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Program and Application Information
Department Chair:Dr. Greg Cook
Graduate Coordinator:Guodong Liu
Department Location:Ladd Hall
Department Phone:(701) 231-8694
Department Web
Application Deadline:March 1 for fall, September 1 for spring. Spring admissions are given occasionally depending on fellowship availability and faculty interests. If there are no spring openings, spring applications are automatically considered for the subsequent fall semester.
Degrees Offered: Ph.D., M.S.
Test Requirement:GRE (general required; subject recommended)
English Proficiency Requirements:TOEFL ibT 81 (23 speak; 21 write) –TA, 71 – RA; IELTS 6.5 – TA; 6 – RA

Program Description

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers graduate study leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. The department also participates in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Cellular and Molecular Biology.

At the start of the first year of study, entering graduate students take entrance examinations in chemistry and biochemistry, as well as analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. The graduate student progress committee uses these exams for advisory purposes in recommending course work during the first year. As a consequence, programs are individually tailored to the needs of each student.

The chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology of plant, animal, insect, and microbial systems are studied through advanced course work and research. Selection of the area of emphasis depends on the interests of the student. Typically, course work is completed in one to one-and-a-half years for M.S. candidates, and two years for Ph.D. candidates, leaving later years for full-time thesis research. The typical time to complete a graduate degree averages three years for the M.S. degree and approximately five years for the Ph.D.

Admission Requirements

The graduate programs in biochemistry are open to all qualified graduates of universities and colleges of recognized standing. To be admitted with full standing to the program, the applicant must meet the Graduate School's admission requirements, have adequate preparation for the study of chemistry and biochemistry at the graduate level, and show potential to undertake advanced study and research as evidenced by academic performance and experience.

Applications will be considered at any time. Application materials should be submitted directly to the Graduate School and need to be received before May 1 to be considered for the upcoming academic year.

Financial Assistance

The student must first apply to the Graduate School and be accepted in full or conditional status before he/she is eligible for an assistantship in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are supported during both the academic year and during summer months by either teaching assistantships (TA) or research assistantships (RA).  As of the 2014-2015 academic year, the standard stipend is $22,000 per year for both RAs and TAs. University tuition (no fees) is waived for all TAs and RAs in good academic standing.

Research Opportunities and Infrastructure

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has more than 10 externally funded faculty research programs. Research expenditures have averaged $1.8 million over the last 10 years, with more than $2.2 million in the last two years.

All research and most teaching activities within the department occur within three centrally-located buildings, including two connected facilities, Ladd Hall and Dunbar Laboratory, as well as the Quentin Burdick Building, located across the street.

Most departmental offices, classrooms and teaching labs, as well as some research labs are located in Ladd Hall, while Dunbar and the third floor of the Quentin Burdick Building primarily consist of research laboratories. Ladd Hall also houses departmental glass, machine, and electronics shops.

Modern instrumentation is vital to research in the chemical sciences. The quality and quantity of instrumentation within the department has been greatly enhanced in the last few years through aggressive fundraising efforts and university matching support.

The department has recently upgraded its mass spectrometry capabilities to include a Bio-TOF III with accurate mass analysis, ESI and CI ionization; as well as an Esquire 3000 Plus - an Ion trap instrument with MS-MS and proteomics capabilities. A dedicated LC can be integrated with the both the instruments.

The Organic Spectroscopy Laboratory is primarily devoted to maintenance and operation of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometers. The recently upgraded facility includes three modern high-field instruments: Varian 500, 400, and 300 MHz spectrometers. All have multinuclear, 2-D, and variable temperature capabilities, and the 400 MHz instrument has been recently upgraded for solids capabilities. This center also includes the departmental FTIR.

The Materials Characterization Laboratory houses the departmental crystallography facilties, including a Bruker single crystal CCD X-ray diffractometer with low temperature capabilities, a Philips MPD (Multi- Purpose Diffractometer), two Philips X-ray powder diffractometers, and a Kevex X-ray fluorescence unit. CHN Elemental analysis, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and differential thermal analysis (DTA) are also available.

The Center for Protease Research - Core Biology Facility is a new facility housing equipment and technical personnel for performing bioassay, cell and tissue culture, and molecular biology experiments. For bioassays, the facility has a fluorimeter capable of top or bottom reading and the capability to handle both 96- and 384-well plates. For sample preparation, researchers can utilize cell and tissue culture capabilities such as flow hoods and culture chambers. In addition, RT-PCR and FPLC protein purification technology is available.

The chemistry library, located in Ladd Hall, provides graduate students and faculty with convenient 24-hour access to more than 200 journals and approximately 10,000 volumes. Literature searching via SciFinder is supported.

Prospective students are encouraged to visit the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry website for the latest descriptions of research programs and instrumentation.

The Master of Science program requires the completion of a total of 30 graduate semester credits with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better. This total is comprised of both class work and research credit, but must consist of at least 16 semester credits from letter-graded course work. The Ph.D. program requires the completion of a total of 90 graduate semester credits with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better. This total is comprised of both class work and research credit, but must consist of at least 27 semester credits from letter-graded course work.

Master of Science 

Required Courses
CHEM 720Introduction to Chemical Research2
CHEM 790Graduate Seminar (second year seminar)1
or BIOC 790 Graduate Seminar
UNIV 720Scientific Integrity1
CHEM 790Graduate Seminar (defense seminar)1
or BIOC 790 Graduate Seminar
Didactic Credits (601-689, 691; 700-789, 791; 800-889 and 891)16 *
CHEM 798Master's Thesis6-10
or BIOC 798 Master's Thesis
Total Credits Required30
As part of total semester credits, the following departmental courses are recommended for students based on discipline:
CHEM 632Analytical Chemistry II3
CHEM 730Separations2
CHEM 732Advanced Analytical Chemistry4
CHEM 736Mass Spectrometry2
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
BIOC 673Methods of Biochemical Research3
BIOC 674Methods of Recombinant DNA Technology3
BIOC 701Comprehensive Biochemistry I4
BIOC 702Comprehensive Biochemistry II4
CHEM 724Chemical Applications of Group Theory1
CHEM 725Advanced Survey of Inorganic Chemistry3
CHEM 727Organometallic Chemistry3
CHEM 728Physical Methods for Chemical and Biomolecular Research2
CHEM 744Organic Spectroscopy2
CHEM 741Physical Organic Chemistry I4
CHEM 742Physical Organic Chemistry II2
CHEM 744Organic Spectroscopy2
CHEM 745Organic Synthesis4
BIOC 665
CHEM 760Statistical Thermodynamics4
CHEM 763Kinetics2
CHEM 764Dynamics2

 A minimum of 10 must be from courses numbered 701-789; 791 or 800-889; 891

Each student chooses a thesis adviser within six months of beginning graduate school. As this is one of the most important decisions made in graduate school, students are strongly urged to visit multiple faculty members to discuss research opportunities. In addition, faculty seminars during the fall semester are designed to acquaint new students with the available research programs.

By the end of the first academic year, each student selects an advisory and examination committee, which consists of the thesis adviser, two other faculty members in the chemistry department, and one faculty member from a department outside the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree is accomplished by satisfying three requirements: 1) satisfactory performance in course work with a minimum 3.0 grade-point average, 2) satisfactory performance on a written comprehensive examination, taken by the end of the fourth semester, and 3) satisfactory defense of an original research proposal on a topic approved by the student's advisory committee. The defense of this proposal must occur at least eight months prior to the final oral examination.

Following completion of dissertation research, the candidate must complete a written dissertation and an oral presentation to the department and advisory committee.

Christopher L. Colbert, Ph.D.
Purdue University, 2000
Postdoctoral, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2000-2004
Research Interests: Structural Biology and Metalloprotein Biochemistry

Heldur Hakk, Ph.D. (adjunct)
North Dakota State University, 1997
Research Interests: Fate and Metabolism of Environmental Contaminants

Stuart J. Haring, Ph.D.
University of Iowa, 2004
Postdoctoral, University of Iowa, 2004-2008
Research Interests: DNA Metabolism and Cell Cycle Regulation

Erika Offerdahl, Ph.D.
University of Arizona, 2008
Research Interests: Biochemistry/STEM Education

Sangita C. Sinha, Ph.D.
Purdue University, 2000
Postdoctoral, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2001-2005
Research Interests: Biochemistry and Structural Biology of Host-Pathogen Interaction

D. K. Srivastava, Ph.D.
Banaras Hindu University, 1980
Research Interests: Mechanistic Enzymology

John Wilkinson, Ph.D.
Vanderbilt University, 2001
Postdoctoral, University of Michigan, 2001-2006
Research Interests: Metabolic Control of Cancer Progression

Uwe Burghaus, Ph.D.
Free University of Berlin, 1995
Postdoctoral, University of Genoa, Italy, 1995-1997
Research Area: Surface Physical Chemistry

Gregory R. Cook, Ph.D.
Michigan State University, 1993
Postdoctoral, Stanford University, 1994-1996
Research Area: Synthetic Organic Chemistry

John F. Hershberger, Ph.D.
Yale University, 1986
Postdoctoral, Columbia University, 1986-1989
Research Area: Experimental Physical Chemistry, Laser Kinetics

Denley Jacobson, Ph.D.
Purdue University, 1984
Postdoctoral, California Institute of Technology, 1984-1986
Research Area: Gas Phase Ion Chemistry

Svetlana Kilina, Ph.D.
University of Washington, Seattle 2007
Los Alamos National Lab, 2007-2010
Research Area: Computational Chemistry

Guodong Liu, Ph.D.
Hunan University, 2001
Postdoctoral, New Mexico State University, 2002-2004;
Postdoctoral, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 2004-2006
Research Area: Nanotechnology and Biological Sensing

James Nyachwaya, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, 2012
Research Area: Chemistry / STEM Education

Seth C. Rasmussen, Ph.D.
Clemson University, 1994
Postdoctoral, University of Oregon, 1995-1999
Research Area: Inorganic/Organic Materials Chemistry, Chemical History

Kenton R. Rodgers, Ph.D.
University of Iowa, 1988
Postdoctoral, Princeton University, 1989-1993
Research Area: Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry

Mukund P. Sibi, Ph.D.
City University of New York, 1980
Postdoctoral, Dartmouth College, 1980-1982; University of Waterloo, 1982-1985
Research Area: Synthetic Organic Chemistry; Natural Products

Jayaraman Sivaguru, Ph.D.
Tulane University, 2003
Postdoctoral, Columbia University, 2003-2006
Research Area: Photochemistry, Photocatalysis (Organic and Supramolecular), Asymmetric Lighted Induced Synthesis, Molecular Recognition, Supramolecular Photochemistry, Photo-Degradation of Bio-Based Polymers

Wenfang Sun, Ph.D.
Institute of Photographic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1995
Postdoctoral, University of Alabama, Birmingham, 1997-1999
Research Area: Organic Materials Chemistry

Pinjing Zhao, Ph.D.
Cornell University, 2003
Postdoctoral, Yale University, 2004-2006; University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, 2006-2007
Research Area: Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry