PhD Programme

The PhD in Chemistry and Biological Chemistry programme is a four-year programme that trains students to work in chemistry through a broad, flexible base of coursework and research experience. PhD students take advanced courses focusing on active research topics, and perform research under the supervision of a faculty member. The programme culminates in writing and defending a scientific thesis before a panel of scientific experts.

Our division performs world-class research in many fields of chemistry, including biophysical chemistry, nanomaterials, femtosecond and attosecond spectroscopy, microfluidics, atmospheric chemistry, polymer science, chemical biology, pharmaceutical chemistry, organic synthesis, organometallic chemistry, and more.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • BSc in chemistry or a related discipline. If the university has an honours system, at least second-upper class honours, or the equivalent, is required.
  • Applicants may optionally have a MSc degree in chemistry or a related discipline, but this is not mandatory. If the university has an honours system, at least second-upper class honours in the MSc degree, or the equivalent, is required.
  • International applicants must take and pass a Technical Proficiency Test (TPT) in Chemistry administered by the school. This test is exempted if the applicant submits an appropriate GRE score.
  • All international applicants who are not native English speakers must have TOEFL scores, IETLS scores, or pass an English Proficiency Test (EPT) administrated by the School.

Details about the TPT/EPT will be announced to selected applicants after the submission of their application. For enquiries about GRE/IELTS/TOFEL criteria, please refer to our Graduate Student FAQs.

There are two application periods each year: October to January (for admission in August), and June to July (for admission in January). Most students are admitted during the first period.

Nanyang President's Graduate Scholarship

Learn More

Applicants who are Singaporeans, Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs), and/or graduates from Singaporean universities are strongly encouraged to consider applying for the Nanyang President's Graduate Scholarship (NPGS). The application period is usually October – November.

Graduation Requirements

The PhD programme has a minimum candidature period of 2 years, and a maximum of 5 years. Most students complete the programme in 4 years.

Graduate-level Coursework

Students must complete a total of 16 Academic Units (AU) of graduate-level coursework, comprising:

  • CBC729 - Graduate Seminar (4 AU, offered in Semester 1)
  • CBC736 - Advanced Chemical Instrumentation​ (2 AU, offered in Semester 1)
  • At least another 10 AU of CBC7XX lecture-based graduate courses
    4 AU of these 10 AU may be substituted with another graduate course offered by a different School/Division in NTU, subject to approval from the supervisor and the Division.

Students are expected to maintain a minimum CGPA of 3.5. We recommend finishing the coursework by the end of the first year, in order to sit for the Qualifying Examination on time.

Communication Courses

Students are also required to complete the following courses on communication and related topics. These courses do not carry any AU.

  • Courses from the Transferable Skills Programme:
    • Residential Programme (during first 12 months)
    • Scholarly Communication and Impact (during first 12 months)
    • Any 3 elective modules
    • Career Preparation Workshop (during 3rd or 4th year)
    • Three Minute Thesis Presentation Symposium (for students admitted from Academic Year 2019/2020 onwards)
  • HWG703 - Graduate English (during first 18 months; must be taken before HWG702; part-time students and students who qualify as native English speakers are exempted)
  • HWG702 - University Teaching for Teaching Assistants (during first 18 months; part-time students are exempted)
  • HWG704 - Research Communication for Graduate Studies (during first 24 months)

Research Integrity

Research integrity is of the utmost importance to the university. As such, during the first year of the PhD programme, students are required to complete:

  • SPMS Research Integrity Course
  • Online NTU Epigeum Research Integrity Course (during 1st semester)

Qualifying Examination

Students must pass the qualifying examination (QE) within their first 18 months.

Other Requirements

  • Seminar attendance of at least 5 seminars per semester
  • Completion of Graduate Assistantship Programme (GAP), if applicable
  • Annual meeting with Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) members
  • Submission of regular progress reports, including list of publications, TAC reports, and degree audit

PhD Thesis

Student must write a research thesis. Once the student and supervisor have agreed that the thesis is ready, it should be submitted online (via GSLink → Academic → Thesis → Thesis Submission). After being endorsed by the supervisor, the thesis is sent to three independent examiners for evaluation. After this evaluation, the student must defend the thesis in an oral examination scheduled by the school.

Completed theses must be posted to the NTU Digital Repository.