The PhD in Chemistry is primarily a research degree. The majority of a doctoral student’s time will be devoted to original research that nurtures creativity and independent thinking. The department recognizes the importance of this aspect of a graduate student’s development, and has established requirements that provide a stimulating environment to perform first-rate chemical research.
The Department of Chemistry views an advanced degree in chemistry or medicinal chemistry as primarily a research degree, so the choice of research director is an important decision for the first-year graduate student. To facilitate the selection of the research mentor, the members of the faculty engaged in research present a general overview of their research interests in a series of meetings with the new graduate students. This allows the students to become acquainted with the different research opportunities in the program in an informal setting.
Students are also encouraged to speak informally with as many faculty members as possible before making their decision. Assistance is available to those students having difficulty with this decision. However, it is to the student’s advantage to select a research advisor at the earliest possible date. Typically, graduate research is initiated during the second semester or during the first summer within the program.
Upon arrival, all new graduate students are required to take standardized tests produced by the American Chemical Society to assess their preparation for graduate study. Results of these tests are used by the Graduate Curriculum Committee to help students select their first-semester courses. A typical first-semester graduate student takes three core graduate-level courses and is also engaged in TA duties. Most of the required course work is finished by the end of the second or third semester in the program.
The following table provides a typical PhD graduate student timeline:
|First||Fall||Take three core courses |
Choose research advisor
|First||Spring||Take three elective courses |
|Third||Fall||Research Synopsis |
|Fourth||Fall or Spring||Research Seminar|
|Fifth||Fall or Spring||Thesis Defense|