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Chemistry & Biochemistry Graduate Programs

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry offers Master of Science (MS) degrees in Chemistry, and an online Chemistry-Chemical Education specialization for high school teachers, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in either Chemistry with a specialization in 4 areas:

or Biochemistry with a specialization in 2 areas:

To ensure a broad knowledge of chemistry, each graduate student entering the Chemistry Department is required to complete a series of "core" courses. Students enrolled in the MS or PhD programs must complete courses in 4 of the 5 areas of specialization listed above. PhD candidates are also required to take a course on the chemical literature (CHEM 516). Additional courses are selected by the student and his or her advisory committee from the Course List list which follows to develop the student's chosen area of specialization.

Orientation Program for Incoming Students

At research universities graduate students provide important staffing for instructional laboratories.  It is therefore necessary to insure that these graduate students are prepared for this new endeavor and for the rigors of graduate school.  New graduate students at South Dakota State University are provided thorough training exercises to help them matriculate through the early years of graduate school while providing strong leadership as teaching assistants.  Graduate students arrive on campus in early July to begin training.  Orientation programs include discussions about departmental and graduate school requirements, safety and fire extinguisher training, ethics and human resources visits, along with opportunities to conduct all freshman-level laboratory exercises.  During the laboratory practice the new graduate students are expected to practice laboratory "kickoffs"; these are the 15-20 discussions/lectures that help the undergraduate successfully complete the lab exercise.  Some of these practice kickoffs are conducted "live" with summer school undergraduate students.  In addition, the new graduate students enroll in a 2 credit teaching class: Chemistry Instruction in Higher Education.  This course provides the new graduate students with theoretical perspectives on teaching.  Examples of theory discussed include constructive perspectives and group learning principles.  Throughout the summer the course models a variety of teaching pedagogies to new graduate students can discuss the benefits and disadvantages of different teaching styles.  Each student is expected to lead group sessions and to deliver a 15 minute presentation of a general chemistry topic during a microteaching activity.

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