The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers MS and Ph.D. programs in chemistry and biochemistry. Both the MS and Ph.D. programs require the completion of an original research project and the presentation and defense of a thesis (dissertation). The MS degree is not a prerequisite for the Ph.D. The graduate program of study is divided into the areas of biochemistry, analytical, physical, organic, and inorganic chemistry. An active seminar program is viewed as an essential component of the graduate educational process and provides many opportunities for feedback and cross-fertilization of ideas from different areas. Each year faculty members present an overview of their research programs and highlight their latest discoveries. Students participate each year by presenting either literature discussions or seminars on their individual research projects. In addition, a number of national and international scientists from both academia and industry present talks during the year.
During the first semester of study, students discuss potential research projects with several professors and then select three research laboratories to rotate through for about one month. When rotations are complete, students decide which research group they would like to join. A supervisory committee, is selected by the student and approved by the department head during the third quarter of residence. The committee provides assistance in establishing the student's detailed course of study, evaluating his or her progress towards a degree, and lending additional assistance and direction as needed.