PhD in Organic Chemistry Programs

Feb 14, 2018

If you are interested in getting a doctoral degree in organic chemistry, you can find programs across the country. Find out about the common coursework and admission requirements for these PhD programs.

If you want to earn a doctorate degree in organic chemistry, you have many available options. Individuals who complete these programs may go on to careers in academics, industry or laboratory research.

Information about Doctoral Programs in Organic Chemistry

PhD programs in organic chemistry typically span at least four years and often longer. A dissertation or other research project is usually required for program completion. Schools commonly offer assistantships with stipends to students in these doctoral programs. Although programs differ from each other in their requirements, many of the options are similar, as demonstrated in the common courses described below.

Doctoral Research

The goal in many doctoral programs is the writing of the dissertation. Consequently, schools sometimes offer dedicated coursework hours to the research and development of the dissertation. Students can use this time to coordinate with their advisers in the development of their work. After writing the dissertation, students will usually be required to defend it before a doctoral committee, as well.

Organic Chemicals

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a doctoral degree in organic chemistry includes coursework in the study of organic chemicals. Courses in this area asks students to explore major chemical groups in organic molecules and the basics of how they function. Topics may also include synthetic and medicinal chemistry.

Teaching Coursework

For some students, the end goal of a PhD in organic chemistry is to instruct others in the field. Part of the program in organic chemistry may include coursework in how to teach chemistry. Students may also be evaluated by their department to determine the quality of their instruction and teaching methods.

Medicine and Disease

Students often delve into the medical field and take courses in medicinal chemicals and disease. This coursework is designed to help students understand concepts such as how cellular signals are sent and their relation to disease. Classes in this area also review current debates and controversies surrounding how cellular signaling is related to sickness.


Ethics courses are concerned with the behavior of professionals in the organic chemistry field. Students address topics such as how conflicts of interest can influence their work and the types of relationship boundaries they should establish. This course also discusses the ethics of various testing on humans.

Program Admittance Requirements

Applicants must usually have at least a bachelor's degree, although a specific course of study may not be necessary. Official transcripts will be required from students who apply, and a minimum GPA might be desired. GRE scores should also be submitted, and in some cases you may need to write a statement of purpose. Approximately three letters of recommendation are commonly required by universities.

Although PhD programs in organic chemistry vary immensely, the coursework and admittance requirements mentioned above outline some of the options. Students may work toward careers in industry and research, or hone their teaching skills for jobs in academia.

Next: View Schools

Popular Schools

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?