The Department of Chemistry offers the Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Science degrees. Original research, performed under the direction of a thesis advisor, plays a major role in this degree. The thesis research helps the student to develop research skills, critical judgment, originality, and independence. It is through participation in such research that the graduate student makes the transition from the role of student to that of professional colleague.
Students join research groups and choose thesis topics during the first semester of residence, after discussion with faculty members. Most students begin research at the beginning of their second semester at MIT.
Both the Doctor of Philosophy degree and Doctor of Science degrees in Chemistry require completion of a program of advanced study, two semesters of teaching experience, completion of general written and oral examinations, and completion and oral defense of a thesis on original research. This program normally has a duration of four to five years. A Master's degree is not required for entrance into the Doctoral program.