At Oklahoma State University, an advanced degree in chemistry is primarily a research degree. Our graduate program is aimed at the development of a pronounced ability to perform independent creative scientific research. Through carefully selected course work, we provide a firm foundation of skills and knowledge that will enable the student to not only succeed in their graduate research projects, but also excel in their subsequent careers. In order to commence research as early as possible, entering graduate students are encouraged to discuss thesis research projects with faculty members whose research interests them. Students usually start research on their thesis topic within the first year, after choosing a research advisor. We maintain an excellent faculty to student ratio so students can have a selection of advisers and research topics. The smaller number of graduate students is far more conducive to faculty/student interaction, collaboration between research groups, and easy access to instrumentation.
Graduate study in the Department of Chemistry is governed by the rules of the Graduate College. These rules allow Departments to establish policies for graduate study to fit the needs of their students . You should become acquainted with these policies, and we urge you to refer to this document, as well as the OSU Catalog and the Graduate College website, from time to time as you continue with your graduate study. While members of the Graduate Faculty will be glad to provide advice, you are responsible for fulfilling the requirements for a degree at the proper time.
As per the Graduate College, graduate students can be accepted into three different degree programs: M.S., 90-hour Ph.D., or 60-hour Ph.D. Once admitted, consult the Graduate College, or your admission letter from the Graduate College, to be sure of which program you are in.
M.S. Program: A minimum of 30 credit hours is required for the M.S. degree. A typical plan of study has at least 24 hours of course work (including seminar credit) and 6 hours of thesis/research (CHEM 5000) credit. One’s plan of study will normally include four 3-hour courses during the first year, three additional courses, and two seminars before graduation. A written research thesis is required. The Department of Chemistry does not offer a non-thesis M.S. degree.
90-Hour Ph.D. Program: The program typically includes 18 to 30 credit hours of course work with four 3-hour courses in the first year and additional courses before graduation. In addition, Ph.D. students in the 90-hour Ph.D. program must take the CHEM 5011 seminar. CHEM 5011 should be taken by the end of the second year. A total of 90 credit hours is attained by the addition of research and seminar credit hours. Six credit hours of CHEM 5000 research should be taken before attempting CHEM 6000 research hours. A Ph.D. qualifying examination, dissertation, oral defense of the dissertation, and departmental CHEM 6011 seminar are required.
60-Hour Ph.D. Program: This program is limited to students who previously earned a M.S. degree in a program approved by the OSU Graduate College. The department requires 12 credit hours during the first year, with the balance of the 60 credit hours earned by seminar and research credits. Students in the 60-hour Ph.D. program do not have to take CHEM 5011. Otherwise the 60-hour program is the same as the 90-hour program.
General Course Requirements
Our Chemistry program is designed to be flexible so it can meet the needs and interests of our students. All graduate students must have competence in at least three of the four main subdisciplines (Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, and Physical Chemistry). For this requirement, students must demonstrate basic knowledge in Physical Chemistry and two subdisciplines of the student’s choosing. This requirement can be satisfied in one of two ways: placement exams and foundation courses. Foundation courses are taught at the graduate level and count toward the required number of credit hours for a Masters or Doctoral degree. Placement exams are offered before the beginning of the Fall or Spring semesters, but does not reduce the required number of credit hours for a Masters or Doctoral degree.
Departmental Seminar Course Requirement
Departmental seminars are not only of great educational value, but they are mandatory. All graduate students are required to enroll in either CHEM 5011, CHEM 6011, or CHEM 6010. If you are not ready to give your seminar, your advisor will have you enroll in CHEM 6010. The grade in this course is based on attendance. A minimum of 75% attendance will earn you an “A” for the course. Less than 75%, a “F”. Some absences can be excused and not held against your final grade. You must contact the professor assigned to the course in order to receive an excused absence.
Qualifying Examination Requirement
All Ph.D. students must pass a qualifying exam before they move on with their thesis.
Final Defense Requirements
An oral examination is given once the thesis has been written. Any principles related to the thesis and their applications may be included. The examination is conducted by an advisory committee and is open to all interested scholars. An announcement of the time and place of the oral exam will be posted in the Department.