Graduate Program

Yale is recognized as having one of the best chemistry programs in the U.S. We are proud of our history, faculty, laboratories, instrumentation, libraries, and relations with industry. Most of all, we are proud of our students and their research. Graduates of the department occupy leading positions in academia and industry, due in no small part to their cutting-edge research experiences.

The department’s relatively small size facilitates meaningful interactions between students and internationally known faculty, and collegial interactions between the hardworking and lively graduate students contribute to the Ph.D. experience.

Students interested in graduate study at Yale should look through the department facilities, instrumentationfaculty and associated facultystaff, and seminar schedule. Applications for graduate admission are done through the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (not through individual professors) and are due, along with standardized test scores, by December 1. Accepted students are notified in late winter. In the spring, we host two visiting days to show prospective graduate students all the beauty, fun, and pleasantry of Yale and New Haven.

Graduate study is an exciting departure from your experience in undergraduate education. The Ph.D. degree is a research degree, and research is the primary educational activity. The main goal is to prepare you for a career in scientific research, and the program aims to give you the tools you will need: detailed knowledge, ability to apply that knowledge, independent thought, communication skills, teamwork, teaching, and safety. The first two years of the program lead to a M.Sc. degree, and include coursework and other formal requirements in addition to research with one or more faculty members. For those that continue to the Ph.D., this culminates in a “qualifying examination” in which you demonstrate your ability to explain your research plans for the Ph.D. dissertation to a panel of faculty members, in both written and oral form. Prior to the end of your fourth year, you hone your skills in coming up with independent research ideas through an outside proposal, completely from your own interests and separate from your Ph.D. project. Finally, generally after five years total, your research is summed up in a written dissertation.

Some students come to Yale the summer before matriculation to sample a research group, but the final pairing of students with research groups occurs during the first year. The graduate program begins in late August with a 2-week orientation to Yale, teaching, and the chemistry areas within the department. Students take classes and teach and also prepare independent proposals to exercise their creativity and scientific rigor. However, the focus of the degree is a Ph.D. dissertation on research as part of a faculty-led research group.