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Chemistry Graduate Program

Degree Progress and Employment

The doctoral program in Chemistry is designed to be completed in a minimum of 4 years, though most students take longer than this to complete a Ph.D. degree. Across the nation, graduate study in Chemistry takes an average of five and a half years. KU’s Chemistry graduate program is perfectly in line with this trend: The average graduate student takes 5.3 years to complete our program. (Students can complete M.S. degree program in 3 years.) We encourage doctoral students to complete their degrees at the earliest possible date. This allows them to gain immediate entry to the next stage of their professional careers.

Students who complete the Ph.D. program in Chemistry ultimately have a wide range of employment opportunities. Some students pursue traditional careers as analytical or synthetic chemists in the petroleum, pharmaceutical or consumer products industries. Other graduates choose to join smaller biotechnology, materials and pharmaceutical start-up companies, or choose alternative careers in fields including journalism, business or forensic science. KU has traditionally produced a large number of future Chemistry faculty, including instructors at many small liberal arts colleges and state universities. Other KU graduates choose to pursue research careers in academics, becoming faculty in graduate programs with their own federally funded research projects. KU graduate, undergraduate and postdoctoral alumni are on the faculties of some of the most prestigious universities in the world. To get a sense of where recent graduates of the KU doctoral program are employed, tour the pages describing the placement of recent graduates, and look at the biographical descriptions of some of our recent graduates.


Chemistry department receives more than $6 million in research grants annually
14 chemistry faculty members have NSF CAREER Awards
Longest-running chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates in the nation