Inorganic Chemistry

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 19.2 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 33 k / Year(s) Deadline: Jan 15, 2025
401–500 place StudyQA ranking:4304 Duration:

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Our Ph.D. program offers majors in the more traditional fields of analytical/bioanalytical, inorganic/materials, organic/bioorganic and physical/theoretical chemistry plus a customizable interdisciplinary "chemistry" major in which a course sequence is designed by the student and their major professor. Additionally, we offer specializations in Materials Chemistry, Industrial Chemistry, Biomolecular Science, Chemical Instrumentation, Forensic Chemistry and Chemical Education.

​We currently have more than 160 graduate students enrolled in our program with 93% pursuing the Ph.D. degree. We are very proud of the fact that ca. 70% of those students entering the Ph.D. program at ISU will receive their Ph.D. degree.

As a student in the Ph.D. program, you will progress through our program by achieving these milestones:

  • Semester 1: Choose your major professor, join a group, and begin your research
  • Semester 2: Set up your Program of Study committee
  • Semester 4: Meet your Program of Study committee to discuss your project and progress
  • Semester 5: Complete your Preliminary Oral Exam
  • Semester 8: Complete your public seminar requirement
  • Semester 9+: Graduate!
  • 72 semester hours of graduate (academic/research) credit which may include an optional minor or specialization.
  • 17 credits of 500-level graduate coursework from Chemistry (or a closely related field)
  • Pass courses listed on the Program of Study as determined by you and your Program of Study Committee.
  • Pass the Preliminary Oral exam by the end of your fifth semester in residence.
  • Give a public seminar before the end of the eighth semester in residency.
  • Pass an Final Oral defense of your thesis research.

Proficiency in Chemistry

All new students will take a series of ACS diagnostic exams, one in each of the major disciplines. The results of these exams help to identify student's academic preparedness and choose the appropriate coursework to complete the Ph.D. Students have three chances to take these exams and pass before we require completion of a course in that area.

Proficiency in English

All International graduate students will take an English Placement Test. This test is for non-native English speakers who DO NOT have a prior Bachelor's, Master's or Ph.D. degree from a U.S. college or university. 

All International graduate students will also take the Oral English Certification Test (OECT). The purpose of these oral proficiency tests for new international teaching assistants (ITAs) is to find out how effectively they can communicate in English. 

Core Courses


  • Advanced Quantitative Analysis
  • Electrochemistry
  • Analytical Molecular and Anatomic Spectroscopy
  • Analytical Separations
  • Seminar


  • Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • Physical Inorganic Chemistry
  • Seminar
  • Selected Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
  • Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • Solid State Chemistry
  • Organometallic Chemistry of the Transition Metals
  • Chemical Kinetics and Mechanisms


  • Organic Synthesis I
  • Organic Synthesis II
  • Physical Organic Chemistry I
  • Physical Organic Chemistry II
  • Spectrometric Identification of Organic Compounds
  • Seminar in Organic Chemistry
  • Selected Topics in Organic Chemistry


  • Fundamentals of Quantum Mechanics or Quantum Physics
  • Fundamentals of Atomic and Molecular Quantum Mechanics or Molecular Spectroscopy and Structure or Quantum Physics II
  • Statistical Mechanics
  • Chemical Group Theory
  • Seminar in Physical Chemistry

Chemical Education

  • Chemical Pedagogy
  • Statistical Methods for Research Workers
  • Statistical Design and the Analysis of Experiments
  • Educational Psychology of Learning, Cognition and Memory
  • How People Learn: Implications for Teaching Science.
  • Advanced Pedagogy in Science Education.
  • Advanced Cognition
  • Iowa State requires a degree it considers comparable to a US bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university prior to beginning graduate studies. (For foreign institutions, that would be recognition by the Ministry of Education.) 
  • Our graduate application form is only available online. The $100 application fee for international students is nonrefundable. If you prefer not to pay the application fee by credit card, you may complete and print the online application, and attach your personal check. All checks should be in US dollars and made payable to Iowa State University.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Online Recommendations
  • Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) 79, Paper-Based TOEFL (PBT) 550
  • IELTS 6.5
  • Graduate Records Examination (GRE)
  • Financial Statement
  • CV



The Department of Chemistry recognizes the need for adequate financial support during the period of graduate study and offers competitive stipends to all admitted students. Financial aid for first year students is normally available for 12 months; a 9 month teaching assistantships and 3 month research assistantship. Beyond the first year, continued support is provided through the major professor's group in the form of research assistantships or through the department in the form of teaching assistantships. Support will continue as long as the student remains in good standing in both academics (3.0 GPA) and in research.

Tuition waiver

All students in good standing receive a tuition waiver for all semesters in which they are enrolled.

  • Mary Helen Merriam Stewart, Female Graduate Chemistry Major Scholarship
  • The Cotton-Uphaus Award
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