ABOUT THE GRADUATE PROGRAM

The degree leading to a Ph.D. in Chemistry 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 at least once a year beginning in their second year.

The thesis research and dissertation is an original contribution worthy of publication and is the single most important requirement. Finally, the candidate defends the thesis before his/her committee and then presents a final seminar to the department.

Further details about the graduate program structure and requirements are available here: Outline of the Graduate Program in Chemistry