University of California, Riverside

Department of Chemistry

Graduate Program


The UCR Chemistry Department is part of a diverse and growing college campus, one that was recently named one of US News and World Reports Top 10 "Schools to Watch”. The recent opening of our new Chemical Sciences building provides additional space for research and has allowed the department to expand both its research laboratory space and facilities. In addition to research in the traditional sub-disciplines of Analytical, Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry, students can take advantage of a variety of cross-cutting and interdisciplinary research opportunities available in the areas of Bioanalytical, Environmental and Materials Chemistry as well as in grad1
Chemical Genomics (supported by the NSF IGERT program).

During this period of rapid growth, the department has remained focused on graduate education and research. Graduate students can choose from a wide variety of classes, augmented by weekly seminars by leading researchers from around the world. The 39 participating faculty members provide opportunities for independent research that span all areas of chemistry, while Ph. D. students benefit from state-of-the-art research facilities and strong student-faculty interactions.

Graduate Research in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Video

Ph. D. Program of Study

The Ph. D. program at UC Riverside is designed to provide students with the academic background and research experience to make them successful as independent scientific researchers. Emphasis is placed on developing critical analysis skills, creativity, and a base of chemical knowledge. The program is designed to provide many opportunities for independent projects and presentations, even in the graduate lecture classes.


Classes and Teaching

Beginning graduate students arrive in mid-September for TA training (which they are paid for) and to take orientation exams in the areas of Analytical, Inorganic, Organic and Physical chemistry. Based on their previous coursework and performance on the placement exams, each student meets with the Graduate Advisor to determine a schedule of classes that will best meet his/her needs. Students typically take 5-6 graduate classes (1-2 classes per quarter) to fulfill their class requirements during their first year. Each research area (Analytical, Inorganic, Organic and Physical) also has a seminar course which all graduate students take every year (Chem. 251, 252, 253, and 254). After their first year, every student presents a 20-30 minute seminar once per year to students and professors in their area. This class is designed to provide students with valuable seminar presentation experience, as well as updating their peers on the progress of their research.

Choosing a Research Advisor
The Ph. D. degree is a research degree, and the most important task of a student during the first year of graduate study is to choose a research area and a faculty advisor. Chemical research at UCR spans a broad range of areas, and students are encouraged look at the List of Faculty by area of interest. Interdisciplinary research and joint research projects are encouraged. Feel free to contact individual faculty members with specific questions. Their phone numbers and E-mail addresses are in their Faculty Profiles. Most students choose a research group by January of their first year.

Advancement to Candidacy
After their first year, students submit a First Year Report that summarizes their progress in understanding their research topic and getting started in independent research. There are no cumulative exams.
In their second year, students take an Oral Examination consisting of two parts: an independent research proposal on work unrelated to the student’s Ph. D. research, and a separate report on the student’s own research progress and future plans. Upon successful completion of the exam, the student is officially advanced to candidacy.

Thesis Defense
After a student has completed all the requirements for advancement to candidacy, there are no more requirements until the thesis is completed and submitted to the committee. On average, this occurs in the student’s 5th year. At that time, a Thesis Defense will be scheduled, where the research is presented to the Committee and the student is officially awarded the Ph. D. degree.

Analytical Chemical Biology Computational Environmental
Inorganic Materials Organic Physical


Riverside and More

The University of California, Riverside (UCR) is located in the City of Riverside, about 40 miles east of Los Angeles and 75 miles north of San Diego. The small-city feel and proximity to the large metropolitan areas allow UCR students to experience the best of both environments. Like the rest of Southern California, the climate is generally mild and sunny, and Riverside was recently named on of America's top ten Most Livable Communities. The Pacific Ocean is located about 1 hour west of campus, while the San Bernardino Mountains and ski areas are located about 1 hour east. UCR's location is ideal in the sense that students can take advantage of a large variety of recreational activities near campus, some of which are described below.

bigbear  arrowhead

Riverside has many local parks that are within a few miles of the UCR campus. Two popular areas for hiking and mountain biking are the Box Springs Mountain Preserve and the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park.

There are several national parks and national forests within a two hour drive of campus, including Joshua Tree National Park, the San Bernardino National Forest, and the Cleveland National Forest. There are several resort areas located in the San Bernadino mountains, including Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake.

Southern California has many beaches for swimming and surfing in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Some popular public beaches that are easily accessible from Riverside include Corona Del Mar, Huntington Beach and Venice Beach.

Cultural Attractions and Amusement Parks

hun      lacma      getty      sci
metro      nat      tar      cmp
disney      sea      six      uni
lego      knotts      rag      hur
Information about local concerts and happenings in Riverside can be found in the Press-Enterprise, while information about the greater Los Angeles area can be found in the LA Times Guide.

Housing Services

housingUCR graduate students have a variety of housing options. General information about living near campus can be found at the MyUCR website. On-campus housing includes University apartments for graduate students and houses/duplexes for families. For students who prefer to live off-campus, the UCR Housing office maintains a listing for a wide range of apartments in the private community surrounding the UCR campus.

Many graduate students choose to share an off-campus apartment, for companionship as well as reduced living expenses. Average apartment rents can be found on the Housing Office website. Although many students will have cars, it is possible to live off campus without one. UCR was recently named one of the top 10 “green” universities by the Sierra Club and has many initiatives designed to reduce environmental impacts, including a generous incentive program for alternative transportation. The city of Riverside has clean and efficient public transportation and the excellent year-round climate makes it ideal for commuting by bicycle.


The Chemistry Department guarantees five years of financial support to full-time domestic and international Ph. D. students in good standing. This support includes a stipend, plus all tuition and fees, and insurance. Students are typically supported by a combination of Fellowships, Teaching Assistantships, and Research Assistantships. Students interested in plant biochemistry should consider applying for a position on UCR's IGERT Program in Chemical Genomics, which also provides Research Assistant funding.

UCR has several fellowships for outstanding Ph. D. applicants, including the Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellowship. The Eugene Cota-Robles Award is designed to encourage diversity in the graduate population. All students are encouraged to consider applying for outside graduate fellowships, which can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Travel Fellowships
The Graduate Student Association awards travel fellowships to ensure that all students can attend conferences during their period of study.

Health Coverage and Benefits
All students supported at 25% time or greater are covered by health insurance provided by the University. Details about the GSHIP health plan can be found on the Graduate Student Association website as well as the UCR campus healthcare site.

All students at UCR are eligible for subsidized childcare at the UCR Child Development Center (CDC).

Cost of Living
The cost of living in Riverside is higher than in some regions of the country, but is relatively inexpensive compared to many areas of California. According to the CNN Cost of Living Calculator of August 2008, the cost of living in Riverside, CA is 80% of that in Los Angeles/Long Beach/Orange County, 86% of that in San Diego and 70% of that in San Francisco.

Application Information

Students are encouraged to complete their application before January 5th to ensure consideration for fellowship support. A variety of fellowships are available on a competitive basis through the UCR Graduate Division to augment the stipends of outstanding applicants.

For more information, please contact:
Christina Youhas, Graduate Student Affairs Officer
Department of Chemistry, UCR
Riverside, CA 92521-0403
Telephone: 951-827-7366
Fax: 951-827-4713
apply now

Application Instructions for US Applicants

The electronic application process is straightforward ( Your electronic application will consist of the Graduate Division on-line application form as well as the Supplementary Forms required by the Graduate Division, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation and official GRE scores. The $80 Graduate Division fee should be paid when the application is submitted, and can be paid by credit card. The Chemistry Department will refund this fee for high quality applicants with a GPA ≥ 3.5 or a Quantitative GRE score of ≥ 155.

To be admitted to graduate status, the basic requirement is a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution, with a major appropriate to the proposed graduate program. Applications are considered as received. For consideration for our top fellowships, applications should be completed by the graduate division deadline of January 5th. We accept domestic applications after this deadline, but it is best to complete the application process by March 1st at the latest. All students are required to take the GRE exam (the Chemistry Subject Test is not required).

Additional Instructions for International Applicants

For international applicants the $100 Graduate Division fee should be paid when the application is submitted, and can be paid by credit card. International students whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The TOEFL iBT exam is strongly preferred. Preference for admission and fellowships will be give to international students with a TOEFL iBT score of at least 80 and a score of at least 17 on the speaking portion of the exam.

Application Checklist

    • Complete Graduate Division On-line Application
      The Department of Chemistry is pleased to pay the application fee for exceptional students who are US citizens and permanent residents. Domestic students with a GPA ≥ 3.5 or a Quantitative GRE score of ≥ 155 will have the $80 fee refunded by the department. Please pay the fee when submitting your application. Once your official transcripts and GRE scores have been received by the Department, your application fee will be fully reimbursed if you meet either the GPA or GRE criterion.
    • Have transcripts sent from all Colleges and Universities attended. The Graduate Division website provides Transcript Request Labels for you to print and use.
    • Request ETS to send your GRE scores to our campus. Only the GRE general exam is required for admission.
    • Send Application Materials to the address below:
      Christina Youhas, Graduate Student Affairs Officer
      Department of Chemistry, 
      UC Riverside
      Riverside, CA 92521-0403


Prof. Richard Hooley

Graduate Advisor

Christina Youhas

Student Affairs Officer
hooley Office: 444 Chemical Sciences
Phone: (951) 827 - 4924
  Youhas Office: 236 Chemical Sciences
Phone: (951) 827-7366

Prof. Hill Harman

Inorganic Chemistry Admission Coordinator

Prof. Joseph Genereux

Analytical/Biological Chemistry Admission Coordinator
harman Office: 348 Chemical Sciences
Phone: (951) 827-3786
  Genereux Office: 320 Chemical Sciences
Phone: (951) 827-3759

Prof. De-en Jiang

Physical Chemistry Admission Coordinator


Application Materials should be Mailed to:

Graduate Advisor
Department of Chemistry
University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521-0403
Telephone: 951-827-7366
Fax: 951-827-4713
jiang Office: 136 Chemical Sciences
Phone: (951) 827-4430


More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Department of Chemistry
Chemical Sciences
501 Big Springs Road

Tel: (951) 827-3789 (Chair's Assistant)
Fax: (951) 827-2435 (confidential)