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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