Joint Doctoral Program

Programs of Study

Programs of study are tailored to the needs of individual students, based on their prior training and research interests. However, progress to degree is generally similar for all students. Students spend a year at SDSU enrolled in the MA or MS chemistry program, and then they apply to the Joint Doctoral Program. During the first year of doctoral studies, JDP students take courses at UCSD and pursue research with their SDSU Thesis Adviser; students whose native language is not English must pass an English proficiency examination. Beginning the first summer, the emphasis is on research at SDSU, although UCSD or SDSU courses of special interest may be taken throughout a student's residency. In the second year, there is a departmental examination, which includes critical discussion of a recent research article. In the third year, students advance to candidacy for the doctorate by defending the topic, preliminary findings, and future research plans for their dissertation. Committees for the departmental exam, advancement to candidacy exam, and the thesis defense are made up of faculty from both the SDSU and the UCSD campuses.

Research Opportunities

Research opportunities are listed on the SDSU Department of Chemistry Faculty and Facilities Web pages. 


Teaching apprenticeships are a vital and integral part of graduate student training. JPD students must fulfill any teaching that may be required at SDSU for degree requirements or support.

Financial Support

Prospective JDP students should contact SDSU about possible financial support. Students pay fees and out-of-state tuition (if applicable) to SDSU only. 

Health and Dental Plan

A primary health care program, major medical plan, and dental plan are among the benefits provided by the University's registration fee (see Graduate Student Health Insurance Program, GSHIP). Minor illnesses and injuries can usually be treated at the Student Health Center. Counseling is provided free of charge through Counseling and Psychological Services.


Applications for the Joint Doctoral Program are reviewed by both SDSU and UCSD. To make admissions decisions, the admissions committees consider an applicant's:

  • Transcripts (minimum average grade of B, 3.0 overall GPA, in past year required)
  • Quality of the undergraduate university
  • Research experience or publications
  • Letters of recommendation (especially from proposed SDSU Thesis Adviser)
  • GRE scores on general test (verbal, quantitative, and analytical; no hard cut-off)
  • GRE advanced test score (either chemistry or biochemistry; no hard cut-off)
  • TOEFL score (minimum 550 on written test or 220 on computer test required; above 600 on written test or 250 on computer test preferred; test date within the past two years), Undergraduate record (minimum average grade of B, a 3.0 on 4.0 scale)
  • Statement of purpose (research interests and reason for applying)
  • Competitiveness of the applicant pool