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Program | Faculty | Courses

The Department of Chemistry offers individualized programs leading to the Ph.D. degree with specialization in one or more of the following areas: analytical, biological, inorganic, organic or physical chemistry. Additional areas of specialization are possible via adjunct faculty who provide links with other departments and programs. Chemistry faculty members participate in several interdisciplinary programs and the department participates in the Five College Ph.D. Program.

The department does not have a master’s program per se; however, a master’s may be possible in the following circumstances: 1) A doctoral student needs a master’s degree en route to the Ph.D. 2) A student is unable to complete the Ph.D. program and petitions for a terminal master’s degree.

There are few formal requirements for the Ph.D. degree so as to allow each student’s program to be tailored to individual needs. In the first year, students take a two-semester core course as well as more specialized courses in their areas of interest. There is no foreign language requirement.

The Preliminary Comprehensive Exam consists of successfully presenting both a Prospectus and later an Original Research Proposal, unrelated to the prospectus/dissertation, along with any additional divisional requirements (“cumes”).

All entering graduate students participate in an orientation program in the week prior to the beginning of the first week of graduate study. This is designed to evaluate the student’s preparation and assist in planning a course of study. Students also take a short seminar course, Faculty Research Seminar, to expose themselves to the current research being done by the faculty. During the first semester, students participate in a series of short rotations in faculty research groups. Research advisers are assigned early in the second semester. After a research topic is selected, the student’s research adviser helps plan the remainder of the program. The Ph.D. degree is awarded for the production and successful defense of a dissertation describing original, publishable research work. Students accepted into graduate programs are expected to have undergraduate preparation comparable to that recommended by the American Chemical Society.