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Department of Chemistry

Science A 229
University of Calgary
2500 University Dr NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada
T. 403.220.6252

Doctoral (PhD) Thesis-based

Located in Canada's most enterprising city and neighboring one of the nation's best playgrounds - the Rockies - the Department of Chemistry's graduate program offers you the opportunity to collaborate with world-calls researchers, work in highly sophisticated labs, and build the skills you need to pursue stimulating careers in both research and industry.

Among many other things, our 40 faculty members and 100+ graduate students work on advancing knowledge and finding solutions to problems regarding Chemistry for Cleaner Energy, Chemistry for Life and Health and Chemistry for the Quantum-Nano World that involve the following various research themes:

  • Biological and Medicinal Chemistry
  • Chemical Education Research
  • Chemical Synthesis and Catalysis
  • Computational Chemistry and Molecular Modeling
  • Energy and Environment
  • Nanotechnology and Materials Chemistry

The PhD (thesis-based) is a full-time degree with an expected completion time of 4 years, typically requiring a Master's degree in the same or a closely related discipline. For holders of a Master's degree, there is a requirement of 2 years of full-time study; for others it is 3 years.

Requirements (in addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies)

  • A Master's degree or equivalent, with an appropriate background in Chemistry in the subject of the division for which application is made. Each applicant's background will be assessed individually.
  • For applicants required to provide proof of proficiency in English, a minimum TOEFL score of 580 (written test); or 97 (Internet-based test); or minimum IELTS score of 7.0; or minimum MELAB score of 83; or a minimum PTE score of 68; or EAP- successful completion of Level 3.
  • Minimum GPA 3.3 (on a 4-point scale) for applicants holding a MSc degree
  • Minimum GPA 3.7 (on a 4-point scale) for applicants holding an honours BSc degree
  • Performance Level: MUST maintain a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 calculated on a 4-point scale at the end of each registration year and cannot have more than two grades of B- or below
  • Excellent students admitted to the Master's program with the appropriate GPA may have the opportunity to switch over to the PhD program after one year

Completion Time

The average completion time for PhD students is 4 years. The maximum time allowed is 6 years.

Required Courses:

Four half course equivalents (500 level or above) are required for students entering with a four-year BSc degree or equivalent. Normally, a minimum of three half-courses will be Chemistry courses.

  • A minimum of one and a maximum of three half-courses are required for students entering the PhD with an MSc degree or equivalent. The number of half courses required will be determined by the student's background in relation to area of interest, and in consultation between the student and the graduate coordinator.


You must write a thesis on a topic to be agreed to between you and your supervisor.

Required Examinations:

Oral Candidacy Exam:

The candidacy examination focuses on the background knowledge of students in their discipline, as well as their preparedness to do research of high quality in their particular fields of study. Examination on the specific dissertation research that the student has chosen is usually secondary to the main purpose of the Candidacy examination.

A doctoral student must take the Candidacy Examination no later than twenty-two (22) months of first registration in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

A minimum of four half-courses must be completed prior to attempting the Candidacy Examination.

The Candidacy Examination consists of both a written and oral component.  The student will be advised of the committee ruling at the conclusion of the oral examination.

The oral examination will be conducted as outlined by the Faculty of Graduate Studies Examinations Policy.

Thesis Oral Exam:

  • After completion of the thesis, students must pass a thesis oral examination.
  • Oral examination must be scheduled at least 4 weeks prior to date of oral exam.
  • Examiners must have a copy of the thesis at least 3 weeks prior to the date of oral exam.

More information can be found in the following Faculty of Graduate Studies documents: