The Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biochemistry

According to the most recent National Research Council ranking, Duquesne University’s Ph.D. program ranks among the top 100 Chemistry programs in the country. Moreover, it ranks as high as 6th in “Student Support and Outcomes” and 35th in “Program Diversity.”

Ph.D. Program

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers an innovative Ph.D. program designed to transition each young scientist rapidly into an active research professional.

Grad students in labThe centerpiece of the first year of study is the research rotation program. After evaluating the department's ongoing research, each student selects up to two research groups for semester-long rotations. At the end of each semester, a student is expected to write a summary of the research experience, give a short presentation, and answer questions.

After choosing a research advisor and dissertation project, the student will actively engage in research, begin taking fundamental and special topic courses recommended by a dissertation advisory committee, present a dissertation outline, and write and defend an original research proposal. Once the dissertation research nears completion, the student presents an oral dissertation data defense, completes the research, and writes and defends the dissertation. Throughout the process, each student is closely mentored by the dissertation advisory committee, chaired by the student’s research advisor.


Mellon HallOur department occupies nearly 30,000 square feet of space, primarily on the third floor of the award-winning Richard King Mellon Hall, designed by renowned architect Mies van der Rohe. Over the past 12 years, approximately 85% of our 18,490 square feet of research space has been renovated, funded most recently (in 2013) by a $1.76 million grant from the NSF.
A variety of modern chemical instrumentation is housed in our space and is readily available for use by all properly trained graduate and undergraduate students. A more detailed description of our facilities, including a list of major instrumentation acquired since 2004 may be found here.

Center for Teaching Excellence

FacilitiesThe staff at Duquesne’s Center for Teaching Excellence is a unique resource for students who aspire to a career in academia or industry because they teach fundamental communication skills. The Center provides faculty and teaching assistants with numerous resources, including the opportunity to enroll in several series of workshops each year dealing with classroom or laboratory pedagogy and certification to students who complete any of the several series of workshops. The Center thus helps students build a teaching portfolio to document their dedication to improving their communication and teaching skills. The Center also sponsors several annual, campus-wide awards for faculty and teaching assistants who demonstrate teaching excellence in the classroom and/or who document creative, effective new ways to teach.

Travel to Scientific Meetings

Funding is available to reimburse travel expenses for Chemistry and Biochemistry students in good standing to present their research results at scientific conferences. The department will currently match up to $300 from a graduate student’s research advisor each year to defray the conference expenses of students who present their research results. Students are encouraged to seek funding from other sources as well.

Graduate Course Descriptions

For current course offerings in Chemistry and Biochemistry and a brief description of their content, see the graduate course descriptions. These courses are offered on a rotating basis, depending on faculty availability and student interest.