WPI's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers research-based Ph.D. programs and both research- and coursework-based Master's degrees. These may be highly tailored for each student based on their needs and desires to address challenges in health, energy, and the environment.
At the Ph.D. level, one-on-one mentorship with one of our exceptional faculty members will guide thesis research at the frontiers of the chemical sciences. At the M.S. level, we offer graduate coursework both online and in person to best accommodate schedules and student needs.
A Ph.D. in chemistry enables future career options to tackle more challenging problems with more creative solutions. The market for Ph.D.-level chemists and biochemists is ever expanding throughout the health sciences and materials science and engineering sectors.
Why pursue a Ph.D. at WPI? Laboratory research provides the foundation for a WPI PhD in chemistry. The research directed by our faculty blends traditional chemistry training – organic, inorganic, physical – with interdisciplinary approaches to solve critical scientific problems. Research groups at WPI are funded by major grants from private and governmental agencies to develop environmentally friendly methods to synthesize essential chemical intermediates, understanding environmental controls for cell physiology and aging, devising new routes to next-generation pharmaceutical agents, preparing organic and inorganic materials for energy conversion and storage. The scientific advances made by our students are routinely published in major national and international journals, presented at national and international conferences, and have been granted patents. If you have any further questions, please contact Dr. Suzanne Scarlata.
Overview: an application may be initiated by following this link. Verify your qualification based on the admissions standards, and be prepared to include all of the relevant application information as detailed below. Dr. Suzanne Scarlata currently heads the department's graduate admissions process.
Deadlines and Start Dates: WPI employs a rolling deadline for graduate student admissions both at the Ph.D. and at the M. S. level, however we are currently reading applications for admission for the Spring and for the Fall terms. For Ph.D. students targeting a Fall start, we generally review applications starting in the preceding January.
Importantly, we do occasionally consider applications for starting in the Ph.D. program in the spring semester (January). In the case of an anticipated January start, we recommend reaching out to the graduate committee via Dr. Suzanne Scarlata who currently heads the graduate admissions process to indicate your interest. Further for a January start, we recommend having application materials in no later than the preceding October, with additional time as needed for international students that may require visas.
Application Fee: the university does charge a nominal application fee; however, WPI students and alumni are not required to pay the application fee. Students applying from within the United States or Canada may petition the CBC graduate coordinator for a fee waiver.
Admission Standards: The university maintains a page detailing the graduate application requirements. In addition to university requirements, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry includes further guide
- 3.0 GPA minimum. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the application, although official transcripts must be submitted prior to admission (WPI students exempt)
- Suggested preparatory corsework. Chemistry applicants: undergraduate coursework should include organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and physical chemistry. Biochemistry applicants: undergraduate coursework should include biochemistry, physical chemistry, and organic chemistry
- International applicants: University-mandated minimum score of 84 for the Internet-based TOEFL exam. Preference will be given to students with scores of 95 or higher.
- GRE: As of October 8, 2021, due to the pandemic, we are waiving the GRE requirements until further notice.
Recommendation letters: 3 letters from individuals capable of evaluating your scientific credentials. Current graduate degree holders or students should provide at least 2 letters from individuals at the institution most recently attended. Letters should attest to the applicant's educational background, research background, problem-solving skills, interpersonal and team dynamics, and ability to thrive within a research-based graduate program. The Inclusive Graduate-Student Network (IGEN) publishes a document on recommendation letters, and it is a good resource to consult for both graduate applicants and their letter writers!
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers thesis-based and coursework-based M.S. degrees in either chemistry or biochemistry. Importantly, the coursework-based degree may be in-person, online, or a blended program that best accommodates a student's interests and availability.
Coursework-based degrees are highly flexible to match a student's interests and professional needs with available courses throughout chemistry, biochemistry, biology, biomedical engineering, physics, materials science, and even the School of Business. We encourage students to chart their own trajectory through the program, and we offer focused curricula in the following areas:
- MS - Bioscience Management Online - any questions on this program, please contact Dr. James Dittami
- MS - Medicinal Plant Chemistry Online - any question on this program, please contact Dr. Patti Musacchio
The coursework M.S. is a part-time degree designed to meet the continuing education needs of industry professionals. Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits of 4000-level and 500-level coursework. As a part-time degree, financial support is not available for students seeking an M.S. degree. WPI's office of Graduate Admissions maintains a FAQ regarding Financing Graduate Study. If you have any further questions, please contact Dr. Patti Musacchio.
We adapt our course offerings to meet the needs of our diverse student body and to anticipate the trends in our field. If you have any questions, please reach out to Dr. Suzanne Scarlata.
- Is the Ph.D. program full time, and what funding is available? Graduate students enrolled full-time towards the Ph.D. degree receive stipends as a teaching assistant (TA) or a research assistant (RA). As a full-time student, benefits include a student health insurance plan, a tuition waiver, and modern family leave policies.
- Do funds exist to subsidize conference travel? Enrolled students can apply for internal funding that subsidizes travel to national and international conferences to present their research findings.
- Does WPI provide resources to help find housing? WPI provides limited graduate graduate housing, but also maintains a page dedicated to off-campus housing resources. This includes information regarding rental availabilities and living in Worcester.
- What if I have other questions? Don't hesitate to contact the department via Dr. Suzanne Scarlata