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The Graduate Center - The Life of the Mind in the Heart of the City

A graduate school of arts and sciences, the Graduate Center (GC) is the principal doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), offering more than 30 doctoral degrees. In addition to rigorous academic training in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences in a PhD-focused, scholarly environment, the Graduate Center fosters globally significant research across the faculty and in a wide variety of centers and institutes. It is an inclusive community of 7,000 students, scholars, and researchers, drawing upon the widest possible range of experience of race and ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, age, physical ability, and socioeconomic status. Extensive library resources are found at the GC and at each senior college campus throughout New York City.

Program of Study

The PhD Program in Chemistry is unique in that it is constituted by seven CUNY colleges. Lecture courses are taught at The Graduate Center while research is performed at Brooklyn College, City College of New York, Hunter College, Lehman College, Queens College, College of Staten Island, York College and the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC). The award-winning faculty in Chemistry is a diverse and inclusive collection of over one hundred faculty members that teach, mentor students, and sponsor research. Each year approximately 25 students are admitted and the Program includes around 110 students.

Comprehensive Curriculum

The PhD Program offers an innovative curriculum designed to fit the needs of each students that provides the basis for exceptional scholarship and advanced professional development. Students may specialize in

Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, Physical, or Polymer Chemistries

Molecular Biophysics or Nanotechnology and Material Science.

Each student takes a distribution of three core courses including Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Quantum Chemistry and/or Polymer Chemistry followed by two courses in the student's area of specialization. The curriculum is designed so that all coursework may be completed in the first year. Coursework is augmented by safety training, training in the responsible conduct of research, leadership training, professional development training, training in advanced pedagogy and a seminar program. The curriculum also includes two research rotations designed to identify a thesis advisor and research project from the over one hundred potential advisors.

Milestones to the degree

During the first semester, a student takes three core courses, a seminar course, a course in professional development and performs two research rotations.. The final exams in the three core courses represent the First Examination which students are expected pass at the end of the first semester before they join a research laboratory. Students begin their thesis research and take two specialized courses in their second semester. A dissertation committee meets with the student on a yearly basis to ensure their timely progression through the Program. Advancing to PhD candidacy requires passing the Second Examination and earning 60 credits in total (4 semesters) at which time a M. Phil. degree is conferred. The second examination is comprised of the two advanced courses, a literature seminar, and the defense of an original research proposal distinct from the student's research project.  Advancing to PhD candidacy is expected at the end of the fourth semester of study. The PhD degree is awarded following the successful defense of an original dissertation.

Financial Support

All admitted students receive the five-year CUNY Science Scholarship, which includes a competitive stipend, full tuition waiver, and low-cost health insurance. The Graduate Center offers parental accommodations to students upon the birth/adoption of a child. Some students may be supported by CUNY Research Centers, or by privately funded fellowship opportunities and grants. Students do not teach in the first year, but may teach as part of their financial support after the first year.

Research experiences

State-of-the-art equipment supporting research efforts is housed at the senior college campuses listed above and the Advanced Science Research Center. Representative techniques include: high resolution solution and solid state NMR, EPR, UV, and optical spectroscopies including laser techniques and circular dichroism; microcalorimetry, rapid kinetics measurements, surface plasmon resonance, confocal microscopies, small molecule x-ray crystallography, high-throughput crystallography; and high performance computing for modeling and chemical calculations. These are augmented by the ASRC Nanofabrication Facility (ISO-5 and ISO-6 Cleanrooms), Surface Science Facility (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, thermochemical nanolithography), Advanced Laboratory for Chemical and Isotopic Signatures (mass spectrometers), and Imaging Suite (electron microscopy (scanning/transmission/cryo), super-resolution confocal STED microscope).

Federal agencies (NIH, NSF) and other sponsors currently support research centers in areas such as materials science, radiochemistry, and bioengineering and bio-design. Individual faculty are supported by grants in areas such as nanotechnology, materials science, polymer science, computational chemistry, energy science, radiochemistry, environmental science, natural product synthesis, organic reaction development, drug and metallodrug development, reaction mechanisms, photochemistry, photodynamic therapy, radiochemistry, radiopharmaceuticals, structural biology, de novo protein design, biochemistry, molecular biophysics and theragnostics.

Admission Requirements

Most candidates enter the program with an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, or another related discipline. Competitive candidates will have taken Physical Chemistry, have research experience, and a science GPA of 3.0+.

Applications are completed online through the Apply Yourself portal where applicants will be required to upload all required documentation. The admission deadline is January 1 for attendance starting the following fall semester.

Required Documentation

Transcripts, GRE scores (Verbal, Quantitative, Writing), Letters of recommendation from two or three professors, Scores on English proficiency exams (required of foreign applicants)

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 19
Doctoral Degrees 17

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? No
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Terminal master's degree available? Yes

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
Thesis Required


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline January 1st Not reported No

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Doctoral Degree Exam GRE General Test

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA
Application deadlines for financial awards April 15
Types of financial support available Institutionally-sponsored Loans

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 4.17%
Black or African American 3.33%
White or Caucasian 27%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 9.17%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 0.83%
Unknown 5.83%


Male (61%)
Female (38%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 64
Part-time - 0
Male (59)
Female (5)

Location & Contact

Address 365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY  10016-4039
United States
Contact Brian Gibney
Executive Officer
Phone: 212-817-8136
Fax: 212-817-1507

Update my info
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Update my info
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The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Update my info
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