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Chemical Physics - M.S. and Ph.D. PDFDownload to print

College of Arts and Sciences

Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program-College of Arts and Sciences

Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program
Liquid Crystals and Materials Sciences Building
Tel: 330-672-1549


The Master of Science in Chemical Physics is designed for students who wish to enter multidisciplinary careers needing fundamental understanding and skills in chemistry, physics and engineering. Students mas choose to take classes and participate in research in different areas including liquid crystals materials, optoelectronics, and nanoscience and nanotechnologies.

The Ph.D. in Chemical Physics consists of four concentrations: liquid crystal synthesis and molecular design, lyotropic liquid crystals and membranes, optoelectronics and physical properties of liquid crystals.

Liquid Crystal Synthesis and Molecular Design is  for students interested in organic chemistry. The program offers more training in physics and the science of liquid crystalline materials than is traditionally provided in a graduate chemistry program. This program is tailored for students with an undergraduate background in chemistry or chemical engineering who wish to pursue graduate training in molecular design and synthesis of new and innovative liquid crystal materials.

Lyotropic Liquid Crystals and Membranes is for science majors who wish to extend their undergraduate education to the science of materials in living systems. This program is intended for undergraduate majors in chemistry, physics, chemical engineering and, possibly, biology (although some preparatory coursework may be required for the latter).

Optoelectronics is for the applied physicist, chemist or engineer who desires to study materials for their application in information display and related devices. This unique program is designed to take advantage of Kent State University’s role as a leading contributor to this technology, and to prepare students for the rapidly developing display and optoelectronics industry. Specialized chemical physics courses on liquid crystal displays include a focus on both fundamental and applied science.

Physical Properties of Liquid Crystals is for students with an interest in the physics of liquid crystalline materials and who desire more training in chemistry and materials science than is offered in a traditional physics program. Students pursue advanced training, studying the interaction of liquid crystals with fields and surfaces; structural transitions, instabilities, hydrodynamics, coating preparations and rheology; characterization by linear and nonlinear optics, X-rays, NMR, SEM, tunneling electron and atomic force microscopy; and other techniques. Courses give an in-depth understanding of the unique material properties of these phases and prepare students for dissertation projects that investigate physical properties of timely interest and importance in the advancement of the understanding of liquid crystalline materials.

Admission Requirements

Official transcript(s), goal statement and three letters of recommendation. Submission of GREs (general and subject test–physics or chemistry) is not required, but strongly recommended. Admission will be granted by examination of the student's background on an individual basis. Students from a variety of undergraduate majors, such as physics, chemistry, engineering and materials science are invited to apply to the Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary program.

Graduation Requirements

M.S.: A total of 32 credit hours is required for each concentration in the master’s degree program. For each of the five concentrations, students are required to complete 24-27 credit hours of core courses. If any required course is not available, an equivalent course may be substituted with permission of the graduate coordinator.

Ph.D.: Students are required to complete 50-52 credit hours of core courses and 12 credit hours of electives for the general chemical physics concentration, and 26-33 credit hours of core courses and 30 credit hours of electives for all other concentrations. The choice of electives must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor. The elective requirements may be waived depending on previously completed coursework. If a required core course is not available, an equivalent course may be substituted with permission of the graduate coordinator.

Thesis/ Dissertation

M.S.: Candidates must register for CPHY 60199, Thesis I, for a total of 6 credits. The thesis for the Master of Science degree will present and interpret results of original research and must be defended before a committee of the Chemical Physics graduate faculty.

Ph.D.: A prospectus of the dissertation research project is required for all Ph.D. candidates. The prospectus is prepared jointly with the student’s dissertation advisor. The prospectus must be approved by the members of the student’s dissertation committee.

A dissertation presenting and interpreting results of original research is required for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. The areas of research are outlined under the various concentrations. Following acceptance of the dissertation by the dissertation committee, the final degree requirement is the satisfactory completion of the final oral exam (defense of dissertation) before a committee of the graduate Chemical Physics faculty.


Ph.D.: In addition to satisfying the course and computer language requirements, the student must pass the Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program candidacy examination. The examination will cover material in the core courses of the chemical physics program. A student may make two attempts at passing the examination. If the student fails the second attempt, he/she will not be permitted to continue toward the doctoral degree but may complete the requirements for the Master of Science degree. The student’s first attempt at candidacy should come following the first year of study in all concentrations except general chemical physics. In exceptional cases, a student may defer taking the candidacy examination until the beginning of the third year of graduate study.