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Department of Chemistry Eberly College of Science Penn State University Park

  • University Park, PA
  • Public
  • Small
  • Not Reported
    student ratio
  • Not Reported
    total students
  • Not Reported
    in-state tuition | out-of-state tuition
  • Not Reported
    fall application deadline
  • Not Reported
    acceptance rate
  • 2 Degrees
    degrees/awards offered


A Top Destination in Chemistry

The National Research Council (NRC) ranked the Department of Chemistry at Penn State University (PSU) as the 12th best in the United States. The overall sciences graduate curriculum rated 8th in the nation. The NRC also rated the Department of Chemistry in the top 10 in the nation for research activity.

The department offers a Ph.D. in Chemistry degree program.

The Ph.D. in Chemistry at Penn State

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Chemistry degree program at Penn State is research-focused. Students each complete 5 graduate courses beyond the Master of Science (M.S.) level and each produce an original research dissertation. Students may specialize in any of the sub-disciplines of chemistry, including analytical, biological, inorganic, materials, organometallic, organic, physical, polymer, surface, theoretical chemistry, and chemical physics.

Courses in related fields, such as physics, mathematics, biochemistry, biophysics, polymer science, materials science, and computer science, may also be taken.

World Renowned Faculty in Chemistry at Penn State

Penn State boasts some of the leading figures in American chemistry. Among the most notable of the chemistry faculty members is Professor Stephen J. Benkovic, who is a member of the National Academy of Science (NAS) and the American Society of Arts and Sciences. Professor Benkovic has received both the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry and the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, and was honored as the Centenary Lecturer by the Royal Society at their 350th anniversary. Professor Benkovic was also awarded the NAS Award in Chemical Science,s and the National Medal of Science. Professor Benkovic investigates enzyme catalysis at various levels.

Professor Barbara J. Garrison is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, and the American Vacuum Society. She was honored in a Festschrift issue of the "Journal of Physical Chemistry." Her research interests are computer simulations of reactions at surfaces, keV particle bombardment of solids, laser ablation, diamond film growth, and time-dependent Monte Carlo methods.

Professor A. Welford Castleman, Jr., is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served as the invited lecturer for the Nobel Symposium on the physics and chemistry of clusters. Professor Castleman leads a campus research group examining cluster dynamics and structures and the related computations into the properties of aggregates of nanoscale dimensions. He explores the promise of exploiting new materials with custom properties, investigating subjects such as the recent discovery of a new class of molecular clusters termed Metallo-Carbohedrenes.

Professor David L. Allara is a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Royal Society of Chemistry (UK),and the AVS Society for Science and Technology. Professor Allara studies surface chemistry with applications for preparation, properties, and characterization of molecular and polymeric thin films, including surface spectroscopy and scattering and imaging probes. Other research areas include the transport, thermodynamic, optical, and electronic properties of thin films; chemical reactions at interfaces and surfaces; complex architectures by self-and directed assembly at surfaces; molecule-based electronic devices; semiconductor processing; chemical and biological sensors; and biocompatibility.

Employment Prospects for Graduates in Chemistry

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics rates the overall job outlook as very favorable. The median salary is rated as well above average.

Financial Aid in Chemistry at Penn State

Fellowships, graduate assistantships, and teaching assistantships support virtually all the graduate students in Penn State's chemistry department. All appointments include a grant-in-aid covering tuition. Many graduate students receive fellowships carrying awards beyond basic needs. The department awards approximately half of its fellowships to incoming students while reserving the other half for outstanding returning students. Most students receive positions as research assistants after their 1st years of study.

Research Centers in Chemistry at Penn State

PSU Chemistry faculty members participate in many interdisciplinary research centers. Among the most active is the Center for Nanoscale Science, a National Science Foundation (NSF) primary materials research science and engineering hub. Other centers include the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, the Center for Cyberscience, the Center for Environmental Chemistry and Geochemistry, and the Penn State Institutes on Energy and the Environment.

The Department of Chemistry gives graduate students access to state-of-the-art equipment, including 10 superconducting NMR spectrometers operating in both liquids and solids mode. A brand new X-ray crystallography lab is equipped with a 4K CCD detector, a molybdenum sealed-tube X-ray source, an X-ray capillary collimator (MonoCap), and a Rigaku-MSC X-Stream 2000 low temperature device allowing samples to be tested at temperatures as low as 80 Kelvin.

A Beautiful, Rural Campus

Set on 1 and a half square miles of rolling countryside in State College, Pennsylvania, Penn State's main campus is at the geographical center of Pennsylvania. The campus is a mix of Victorian and modern design, containing ample opportunities for sports, arts, cultural life, and the largest campus creamery in America.

Location & Contact

Department of Chemistry

Eberly College of Science
Penn State University Park

201 Old Main
University Park, PA 16802
United States

Dr. Daniel Larson


Phone: 814-865-9591
Fax: 814-865-3634

Ms. Cynthia Nicosia

Director, Graduate Enrollment Services

Phone: 814-865-1834
Fax: 814-863-4627

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Chemistry Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
      Master of Science (MS)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees Not reported
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? Not reported
    • Evening/weekend programs available? Not reported
    • Distance learning programs available? Not reported
    • Terminal master's degree available? Not reported
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees Not reported
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported




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