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Chemistry Graduate Programs

M.S. Degree

The M.S. degree requires 21 credits hours of course work, two credits of seminar and seven credits of research. See below course work for Ph.D. for specific course requirements.

The Department's M.S. in Chemistry emphasizes research. It requires a completion of a research project leading to a written thesis and its defense in front of a faculty advisory committee. On the average, it takes approximately two and one-half years beyond a bachelor's degree to complete the M.S. program

Ph.D. Degree

Course Work

A doctoral student must earn 90 credits (60 with prior earned M.S. degree). Of that, a minimum of 24 credits are in course work, with the remaining credits in dissertation research. Credits in four of the chemistry core courses (see list below) are required. Three of the 24 credits are seminars. Additional credits are from the elective courses. Examples of elective courses are listed below.

Chemistry Core Courses

  • CHEM 516: Chemical Communication Skills
  • CHEM 701: Advanced Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 703: Advanced Physical Chemistry
  • CHEM 704: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM 705: Principles of Biochemistry
  • CHEM 706: Advanced Analytical Chemistry
  • CHEM 715: Chemistry, Instruction in Higher Education

Chemistry Elective Courses

  • CHEM 722: Synthesis of Natural Products
  • CHEM 724: Structural Determination of Organic Compounds
  • CHEM 724L: Structural Determination of Organic Compounds Lab
  • CHEM 726: Advanced Organic Chemistry II
  • CHEM 728: Bioorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM 753: Organometallic Chemistry
  • CHEM 731: Advanced Environmental Chemistry
  • CHEM 732: Aquatic Chemistry
  • CHEM 733: Atmospheric Chemistry
  • CHEM 734: Environmental Surface Chemistry
  • CHEM 735: Analytical Spectroscopy
  • CHEM 736: Chromatography and Separation
  • CHEM 738: Electroanalytical Chemistry
  • CHEM 741: Quantum Chemistry I
  • CHEM 742: Quantum Chemistry II
  • CHEM 744: Chemical Thermodynamics
  • CHEM 745: Statistical Thermodynamics
  • CHEM 748: Chemical Kinetics

Additional Information

A student is guided in doctoral work by a faculty advisor and an advisory committee. Upon starting the Ph.D. program, the student, with assistance from the department and faculty, selects a member of the department graduate faculty as academic advisor. Early in the student’s program, the faculty advisor assists the student in forming a Faculty Advisory Committee consisting three members of the department faculty including the faculty advisor and a graduate faculty representative appointed by the Graduate School. The faculty advisor, in collaboration with the Faculty Advisory Committee, provides guidance, advice and assistance as the student completes required tasks and proceeds through the graduate program.

Qualification, a demonstration of necessary knowledge in chemistry to succeed in advanced work (dissertation), is required to become a Ph.D. candidate. Candidacy is achieved by passing comprehensive exams. The written part of qualification is in the form of cumulative exams, in which a potential candidate must accumulate ten points in monthly exams offered by faculty (passing an exam earns one point, and passing with distinction earns two points) in the student’s first 24 months in the program. Of the ten points, at least six must be with distinction, namely, from three exams.

Following passing cumulative exams (earning ten points), the potential candidate undertakes an oral exam in front of the faculty advisory committee. A written research proposal is required as part of the oral exam. Students are required to develop an original research proposal, written in the style of an NSF or NIH proposal. In the oral exam, the student must elaborate on the research proposal and answer questions about the research and about content of her/his course work.

After admission to candidacy, the remainder of the graduate student's program is focused completing the dissertation. The degree requirements are met when the written dissertation is presented to the student's advisory committee and defended successfully. For a student entering with a bachelor's degree, it will typically take, on average, five years to complete all requirements for the Ph.D. program.