The PhD in chemistry in the School of Molecular Sciences provides students with the training they need to solve molecular scale problems and to be successful independent scientists who can contribute to current challenging societal issues.

Students earning a doctorate in chemistry from the School of Molecular Sciences are trained in the foundation disciplines of analytical, organic, physical, inorganic, environmental or geological chemistry, and most also choose to join transdisciplinary research teams that work on larger, mission-based contemporary problems in areas such as:

  • energy and sustainability
  • frontiers of chemical measurement
  • fundamental molecular science
  • geologic and biospheric science
  • materials and nanoscience
  • medicine and health
  • structure function and dynamics
100%
students funded
24M
annual research funding
58
research groups

Curriculum

The Chemistry PhD program is a research-focused degree program and affords students the opportunity to complete complimentary coursework that is supportive and enhances the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in the chosen area of research. The PhD in Biochemistry requires 84 credit hours, a written and oral comprehensive exam, prospectus and a dissertation.

Requirements Hours
Coursework 12-18
Seminars 8
Research 46-52
Dissertation 12
Total Semester Hours Required 84

Qualifying exams consisting of a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive exam and a prospectus are required to advance to candidacy. Students must successfully defend their dissertation during a public final oral defense. Students must also maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") or better.

How to apply

Applications open September 1 for admission in Fall of the following year. The application deadline is January 1. Applications received prior to the deadline will receive priority consideration, but applications received after the deadline may still receive consideration, pending available space. Applicants will receive final notice of decision by March 15.

All applicants must apply through the Graduate Admissions office. All application materials must be submitted through the application or to Graduate Admissions directly. Please do not mail any documents to the School of Molecular Sciences. 

The School of Molecular Sciences utilizes a two-part application process and both parts are required. The first part is the General Application through the ASU Graduate Admissions office. The second part is a supplemental application to the School of Molecular Sciences and allows us to expedite the review of your application and evaluate your application based on unofficial documents. 

(The supplemental application will be accessible 24-48 hours after the submission of the general application and is accessed using your ASURITE ID and password, which you should receive shortly after the general application is submitted.)

Step 1:

Apply Now (General Application)

Step 2:

Access the Supplemental Application

***GRE not required for fall 2021 applications (you may disregard any references noting this as a requirement)***

Requirements

Minimum Requirements required for admission:

  • Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, biochemistry, or closely related discipline with appropriate coursework
    • Applicants from Indian institutions (3-yr BSc) must have completed a Master's degree.
  • GPA of at least 3.0
  • General GRE test scores no more than 5 years old; Subject GRE test preferred, but not required (Due to COVID-19, GRE requirement waived for Fall 2021 admission cycle)
  • International Applicants must satisfy university minimum requirements for English Proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo, PTE)

While all applications meeting the minimum requirements will be reviewed, competitive candidates generally meet the following benchmarks:

  • GPA of at least 3.0
  • GRE Quantitative score of 155 (60th percentile) or better
  • A good subject GRE score (chemistry) is preferred
  • Research experience and a letter of recommendation from a faculty research supervisor
  • A TOEFL score of 100 with a speaking section score of 23 or better (IELTS 7/7, equivalencies for other tests will be determined as needed). Additional English requirements are required by ASU for employment as a TA for speaking section scores less than 26.

Application

All applicants are required to pay the application fee ($70 – domestic / $115 – international). The application fee will be refunded to all students who are accepted into and agree to join our program.

You will need the following information to complete the general application:

  • Beginning/ending dates and location(s) of your academic degree(s);
  • Grade point average (GPA) - Information on calculating overall, junior-senior undergraduate and graduate GPA can found on the Graduate Admission website.
  • GRE and TOEFL scores (unofficial scores can be used in your initial application)
  • Arizona Residency information if you are a resident in the state of Arizona (general tax and employment history)
  • Unofficial transcripts, saved into one PDF file (must be less than 1MB)

You will need the following information to complete the supplemental application:

  • Areas of research and faculty member interest
  • A brief Personal Statement that includes a narrative concerning your motivations for graduate study in chemistry or biochemistry, your long-term career goals, further information on research experience, potential ASU faculty interests and a list of all honors, awards and scholarships. It is particularly important to describe your research experience and list any publications.
  • Contact information (email address) for three (3) faculty members who will write letters of recommendation for you, and can comment on your suitability for advanced scholarly work. One of these must be your current research supervisor. If you are employed full-time, only one of these letters can be from your employer. Faculty member letters are much more important than letters from employers.
  • Electronic copies of your unofficial transcripts. (individual PDF file for each transcript)

Acceptance decisions may be extended on the basis of the unofficial information submitted as part of the application, although an official offer cannot be extended until the all official transcripts and test scores have been received and added to the application.

Domestic students who apply by the deadline and are extended an offer of admission will be invited to visit campus during our Visitation Weekend in mid-February. (Due to COVID-19, final decisions regarding the spring 2021 Visitation Weekend have not been made and invitations to campus will only be extended if safe to do so.)

International

The School of Molecular Sciences values a diverse student population and welcomes applications from international students. The University sets English proficiency requirements for admission for international students whose native language is not English, or for whom the official language of the country of origin is not English. The University will also require international students employed as a teaching assistants to demonstrate additional proficiency in spoken English. The School of Molecular Sciences prefers applicants who demonstrate English proficiency beyond the University required minimums as follows:

  • A TOEFL score of 100 with a speaking section score of 23 or better (additional English requirements are required for employment as a TA)
  • An IELTS overall band score of 7.0 with speaking score of 7.0 or better
  • Equivalencies for other exams will be determined as needed.
     

The test of English proficiency must have been taken within two years of starting the program (i.e. for fall 2021 admission, the test must have been taken after August 1, 2019.) You will need to retake the test if your results are more than two years old. Official scores should be sent by the Education Testing Service (ETS) as soon as possible. When ordering a score report from ETS, use institution code 4007 (a department code is not needed). Applications will not be considered without valid evidence of English proficiency.

Applicants who satisfy one of the following criteria through attendance at a regionally accredited college or university in the US are exempt from the English proficiency admission requirements:

  • Applicants who are U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.
  • Applicants who have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S.
  • Applicants who have earned the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher from an international institution that is officially recognized by that country, and the country is on the ASU English Speaking Country and Territory List.
  • Applicants who have earned the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher from an international institution that is officially recognized by that country, and the country is on the ASU English Speaking Country and Territory List.
  • Applicants who have completed at least nine semester hours of graduate coursework with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) or higher at a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S or from an international institution that is officially recognized in that country and is on the ASU English Speaking Country and Territory List.
  • Applicants who have earned the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher from an international institution that is officially recognized by that country, and the sole medium of instruction for the program was in English. Student should email gograd@asu.edu to request exemption and include a letter from the institution on letterhead indicating language of instruction or provide information on the institution website to verify language of instruction.
  • Applicants who have completed at least 90 semester hours of undergraduate coursework with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) or higher at a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S.
  • Four years of high school in the U.S. with four years of English.

NOTE: Exemption can only be obtained by providing proof through submission of official documentation, i.e. official graduate transcript. The requirement will remain on your account until the verification has been completed by the Graduate Admissions office.

All international academic records must be submitted in the original language accompanied by an official English translation. Translations must be literal and complete versions of original records, and the documents must be translated by a university, a government official, or an official translation service. Students who are applying from Indian institutions must send both their Certificate and Mark Sheets.

The university sets an additional requirement for spoken English proficiency for students to be hired as Teaching Assistants. Students who do not meet the threshold for spoken English proficiency (iBT speaking score of 26/IELTS speaking band score of 8) are brought in early and provided assistance to prepare for and take the test of spoken English that is administered by the university.

For additional information, please visit the Graduate Admission Services page dedicated to International Students.

Funding

All students accepted in the PhD Chemistry/Biochemistry programs are guaranteed financial support by means of a Graduate Assistant (Teaching/Research Assistant) position for five years. Students are typically appointed as Teaching Assistants for at least the first year. Research assistantships come from faculty grants and are awarded based on the availability of funds. There are some departmental, college, or university fellowships that are awarded on a competitive basis.

Highly qualified applicants are encouraged to apply for a graduate fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF-GRFP), National Institutes of Health (NIH-F31) as well as other national fellowship programs, i.e. DOE, EPA, NASA, etc.

Benefits

The standard stipend for all students on TA/RA is $9,282 per semester for fall and spring ($18,564) and full summer funding is $6,188 for TA or RA. Total annual stipend is $24,752.

Tuition and Health Insurance benefits are provided for all students with Graduate Teaching/Research Assistantship positions with at least a full-time (.50 FTE) appointment (20 hours per week).

Tuition - Tuition waivers cover the full cost of tuition for resident and non-resident students. Information on the cost of tuition and the value of this benefit can be found in the Academic Catalog.

Health Benefits - The university covers the cost of individual health insurance premiums for all TAs and RAs with full-time appointments (.50 FTE). More information on this plan can be found at ASU Health Services website (Billing and Insurance > Health Coverage Options).

Additional information about the specific policies of the RA/TA position at ASU can be found in the Graduate College TA/RA Handbook.

Transfer

Students seeking to transfer from another graduate program are accepted only under exceptional circumstances. If you are currently, or have been in another graduate program in chemistry or biochemistry in the United States, you must supply three letters of recommendation from your current institution (i.e. the one that you are transferring from, or the one you previously attended). Do not have letters sent from earlier (undergraduate) institutions. Specifically, we will need a letter from your current research advisor (or prior graduate research advisor) stating explicitly why you want to transfer to ASU. Without a letter from your research advisor, we will NOT be able to review your application.

FAQ

Is the GRE required?

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and the reduction in test availability, the GRE requirement has been waived and will not be required for the fall 2021 application cycle. If you have taken the GRE, please include the scores as our committee finds them to be a useful metric in evaluating the entirety of the application. The subject GRE is not required

Do I have to pay the application fee?

Yes. The application fee is paid with the general graduate application. The fee is $70 for domestic students and $115 for international students. The application fee will be refunded to all students who are admitted and choose to join our program. This fee is set by the University and is out of our control.

If I send my application information in an email, can I receive a pre-evaluation to see if I am eligible to apply?

We receive many inquiries and applications; therefore, we are not able to preview your scores to determine your eligibility to apply or make suggestions on your credentials.

I missed the deadline for application. Can I still apply?

Applications received after the Jan. 1 deadline may be reviewed and considered for admission if space permits; however, the applicant may not be eligible for special scholarships or fellowships and domestic students may miss an opportunity to attend our Visitation Weekend. International students must consider important dates for the issuance of immigration documents. Applications are only accepted for the fall semester. We do not admit students to begin study in the spring semester.

Do all supporting documents need to be submitted by the deadline date?

Supporting documents may be submitted after the deadline; however, preference is given to applicants whose files are complete by the application due date. Submission of documents after the deadline may exclude your application from eligibility for special scholarships or fellowships and domestic students may miss an opportunity to attend our Visitation Weekend.

Is a master's degree required for applying to the PhD program?

Students applying to the PhD programs must have completed a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, biochemistry, or a related discipline by the semester in which they want to begin their graduate program. A Master’s degree is not required, with one exception. Due to differences in the educational system in India, applicants who have received their degree from an institution in India must have also completed a Master's degree. (4-year degrees, usually Biotechnology degrees, from India are considered equivalent to a 4-year BS degree and do not require an accompanying Master’s degree.)

Why can't I access the departmental supplemental application page?

You will need an ASURITE ID from Graduate Admission Services before you can access this page. Graduate Admission Services will not send your ASURITE ID until you have completed and submitted the general application, i.e. you must click the "submit" button at the end of their application. Please also make sure that the email containing your ASURITE ID has not been caught in your SPAM filter.

If you have received your ASURITE ID and you still cannot access the application, please wait 1-2 days to allow for our supplemental application database to sync with the Graduate Admission Services database (due to the schedule, this can take up to 48 hours). If after 48 hours you still cannot access the application, please check your MyASU to confirm that you have an application on file. If when accessing the application you encounter a page requesting that you log out, please follow the log out instructions, close your internet browser, and then try the link again. You may also need to log out of MyASU directly, since many browsers allow for MyASU to remain logged in, which can cause an authentication time-out error for the supplemental application. After logging out of MyASU, close your browser and then attempt to access the supplemental application again.

How many students will you admit this year?

Our recent incoming classes have ranged from 30-40 students, selected from ca. 450 applicants. The class size for any given year will be determined by faculty demand for new students.

Do I need to send official transcripts to both graduate college and the department?

Applicants are asked to submit an electronic copy of their unofficial transcripts as part of the Supplemental Application to the School of Molecular Sciences. SMS will use the unofficial transcripts for their review. Official transcripts must be sent to Graduate Admission Services for evaluation for you to be eligible for admission. Please do not mail your official transcript or any documents to the School of Molecular Sciences.

Where do I send official documents?

If sending by U.S. Mail, use this address:

Admission Services Applicant Processing
Arizona State University
PO Box 871004
Tempe AZ 85287-1004

If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS, use this address:

Arizona State University
Admission Services Applicant Processing
1150 East University Drive Building C, Room 226
Tempe, AZ 85281

Do not mail any documents, including official transcripts or copies of test scores to the School of Molecular Sciences.

Where can I find the form for recommendation letters?

There is no form for recommendation letters; they are submitted electronically. Within the Supplemental Application you will provide email addresses for your recommendation writers and an email will be sent to each recommender with instructions on how to submit a letter in support of your application. We can only accept letters of recommendation that are submitted electronically using our system.

Which professors are actively recruiting students? Should I contact individual professors about their research group?

Professors' group requirements change constantly and we are not able to provide a list of actively recruiting faculty. However, all students, whichever professor they eventually work for, must first apply to and be accepted into the program. Individual professors do not make decisions regarding admissions and should not be contacted with admission inquiries. Professors will often discuss research projects by email with enthusiastic applicants.

What kind of financial support is available through the department?

All students accepted into the PhD Chemistry/Biochemistry programs are offered financial support by means of a Graduate Assistant position.

Students are welcome and encouraged to apply for fellowships available through the Graduate College or federal agencies (i.e. NSF, NIH, DOE, etc.) to supplement or substitute for the standard funding, which can often allow for additional focus on research and a reduction in the time required to complete the degree.

Is there a special form to complete for financial support via a graduate assistantship?

There is no additional paperwork to complete for a Graduate Assistantship.

I am an international student, when should I submit the financial guarantee form?

The Financial Guarantee form should be submitted only if you are accepted to a graduate program. Graduate Admission Services will send information on completing this form with their official admissions notification. Information on how to complete this form will also be included with the official offer letter.

How can I check the status of my application?

Your application status can be checked in two places:

For your general application, please check your MyASU portal, specifically your Priority Tasks panel for any required items that need to be submitted. If your application status is “In Review” your official application is complete and nothing further is required for the official application.

For the Supplemental Application, please log in and click the "Check Documents Status" bar at the top of the application. All information that has been submitted is live and can be seen by the committee, there is no final submit button.

When will a decision be made on my application?

The School of Molecular Sciences Admissions Committee will begin their review of applications close to the deadline. The number of applications received in the past few years has averaged over 450 per year; therefore, it may take up to 6 weeks before notices are sent. The Admissions Committee appreciates your patience while they carefully review each applicant's qualification for our graduate programs. Every effort will be made to provide final decisions by March 15.

Information on the Graduate Admission Services application can be found on their website or you can contact them by email or by calling 480-965-6113. Additional information can be found on their Contact page.

Where can I find information about the graduate admission services application and how do I contact them if I have a question?

Information on the Graduate Admission Services application can be found on their website or you can contact them by email or by calling 480-965-6113. Additional information can be found on their Contact page.