Colleges with Physical Chemistry Degree Programs

Physical chemistry is a field where scientists learn how chemical reactions work at the atomic and molecular levels. Learn what programs are available in this field, what subjects may be covered and how to find the right school for you. Schools offering Science, Technology, and International Security degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Students pursuing physical chemistry have the option of different degree programs at the graduate level, depending on the student's goal. This article will help you understand these programs, their outcomes, and what coursework will look like as you figure out which program is right for you.

What Programs Are Available in Physical Chemistry?

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree programs in physical chemistry are available at a number of colleges and universities. A physical chemistry Ph.D. program takes about five years to complete. During your education, you may have the opportunity to research areas such as laser chemistry, changes in phase from solid-state to gas, molecular simulation, synthetic chemistry, DNA compounds and computer modeling.

Since a Ph.D. is often required for a research career in physical chemistry, very few master's degree programs exist. However, you can elect physical chemistry as a concentration in some master's degree programs in chemistry.

No certificate, bachelor or associate degree programs are offered in physical chemistry. However, some schools that offer chemistry majors have opportunities for undergraduates to select physical chemistry as a concentration or participate in graduate-level research projects. All programs in chemistry have some coursework in physical chemistry.

Physical chemistry is a research-intensive program, requiring lab study as part of your curriculum. Therefore, no online degree programs are available.

What Will I Learn?

You'll be in the lab during much of your program, as well as participating in research. Some specific classes might include:

  • Chemical kinetics and dynamics
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Biophysical chemistry
  • Macromolecules
  • Physical chemistry of proteins and nucleic acids
  • Equilibrium physical chemistry
  • Chemical and statistical thermodynamics
  • Computational chemistry
  • Experimental physical chemistry
  • Physical chemistry of polymers
  • Spectroscopy

Which Schools Offer Master Degree Programs in Physical Chemistry?

Master degree programs in chemistry often allow students to choose physical chemistry as a specialization, or may offer physical chemistry as a major. Below are a few examples:

  • Georgia State University has a Master of Science in Chemistry with a specialization in Physical Chemistry degree program
  • University of North Texas provides a Master of Science in Physical Chemistry degree program
  • Marshall University delivers a Master of Science in Chemistry with a specialization in Physical Chemistry degree program

Which Schools Offer Doctoral Degree Programs in Physical Chemistry?

Many universities give students the chance to earn a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. Some of these schools include:

  • University of Wisconsin- Madison houses a Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Chemistry degree program
  • University of Illinois has a Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Chemistry degree program
  • University of North Texas offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Chemistry degree program

How Do I Find a Top School?

The American Chemical Society (ACS) approves chemistry programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels ( While schools on the ACS list don't necessarily offer a degree in physical chemistry, the information may be helpful in your search.

U.S. News & World Report, a site that annually reports rankings of colleges and universities, lists the top graduate schools for physical chemistry. Also, if you're pursuing a Ph.D. degree, remember to select a school that offers an area of research of interest to you.

Students interested in physical chemistry can pursue the field in focus in a master or doctoral degree program, which are commonly offered by various universities. While master's degree programs will increase your knowledge and help your career, doctoral degrees are often required for teaching and research positions.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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