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Qualifying Exams

Students take standardized ACS exams in Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physical Chemistry to determine the student’s general level of competence and background in the disciplines.

Students are required to pass 3 of the 5 exams by obtaining at least the 50th percentile. The Gustaf H. Carlson School of Chemistry and Biochemistry has compiled a guide to help study for the ACS exams.

ACS Study Guides


Students must complete a minimum of 5 x 300-level 1 credit courses and 4 x .25 credit module courses including Chem 389, Research Methods.

Teaching Experience

All graduate students are required to have at least one year of teaching experience.


All graduate students are required to participate in the department’s seminar series and periodically present seminars.

Qualifying Exams II

Written exams created by the student’s Faculty Advisory Committee concentrating on the student’s area of research. Graduate students must pass these exams to advance to Ph.D. candidacy.

Original Research Proposal

A written research proposal in the format of an NIH or NSF grant application presented to the department and defended before the student’s Faculty Advisory Committee.


An acceptable written dissertation is presented to the department as a seminar and defended orally before the student’s committee.

Please refer to the handbook for more details on our Ph.D. requirements.

Graduate Handbook

Contact Information

Gustaf H. Carlson School of Chemistry

Contact Us
  • Arthur M. Sackler Sciences Center
    Room S134
    950 Main Street
    Worcester, MA 01610

  • 1-508-793-7116
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