Chemistry

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

Requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy

The degree of doctor of philosophy is awarded as the result of the demonstration of originality and scholarly achievement.  It demands intensive specialization in one field as well as broad knowledge of related areas.

Course requirements are intended to achieve two basic goals. 1) Acquisition of background knowledge. There is a central core of material that is basic for all well-trained chemists. Therefore, graduate students are initially expected to develop or demonstrate knowledge of an appropriate one-semester course in each of the areas of organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, physical chemistry, and quantum chemistry. 2) Continued scholarly growth. Graduate students are expected to take one course or its equivalent every semester. This may be a regular advanced course in chemistry or a related discipline, a seminar, or a tutorial designed to meet the special needs of an individual student.

Progress examinations are given multiple times each academic year. Based on articles in the current literature, these examinations are designed to encourage graduate students to keep up with the latest developments in chemistry. In addition, they are a valuable tool for monitoring the expected steady growth of a student's ability to read the chemical literature critically as well as identifying any areas where he or she is deficient.

Proposal writing is one of the most important parts of the entire graduate program in chemistry. Writing scientific proposals teaches evaluation of the literature, integration of knowledge from several areas, formulation of scientific questions, design of a research project to answer those questions, scientific writing and the defense of a project proposal.

Teaching skills and assisting duties are given to each students as a means of developing communication skills. As these develop, more responsible and demanding tasks will be assigned whenever possible.  Students are expected to assist in courses for at least one year.

A one-hour seminar talk is expected of each student once a year. For first-year graduate students, this seminar will be scheduled in the second semester. At least two of these talks must be literature reviews of areas new to the student. In addition, there will be a number of shorter, less formal talks in classes, research group meetings, and special-interest discussion groups, all of which will contribute to a student's ability to work up, organize, and present a scientific topic.

The thesis research and dissertation is an original contribution worthy of publication and is the single most important requirement. The candidate will have the opportunity to present his or her work in a talk at the departmental colloquium.

PROGRAM DETAILS

The Graduate Program Timeline
First Year
- Much of the first year of study consists of course work that builds a broad background in chemistry.

- Students are expected to demonstrate knowledge of the core courses in quantum chemistry, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry and inorganic chemistry.  It is possible to demonstrate proficiency either by taking the appropriate course or passing a placement examination.

- Graduate students also take advanced courses related to their specific fields of specialization.

- Most students choose a research advisor and begin a research program by the end of their first semester.
 
Second Year
A student is admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. by fulfilling the following requirements:

- Demonstration of knowledge of the core curriculum outlined above.

- Passing a specified number of progress examinations, given approximately six times each academic year. These examinations are based on articles in the current literature and are designed to encourage graduate students to keep up with the latest developments in chemistry. In addition, they are a valuable tool for monitoring the expected steady growth of a student's analytical and intellectual abilities.

- Developing teaching skills by assisting in undergraduate courses for at least one year.

- Originating and presenting in both written and oral forms a research proposal.

The essence of the graduate program is, however, the Ph.D. thesis research, which is carried out in collaboration with a faculty thesis mentor. This work must represent an original contribution to science and be worthy of publication. The dissertatation describes before the chemistry faculty. The candidate has the opportunity to present his/her work at the department colloquium.
 

Fourth Year

- Students must submit and defend a second research proposal as the last formal requirement for the degree of doctor of philosophy before the dissertation.  This proposal should be unrelated to the student's thesis or group research.  Proposals are judged on originality, creativity, significance and feasibility.