Chemistry, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Chemistry

About the Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry is granted for high scholarly achievement in analytical, inorganic, organic, physical or biochemistry. Students with either a baccalaureate or master’s degree may be admitted to the program. The doctoral degree is offered in the areas of analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry.  Emphasis is placed on scholarship through active research and designed to meet the individual needs of the student.  The department encourages professional growth through meetings, seminars, and direct contact with leading scientists from industry and academia.  The department has strong interdisciplinary interactions with related departments such as Polymer Science, Polymer Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Physics and Biology.

Financial support is guaranteed for five years for Ph.D. students in good academic standing in the form of either teaching or research assistantships for the academic year and summer.

Chemistry is the study of matter – its properties, composition, reactivity, and how energy interacts with it. Students concentrate coursework in one area of chemistry and obtain a strong background in a second area. For example, a student concentrating in biochemistry will study advanced topics like metabolism, modern methods of analysis, metabolomics, and biological structure determination, but also learn separation techniques, methods of NMR and Mass Spectrometry analysis for structure determination. Emphasis is placed on real data analysis and developing laboratory techniques. This is a degree in an experimental science and as such is a degree on how to do modern chemical research and analyze modern chemical problems.

Salary and Career Outlook

The American Chemical Society and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predict continued strong demand the next 10 years, with annual job growth about 3% per year.  Growth is occurring in fields such as petrochemicals, chemical manufacturing, pharmaceutical research, quality assurance and quality control.  There is also a need for qualified university faculty to teach chemistry at community colleges, technical colleges, and undergraduate institutions.

Industrial starting salaries, as reported by the American Chemical Society 2015 ChemCensu, are about $87,000 per year for PhD chemists.  Starting academic salaries range between $60,000 and $80,000.

Why Akron?

The Chemistry Department has the most modern analytical equipment in northern Ohio with state-of-the-art instruments for NMR, Mass Spectrometry, X-ray crystallography, and laser spectroscopy. We have an excellent track record of placing graduates in jobs with a 94% job placement on graduation over the past 5 years. Our continuing strength in research in the areas of synthesis, polymer structure determination, biomedical diagnostics, biological structure determination and electrochemistry make our program unique in northern Ohio. The research collaborations that the faculty members have with regional industries gives students opportunities for industrial research fellowships. Several of our students work or have worked with companies like Goodyear, OMNOVA, Lubrizol, and Dow Chemical. These fellowships provide students experience working in industry and is invaluable in helping them obtain positions after graduation.

The quality of the instrument laboratories in the department distinguishes us from other universities. Companies avidly recruit our graduates because of the training they receive in NMR, mass spectrometry, and x-ray crystallography – all techniques highly sought after by companies the deal with chemicals.

Recent employers include:

  • PPG – NMR facility manager
  • Valspar Paints – Mass Spectrometry facilities manager
  • Food and Drug Administration – Food analyst
  • IUPU in Gary, Ind. – Assistant Professor

Contact Information

Contact Information:

Dr. Christopher J. Ziegler, Professor and Chair

The University of Akron

Department of Chemistry

Akron, OH 44325-3601