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Howard was founded as a small private undergraduate college and has transformed into a large private university.The Chemistry Department was preeminent in stimulating this transition.

Chemistry first offered the M.S. degree in chemistry in 1923, before there was a Graduate School at the University; Chemistry became the first department to award the Ph.D. degree at the University, in 1958.

As the first predominantly Black university to offer the Ph.D. degree in chemistry, Howard has produced more African American chemists than any other chemistry department in the world and has one of the largest chemistry departments in the District of Columbia.

Admission Requirements

Admission and residency in the graduate program in Chemistry are guided by the General Admission Requirement and Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees in the Graduate School. Students are strongly encouraged to consult and familiarize themselves with these rules and regulations.

Applications to the Department of Chemistry are evaluated on the following considerations:

  1. The applicant's official transcripts.
  2. Applicants with a B.A. or B.Sc. from an accredited university and a minimum average of 3.0 are eligible for admission into the MS degree program. Applicants with a B.A. or B.Sc. degree who wish to do a Ph.D. must first complete the MS degree program prior to applying for the Ph.D.
  3. Applicants with an MS. degree from an accredited university and a minimum average of 3.5 are eligible for admission into the Ph.D. degree program.

  4. Three letters of recommendation, preferably from members of the academic community familiar with the applicant's academic performance.
  5. An autobiographical sketch and statement of purpose indicating his/her desire to join the graduate program in the department of chemistry.
  6. TheGraduate Record Examination (GRE) score.

For those who wish to apply to the Ph.D. degree program and enroll for the Fall semester in the Department of Chemistry, you are advised to ensure that the application package is complete by November 15 in order to enhance your chances of being considered for financial assistance 

To apply, follow the link below 

Categories of Admission

  1. Degree Student-Regular: Student who holds the required University degree(s) and who meets the department's admission criteria.
  2. Degree Student-Provisional: A student who does not meet the requirements for regular student, but, who, on other grounds, the Committee concludes, is capable of completing a graduate program, may be accepted on a provisional basis. The student shall be limited to take 6 credits. It is recommended that most credits be taken from the core courses of the program. After completing these courses, the Graduate Studies Committee shall review the student's academic performance. The student will be notified of the final decision within four weeks. If a student is admitted as a regular student, the 6 credit hours will be applied to the student's course requirements.

To apply, click HERE for information on procedures and forms


Foreign Language/Computer Requirements

a. There is no Foreign Language requirement for the M.S. program.

b. There is no computer course requirement. However, students are encouraged to take any graduate-level computer course that might enhance their academic and professional development.


English Competence and Expository Writing Requirement

All incoming graduate students are given an English Proficiency Examination. Students who fail are required to take and pass a no-credit expository writing workshop course administered by the Graduate School.

International Applicants

In addition to the requirements listed above you must submit the following:

  • Official transcripts, final certificates and/or mark/grade sheets must be sent directly from the college or university to the Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions, and must show proof of degree(s) earned, courses taken and marks/grades received. Also, ALL transcripts must be evaluated by World Education Services ( or AACRAO ( and be forwarded to Graduate Recruitment and Admissions.
  • If the documents are not in English, they must be accompanied by an official translated copy.
  • All documents must bear the same name that appears on the admissions application unless an official document so submitted indicating a change of name.
  • TOEFL Scores (Minimum computer-based score of 213 is required and only official score reports are accepted within 2 years of the test date) TOEFL scores must be sent directly from ETS (HU code: 5297).
  • The TOEFL test is not required if you received a degree in the U.S.
  • Statement of Financial Resources Form (PDF)  EA completed form that verifies proof of financial support (sufficient funds to cover expenses for one full year - $29,132 in US Dollars only) and supporting financial documentation indicating sources of funds while attending Howard University (such as a certified bank statement dated within three months of registration).
  • Verification of six months history with bank.
Degree Requirements

Special Degree Requirements

A total of 30 semester hours of graduate credits must be earned. Of these, at least 24 semester hours must be course work and six semester hours research. A minimum of 9 hours per semester is equivalent to a full course load. A grade of "B" or better is required in each course submitted for the degree. 

All students are encouraged to complete the following courses at Howard University with a grade of "B" or better.

Chemistry 201 - Inorganic Chemistry

Chemistry 231 - Advanced Analytical Chemistry

Chemistry 243 - Advanced Organic Chemistry

Chemistry 278 - Advanced Physical Chemistry I

Chemistry 279 - Advanced Physical Chemistry II

Requests for exemption are made in writing to the Chairman during the registration period. Criteria for exemption will be determined by the division concerned, usually by passing the placement examination in that area.

No course taken more than five years prior to the term in which the student presents him/herself for the final examination will be credited toward the fulfillment of the degree. Courses may be recertified by recommendation of the Department Chairman, based upon special written examination by the candidate.


Ph.D. Program Degree Requirements

All entering graduate students in the department are strongly encouraged to pursue the Ph.D. degree. Thus, the aim of the program is to provide a challenging curriculum for all students, in addition to offering significant opportunities to those with less accomplished academic backgrounds. Further, the program has several components that are collectively designed to promote disciplinary competency, professional development, interdisciplinary training and research, group mentoring, collegiality among faculty and students, and dynamic student tracking. Emphasis of the doctoral program is placed on the integration of professional development into the curriculum and the opportunity for interdisciplinary training and research.

A total of 72 semester hours of graduate credit must be earned. Students are required to complete a minimum of six (6) graduate courses (18 credit hours, total) before candidacy and up to 54 credits of additional specialty/research hours for completion of the Ph.D. Additionally, specialty divisions (Analytical, Inorganic, Organic/Biochemistry, or Physical) or an Advisory committee (in the student’s specialty area) may require more than the minimum 18 credit hours of coursework prior to candidacy. The total of 72 hours will include at least one (1) hour of the Chemistry Graduate course numbered 205-600.

Master’s degree holders may transfer up to 24 Credit hours of coursework from the Master’s degree, and entering Bachelor’s degree holders may transfer up to 18 Credit hours of coursework toward the Ph.D. program. In any event, proposed transfers: a) must be requested before the student is admitted to candidacy and b) approved by the Department of Chemistry’s Committee on Graduate Studies and the Executive Committee of the Department. 

All students must take a graduate-level Professional Development Course and (at least) two graduate courses outside of their chemistry division which could be Chemistry courses or those from other departments such as pharmacy, engineering, biochemistry (Medical College), biology, or related disciplines.

Reading and Conference (205-293), and Special Laboratory Projects (205-294) may not be counted towards the minimal 18 Credit hours of required coursework prior to candidacy. Seminar courses (with changing topics ) may be taken for credit for multiple times.

No course taken more than seven years prior to the semester in which the student presents himself/herself for candidacy will be credited toward the degree. Courses may be recertified by recommendation of the Departmental Chair, based upon the results of special written examination(s) taken by the candidate. PLEASE NOTE: A Graduate School regulation states that any course more than ten years old can only be recertified by retaking the course(s) in question..

Residence Requirements

Residency Requirement

A student must be physically in residence in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for at least two semesters in order to be recommended for a degree.

Students are expected to complete the Master's degree within a maximum of five years from the date of initial registration in the program. Those who have not completed the degree within that time will be automatically dropped from the program.

Program Faculty
Vernon Morris profile photo

Vernon Morris




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John Harkless profile photo

John Harkless

Associate Professor of Chemistry



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Andre Clayborne profile photo

Andre Clayborne

Assistant Professor



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Timothy Ramadhar profile photo

Timothy Ramadhar

Assistant Professor



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