I am a physics professor who also does premed and grad school advising. I have a student who finds himself in an awkward position and I am unsure as how to guide him. For completeness sake, I posted this to a physics forum that I belong to, but the advice was vague. Thus I turn to the experts.
My student has a degree in biology, with emphasis on synthetic organic chemistry. His overall GPA was ~ 3.2 (3.4 in major). He did some unpaid research in one of his professor's lab for about a year. He applied to five organic chemistry programs (3 PhD; 2 MS) last fall, including UT and Purdue, and was turned away from all of them. His only feedback was from UT, where one committee member (harshly) wrote that his application had no merit. He was even rejected from his alma mater, which is a Tier II university in South Florida.
I don't think a 3.4 ought to rule out PhD possibilities. The student is smart - he got solid A's in two graduate courses he took as a junior) - but has some social issues (Aspergers). Beyond possible interpersonal issues, one area of obvious concern is that he has taken no physical chemistry classes. He didn't need it for his major and claims it would have required him to take a total of five additional courses outside his major to finish the physical chemistry series at his school. My question is thus: is physical chemistry a prerequisite for acceptance to a PhD program in organic chemistry?
If it is not a prerequisite, can anyone suggest a few decent schools where this is not the case (and we'll take it from there).