University of California, Riverside

Department of Chemistry

Graduate Program


The UCR Chemistry Department is a center for world-class research, cutting-edge teaching, and community outreach. Housed within the modern Chemical Sciences building, our faculty provide personalized mentorship and guidance for graduate students in all areas of chemistry, including Analytical, Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry. UCR Chemistry also specializes in developing cross-cutting, interdisciplinary research opportunities in Bioanalytical and Environmental Chemistry, Material Science, and Biophysics. Pushing beyond science and academia, graduate education in our department also focuses on professional development, including training in ethics, safety, teaching, and how to succeed in industry. All of this is provided within an inclusive, diverse, and family-friendly atmosphere.

Thanks for your interest in UCR Chemistry! More detailed information about our campus and graduate program is provided in the links at the top of this page. Should you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Graduate Advisor under Admission Contacts.

Graduate Research in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Video

Ph.D. Program of Study

All Ph.D. students in good standing are fully supported during their studies. The Ph.D. program at UCR is designed to provide students with the academic background, research experience, and professional development to make them successful and independent scientists. Emphasis is placed on creating a base of chemical knowledge that can serve as the foundation for fostering high-level critical and creative problem-solving skills.


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 previous coursework, performance on the placement exams, and discussion during individual meetings, the Graduate Advisor will determine a schedule of classes that will best meet each student’s needs. Students typically take 5-6 graduate classes (1-2 classes per quarter) to fulfill course 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. is a research degree, and arguably the most important task of a student during the first year of graduate study is to choose a research area and faculty advisor. Chemical research at UCR spans a wide range of areas, and students are encouraged to investigate broadly before choosing a research advisor. Interdisciplinary research and joint research projects are encouraged. Feel free to contact individual faculty members to discuss opportunities within their labs. Phone numbers and E-mail addresses are in provided in the Faculty Profiles on this website. Students are encouraged to choose a research group by January of their first year.

Advancement to Candidacy
Shortly after completion of their first year, students participate in a Second Year Research Evaluation (SYRE) that covers each student's individual research topic. The SYRE consists of writing a short research proposal that discusses their proposed Ph.D. research and their progress to date, and presenting that proposal to a committee of three faculty members orally. The SYRE provides students an opportunity to receive early feedback on their research progress and helps prepare them for the format of the Qualifying Exam. Towards the end of their second year, students take the Qualifying Exam. It consists of two research proposals: an independent research proposal on work unrelated to the student’s Ph.D. research, and a separate proposal on the student’s own Ph.D. research. The student prepares short written proposals for each topic and then presents and defends them orally. Upon successful completion of the exam, the student is officially advanced to candidacy. There are no cumulative exams.

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. Successful completion of the Thesis Defense includes evaluation of the written document and oral presentation of the research to the committee, after which 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

A variety of fellowships are available on a competitive basis through the UCR Graduate Division to augment the stipends of outstanding applicants. Students are encouraged to complete their application by December 13th for priority consideration for admission and fellowships. Afterwards, applications are welcome but will be considered on a space-available basis. Applications are only accepted for the FALL quarter of each year.

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 online application form as well as the Supplementary Forms required by the Graduate Division, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation and official GRE scores. The $105 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. All students are required to take the standard GRE General Test, but the GRE 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 given 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. Ryan Julian

Graduate Admissions Advisor

Christina Youhas

Student Affairs Officer
hooley Office: 344 Chemical Sciences
Phone: (951) 827 - 3958
  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

Prof. David Martin

Organic Chemistry Admission Coordinator
jiang Office: 136 Chemical Sciences
Phone: (951) 827-4430
     jiang Office: 424 Chemical Sciences 
Phone: (951) 827-4429
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


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)