Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Meet Wilson Luo, PhD candidate in Chemistry

“In the Chemistry department, and at Western University in general, we have a wealth of resources and facilities available to us to conduct our research. If something isn’t available to you in your own lab, others groups readily offer their resources (instruments, glassware, etc.) as well their assistance. It’s all very friendly. More importantly, the scientific conversation never stops; students talk to each other, professors talk to each other, and professors talk to students. There is much collaboration within and outside of the department that fosters an interdisciplinary research environment. All of these factors help provide students with the tools to thrive and succeed in our graduate program.”

Supervisor: Dr. Mark Workentin

Where did you complete your undergraduate degree?
University of Windsor, Honours BSc in Chemistry

Why did you come to Western for your graduate degree?
I visited several universities prior to selecting Western to pursue my graduate degree. The reason I chose Western is simple: Western University was very welcoming. My visit to the Chemistry Department was planned with great care – I met with all the right people (professors, graduate students, facility managers), I was given a tour of the campus and the facilities that would be available to me and my research, and I was provided with the appropriate resources to facilitate the decision making process. I chose Western because it was a place I felt comfortable studying and working in for the next few years. Of course, we also have excellent research faculty and research facilities!

Describe your research in 100 words or less.
My research focuses on employing synthetic organic chemistry at the interface of nanomaterials to bestow upon them certain properties or functions that increase their utility beyond their ‘raw’ or native form. Nanomaterials exhibit very interesting and unique properties that can be exploited and engineered to perform a specific task, e.g. deliver a drug, strengthen a material, emit light, etc. As such, the goal of my research is to design these nanomaterial platforms that can undergo subsequent modification steps in a facile manner such that they can be used across scientific disciplines with ease for a variety of applications.

What are you most passionate about?
Improving myself and maintaining a fresh and positive outlook. I’d like to think that, in this way, you can find self-fulfillment and positively influence those around you.

What one thing would you like people to know about you?
When I was younger, the thought of pursuing graduate studies never crossed my mind. I didn’t know the first thing about being a scientist or researcher. Since I arrived at Western, I’ve had many excellent experiences with the campus, the department, and people around me. It has been a good fit and I feel at home.

Program Websites

Program Contact

Darlene DiValentin (
Graduate Program Coordinator

Department of Chemistry

Western University
Chemistry Building Rm 116
London, Ontario N6A 5B7

t. 519-661-2111 ext. 81543
f. 519-661-3022

The Department of Chemistry offers programs of study that lead to the Master of Science (MSc) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. All programs are research-based.

Taking a modern view of the chemical sciences, the four main research themes reflect Western’s open-minded and multidisciplinary approach to research. Research is broadly characterized into the themes of: Chemical Biology and Biomaterials; Synthesis, Catalysis and Molecular Materials; Materials: Design, Function and Characterization; and Theory and Computation.

The Own Your Future doctoral professional development program will help you become a career-ready graduate with the skills necessary to excel in your studies and achieve your future goals. By participating in the program, you will assess your own strengths and opportunities for growth, choose what skills you want to enhance during your time at Western, and learn how to articulate the skills you gained in your degree to optimize your future career opportunities. To learn more, visit

Program Length

  • 12 Terms, from MSc entry
  • 15 Terms, from BSc direct entry

Program Design

  • Full-time study
  • Thesis-based

Funding Information

Applicants are encouraged to apply for the following scholarships (if eligible):

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fee schedules (per term) are posted on the Office of the Registrar's website at

Graduate Student Affordability Calculator

Use this helpful tool to estimate how much money you will need to pay for your tuition, fees, housing, food, and other necessities for a 12-month (three term) academic year.

Admission Requirements

  • A thesis-based MSc degree in chemistry, or a related discipline, from a recognized university, college, or institute with an overall academic standing of at least B+ (75%).
  • Excellent letters of recommendation.
  • Especially for applicants from related disciplines, provide a clear statement on your academic qualifications and how past training and experiences have positioned you for success in graduate teaching and research for the proposed area of study within chemistry.
  • For applicants who have not yet been conferred the MSc degree, all program requirements must be completed prior to the start of the PhD studies.

Outstanding applicants possessing a four-year Bachelor of Science in chemistry, or a related discipline, from a recognized university, college, or institute with high academic standing and demonstrated research potential can apply for direct entry to the PhD program.

Additional Requirements

  • Previous degrees must have a research component.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose first language is not English must furnish evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language:

Application Deadline

Domestic Applicants:

  • November 1 - Winter Term
  • March 1 - Summer Term
  • July 1 - Fall Term

International Applicants:

  • March 1 - Fall Term

Applications are accepted year round; however, you should try to meet the deadlines above in order to be accepted for the term you are applying to. International students are welcome to apply to the Fall term only.

International applicants: Acceptance notification begins in April.
Domestic applicants: Acceptance notifications are processed on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Fields of Research

  • Inorganic
  • Organic
  • Physical/Analytical