chemistry PhD *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15 Jan 1 Jul 1  
International Applicants Jan 15 Jan 15 Jul 1  
*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information  section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.

Contact Info

Graduate Program

Eloy Hernandez PhD
Telephone: 407-823-0843

Michelle Salcedo
Telephone: 407-823-5728
PSB 255

Graduate Admissions

Anthony Tufano
Telephone: 407-823-2766
Millican Hall 230  
Online Application
Graduate Admissions

Mailing Address

UCF College of Graduate Studies
Millican Hall 230
PO Box 160112
Orlando, FL  32816-0112

Institution Codes
GRE: 5233
TOEFL: 5233
ETS PPI: 5233

Graduate Fellowships

Grad Fellowships
Telephone: 407-823-0127

Graduate Financial Aid

UCF Student Financial Assistance
Millican Hall 120
Telephone: 407-823-2827
Appointment Line: 407-823-5285
Fax: 407-823-5241