PhD (Chemistry)

Nanyang Technological University offers a PhD programme based on Chemistry research. In this four-year programme, students take advanced courses focusing on active research topics, and perform research under the supervision of a faculty member. The programme culminates in writing and defending a scientific thesis before a panel of scientific experts.

The PhD programme has a minimum candidature period of 2 years, and a maximum of 5 years. Most students complete the programme in 4 years.

Applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • BSc in chemistry or a related discipline. If the university has an honours system, at least second-upper class honours, or the equivalent, is required.
  • Applicants may optionally have a MSc degree in chemistry or a related discipline, but this is not mandatory. If the university has an honours system, at least second-upper class honours in the MSc degree, or the equivalent, is required.
  • International applicants must take and pass a Technical Proficiency Test (TPT) in Chemistry administered by the school. This test is exempted if the applicant submits an appropriate GRE score.
  • All international applicants who are not native English speakers must have TOEFL scores, IETLS scores, or pass an English Proficiency Test (EPT) administrated by the School.

There are two application periods each year: October to January (for admission in August), and June to July (for admission in January). Most students are admitted during the first period.

Graduate-level Coursework

Students must complete a total of 16 Academic Units (AU) of graduate-level coursework, comprising:

  • CBC729 - Graduate Seminar (4 AU, offered in Semester 1)
  • CBC736 - Advanced Chemical Instrumentation​ (2 AU, offered in Semester 1)
  • At least another 10 AU of CBC7XX lecture-based graduate courses
    4 AU of these 10 AU may be substituted with another graduate course offered by a different School/Division in NTU, subject to approval from the supervisor and the Division.

Students are expected to maintain a minimum CGPA of 3.5. We recommend finishing the coursework by the end of the first year, in order to sit for the Qualifying Examination on time.

Communication Courses

Students are also required to complete the following courses on communication and related topics. These courses do not carry any AU.

  • Online NTU Epigeum Research Integrity Course (during first semester)
  • SPMS Research Integrity Course (during first year)
  • Seminar attendance of at least 5 seminars per semester
  • Completion of Graduate Assistantship Programme (GAP), if applicable
  • Annual meeting with Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) members
  • Submission of regular progress reports, including list of publications, TAC reports, and degree audit

The Qualifying Examination (QE) tests a PhD student's research progress, ability to explain and evaluate his/her research work in the context of the scientific literature, and ability to answer technical questions from other scientists.

Unless special permission is granted by School, the QE must be completed within 18 months from enrolment in the PhD programme. Failure to do so may result in disqualification from the PhD programme.

Preparing for the QE

To be eligible for the QE, a PhD student must have completed the coursework requirements of the PhD programme, while satisfying the minimum CGPA of 3.5. If the student is enrolled in and on-track to complete the last one or two courses in their 3rd semester, permission will be granted to attend the QE. However, the QE results will take effect only after the successful completion of the required coursework. Students who foresee that they might not be able to meet the coursework requirements before QE due date should contact the School as soon as possible.

PhD students who meet the eligibility criteria will have their QE scheduled near the end of their 3rd semester (15–16 months after enrolment in the programme). Students will be informed on the date/time of the oral examination via email.

Students should begin preparing the QE report a few months before the scheduled QE. This is a short report (20-50 pages) detailing (i) the research progress thus far, and (ii) future research plans. It should be properly formatted according to the standards of the scientific literature.

The PhD student must also prepare a 30-minute presentation. The oral examination will consist of the 30-minute presentation, followed by a 20 minute Q&A session. The examiners may ask about anything relating to the research.

Student must write a research thesis. Once the student and supervisor have agreed that the thesis is ready, it should be submitted online (via GSLink → Academic → Thesis → Thesis Submission). After being endorsed by the supervisor, the thesis is sent to three independent examiners for evaluation. After this evaluation, the student must defend the thesis in an oral examination scheduled by the school.

Completed theses must be posted to the NTU Digital Repository.