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Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an application fee?

Yes, the graduate college requires an application fee to activate the application.

What happens after I apply?

The Graduate Admissions Committee reviews completed applications starting in the late fall and continues through the end of March. If your application is reviewed favorably, and you are currently in the US, you will be contacted by a member of the committee who will invite you to visit Tucson - at our expense - to see what our graduate program and The University of Arizona has to offer. We firmly believe that a sound decision to attend graduate school cannot be made without visiting the UA campus! A member of the Graduate Admissions Committee will serve as your contacs throughout this process. Please do not hesitate to contact them or any member of our Department, if you have any questions.

Am I required to complete the online application?

Yes. Please apply through the UA Graduate College.

Research and General Questions

Is financial support available?

All Ph.D. students in good standing are provided financial support in the form of a teaching or research assistantship. In 2019, the stipend for these assistantships was $25,000. Additionally, many of our students are supported by fellowships and training grants during their graduate studies. All students supported on assistantship also receive health insurance.

Do I have to pay tuition?

Ph.D. students in good standing receive a full tuition waiver, valued at over $32,000 per year. Graduate students are required to pay miscellaneous fees amounting to approximately $600 per semester.

How long does it take to graduate with a Ph.D.?

The length of study varies depending on a variety of factors, but about 5.5 years represents a typical length of study for a Ph.D. degree.

Can I have a second job or will all of my time be spent in the lab?

Graduate education and training for a Ph.D. degree require complete dedication and commitment. You will not have time for an unrelated outside job.

Is there much collaboration among research groups?

Collaboration among research groups is a hallmark of the graduate studies at the UA. This is exemplified by our extremely strong interdisciplinary research areas in the Chemistry of the Life Sciences, the Chemistry of Materials, and the Chemistry of the Gas Phase and Interstellar Space.

In addition, there are several interdisciplinary graduate training tracks within the Department that pool faculty from such diverse areas as Chemistry and Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology. A significant portion of your research experience is gained by your interaction with both your own group members as well as researchers in groups, both within and outside the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

How do I join a research group?

The answer to these questions is dependent on whether you choose the Chemistry or the Biochemistry Ph.D. track. Students in the Chemistry track will attend informal poster sessions and interview several faculty members before you select your first- and second-choice advisors. Students in the Biochemistry Ph.D. track carry-out 3 rotations prior to deciding on a dissertation advisor. It is unusual for a student in either track to not be accepted into the group of first choice.

May I work in an area that is different from what I had previously expressed interest in? May I work in any group in the department?

Yes. The traditional divisions are loosely defined at UA with the majority of our faculty performing multidisciplinary research at the boundaries of many research areas. If your interests have changed since the time of application to our graduate program and a different area of research has captured your imagination, choosing a research advisor outside of your previously indicated interest poses no problem.


For how long will I teach before being an RA?

Most students teach 2-4 semesters. Generally, once you pass your preliminary oral exam (during your fourth semester) you are transferred to RA (research assistantship) status by your research director. In some cases you may be awarded an RA earlier. Depending on your career goals and the availability of research funding, it is also possible that you will teach longer than the timeframe indicate above.

Do I have to teach? What course will I teach? How many hours will be devoted to teaching? How many classes will I teach (per semester)? How long will I teach?

Teaching is not strictly required for graduation with a Ph.D. degree, but for most students it is a highly rewarding experience that allows them to learn to disseminate scientific information. Generally, your first-year teaching assistantship will entail teaching in general chemistry or biochemistry courses. If you teach beyond your first year, you will most likely teach upper-level undergraduate courses more relevant to your area of research. Teaching demands approximately 6-8 hours of classroom time, plus grading and office hours, totaling no more than 20 hours per week.