Ph.D. Program

Why Dartmouth's Program Is Special

  • Dartmouth, the 9th-oldest university in the United States (founded in 1769), has an outstanding academic reputation as one of the Ivy League schools.
  • The chemistry department occupies a modern (opened in 1992), spacious building with state-of-the-art research facilities and equipment.
  • The department is small, with a student:professor ratio of about 2:1, so students receive personal attention.
  • Stipend support is provided to all students. The stipend is guaranteed for five years as long as satisfactory progress is made towards the degree. In addition, tuition is waived, and health insurance is subsidized.
  • Typical time required to complete the Ph.D. degree is five years.
  • Graduate classes and research projects are available in organic, biological, inorganic, organometallic, materials, physical, and theoretical chemistry.
  • Ph.D. students act as teaching assistants in undergraduate courses, and formal training in teaching is provided.
  • Our rural New Hampshire location offers superb recreational opportunities, including skiing and hiking, and large cities like Boston and Montréal are just a few hours away.
  • Obtaining a visa to do graduate work in the U.S. is facilitated by Dartmouth College's Office of Visa and Immigration Services. Stipend and tuition for foreign and U.S. students are the same.

Diagnostic Exams

When students first arrive at Dartmouth, diagnostic exams in Organic, Inorganic, Physical Chemistry, and Biochemistry are given to help determine the introductory curriculum. All students must demonstrate a basic knowledge of three of these areas either on these initial exams or via course work during the first four terms in residence.

Course Work

A wide range of graduate courses is available, including several either in other departments or cross-listed with them. Students are expected to complete at least three graduate level courses in their primary research area, chosen in consultation with his or her research advisor, during the first nine terms in residence.

  • To see a list of graduate courses in chemistry, click here.
  • For the complete online course catalog, click here. Graduate courses are numbered 100 and above.

Choosing Your Research Advisor

Typically, by November of the first year, students should meet with at least three faculty members to discuss possible research projects. Students rank them in order of preference, and the entire faculty reviews these rankings and assigns students to research groups according to not only the students' wishes but also any particular departmental or faculty needs that may influence placements. Most students get their first choice and begin research by January, although earlier and later starts are possible.

Additional Requirements

For a complete copy of our current Graduate Student Handbook (PDF).   This handbook covers these requirements in detail and is considered our official source for them. The handbook is updated annually.

• Progress Reports: Yearly reports describe research progress and are followed by a meeting with the student's Research Advisory Committee (the main research advisor plus at least two other faculty members).

• Qualifying Exams: During the second year, each student prepares a written summary of research plans and progress.  The student then defends this research plan before a committee of at least three faculty: members of the student's Research Advisory Committee except for the research advisor, plus one other faculty member.

• Research Proposal: During the third year, each student prepares a written proposal for an independent research project, distinct from the thesis research, then defends the proposal before the Research Advisory Committee.

• Research Seminar: During the third or fourth year, the student will present a 30-minute seminar to the entire department on his or her research.

• Teaching: All students are required to serve as teaching assistants for a total of at least four terms, typically over the first two years. All students take a graduate course on teaching (Chemistry 256) as preparation for this assignment. Students who are supported on stipend funds made available to the department at large (as opposed to funds from a research grant to an individual faculty member) and who are beyond their second year in the program will be expected to serve as a teaching assistant for one additional term per two terms of such support.

• Thesis: The completed thesis is presented in a talk to the department and defended in an oral exam before the student's Research Advisory Committee augmented by one outside examiner (normally from another university).

The Graduate Program: Master's Degree (M.S.)

We don't admit students for a terminal master's degree program.

However, you can get a M.S. degree by two different paths:

  1. You're not able to complete the Ph.D. requirements above successfully.
  2. You decide partway through the program that you don't want to get a Ph.D.

For a more formal statement of Ph.D. and M.S. degree requirements, look here.