Graduate Study in Chemistry
The Chemistry Department offers students the opportunity to study in the traditional areas of chemistry as well as in the growing interdisciplinary areas of biochemistry, environmental chemistry, and materials chemistry. Students work closely with their faculty mentor, but have wide opportunities to interact with faculty in other disciplines including geology, physics, materials/mechanical engineering and biology.
The department offers the PhD degree in chemistry, as well as the MA and MS degrees. Students specialize in one area of chemistry, taking their courses, exams and performing research in that area.
Each student has a research adviser chosen by the student based on his or her research interests and the faculty member's availability of funding and space. This decision is typically made in the first year, though some students come to the University specifically to work with a given faculty member. This is a mutual decision and the student should have discussions with several faculty before an adviser is proposed. The selection of an adviser is an important decision, since the adviser helps students with course selection and guides them in the development of a viable research program.
Most students pursuing a PhD degree receive support from the department or from their research adviser. Normally most first-year students, who are taking a full course load, are funded through a teaching assistantship. These students also receive a full-tuition scholarship.
In subsequent years, after the student has joined a research group, funding will be provided through a research assistantship. This allows for a full-time research effort, and the faculty adviser assigns a project and provides the necessary facilities for the student to perform the project. A full-tuition scholarship is also awarded in these cases. In cases where the research group does not have funding, the student will continue to be supported on a teaching assistant position. Funding is generally available for four years, assuming satisfactory progress toward the degree. A fifth year of funding can be obtained based on availability. The median time to degree of our students is under 5 years.
Funding is not normally available for students studying for a master's degree.
The department offers a number of graduate courses for students who wish to broaden their training in new areas. Several of these are available over the Internet and can be taken on a non-matriculated basis, so a student can decide later whether to ask for admission to the degree program.