General Program Information
Graduate School Contact:
Angela Edwards; firstname.lastname@example.org; (423) 439-4703
Hua Mei, Ph.D., Graduate Coordinator
465 Brown Hall
Robert Standaert, Ph.D., Department Chair
468 Brown Hall
Faculty: Gregory Bishop; Scott Dane; Cassandra T. Eagle; Ismail O. Kady; Scott J. Kirkby; Catherine McCusker; Hua Mei; Marina Roginskaya; Abbas Shilabin; Aleksey Vasiliev.
The Department of Chemistry offers a Master of Science degree with focus areas in the four traditional major areas of chemistry: analytical, inorganic, organic and physical. The program is designed, through advanced courses and individual research, to prepare the student for a career as a chemist or for continued study in a rigorous doctoral program.
Program Admission Requirements
To be eligible for admission to the program leading to an M.S. degree, a student must have:
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with an adequate undergraduate background for the advanced work in the chemistry department.
- This background must include a course in Physical Chemistry with laboratory requiring calculus as a prerequisite.
- At least two recommendation letters from individuals who can comment on the academic as well as personal qualifications of the applicant.
Incoming students lacking certain prerequisites may, with departmental permission, make up these deficiencies. However, graduate credit will not be received for this coursework. Upon entering, some students may be asked to take departmental placement exams, the purpose of which is to determine the level of the incoming student’s preparedness for the graduate program. These exams, if administered, will be used to better advise students as to their specific course of study.
Minimum Degree Requirements
The chemistry master’s program offers students a broad, yet intensive, study of the four traditional major areas of chemistry: analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical.
A graduate major must take at least one of the core courses listed in each of the areas. Additionally, each student must choose an area of study in conference with an advisor or research director. In this area, two core courses must be taken. Additional chemistry coursework may be chosen in any area.
A minimum of 30 semester credits is required for the M.S. degree in chemistry. A maximum of nine credits can be included from CHEM 5950 Research in Chemistry , CHEM 5960 Thesis in Chemistry , and CHEM 5010 Graduate Seminar in the required semester credits. Seminar is required and must be related to the student’s research. CHEM 5450 Advanced Laboratory in Chemistry does not count toward the required 30 credits. With the approval of the student’s advisor, up to 10 credits may be in related fields.
All graduate majors are encouraged to conduct original research and to complete a thesis in their area of study, under the direction of a graduate faculty member. The student’s research director should be chosen as soon as possible after admission to candidacy. CHEM 5450 is designed to help new students to complete this process within the first semester of their studies. See “Admission to Candidacy ” elsewhere in this catalog. All students are expected to attend departmental seminars regularly even if they are not formally enrolled for credit.
The non-thesis option is not recommended for graduate students majoring in chemistry. With proper justification, the department chair may approve a non-thesis option which will require 33 credits of coursework, which may include a seminar topic of current interest. The topic is subject to the advisor’s approval.
To assure that graduate students have adequately assimilated their knowledge at the master’s level, written comprehensive examinations are given in each of the four basic areas of chemistry. The examinations are taken after completion of the appropriate core courses. All majors must pass the comprehensive exam in their selected area of study. In addition, majors must pass comprehensive exams in all the other areas, except that these additional exams may be waived by achieving a grade of “B” or better in a core course within that given area. In the event that a student does not pass the comprehensive exam on the first attempt, the exam may be retaken as early as the next scheduled time with the approval of the student’s advisory committee. However, remedial coursework for the student may be required by the advisory committee before approval is given. Students are limited to two attempts of each comprehensive exam. Failure to pass an exam after two attempts will result in the student being ineligible to continue in the program.
After successfully completing all other requirements for the master’s program, a final oral examination is administered to the student by the student’s advisory committee. The oral exam is the defense of the candidate’s thesis and is open to all interested faculty and students. Questions from the committee, while centering around the candidate’s thesis work, are not limited to the research involved, but may cover other related topics of chemistry that a student would be expected to encounter in a master’s program.