The Photochemical Science Ph.D. program is a part of the Center for Photochemical Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Joe Furgal stands over a bright green light as part of his experiments to understand the interaction of light and matter, with the BGSU Ph.D. in Photochemical Sciences
  • Doctorate Available
  • Doctorate Available

Doctor of Philosophy

Photochemical Sciences

The BGSU Center for Photochemical Sciences has a vibrant, world-renowned Ph.D. program that offers students the opportunity to perform cutting-edge research with our internationally recognized faculty.

Including faculty from chemistry, biological sciences, physics and astronomy, the Center’s unifying intellectual theme focuses on studying the interaction of light with matter across the fundamental areas of chemistry, biological sciences, physics, spectroscopy, and polymer science.

The Center for Photochemical Sciences provides full support for all admitted graduate students in good standing, including tuition, fees and a competitive stipend. Assistantships are also available.

Connected, equipped and prepared to shed light on science.


The Center maintains active research collaborations at the local, regional, national and international levels with other universities and industries whose research, development and product initiatives involve the photochemical sciences.


The Ph.D. in the Photochemical Sciences program at BGSU is the only one of its kind in the world. Students in the program engage in interdisciplinary research experience that emphasizes studies of the interaction of light with physical, chemical, and biological systems and the search for practical applications of that knowledge.  

The program is designed for students with a background in physics, biological sciences, chemistry or materials science, and features small- to medium-sized research groups having strong interaction with research directors.

Students in this doctoral program at BGSU will develop skills in spectroscopy, synthesis and characterization of small molecules and polymers, and computational analysis and modeling.

Facilities and Equipment

The Center has major installations for UV-VIS, NIR, IR, IR transient absorption and visible fluorescence measurements on the femtosecond to millisecond timescales with other instrumentation. See a full list of equipment and facilities for graduate students.

About the Center for Photochemical Sciences at BGSU

The Center for Photochemical Sciences is a unique institution founded in 1985 by BGSU Chemistry Professor Douglas C. Neckers that serves to expand and enhance the synergy of research, teaching and applications in the photochemical sciences and the quest for practical applications of that basic knowledge, which stimulates new technology, applications and solutions for pressing problems.   

The Center for Photochemical Sciences at BGSU has been instrumental in contributing to the fundamental development of photo-driven chemical processes and in addressing critical environmental and energy problems over the last two decades, receiving worldwide recognition and high regard.

Stand Out in courses like

  • Spectroscopic Methods in Organic Chemistry
  • Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy
  • Seminar in Photochemistry
  • Organic Reaction Mechanisms
  • Photochemistry and Photophysics
  • Seminar in Photochemistry
  • Problems in Chemistry

Address critical environmental and energy problems


The photochemical science doctoral program’s interdisciplinary curriculum consists of a combination of course work and research. Students must complete at least 90 credit hours of graduate credit (at least 60 beyond the master's degree). These hours include a series of required core courses in photophysics, photochemistry, and spectroscopy and may be tailored to include elective courses that meet the student’s specific needs and interests.

Doctoral candidates complete an independent research project under the guidance of their research advisor and dissertation committee and then present their findings in a dissertation.  Up to 30 credit hours of dissertation research may be applied toward the degree.

Students normally decide their research subject and direction in the second semester.  Beyond the core courses in the first two semesters, additional courses are taken to gain new knowledge appropriate to research needs.  

A preliminary examination to qualify for doctoral candidacy is administered upon the student’s nearing completion of 60 credit hours.  The preliminary examination consists of the written preparation and oral defense of an original research proposal.

The final examination for the degree is an oral defense in which the student presents a seminar on the research and defends the results and conclusions before the dissertation committee.

Go Far in your career

  • Research Scientist (Computational Physics)
  • Harmful Algal Blooms Research
  • Ocular Materials Scientist
  • Surface Chemist
  • Analytical Chemist
  • 3D Printing Photopolymers Scientist
  • Educator

Our Research

Research in the Center for Photochemical Sciences focuses on a wide range of investigations into the role of light in chemical and physical processes.  This broad emphasis enables collaborative, interdisciplinary research. Some of the highlights of our research focus include:

  • Molecular Photochemistry and Photophysics of Novel Chromophores
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Optical Sensor Research and Supramolecular Analytical Chemistry
  • Single-Molecule Spectroscopy and Imaging
  • Hybrid Metal-Organic Photonic Materials
  • Organic Semiconductors, Electroluminescence and Sensory Materials
  • Solar Energy Capture, Conversion and Catalysis
  • Biophotonics
  • Computational Mechanistic Photochemistry
  • Photopolymers and Photopolymerization


The focus on applied problems at the confluence of physical, chemical and biological systems opens the doors to discoveries key to many new technologies. Driving many of these new technologies are discoveries in photochemical sciences.  

The skills and knowledge developed at BGSU on the doctoral program of the Center for Photochemical Sciences are in high demand, leading to exciting industrial opportunities and well-rewarded research opportunities.

Alumni of the Ph.D. Photochemical Sciences program are conducting research, teaching and leading industrial activities, and often a mix of all three, at multi-national companies such as Intel, Conamix, and Bayer, local companies such as Spectra Photopolymer and Ascribe Bio, government laboratories such as the Army Office of Research, and academic institutions like Stockton University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Many go on to postdoctoral positions at major U.S. universities including Harvard University.

Photochemical science research collaborations happen at the local, regional, national and international levels.

BGSU Arts and Sciences white

The Photochemical Science Ph.D. program is a part of the Center for Photochemical Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences

GSPDA of Photosciences

Graduate Students and Post Doctorates’ Association of the Center for Photochemical Sciences (GSPDA of Photosciences) at Bowling Green State University, is a non-political association to create and inspire pure and applied research related to biology, chemistry, physics, photochemistry and photophysics among the diverse student community of BGSU.

We seek to identify various issues related to the interests of graduate students and the Center’s post-docs and to provide for its members: opportunities for intellectual expression, leadership, fellows and cooperation. Through a variety of activities, we seek to aid in developing a well-informed, articulate, participative student community and promote an appreciation and interest for photosciences among students and post-docs of the Center.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the doctoral degree, students in Photochemical Science are expected to be able to:

  • Apply quantum mechanical methods to predict observable properties for molecular motions including translation, rotation and vibration.
  • Apply quantum mechanical methods to determine molecular electronic wave functions and to characterize the molecular bonding.
  • Analyze organic reaction mechanisms and the mechanistic diagrams and methods for their elucidation. 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of selected topics of physical organic chemistry including stereochemistry principles, and the application of reactive intermediates in chemistry. 
  • Analyze a wide variety of spectral data to deduce the structure of an unknown molecule. 
  • Analyze the generation and nature of excited states, including evolution of excited states, and radiative and nonradiative processes and energy transfer.
  • Demonstrate an active knowledge of experimental techniques and modern instrumentation for characterization of excited states is part of the topics covered. 
  • Demonstrate an active knowledge of photochemical reactions, various reaction types including absorption and emission of light, intersystem crossing, energy transfer, electron transfer and symmetry rules that govern these processes, rules for orbital symmetry governed reactions.  
  • Analyze different types of photoreactions including inorganic photo processes, organic and organometallic photochemistry, photobiochemistry, polymer photochemistry and photoelectrochemistry applications.
  • Demonstrate the knowledge of selected "hot topics" under a rapid advance in recent years focusing on photochemistry, photophysics, nanoscience and scanning probe microscopy. 
  • Evaluate previous scientific conclusions as they apply to a new area of investigation. 
  • Integrate the results of the PhD dissertation and effectively communicate original scientific findings.

Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

The Photochemical Science program underwent Program/Cluster Review during the Academic Year 2019/20.

More information on accreditation

Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The photochemical science program does not lead to professional licensure.

* Job placement and salary information was compiled by the Office of Academic Assessment through the Graduation Survey from AY2015-2018. The data are gathered around the time of Commencement and a follow-up survey six months post Commencement. For the salary question, data for programs with fewer than fifteen responses are not included. Salaries for those programs are from the National Association of Colleges and Employers Summer 2019 Survey. For questions regarding the data, contact

Updated: 05/02/2023 03:40PM