Degree requirements (minimum of 32 hours)
- Proficiency Requirements. Entering graduate students are required to show a minimal proficiency in four (4) of five (5) core areas of Chemistry - Analytical, Biochemistry, Inorganic, Organic and Physical - and an intermediate proficiency in at least two of the core areas. To accomplish this, incoming students during orientation week will choose four (4) proficiency exams from the five (5) core areas and will pass all four at a minimal level and at least two at an intermediate level. The exams are standardized assessments developed by the American Chemical Society to assess typical undergraduate content in the core areas. Students who do not achieve the prescribed test scores can meet the Proficiency Requirement by one of the following processes:
- A student can retake and pass one or more proficiency exams prior to the beginning of the second semester of their graduate program (excluding summers). As part of this option it is assumed that the student will prepare for the second attempt(s) by independent study.
- A student can meet the proficiency standard for a particular core area by passing an approved graduate-level course in the area with a grade of at least "B" (intermediate level) or "C" (minimal level).
- Advisory Committee. Within the first semester, the student will select a graduate advisory committee consisting of a research advisor and at least three additional persons. The research advisory should be a member of the Chemistry faculty and will serve as Chair of the committee. At least one committee member, but not more than two, shall be from outside the chemistry department. The advisory committee will monitor research progress throughout the candidate's graduate program.
- Program of Study. Students will be advised initially by the department graduate director. Within the first semester and after a research advisor has been identified, the candidate's program of study will be structured in consultation with the research advisor and departmental graduate director. Academic background, professional experience, placement test scores, and personal and professional objectives will be considered in establishing the individual's program.
- Chemistry Course Requirement. A minimum of 20 hours in chemistry, with at least 6 hours of 700-level CHM courses numbered 702-790. Students must address a diverse coverage of chemistry in their programs of study by including at least three different sub-disciplines: Analytical, Biochemistry, Chemical Education, Environmental, Inorganic, Organic and Physical. Deficiencies in advanced undergraduate course work - that is, the collective instructional content equivalent to the combination of CHM 602, CHM 606, CHM 607, CHM 642, and CHM 675 - as determined from academic transcripts and/or test scores, may be included in the program of study. Course work hours from these inclusions will count toward the 32-hour program requirement as well as toward the sub-disciplinary diversity policy.
- Colloquium. At least 1, but no more than 2 hours of credit must be earned in CHM 700, Chemistry Colloquium.
- Interdisciplinary Electives. Upon departmental approval, graduate courses from related fields may be included as part of the 32-hour degree requirement but no more than 6 hours may be counted from any single course code other than CHM.
- Research Requirement. For all options, the student is required to give an oral presentation of his/her research to the Department.
- Thesis Option: The maximum credit toward the 32-hour degree requirement is 6 hours of CHM 798 and 6 hours of CHM 799 with no more than 12 total hours of any combination of CHM courses numbered 791 or higher. Submission of a thesis is a specific requirement for the degree. The purpose of the thesis is to demonstrate competence in scientific research and the ability to: choose a research topic of scientific importance; conduct a comprehensive literature search of the problem; design and implement a plan of research; collect and interpret scientific data; and communicate results and interpretations to peers. An oral defense of the thesis is required.
- Non-thesis Option: After an attempt at a research-based thesis, and with the permission of the thesis committee and department head, a student may switch to a non-thesis option. This option requires the production of two (2) extensive papers by completing CHM 792 (3 hours) and CHM 793 (1 hour), both of which will be read and evaluated by faculty committees and one of which (CHM 792) will be presented orally to a public audience and defended before the advisory committee. Four (4) hours (no more, no less) of CHM 798 must be counted toward the degree under this option and additional approved 600- or 700-level course work hours will be taken as needed to fulfill the 32-hour program requirement.
- Comprehensive Examination. A comprehensive examination will be administered after most of the course work has been completed. This examination must be passed by the candidate before a degree will be given.
A candidate must complete a minimum of 32 hours of graduate credit (including research and thesis) with at least a 3.0 graduate GPA. Each M.S. candidate must successfully complete and defend a thesis based on an approved chemical research topic and pass a written comprehensive examination. With approval of the student's advisory committee, a maximum of eight hours may be selected from related fields, and up to eight graduate chemistry hours may be transferred from another institution. A full-time student will normally complete requirements within two calendar years.