Academics

Students take most, if not all, of their courses in the first three quarters of graduate study. A wide selection of courses allows students to extend the breadth and depth of their chemical knowledge. After selecting a thesis advisor during the first quarter, students select courses with the advisor’s counsel to suit their needs and interests. The large number of special-topics courses allows great flexibility in course selection. Advanced students are encouraged to audit courses of special interest or relevance to their thesis research. Course requirements and content change to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving scientific world. We are committed to keeping the graduate-level courses interesting, relevant, and rewarding.

Graduate-Level Courses

Courses are offered on the quarter system and meet for about 10 weeks. For detailed course descriptions and course offerings in other departments, see the information provided on the registrar’s website:

Degree Requirements

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY DEGREE IN CHEMISTRY

The department establishes degree requirements to ensure that students gain a solid fundamental background in chemistry and related fields and a thorough mastery of the major field. The requirements are revised frequently in accordance with the demands of a rapidly changing field. Specific rules are intended to serve as guidelines rather than as inflexible barriers. A student may petition the department for a waiver or modification of any requirement when such a change appears desirable.

All entering students must take a set of three Placement Examinations, one each in Organic, Inorganic, and Physical Chemistry. A student who does not achieve a suitable score on a Placement Examination will be required to take a specific graduate course in that area.

The Doctoral degree program requires completion of nine graded courses. These nine courses include the three Principles Courses and six courses required to satisfy the specific requirements of a division or program. Admission to the doctoral program is usually granted at the end of the spring quarter of the first year to students whose performance in course work and in research to that point is judged satisfactory by the faculty.

Each doctoral candidate takes an oral qualifying examination administered by a committee appointed by the Graduate Affairs Chair. The qualifying examination assesses the student’s progress in research and his or her general knowledge, particularly in the major field. Usually the exam is scheduled during the student’s seventh quarter in residence. Students must also present a departmental seminar in their division. In addition, an original research proposal is required. This proposal may be in the candidate’s general research area but must be original and not merely an extension of thesis research.

Upon completion of the thesis research, the student prepares a dissertation that must be acceptable to the thesis advisor and two other faculty members. The student then defends the thesis at an oral examination.

For additional information, please contact gradasst@northwestern.edu.