Course Descriptions

CHE 501: Organic Chemistry

The core graduate course in organic chemistry. The course aims to provide chemistry graduate students with a broad set of skills in physical organic chemistry and reaction mechanisms, which may be applied to research in all subdisciplines of chemistry. Common carbon-carbon bond forming reactions and functional group manipulations are used as the framework for discussions of acids and bases, the kinetic determination of reaction mechanisms, and the nature of interactions between and within molecules that are the underlying cause of substituent effects on reactions rate. Problem solving skills are developed in discussions of reaction kinetics, stereochemistry, conformational analysis, reactivity-selectivity relationships and other selected topics.

CHE 502: Synthetic Organic Chemistry

The aim of this course is to cultivate knowledge of modern organic synthesis.  The application of organic reactions to the synthesis of complex molecules, including natural products, is studied.  In addition to synthetic strategies, detailed reaction mechanism, reaction scope and issues in catalysis are discussed.  The course material will draw heavily on a total synthesis textbook, but will also engage the student with recent synthetic literature. Most students will have taken CHE 501 prior to taking this course.

CHE 503: Inorganic Chemistry

This course is intended to provide students with a broad background in inorganic chemistry. The fundamental concepts of coordination chemistry are developed, including the structure, electronic properties, and reactivity of transition metal complexes. Elements of group theory are introduced to describe the fundamental underpinnings of spectroscopic and crystallographic characterization methods. Fundamentals of organometallic chemistry and catalytic reaction mechanisms are covered. The course may include introductions to bioinorganic chemistry and solid-state inorganic chemistry.

CHE 504: Physical Methods of Inorganic Chemistry

This course typically surveys modern physical methods of characterization and study of inorganic and organometallic compounds.  Topics include NMR, IR and UV/visible spectroscopy, ESR, and mass spectrometry.  Examples of applications of these methods in the current literature are typically presented.

CHE 457-505: Physical Chemistry I

This course begins with the fundamentals of classical thermodynamics, developing the subject matter from a molecular and statistical point of view. The usefulness of thermodynamics and associated statistical methods in understanding molecular events in chemical reactions is stressed. The kinetics of chemical processes are treated for reactions in both gaseous and condensed phases, with an emphasis on current reaction dynamics. The next portion of the course is devoted towards a review of the fundamentals of quantum mechanics. Modern methods for calculating the electronic structure of molecules are outlined. Students learn how to carry out computations using quantum chemical software.

CHE 506: Physical Chemistry 2

“Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy of Molecules and Nanostructures” Quantum chemical calculations are used by theoretical and experimental groups in order to understand molecular and material properties and predict and understand chemical reactivity. This course is designed to give the students an introductory overview of quantum chemical methods applied to molecules, clusters and nanoparticles. Electronic structure and molecular orbital (MO) theory will be introduced for polyatomic molecules and nanoscale solids. Hückel’s theory will be discussed in relation to conjugated structures and aromatic molecules. Applications of density functional theory to molecules, clusters and nanostructures will be introduced. An introduction to nanoplasmonics, nanophotonics and metaphotonics will be presented. The course will also cover various spectroscopic methods to probe molecular structure and dynamics.

CHE 507: Analytical Chemistry

CHE 507 is devoted to signal-to-noise theory, instrumentation, and modern analytical spectroscopy and imaging.

CHE 508: Statistics and Instrumentation

This course covers the following topics: statistical methods of analysis, group comparison methods, gas-liquid chromatography, gas-solid chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography, supercritical fluid chromatography, capillary electrophoresis and capillary electrochromatography, field flow fractionation, microanalysis, and mechanism of band broadening.

CHE 510: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry Topics: Materials Chemistry

This course typically reviews the structure and electronic properties of inorganic materials, important characterization techniques including X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy, and synthetic methods in materials chemistry. Elements of solid-state chemistry and physics are invoked to account for the electronic and magnetic properties of metals and semiconductors. The effects of defects and non-stoichiometry are typically discussed, as is the role of finite size with reference to recent advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology. Special topics pertaining to catalysis, energy storage and conversion, and/or electronic devices are typically introduced.

CHE 512: Advanced Physical Chemistry Topics: Chemistry of Materials

CHE 512 offers a selection of experimental physical, theoretical, and computational chemistry advanced topics among which are the following: Materials, including inorganic solids, polymers, organic semiconductors, organic-inorganic hybrids, and biomaterials. Symmetry aspects of chemical bonding and crystallographic nomenclature. Electrochemistry and important characterization techniques including X-ray diffraction. Nuclear magnetic resonance. Elements of solid-state chemistry and physics. Electronic structure theory and computational chemistry. Band structure theory, Photochemistry, response theory and optical & spectroscopic properties. Relativistic quantum chemistry.

CHE 514: Special Topics in Organic Chemistry: Polymer Chemistry

Synthetic polymers have become an integral part of our lives and can be found in many everyday and advanced materials: rubber tires, bullet-proof vests, paints, fibers, contact lenses, drug delivery vehicles and many others. This course covers the basics of polymer synthesis, including traditional polymerization techniques, such as free-radical and anionic chain polymerizations, and step-growth polymerization. Newer methods of polymer synthesis, such as ring-opening metathesis polymerization and living free-radical polymerizations are also typically discussed. Students are introduced to the methods of preparation of advanced polymer structures, such as block, star and brush copolymers, semi-conducting and biodegradable polymers. Fundamentals of structure and physical properties of polymers, and methods of characterization are also covered.

CHE 516: Special Topics in Analytical Chemistry: Environmental Chemistry

This course focuses on the role of Analytical Chemistry in the investigations on the fate and transport of chemical pollutants in the environment.  The fundamentals of environmental sampling, sample preparation, and trace analysis using modern instrumental techniques (LC/MS, GC/MS, ICP/MS, etc) are typically discussed.  Topics also include a discussion of the physico-chemical factors that affect the persistence, mobility, and distribution of pollutants in soil, water, atmosphere, and biota.  In addition, recent research articles from the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology are typically discussed to familiarize the students with current and emerging issues that are relevant to environmental chemistry.   Ultimately,  the students not only learn how to select the most appropriate analytical tool for a particular environmental investigation, based on knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of pollutants, but also become knowledgeable on the impacts of chemical pollutants on wildlife, human health, and the environment as a whole.

CHE 520: Organometallic Chemistry

This course provides a survey of organometallic chemistry, with the emphasis on transition metals.  The course covers structure and bonding of organometallic compounds, synthesis, reaction mechanisms, and selected applications in synthetic organic chemistry and catalysis.

CHE 522: Structure Determination in Organic and Medicinal Chemistry

Spectroscopic techniques are invaluable tools for the structural characterization of organic compounds. This course provides students with fundamental and practical knowledge on using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), infrared and ultraviolet spectroscopy and mass spectrometry techniques. After a brief introduction into the theory behind these techniques, the majority of the course focuses on developing data interpretation and problem solving skills. A large porion of the course is devoted to utilizing 1D and 2D 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy methods for structure determination of organic compounds. Students learn how to choose a particular characterization method, design proper experiments, and analyze and interpret the obtained spectra.

CHE 523: Bioinorganic Chemistry

This course covers current topics in bioinorganic chemistry and medicinal inorganic chemistry. The course begins with a review of the distribution and abundance of metal ions in biological systems and their environment and the basics of coordination chemistry.   Transport of metal ions into and within cells is covered and diseases associated with errors in metal ion trafficking are discussed. This topic leads into mechanistic and spectroscopic studies of several selected metalloenzymes.   Topics covered in nucleic acids include the role of metal ions in catalytic RNAs and the mechanism of action of anticancer metallodrugs such as platinum drugs and bleomycin.   Finally, metal ion complexes used as radiopharmaceuticals and in magnetic resonance imaging are covered.

CHE 527: Analytical Surface Spectroscopy

This course is meant to introduce methods of surface analysis and their applications within a framework which includes a problem solving approach to complex real world systems.  The course is typically divided into three areas: formal lecture material, teamwork based problems sets, assignments and oral presentation/research review paper.  The lecture typically covers electron spectroscopies, optical spectroscopies and ion spectroscopy as they are applied to the determination of surface chemistry.  The applications of these methods are developed through the problem sets and the review papers.  Topics such as catalysis, corrosion, adhesion, semiconductor materials, biomaterials, electrochemical surfaces, polymers, and membranes are often discussed.

CHE 528: Analytical Microseparations

This graduate level course will cover fundamental principles, analytical applications of separation science, and techniques in the liquid phase. Emphasis will be given to the fundamental aspects of capillary electrophoresis (CE), capillary electrochromatography (CEC), and HPLC in not traditional column formats (e.g., capillary LC). Topics to be discussed include theories of the separation processes and instrumentation.  Readings from the current literature will be assigned throughout the semester in addition to the textbook.

CHE 529: Photoluminescence-Based Spectrochemical Analysis

CHE 529 is devoted to photoluminescence-based spectrochemical analysis across scientific disciplines. Specifically, this course will explore the fundamental principles and uses of modern photoluminescence spectroscopy in biology, biophysics, chemistry, engineering, and nanoscale materials. The first course segment will cover the basic principles underlying absorption (single and multiphoton events), emission, energy transfer, polarization/anisotropy, time-resolved emission, transient solvation, and time-resolved anisotropies. In the second segment, our focus will turn to a discussion of modern instrumental design and key operational principles. The final segment will explore specific aspect of photoluminescence of interest to the class. Special emphasis will be placed on maximizing information from ones experiments.

CHE 530: Analytical Mass Spectrometry

This course covers modern analytical mass spectrometry techniques and their application to solving research problems.  Part of the course typically focuses on instrumentation – mass analyzers, ionization sources, detectors, inlet systems, etc.  The analytical advantages of each method will be explored, as will an understanding of the fundamental principles which underlie each methodology.  In addition, the course examines sophisticated experimental methods, such as tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MSO) for structural elucidation, on-line separations, mass spectrometry (GC/MS, LC/MS, CE/MS, etc.) in which the mass spectrometer serves as a detector for separations techniques, and quantification.  Another portion of the course is typically dedicated to mass spectral interpretation.  Topics such as isotope distribution and fragmentation patterns (for organic compounds as well as biological compounds) as useful tools in mass spectral interpretation are covered.  Throughout the course, the broad-ranging applications for mass spectrometry are underscored, from forensics to geological/archaeological dating to biomolecule sequencing to studying atmospheric chemistry.

MCH 501: Principles of Medicinal Chemistry: Drug Discovery Principles

This course focuses on the fundamental aspects and current methodologies involved in the drug discovery process.  The fundamental aspects include the physical, chemical and pharmaceutical properties of drugs.  The methodologies include lead discovery strategies, statistically based 2D and 3D QSAR optimization methods, structure-based and mechanism-based design methods, and combinatorial techniques.  Application to the chemotherapy of cancer, viral and microbial diseases is examined.

MCH 502: Principles of Medicinal Chemistry II

MCH 502 is a continuation of MCH 501. Drug metabolism, prodrugs and drug delivery systems are discussed in detail. In addition, prototypes of selected drug classes are discussed with a focus on the molecular mechanisms of action of representative drugs. Drug-target interactions at the molecular level are examined. In this course, the medicinal chemistry topics are integrated with relevant topics in biochemistry, physiology, pharmaceutics, and structural biology.

MCH 514: Protein & Peptide Chemistry

The class discusses various aspects of drug discovery process focusing on different classes of targets, mainly protein kinases. Basic understanding of the target proteins, why and how they are targeted, different steps involved in drug discovery process, including popular practical applications, considerations for potency and selectivity are provided as a foundation, followed by a discussion of recent papers focusing on the advancements in the field.

MCH 517: Heterocyclic Chemistry

The synthesis, reactions, and properties of 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-membered heterocyclic rings are discussed. The heterocyclic systems include O, N, S, Se, and Te heteroatoms.  Both pi-excessive and pi-deficient aromatic heterocycles are described in the course as well as non-aromatic analogues.

MCH 519: Kinetics of Model Systems Related to Enzymic Reactions

Kinetics of model reactions related to biochemical reactions are studied. Implications from the results of model studies are applied to their biochemical counterparts with a view to rationalizing biochemical mechanisms using fundamental principles of organic chemistry.

Advanced Research and Independent Study Courses

  • CHE 571: Advanced Laboratory Techniques
  • CHE 598: Graduate Research Proposal
  • CHE 599: Supervised Teaching
  • CHE 600: Independent Study
  • CHE 700: Thesis Guidance
  • CHE 720: Graduate Research
  • CHE 760: Selection Of Thesis Research
  • MCH 511: Research Problems
  • MCH 615: Medicinal Chemistry Research
  • MCH 700: Thesis Guidance

Course Syllabi

If you are looking for a current or past course syllabus, please contact Barb Raff.

Barbara Raff.

359 Natural Sciences Complex

Phone: (716) 645-6805

Secretary, Main Office
Department of Chemistry
College of Arts and Sciences

359 Natural Sciences Complex

Phone: (716) 645-6805