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Mentorship, Scholarship and Leadership

As one of the first universities to offer a Ph.D. in chemical education, UNC provides superior training for research in the teaching and learning of chemistry. You’ll get exceptional guidance and mentoring in this specialized discipline, while building a well-rounded skill set that helps you stand out in the job market. Every one of our recent graduates has landed a position in their field.

UNC’s chemistry education program excels due to the extraordinary commitment of our faculty. You’ll build strong relationships with experienced academicians who provide research collaboration, professional mentorship and career counseling. The program integrates qualitative and quantitative research with practical training in college-level course design and teaching (including a supervised practicum). All of our Ph.D. candidates submit at least one manuscript—based on original research—for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Degree Options

B.S. to Ph.D. in Chemical Education

Open to students who do not yet have a master’s degree, this option includes coursework in advanced chemistry, pedagogy, research methodology and statistics. You’ll complete a master’s thesis based on research in chemistry, as well as a doctoral dissertation on a research topic in chemical education. This degree option includes a teaching practicum that provides you with direct experience at the head of a college-level chemistry course.

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Degree Requirements

More about B.S. to Ph.D.

M.S. to Ph.D in Chemical Education

You must have a master’s degree in chemistry or biochemistry before entering this program. You’ll get training in course design and classroom instruction, methods and statistics in research program design and research experience culminating in a doctoral dissertation.

Take the next step! Explore courses, contact information and admission requirements. 

Degree Requirements

More about M.S. to Ph.D.

Your Future in Chemical Education

With a chemical education Ph.D., you can help to shape the future of STEM education. National policy makers from the White House on down have identified STEM education as a strategic priority, creating strong interest in research that improves teaching effectiveness and inclusiveness in all STEM fields, including chemistry and biochemistry.

Consider UNC's Chemical Education Ph.D. if you are:

  • Dedicated to excellence in the teaching of science
  • Committed to finding solutions to educational challenges
  • Interested both in classroom instruction and research
  • Seeking to further the goals in national STEM education policy

You’ll learn:

  • Impact of cognitive load on learning
  • Application of educational methods to teaching chemistry
  • Quantitative and Statistical Analysis
  • Mixed methods research on chemistry issues

Sample courses:

  • Science Education Research
  • Supervised Practicum in College Teaching
  • Problems in Teaching Chemistry
  • Advanced Research Methods

Where can your degree take you?


Tenure-track faculty position in a university chemistry department


Independent research institute

Think Tank

Educational policy think tank

Current Research in Chemistry

Dr. Jerry Suits
Associate Professor

Can a computer simulation help students understand the nature of hydrogen bonds in the H2O molecule? That’s just one of the questions Dr. Suits has investigated as part of his research on the use of digital technology in the teaching of chemistry. He has developed and tested a variety of interactive multimedia modules, simulations and computer-interfaced laboratory experiments. In the case of the H2O molecule, Dr. Suits found that the technology helped the students develop accurate mental models and reduced their misconceptions at both the macroscopic and molecular submicroscopic levels. His research is helping to guide the development of tools that reduce cognitive load while enhancing student visualization, conceptual learning and achievement.

 Chemical Education

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