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Department of Chemistry & BiochemistryGraduate Program

Graduate Program Summary University Catalog
Graduate Program Brochure Course Descriptions

Ph.D. and M.S. in Chemistry

Dr. Craig Bayse - Graduate Program Director

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers a program of study leading to the degree of Master of Science with a major in chemistry or to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy with a major in chemistry. These programs offer a sound academic background of course work and research to prepare the student for further graduate study or employment in fields requiring an advanced degree or post doctoral studies. Areas of specialization within the program include analytical chemistry, biochemistry, biogeochemistry, environmental chemistry, marine chemistry, materials chemistry, organic chemistry and physical chemistry.

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry

Admission

An application, transcripts, three letters of recommendation from former college teachers, a resume, an essay about career goals and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (aptitude section) are required for consideration of admission to the program. Admission to regular status requires a grade point average of 3.00 in the major and 3.00 overall (based on a 4.00 scale). General University admission requirements apply. In addition, a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) with a major in chemistry (or another science) is required, although applications from majors in all science disciplines are encouraged. Undergraduate courses in inorganic, organic, analytical (quantitative and instrumental analysis), physical chemistry and calculus are required for regular admission. Deficiencies in any of these areas will be identified and must be rectified by taking undergraduate course work in these areas

Requirements

Writing Proficiency Policy. The departmental graduate committee will request a writing sample from each new student. If the graduate committee feels that remedial assistance in writing is needed, the student will be referred to the Writing Center.

Courses. A minimum of 78 semester hours beyond the undergraduate degree or 48 hours past the master's degree is required by this program. The broad requirements for granting the Ph.D. are as follows: satisfactory performance in core and elective courses, successful completion of both written and oral portions of the Candidacy Examination, completion of the dissertation prospectus, and completion of a satisfactory dissertation and defense of the dissertation.

Core Courses. Students must choose one course from three different core areas. The core areas are analytical, biochemistry, environmental, organic and physical. Classes from each area are listed on theCurriculum webpage.

Elective Courses. Students are required to take nine credit hours of elective courses. The courses are to be chosen upon consultation with their advisor and/or their guidance committee.

Teaching. Students are required to spend at least one semester as a teaching assistant.

Seminar. All students are required to register for seminar CHEM 890 (one credit, graded pass/fail) and attend departmental seminars throughout their graduate career. Failure to attend at least 75 percent of the departmental seminars will result in a grade of incomplete (I), which must be converted to a passing grade by writing a literature research paper on the work of one of the seminar speakers. Twice during their career, students will register for CHEM 891 (two credits) and present a seminar, which will receive a letter grade. In the second year, students will give a background literature talk on their research. They will give their second seminar on their dissertation research just before they graduate.

Research and Thesis. During their first semester (and not later than the end of their first semester), students are required to interview the chemistry graduate faculty (a signed sheet of at least three faculty members is required), choose a graduate faculty research advisor, and develop a guidance committee. The student must write a research proposal describing his/her proposed research project and present it after the candidacy examination has been passed. Upon completion of the research, the student must write a formal thesis acceptable to his/her dissertation committee and defend it.

Candidacy Examination. A student admitted to the Ph.D. program in chemistry becomes a candidate for the Ph.D. degree by passing the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination. This examination consists of a written portion and oral portion. The student is required to submit a written description of a novel research idea in the form of a grant proposal, and then present and defend the idea to his or her guidance committee.

Dissertation. The dissertation is the final and most important part of the work required for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in chemistry. The dissertation must be based on original research and make a contribution to existing knowledge of sufficient interest to warrant publication in a refereed journal. The candidate normally works closely with the research advisor, who is chair of the dissertation committee.

The format of the dissertation or thesis is determined by the Guide for Preparation of Theses and Dissertations, available from the Office of Graduate Studies.

Dissertation Defense. The final examination of the candidate consists of the oral defense of the dissertation. This public examination is conducted by the dissertation committee with the research advisor serving as chair. The candidate fails if he or she receives a majority of negative votes from the dissertation committee. Another examination may be scheduled if a candidate fails the first; however, only one re-examination is permitted.

Master of Science - Chemistry

Admission

An application, transcripts, two letters of recommendation from former college instructors, a resume, an essay about career goals and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (aptitude section) are required for consideration of admission to the program. Admission to regular status requires a grade point average of 3.00 in the major and 2.80 overall (on a 4.00 scale). General university admission requirements also apply. In addition, a Bachelor of Science degree (or equivalent) with a major in chemistry (or another science) is required, although applications from majors in all science disciplines are encouraged. Undergraduate courses in organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry (quantitative and instrumental analysis), physical chemistry and calculus are required for regular admission. Deficiencies in any of these areas will be identified and must be rectified by taking undergraduate coursework.

Requirements

Writing Proficiency Policy. The departmental graduate committee will request a writing sample from each new student. If the graduate committee feels that remedial assistance in writing is needed, the student will be referred to the Writing Center.

Options. Candidates for the master's degree have two options in their program: the research/thesis option and the non-thesis option.

Courses. A minimum of 30 hours is required for the thesis option, including six hours for research and thesis. A minimum of 33 hours is required for the non-thesis option, including three hours for independent study. Up to 15 hours may be taken in related courses given by other departments provided they are approved by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. At least 60% of the credit hours must be from 600-level courses or higher.

Core Courses. There are five core areas. These are analytical chemistry, biochemistry, environmental chemistry, organic chemistry and physical chemistry. Students enrolled in the research/thesis option must take one course from three different core areas; non-thesis option students must take one course from each of the core areas.

Seminar. All students are required to register for seminar CHEM 610 (one credit, pass/fail) and attend departmental seminars for one semester. Failure to attend at least 75 percent of the departmental seminars will result in a grade of incomplete (I), which must be converted to a passing grade by writing a literature research paper on the work of one of the seminar speakers. During their last semester, students are required to register for seminar class CHEM 611 (two credits, graded) and present a seminar on their research.

Research and Thesis. During their first semester (and not later than the end of their first academic year), students electing the Research/Thesis Option are required to interview the chemistry graduate faculty, choose a graduate faculty research advisor, and develop a research committee. Upon completion of their research, the student must write a formal thesis acceptable to his/her research committee and defend it to his/her research committee.

Non-Thesis Option. Not later than the end of their first academic year, students electing the Non-Thesis option are required to interview the chemistry graduate faculty and choose a graduate faculty independent study advisor. Non-thesis students and their independent study advisor will then agree upon an independent study project. Upon completion of their independent study project, non-thesis students must write a formal independent study report acceptable to their independent study advisor and the Graduate Studies Committee and pass an oral exam on their project.


Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences - Biological Chemistry

Dr. Robert Ratzlaff - Graduate Program Director

Principles: The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, joint with the Department of Biological Sciences, offers a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences and administers tracks in Biological Chemistry. Faculty members also participate in other tracks within the program. Ph.D. graduates of this program have taken advanced coursework in chemistry, biochemistry, the basic biomedical sciences, and completed a dissertation project in a biomedical-related area of his or her interest.

Admission Requirements: For regular admission, it is expected that Ph.D. students entering the Biological Chemistry track will have taken coursework equivalent to a B.S. in Chemistry or Biochemistry, as well as one year of biology. Students who have not satisfactorily completed undergraduate courses will be admitted provisionally until the deficient coursework is successfully completed. In addition, applicants are required to submit a goals statement, identify potential research mentors, and have sent official transcripts of all academic work, three letters of reference from former professors, and GRE scores (general test).

Degree Requirements: Courses: A minimum of 48 hours beyond the master's degree is required which includes 24 hours of dissertation and research. During his or her first year, the student will select a Coursework Guidance Committee to assess his or her background and ensure that the curriculum taken satisfies the student's objectives and career goals. The committee counsels the student and monitors his or her progress. To qualify as a Ph.D. candidate, the student must pass both a written and oral candidacy exam, which are designed to assess knowledge in the basic biomedical sciences as well as the student's selected area.

Research and Dissertation: Before being admitted to candidacy, the student is required to select an advisor and Dissertation Guidance Committee. The student will be admitted to candidacy after writing and presenting a Dissertation Research Proposal approved by his committee. Candidacy status is required for a full year before graduation. Candidates are required to write a publishable dissertation. They must present a public lecture on the results of their dissertation research, and also successfully defend those results in an oral presentation to their Dissertation Guidance Committee.

Biological Chemistry Option

Description The Biological Chemistry Option provides fundamental training in theoretical and practical aspects of biochemical and molecular biological approaches to biomedical-related research problems. Research areas explored by the faculty members of this track include, but are not limited to: molecular mechanisms of membrane transport, multi-drug resistance, toxicology, immunoassay development, nanobiotechnology, cell-cell communication, biophysics of protein structure function and folding, molecular dynamics simulation of DHFR's, modification of protein and nucleic acids, bioinformatics, amyloid fibril formation, structure and inhibition, protection against radiation induced DNA damage, the relationship of membrane carbohydrates and glycoproteins to cancer, phospholipid turnover and signal transduction, novel kinetic applications and methodologies in the study of actin-myosin interaction and conformational changes induced by ATP hydrolysis, and the relationship of specific transfer RNA modifications to cancer. The core course work and research program provide a solid foundation for doctoral candidate training in Biological Chemistry. Both the advanced coursework and the research program will be specifically designed for each student, in consultation between the student and his/her individual course guidance and dissertation committees.

Graduate Program Director:
Dr. Robert Ratzlaff
Graduate Program Director, Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program
rratzlaf@odu.edu

Participating Faculty

ODU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry:

  • Craig Bayse, Ph.D.
  • Lesley Greene, Ph.D.
  • Steve Pascal, Ph.D.
  • Jennifer Radkiewicz-Poutsma, Ph.D.
  • X. Nancy Xu, Ph.D.

Curriculum The core requirements for the Biological Chemistry Track include two semesters of Biochemistry and one semester each of Cell Structure, Advanced Cell Biology or Biochemistry Molecular, and Immunological Techniques (B-MIT) and either Modern Synthetic Organic Chemistry or Physical Organic Chemistry or Kinetics and Thermodynamics or Advanced Analytical Chemistry. An additional course in statistical methods is also required. The program requires one additional course from an approved list of advanced electives that fits the student's individual interests, three laboratory courses, and two seminar presentations. Once the course requirements are completed the student must pass a comprehensive examination to qualify for doctoral candidate status. From this point, the student is involved in research and dissertation work leading to the granting of the doctoral degree. Active participation in a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Journal Club is also encouraged throughout the research phase.

1) Core courses

  • *CHEM 543 Biochemistry 3 credits
  • *CHEM 765 Advanced Biochemistry 3 credits
  • *BIOL 523 Cellular/Molecular Biology 3 credits
  • *BIOL 507 Biochem, Molecular and Immunological Techniques 4 credits
  • *BIOL 806 Biometry 4 credits or
  • *STAT 613 Statistics for Biomedical Science Research 3 credits * = MUST TAKE

2) One Elected Core Course:

  • CHEM 725 Physical Organic Chemistry 3 credits
  • CHEM 736 Introduction to Organic Synthesis 3 credits
  • CHEM 779 Kinetics and Thermodynamics 3 credits
  • Chem 701 or 702 Advanced Analytical Chemistry 3 credits

3) One Elected Course:

  • CHEM 523, 524, 525 Instrumental Analysis 3 credits
  • CHEM 553 Essential of Toxicology 3 credits
  • CHEM 705 Applied Spectroscopy 3 credits
  • CHEM 723 Modern Synthetic Organic Chemistry 3 credits
  • CHEM 726 Medicinal Chemistry 3 credits
  • CHEM 755 Computational Chemistry 3 credits
  • CHEM 762/862 Advanced Techniques in Biochemistry 3 credits
  • BIOL 509/510 Immunology and Lab 3 credits
  • BIOL 745 Advanced Immunology 3 credits
  • BIOL 755 Molecular Genetics 3 credits

4) Three Biomedical Labs (each lab at 2 credits):

  • BIOL 814/815/816 Biomedical Sciences Laboratory 6 credits
  • C HEM 814/815/816 Biomedical Sciences Laboratory 6 credits

5) Research (minimal 18 credits):

  • CHEM 898 or BIOL 898 Doctoral Research 18 credits

6) Seminar (minimal 2 seminars):

  • CHEM 891 Biomedical Sciences Seminar 2 credits or
  • BIOL 802 Biomedical Sciences Seminar 2 credits

7) Dissertation (minimal 6 credits):

  • CHEM 899 Dissertation 6 credits

M.S. in Education-Chemistry

Refer to the Darden College of Education for more information on this program.