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Department of Chemistry

Graduate Studies

Programs of study and Group Structure

The Department of Chemistry offers programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in analytical, biological, inorganic, materials, organic, and physical chemistry. Strong interdisciplinary programs at the Ph.D. level are also offered through the Center for Materials Research, which comprises research efforts of faculty from the departments of chemistry; physics; chemical engineering; mechanical and nuclear; and electrical and computer engineering. The department faculty and research programs are operated through six overlapping groups. Each group has faculty and adjunct faculty who work together to coordinate a "group" graduate program involving graduate courses, seminar programs and a cumulative examination system.

Entering students are administered placement exams in the analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry areas in order to assess their preparations for graduate studies. Outstanding students are encouraged to take advanced standing exams that allow certain required course work to be bypassed. A minimum grade of C must be obtained in all courses in order to earn credit and a minimum overall grade point average of 3.0 (out of a possible 4.0) is necessary. Original research is the most important part of the graduate program, and selection of a research director is made during the first semester in residence in order to allow students to start work on their research projects at an early date.

Ph.D. Program
M.S. Degree

 

Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) for the Ph.D. and M.S. programs in Chemistry

SLO #1. An ability to employ critical thinking and hypothesis driven methods of scientific inquiry.
              i) Display effective written and verbal communication skills
              ii) Attain a high level of chemical knowledge
              iii) Demonstrate a significant level of critical thinking

SLO #2. A familiarity with, and application of, local, state, and federal safety and chemical hygiene regulations and practices.

Summary
Student in the chemistry Ph.D. and M.S. programs are expected to employ critical thinking and hypothesis driven methods of scientific inquiry. In addition, they must demonstrate a familiarity with, and application of, local, state, and federal safety and chemical hygiene regulations and practices. These abilities are monitored throughout the program and a student is required to accomplish these aims by maintaining a high standard of course work, passing a series of cumulative exams testing their knowledge of chemistry, successfully completing a preliminary exam indicating they can design, develop, and defend (written and oral) an original research idea, and finally write and defend a major thesis. Furthermore, chemistry graduate students are expected to pass a safety exam and to retain that knowledge during their graduate career (and beyond).

The same students learning outcomes are expected for both the Ph.D. and M.S. programs. The main difference between the programs involves the level of critical thinking achieved by the student. For the Ph.D. program we expect a higher degree of critical thinking, such that the student will then be in a position to direct a research program in Chemistry, whereas an M.S. student would then be able to perform research in Chemistry under supervision.