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Information for Incoming Students

Inorganic: exams are standardized exams from the American Chemical Society

To prepare for the inorganic chemistry breadth exam, the student should review an undergraduate level text such as (e.g. Inorganic Chemistry, by Schriver & Atkins) and work a number of problems at the end of every chapter.


Organic: exams are standardized exams from the American Chemical Society (assumes that the student has completed a one-year undergraduate course in organic chemistry.)

To prepare for this exam, the student should review a sophomore level text such as (e.g. McMurray, Carey, Solomons, Wade, etc.), and work 5-10 problems at the end of every chapter.  You may also use Schaum's Organic Outline.


Physical: exams are standardized exams from the American Chemical Society (Assumes student has completed one year or more of physical chemistry including quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, spectroscopy and kinetics.

To prepare for this exam, the student should review a senior-level textbook such as “Physical Chemistry” by P.W. Atkins and “Physical Chemistry” by Engel & Reid and work out the problems listed at the end of each chapter.


Biochemistry: exams are standardized exams from the American Chemical Society (Assumes student has completed an advanced undergraduate survey course in biochemistry) This material includes protein structure and function, DNA/RNA structure and function, enzyme kinetics, carbohydrates, lipids, membranes, metabolism, and biosynthetic pathways for the synthesis of biomolecules.

To prepare for this exam, the student should review anundergraduate textbook such as: Biochemistry by Berg, Tymoczko & Stryer; Biochemistry, by Garrett & Grisham. Additional text authored by (1) Mathews and van Holde, (2) Voet, and (3) Lehninger might also be of assistance.


Be sure to register prior to every semester until you graduate! Students typically complete their formal coursework in the first year of study, then register for Independent Study (CHE 690) until they pass the candidacy exam and have completed 48 credits. After meeting these requirements, students register for GRD 998, Degree in Progress for 0 credits.

Choosing Courses:

Several advising sessions are scheduled before the start of the fall semester to assist new students with course selection. In subsequent terms, students should discuss what classes to take with their research advisor. First year students must petition to take courses outside the Chemistry Department (e.g courses with a prefix other than BCM or CHE). Approval must be obtained prior to registration. These requirements also apply to advanced year students who have not yet completed the 18 credits of formal coursework required for a graduate degree in chemistry. Once these degree requirements advanced year students may take courses outside the chemistry depatment with the approval of their research advisor.

Choosing a Research Advisor:

Students should become familiar with the research opportunities available in the department by attending our Faculty research presentation series (required for all first year students), viewing Departmental web pages, and through discussions with faculty and other graduate students. Don't be shy! Get out there, talk to people and find what's going on. Near the end of the fall semester, students will be asked to identify four faculty members with whom they would be interested in working. The Chair then works with faculty and students to place first year students into research groups. These selections are usually finalized by the end of the first semester.

Planned Absences & Vacation Time:

When planning vacation time or other absences, keep in mind department requirements and teaching responsibilities, including those like breadth exams or finals that are scheduled after classes have ended or before the next semester begins. TAs are expected to be available for all recitation, laboratory, proctoring and grading sessions for the courses to which they have been assigned. Please refer to the academic calendar and course syllabi to verify dates you are expected to be on duty before making other plans. If an absence is unavoidable, you must obtain approval from your research advisor, TA faculty supervisor, and the Department Chair. Use the Graduate Student Absence Form to obtain approvals. The completed form should be submitted to the Chair.

Name Title Helps with...
Timothy Korter Department Chair  
Robert Doyle Associate Department Chair/Graduate Student Director  
April LePage Administrative Assistant Course related issues, chairs calendar, department meetings, website, newsletters
Jodi Randall Graduate Coordinator Handles all graduate student logistics, as well as student applications through the PHD and MS graduation process.
Elizabeth Molloy Undergraduate Coordinator Can assist with course related issues, TA offices, etc.
Deborah Maley Administrative Specialist Payroll, sponsored accounts, departmental budget and equipment purchases
Allison Piccioni Office Coordinator Handles daily ordering via web and purchase reqs, expense vouchers, travel vouchers and monthly stockroom charges.
Anne Dovciak Lab Supervisor
Gary Bonomo Lab Supervisor
Steve Rich Stockroom Manager 0-006 CST - Source for commonly used laboratory supplies, chemicals, equipment and office supplies. Also handles building/lab issues.
Sally Prasch Glassblower Glass Shop Room 0-204 and Office Room 0-210 – repairs, modifies and construct laboratory glassware. Assist with setting up glass in the lab and how to handle glass safely. Instructs a semester class in the Art and Science of Glass.
Michael Brandt Electronics Engineer Room 0-208 CST - Repair and construction of electrical and electronic equipment, computer interfacing of laboratory experiments.
Deborah Kerwood, Ph.D. Lab Manager - NMR Facility NMR Facilities