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PhD Program

The IBAC PhD program equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary for a successful independent research career. Coursework, journal club, and joint research meetings expose students to research topics and techniques in interfacial and bioanalytical chemistry beyond their PhD research projects. IBAC students develop important communication skills through participation in seminars and writing research proposals. The social aspect of the program encourages the exchange of ideas between students and the development of collaborations between IBAC research groups.


IBAC students obtain a broad knowledge base needed for a successful independent research career by taking a variety of courses selected according to their research interests. During the first year of the PhD program, IBAC students typically take eight half-semester (7.5 weeks) courses in analytical chemistry and in areas related to their PhD research. Courses taught by participating IBAC faculty include:

  • Analytical and Chemical Measurements
  • Chemical Separations
  • Electrochemistry
  • Bioanalytical Chemistry
  • Information Processing
  • Optical Spectroscopy
  • Surface Chemistry
  • Chemical Instrumentation and Electronics

In addition, many students take courses in other areas of chemistry, as well as in bioengineering, physics and math.

Teaching Experience

First-year IBAC students gain teaching experience as instructors in the Department's undergraduate quantitative analysis and analytical instrumentation laboratories. Students normally do not teach after their first year, unless they wish to emphasize instructional teaching in their studies.


All IBAC students join research groups in the spring semester of the first year and begin their independent research projects in collaboration with a faculty advisor. Many students in recent years have successfully completed the PhD in four years (occasionally even less), but a typical PhD requires 4.5 years from the time a student enters the program.

Seminars and research proposals

In the second and third year, students present a departmental seminar and write a NSF or NIH-style research proposal to fulfill degree requirements. IBAC students attend the Department's Physical and Analytical Chemistry weekly seminar and the annual Analytical Chemistry Colloquium where they encounter cutting-edge research presented by leading scientists from all over the globe.

Journal club and joint research meetings

The IBAC research groups jointly meet twice a month on Friday afternoons for a journal club and for research presentations. The journal club and joint group meetings expose students to many areas of analytical chemistry beyond their own research projects. In each IBAC journal club meeting, two students present an important paper from the analytical chemistry literature (either a classic from the past or a new, cutting-edge article) that emphasizes fundamental principles of chemical analysis and instrumentation. Students also present their research to the IBAC groups at least once a year.

Social gatherings

Social events such as the IBAC holiday party, summer barbeque, receptions for visitors, and occasional group outings provide opportunities for informal interactions between members of the IBAC research groups.

Last Updated: 6/3/21