Doctoral Program in Chemical Physics



A. Eligibility

The applicant must have at least a Bachelor's (B.A. or B.S.) degree in Science with a major in Physics or Chemistry from a college or university accredited in the United States, or equivalent degree from an institution, with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a scale of 1 to 4), overall and in Physics or Chemistry.

The applicant must have a working knowledge of English and/or Spanish, and the TOEFL exam is required for students whose native language is neither of them.

Students whose basis for admission is a Master's degree are required to have passed the graduate courses in that institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

B. Application

(Application must be completed online!)

The students must submit the following material to the Committee of the Doctoral Program in Chemical Physics by the end of January every year to be considered for the Fall semester:

  1. Two copies of the official application form, which can be obtained from the Office of the Doctoral Program in Chemical Physics, and two photographs.
  2. Official documents required by the Registration Office.
  3. Two official copies of the transcript(s).
  4. A minimum of two letters of recommendation from professors at the university at which the applicant earned the B.S. or M.S. degree. At least a professor in the Natural Science Faculty should write one. The applicant's Evaluation Form can be used instead of a letter.
  5. A non-refundable fee of $15 to cover cost of admissions procedures must accompany the application form. Checks should be made payable to Treasurer, Río Piedras Campus, University of Puerto Rico.

C. Admission

Those students that fulfill the conditions for admission according to the Committee of the Doctoral Program in Chemical Physics will be admitted as regular students. The Committee of the Graduate Program in Chemical Physics may conditionally admit students possessing a Bachelor's degree who do not fully meet the other requirements or who have deficiencies in areas related to the Program. Students so admitted will be required to remove those deficiencies, or otherwise demonstrate their ability to successfully pursue graduate studies in Chemical Physics, by methods that will be specified at the time of admission. A student who has been admitted conditionally will be considered to be on probation until the time limit ends and the conditions have been met.

D. Transfer Credits

Only graduate courses with grade B or better can be considered for transfer credits. To apply for acceptance of transfer credits the student should submit one copy of the official transcript of the graduate courses and one copy of the form Request for Transfer of Credits.

Graduate courses taken at the Río Piedras Campus before admission to the Doctoral Program can be counted towards the total number of course credits required for graduation, provided that those courses were not used to fulfill the requirements for the B.S. degree.

A maximum of twenty-four (24) transfer credits can be credited for the Ph.D. degree.

E. Financial Assistance

The Departments of Physics and Chemistry offer two kinds of financial assistance: teaching and research assistantships. The teaching assistantships are assigned by the chairmen of both Departments. The research assistantships are assigned by the chairmen of both Departments under the recommendation of the researcher that will supervise the applicant. Financial assistance from special programs are available for those students that qualify.


A. First Year

Regular students must register three (3) graduate courses (9 credits) each semester under the supervision of the Student Counselor of the Doctoral Program.

At the end of the first year, the student must take the Qualifying Examinations. The Qualifying Examinations are three: one in Physical Chemistry and two in Physics.

The Comprehensive Exams in Physics are given by the Department of Physics at the beginning of the summer, and before the start of the fall semester. The Qualifier Exam in Physical Chemistry is organized by the Department of Chemistry and is also offered two times each summer.

Students have two opportunities to pass all of the above three Exams.

B. After the Qualifier Exams

Once the student has passed both Qualifiers, he/she must select his/her thesis advisor and select together with the thesis advisor, the thesis committee and register the Graduate Research Course. At this moment, the student should initiate his (her) thesis research.


A. Courses

A minimum of forty-five (45) credits of graduate courses passed with A or B are required for graduation according to the following classification: twelve (12) credits of core courses (6 credits in physics and 6 in chemistry) and thirty-three (33) credits of advanced courses and seminars in physics and/or chemistry. A minimum of nine (9) credits of 8000-level courses are required and no more than twenty-four (24) may be transfer credits.

B. Seminars

The student must present to the graduate faculty a minimum of two satisfactory seminars, each worth one credit. One of these seminars can consist of the presentation of the student's thesis work.

C. Research Proposal

The student must prepare and defend a research proposal. The thesis advisor should advise the student on the requirements and guidelines to prepare this kind of proposal.

D. Thesis

After the qualifier exams, the student will choose his (her) thesis advisor and will discuss with the advisor and with the Program Coordinator the subject of research and the members of the Thesis Committee.

A minimum of twenty-four (24) credits in research (FISI 8991) is required. If the research work is not completed after the obtention of the 24 credits in research, the student will register in the research course until graduation. Based on the research work the student must write and defend a dissertation acceptable to the thesis committee.

Click here to apply online