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CHEMISTRY

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Master’s degree

Ph.D. degree

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WSU Chemistry Mission Statement

The mission of WSU's Graduate Programs in Chemistry is the preparation of students for careers ranging from teaching at postsecondary institutions to conducting research in universities, industrial settings, and government laboratories. Two graduate degrees are offered at WSU, the Master’s of Science (M.S.) and Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Enrollment in either program requires a Bachelors degree, however a Master’s degree is not required for enrollment in the Ph.D. program. The M.S. degree is a strong research-oriented degree that has been offered since 1930, involving the training of students in the art and logic of research and imparting an advanced understanding of the discipline of chemistry. The purpose of the Ph.D. degree is to allow students to develop their full potential as independent research scientists. This degree involves an intensive training of students in which they complete original, independent research. Both degrees offer a wide range of up-to-date and rigorous courses encompassing six areas of chemistry along with a thesis based on original research for the M.S. and a dissertation based on original research for the Ph.D. degree.


Financial Support

Graduate teaching assistantships are available to qualified students. Faculty members may support students in their research groups from research grants. Doctoral students in chemistry also are eligible to receive Fellowships in Chemistry.
The department is committed to supporting Ph.D. students for up to five years and M.S. students for up to two years as they pursue completion of degree requirements. Satisfactory performance ensures continuing annual financial support.

 

The Master's Degree in Chemistry

The M.S. degree in chemistry prepares students for leadership and management roles in a wide range of positions related to the chemical industry. Attainment of a Master’s degree designates an individual as having achieved a higher-order understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of chemistry and chemical research. This degree improves the earning potential and career advancement opportunities for students by providing advanced knowledge and training. Attainment of an M.S. degree typically requires 2-3 years of advance study and laboratory research.

Courses. The M.S. degree in chemistry requires the completion of 30 credit hours, including the presentation of a thesis based on original research. The program requires at least 6 credit hours in research, CHEM 890. Also, at least 15 credit hours in chemistry courses numbered above 701 must be taken, including Instrumental Methods for Research (CHEM 734) and at least 3 of the graduate chemistry core courses (CHEM 715 – 723). Students must complete one enrollment in Chemistry Seminar (CHEM 700) and must enroll in Chemistry Colloquium (CHEM 701) each semester of their degree program. Additional courses are selected by students in consultation with their major advisor and the department’s Graduate Affairs Committee.

Assessment Examinations. These examinations - in the areas of analytical, inorganic, organic, physical chemistry and biochemistry - determine a student's mastery of undergraduate material. Students must pass four of these exams upon entering the program. Otherwise, they must enroll in appropriate advanced undergraduate courses within their first year to make up the deficiency.

Thesis. Students must select a research advisor before the end of their first semester in the program. The student incorporates the results of the original research project accomplished under the direction of the research advisor into a thesis. This thesis - the culmination of the M.S. program - demonstrates that the student has become a trained research scientist prepared to embark on an advanced career in chemistry.


The Ph.D. in Chemistry

Students who have earned a Bachelor’s degree may enroll directly into the Ph.D. program. The Ph.D. is the highest degree awarded in chemistry and recognizes those who have made notable, independent and original contributions to the field of chemistry. Attainment of a Ph.D. normally requires 3-5 years of advanced studies in which the major focus is on research. Ph.D. candidates complete an original body of research to support a scientific thesis which they must defend before obtaining their degree. The Ph.D. degree offers the recipient unlimited career options and recipients may go on to leadership positions in academia, industry and government.

Courses. All Ph.D. students are required to take 24 hours of graduate chemistry courses comprised of core courses and focused courses. The core courses include Advanced Spectroscopy I (CHEM 715), Advanced Spectroscopy II (CHEM 717), Modern Synthetic Methods (CHEM 719), Advanced Biochemistry (CHEM 721), Advanced Physical Chemistry (CHEM 723), and Instrumental Methods for Research (CHEM 734). CHEM 715, 719, 721, 723, and 734 are required of all Ph.D. students. The remaining 9 hours may be satisfied by CHEM 717 and/or 2 - 3 focused courses numbered above 701. Students must complete two enrollments in Chemistry Seminar (CHEM 700) and must enroll in Chemistry Colloquium (CHEM 701) each semester of their degree program.

Assessment Examinations. These examinations - in the areas of analytical, inorganic, organic, physical chemistry and biochemistry - determine a student's mastery of undergraduate material. Students must pass four of these exams upon entering the program. Otherwise, they must enroll in appropriate advanced undergraduate courses within their first year to make up the deficiency.

Cumulative Examinations. The cumulative examination program, which offers eight examinations per year, helps students keep abreast of scientific literature and develop up-to-date methods of solving problems encountered in their chosen field of research. Successful completion of six cumulative examinations out of the maximum of sixteen is deemed sufficient evidence of a student's development in this area.

Research Proposal. During the student's fifth semester in the program, the student prepares a proposal embodying a new and independent research problem and methods of achieving a solution to that problem. The student then defends this proposal before his or her dissertation committee.

Dissertation. Students must select a research advisor before the end of their first semester in the program. The student incorporates the results of the original research project accomplished under the direction of the research advisor into a dissertation. This dissertation - the culmination of the Ph.D. program - demonstrates that the student has become a trained research scientist prepared to embark on a creative independent career in chemistry.

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