Nearly all of our applicantsare seeking the PhD. This "highest" chemistry degree is based mainly on research. Doctoral students work closely with a faculty member on one or more project at the scientific frontier. Formal PhD course requirements have been streamlined to emphasize those important concepts and skills that students will need to be productive and creative in research. Other degree requirements involve writing documents and presenting seminars. These activities improve communication skills and critical thinking while building confidence and scholarly independence. Please consult our separate web pages for detailed descriptions of our doctoral and masters degree programs.
Virginia Tech was founded in 1872 and awarded its first PhD in 1942 (in chemistry!). Between 1965 and 1975, the Chemistry Department transformed itself into a research department. We presently rank in the Top 40 in terms of degree production (BA, BS, MS, & PhD) and research expenditures (which determines the so-called NSF rankings). Our 30 faculty members generate over 100 peer-reviewed publications per year and have earned numerous prestigious awards for research, teaching, and service. And ours is a department that keeps getting better. The value of a degree from VT will increase with time.
Chemistry is housed in three buildings on the VT campus: Davidson Hall, Hahn Hall North and Hahn Hall South (additional research facilities and faculty offices are located at the Corporate Research Center, ICTAS, and at the Surge Building). We have 6 NMRs -- a 300 for solids, three 400s for liquids, a 400 for imaging, a 500 and a 600. We have complete surface analysis (XPS, AES, SIMS, SEM, & TEM), mass spectrometry (LCMS, GCMS, and high-res ESI-TOF-LC), crystallography (Agilent Gemini), and polymer characterization (TGA, DSC, Instron, GPC, DMA, & rheology) capabilities. Our computational resources are among the best anywhere. Simply put, our facilities and physical plant are truly state-of-the-art.
Collaboration is one of our main strengths. For over 30 years, the polymer program at VT has served as an example of reaching "outside the box" of the four classical chemistry subdisciplines (analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical). Today, nearly all of our research activities extend beyond conventional boundaries, embracing engineering, biology, medicine, and agriculture. The strength of these initiatives has been recognized nationally for many years by the continual presence of special funded programs such as NSF-STC, NSF-REU, and NSF-IGERT.