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Graduate Program

The Department of Chemistry offers a PhD in Chemistry that prepares scientists for careers in research and teaching. The program offers pathways for graduate studies that span biological, organic, inorganic, physical, and nuclear chemistry. Key to the success of the students and the Chemistry PhD program is the strong interpersonal connections that develop between our students and the faculty and that often lead to new research directions and bridges being built between disciplines. As a result, doctoral students commonly pursue research at the interface of two or more subfields of chemistry. During the first semester of residence in the program, students are given the opportunity to explore research options within the department and to identify research mentors with common interests. The PhD requirements are kept to a minimum so that students can focus on scientific discover and building skillsets for successful careers.

WashU and the Department of Chemistry are proud of our faculty, of our facilities, of our research accomplishments and accolades, and of our educational reputation. Most of all, we are proud of our students, their successes in research, and their career endeavors. While the Chemistry PhD program is considered large, it is small enough that interactions between the hardworking, driven students and its passionate faculty provide invaluable experiences that contribute to the PhD experience.

The Graduate Program

Faculty and current students talk about the strengths of the department and Washington University

Sprunger selected as 2024 doctoral student speaker

Program Highlights

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Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Research

As research knows no boundaries or titles, the Chemistry PhD program offers research and training opportunities in many sub-disciplines of chemistry, including magnetic resonance, materials and nanoscience, and laser spectroscopy. Current collaborations include those with faculty in Washington University's McKelvey School of Engineering, the School of Medicine, national laboratories, and scientists in industry.

research areas

Research Resources, Facilities, and Instrumentation

Research at the forefront of science requires modern resources, facilities, and instrumentation. WashU has invested heavily in the research efforts in the Department of Chemistry to ensure students and faculty are able to pursue interdisciplinary research and explore novel directions. Most of the research in chemistry is located in six adjacent buildings on the Danforth Campus of WashU.

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Excellent Academics and Training

Students are taught by research-active faculty in the classroom and in the laboratory so that modern concepts with applications in scientific discovery prepare students for careers in science. Most of the research groups in Chemistry are small enough so that faculty are intimately involved with ongoing research and progress of the students.

Meet the faculty

Collegiate Campus & Suburban Environment

Most of the research of the chemistry students and faculty occurs on the Danforth Campus of WashU, which is located just outside of the city of St. Louis. Although the interiors are of the buildings are state of the art, the exteriors are designed in a gothic style with Missouri red granite facades.

Campus Life

Financial Support

All Chemistry PhD students receive a generous stipend ($36,050 for the '24-25 twelve-month academic year) and a tuition fellowship for the duration of the program. Students also receive a 90% subsidy on health insurance. This support enables students to focus on their studies and scientific discovery without experiencing financial hardship.

Costs and Fees

Outreach Opportunities

Students participate in outreach initiatives throughout the university and wider community, in particular with programs focusing on women in STEM and high school students interested in chemistry.


Prospective PhD Students

Interested in joining our department? Learn about candidacy requirements, financial assistance, and more. Much of the application process can be accomplished online.

learn more about our program & how to apply

Making the Move

Graduate students rave about St. Louis: it’s affordable, from housing to entertainment and culture. The Zoo, Missouri History Museum and St. Louis Art Museum all boast free admission, and our cost of living is consistently one of the lowest nationally. That means an excellent quality of life, even on a budget. Washington University also supports graduate students in their transition to St. Louis, from housing services to child care.

About St. Louis 

Quadrangle Off-Campus Housing

Student Health Services

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Dongyan Zhang

I still remember the first time when I met my advisor, Bryce Sadtler. He showed me around in lab and talked with me about research. I felt respected and that experience enhanced my motivation to do research. As a member of WashU chemistry department, everyone can befriend and support to each other in such unique community. Bryce and other professors in chemistry help me a lot with my courses and academic issues. Constructive suggestions and inspiring ideas coming from them show the direction to my success.

―Dongyan ZhangPhD Candidate, Sadtler Lab

Have questions? 

To learn more about the graduate program in chemistry, please contact the graduate coordinator, Barbara Taylor.

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