Typical Chemistry Curriculum for Graduate Students

All incoming chemistry graduate students are required to take Placement Examinations that are designed to test their background in the traditional areas of organic, inorganic, analytical, and physical chemistry. The information obtained from these exams is used to design a coursework plan for each student, to make initial teaching assignments, and to measure the student’s preparedness for research.

All graduate students are expected to take at least six graduate-level lecture courses, one of which must be a special topics course. At least two courses must be outside the student’s selected major are One credit of seminar is taken in the second and fourth years. One credit of CEM890 must also be completed by the end of the fourth semester. Any designated undergraduate courses required to remedy admission deficiencies must also be completed.

Students are encouraged to choose a research preceptor by the first day of classes of their second semester in the program. Each graduate student must select a guidance committee by the end of the second semester, and each must meet with his/her guidance committee to discuss course requirements, a plan for the student’s second year, and the first seminar by the midpoint of her/his third semester.

The Chemistry Department Comprehensive Examinations consist of a Second Year Oral Examination and series of Cumulative Examinations. The Second Year Oral Exam is given in front of the guidance committee and serves to allow the student to demonstrate preparedness for dissertation research. Cumulative Examinations in all four traditional chemistry areas are given concurrently three times each semester. These exams are graded on a 0, 1, 2, 3 point basis. A student must accumulate 4 points by the end of the fourth semester and 12 points overall to satisfy the comprehensive examination requirements.

All graduate students are required to serve as teaching assistants in Chemistry for a minimum of two semesters. One of the assignments must be completed in the first year of study.

A Ph.D. program in Chemical Physics is also offered. The program requirements differ slightly from the chemistry program requirements listed above.

The following table illustrates a possible program for a student who passes the physical chemistry placement exam at arrival and who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry, either under the physical chemistry or chemical physics programs. (CEM999 are research credits)

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
FallPHY881
CEM991
CEM987
PHY982
CEM998
CEM999CEM999
SpringCEM992
PHY981
CEM890
CEM999
CEM999CEM999
CEM998
SummerCEM999CEM999CEM999CEM999