Chemistry in Pondicherry University aims to support fundamental science of the highest quality in a first-class physical environment. The Department includes a large number of nationally recognised research groups covering an exceptionally broad spectrum of chemical science ranging from synthetic chemistry to modelling. Our enthusiastic research culture embraces new challenging areas, including strong collaborations with other academic disciplines and institutions, while maintaining a powerful presence in the traditional core areas of chemistry.

The PhD is offered by the Department of Chemistry as a full-time period of research and introduces students to research skills and specialist knowledge. (Applications from part-time students may also be considered but there are attendance requirements and you will need to live close enough to Pondicherry University to fulfill these.) Students are integrated into the research culture of the Department by joining a research group, supervised by one of our academic staff, in one of the following areas of chemistry:

Synthetic Chemistry

Synthetic research at the Pondicherry University is focussed on the development of innovative new methods to make and use molecules of function. Ranging from the innovative catalytic strategies to make small molecules, to supramolecular assemblies or the total synthesis of biologically important compounds, our research is diverse, pioneering and internationally leading. The dynamic environment created by the research groups working at the cutting edge of the field makes graduate research at Pondicherry the best place for outstanding and motivated students.

Theoretical & Computational Chemistry

Research in Theoretical Chemistry covers a wide range of length and timescales, including active development of new theoretical and computational tools. The applications include high-resolution spectroscopy, atomic and molecular clusters, biophysics, surface science, and condensed matter, complementing experimental research in the Department. We develop new tools for quantum and classical simulations, informatics, and investigate molecules using descriptions that range from atomic detail to coarse-grained models of mesoscopic matter. This work often begins with analytical theory, which is developed into new computer programs, applied to molecules and materials of contemporary interest, and ultimately compared with experiment.

Materials Chemistry

The technological devices that we depend on, from aeroplanes to mobile phones, rely upon ever-increasing structural complexity for their function. Designing complex materials for these devices through the art of chemical synthesis brings challenges and opportunities. Members of the Materials Research Interest Group invent new materials in view of potential applications. Modern materials chemistry is a wide ranging topic and includes surfaces, interfaces, polymers, nanoparticles and nanoporous materials, self assembly, and biomaterials, with applications relevant to oil recovery and separation, catalysis, photovoltaics, fuel cells and batteries, crystallization and pharmaceutical formulation, gas sorption, energy, functional materials, biocompatible materials, and sensors.

Physical Chemistry

Physical Chemistry at Pondicherry University has two broad but overlapping aims. One is to understand the properties of molecular systems in terms of physical principles. This work underpins many developing technological applications that affect us all, such as nanotechnology, sensors and molecular medicine. The other is computational simulation atmospheric chemistry where the interactions between chemical composition, climate and health are studied using a range of computer modelling and experiment-based approaches. Together these two areas form a richly interdisciplinary subject spanning the full range of scientific methodologies: experimental, theoretical and computational. It is the research area with something for everyone.

Educational aims of the PhD programme:

  • Give students with relevant experience at master’s level the opportunity to
    carry out focussed research in the discipline under close supervision.
  • Give students the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise
    relevant to their research interests.
  • Provide all students with relevant and useful researcher development
    training opportunities to broaden their horizons and properly equip them
    for the opportunity which they seek following their PhD studies.

The Department of Chemistry takes very seriously the provision of excellent and relevant graduate education, which will allow students to: (i) choose their own bespoke series of academic lectures and workshops from our extensive and evolving range, directly supporting both research and broader chemistry knowledge base; and (ii) select from many researcher development opportunities to enhance their transferable skill-set and ultimate employability

Our Department also has numerous mentoring and tutoring support structures in place, which students may also choose to take advantage of.

Presentation is an integral and expected part of the experience every PhD student will have within the Department of Chemistry from first-year peer-to-peer presentations through to Departmental symposia at which our second- and third year students present.

Opportunities also exist for students to attend national and international conferences within their field of enquiry.


Thesis: Submission of a thesis, not exceeding 150 pages, including summary or abstract, tables, and footnotes, but excluding table of contents, photographs, diagrams, figure captions, list of figures and diagrams, list of abbreviations, bibliography, appendices and acknowledgements.

Others: All PhD students are probationary in the first year and progression to the second year (and registration for the PhD) depends on a successful first-year review through two theory papers.

Towards the end of the first year students are required to submit a written progress report. In addition to covering the research work completed during the year this should contain a review of appropriate literature and a clear indication of how the PhD will develop in the second and third years. The report is assessed by two assessors and an oral examination of the report will be undertaken.

3-4 years for full-time
5-7 years for part-time

Applicants for this course should have passed a M.Sc. degree from any UGC recognized university/college with minimum 55% of marks or 5.5 points in a seven point scale.

The Pondicherry University requires all applicants to demonstrate competence in the English language at a very high level before they begin their proposed course of study. However, it is not mandatory for programs in foreign languages, Hindi, Sanskrit, Tamil and other Indian languages.

Research fellowship to the tune of ₹ 8000 per month is provided by University for all who not receive other funding. Other financial schemes are also available to meet the minimum expenses.

The expected annual expenses is expected to be about ₹52000 (₹ 16000 as University fees + ₹ 36000 as hostel and maintenance expenses).

There are other fellowship available directly from State and Central government departments and agencies

Application have to be submitted through online portal of the University, which will be generally open between March – June every year. Application may have fees about ₹ 500-1000. If you miss the deadlines specified in the portal, you will not be able to submit your application.

Selection Process

Due to the large volume of applications that the Department of Chemistry receive, we will be considering applications for admission in two rounds. (i) An entrance test some during May every year for short listing and (ii) the Department will be conducting interviews by a panel of at least two academic members of staff on several key dates to identify the top ranked applicants to go forward to the University for admission and further processing.