The PhD degree is primarily a research degree. The majority of a student’s time will be devoted to original research that nurtures creativity and independent thinking. The Department recognizes the importance of this aspect of a graduate student’s development, and has established requirements that provide a stimulating environment to perform first-rate chemical research. The Department of Chemistry at UB offers two distinct doctoral degrees, PhD in Chemistry and PhD in Medicinal Chemistry. The latter provides a unique opportunity for students to develop a strong foundation in organic and medicinal chemistry and also to broaden their knowledge in areas such as drug discovery, biochemistry, molecular biology, and pharmacology.
PhD Program Requirements
Students admitted to the program are required to complete six graduate-level lecture courses during the first two years of full-time study. Of these courses, three must be one-semester introductory core courses selected from the four traditional areas of chemistry (CHE 501 and MCH 501 are required for the Medicinal Chemistry PhD), while the other three elective courses are chosen in consultation with the student’s research advisor. For the Chemistry PhD, the student must demonstrate proficiency in analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry during the first three semesters. For the Medicinal Chemistry PhD, proficiency in medicinal chemistry as well as in three of four traditional areas of chemistry is required. Proficiency can be established by completing a core graduate course or by passing the ACS Placement Exam in the area. A 3.00 grade point average in lecture courses is required.
During the fifth semester of graduate study, PhD students are required to prepare a written research synopsis summarizing research progress to date and future research plans. An oral examination with the student’s PhD committee is used to evaluate the student’s research potential. During the same semester, the student is also required to write and orally defend an independent research proposal. This proposal involves the identification of a problem from the chemical literature that is not directly related to the student’s thesis work and a proposed solution to that problem. There are no cumulative exams in the Department of Chemistry at the University at Buffalo.
During the fourth year of graduate study, PhD students present a public lecture on their research progress. This provides the PhD committee a chance to give the student feedback prior to finishing their written dissertation.
The majority of a PhD student’s time is spent on creative research. At the conclusion of the research work, a dissertation must be written and orally defended before the PhD committee and the Department at large.