Skip navigation

Graduate Programs Overview

General Considerations for All Students

  • Required Background Courses
    • 1 year of general chemistry, 1 year of physical chemistry and 4 additional 300–400 level chemistry courses
    • 3 semesters of calculus or 2 semesters of calculus and 1 semester of differential equations
  • Advisory Background Exams
    • Taken the week before first semester – exams in analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistries
  • Required Course Loads
    • Graduate assistants – 9 chemistry‐program‐relevant hours in the fall and spring; 6 hours during summer
  • Seminar
    • Take CHEM 615 each semester
    • Attend two seminars weekly during fall and spring semesters – Monday Colloquium and divisional (or topical) seminar
    • Divisional (or topical) seminars may be “sampled” during first semester
  • Aspects of Professional Chemistry
    • Take two hours per semester of CHEM 690 during first year; take one hour per semester during second year
  • Research Advisor Selection
    • Faculty research overviews will be given during the middle of the fall semester
    • Research advisor selection and assignment is made during the last week of the first semester
    • Choose a research major (analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, or physical) and file a program of courses
  • Graduate School Dates and Deadlines
    • Watch deadlines carefully – course registration, thesis or dissertation submission, graduation application, etc.
    • Progress will be reviewed periodically by the Director of Graduate Studies
  • Teaching Assistantship Eligibility
    • Requires “good academic standing” and “adequate progress” in the program
    • Extends four semesters (plus four summer terms) from the date of entry into the program
    • Further eligibility requires satisfactory research progress as judged by Third Semester Review

Master's Degree (M.S.)

  • Course Work
    • Five chemistry‐program‐relevant lecture courses are required. These courses must include one in Physical Chemistry (CHEM 546, 641, or 642; CHEM 642 is recommended for non‐p‐chemists) and two outside the student's major area
    • Take CHEM 698 each semester
    • Take CHEM 699 during semester of graduation
  • Research
    • Write and orally defend master's thesis
  • Teaching assistantship Eligibility
    • Eligibility maintenance requires “academic good standing” and “adequate progress” in the program
    • Given a positive Third Semester Review, extends five semesters (plus summer terms) from date of entry into program

Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D.)

  • Course Work
    • Eight chemistry‐program‐relevant lecture courses are required. These courses must include one in Physical Chemistry (CHEM 546, 641, or 642; CHEM 642 is recommended for non‐p‐chemists) and two outside the student's major area
    • Take CHEM 698 each semester until the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam is passed; then take CHEM 699 each semester
  • Ph.D. Qualifying Exam – a written exam in the student's major area
    • Must be attempted no later than the first offering of the fourth non‐summer semester following admission (Students with NIU M.S. degrees follow modified date regulations – see documents listed at top of page)
    • Exams are given in September, January and May
    • Course requirements in the student's major area must be met to take the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam
    • A 3.20 or above NIU Graduate School GPA is required to take the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam
  • Ph.D. Candidacy Exam – an oral presentation and exam concerning the research of the student
    • Must take place within 12 months of passing the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam
  • Annual Research Update – an oral presentation and discussion of research progress
    • Must be given within 12 months of passing the Ph.D. Candidacy Exam and repeated annually until graduation
  • Research
    • Write and orally defend Ph.D. dissertation
  • Teaching Assistantship Eligibility
    • Requires “academic good standing” and “adequate progress” in the program
    • Given a positive Third Semester Review and meeting other Ph.D. program requirements, extends 10 semesters (plus summer terms) from entry into program

Graduate Advising

Victor Ryzhov
La Tourette Hall, Room 425
(815) 753‐6695
ryzhov@niu.edu