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First Year

Selecting an Advisor and Research Project

One of your most important tasks during the fall quarter is to gather information that will enable you to choose a thesis topic and a research advisor.  Because a large fraction of your time during the next four to five years will be devoted to research, it is important that you select a problem that you find interesting and exciting and a research group in which you will be comfortable.  There are many faculty members and a wide variety of research topics; thus, you should have no difficulty in finding several interesting problems and compatible research groups.  Although each student is most often assigned to one official advisor, it is possible to complete a thesis under the joint supervision of two faculty members when the thesis problem involves two areas (e.g., theory and experiment; synthesis and structure).  You are not restricted to problems in the branch of chemistry you indicated as your area of interest when you applied for admission, and you are encouraged to investigate problems in all areas.  If you worked for a professor previously (i.e. during the summer), you have no obligation to remain with that group.  You are free to investigate all possibilities.

Because the selection of a research preceptor is such an important matter, we want to schedule enough time for you to examine all alternatives in a thorough and leisurely manner.  For this reason, neither students nor faculty are allowed to reach an agreement regarding thesis supervision prior to the faculty meeting at the end of November dealing with advisor selection.

Course Requirements

Each student must take six courses within the sciences. These courses should be completed by the end of the spring quarter of the first year. (See Graduate Program Guide below for a further discussion of course requirements).    

Teaching Requirements

Satisfactory performance of assigned teaching duties is a requirement for all advanced degrees in the Department of Chemistry.  Regardless of the method of support, or whether any support at all is provided, every full-time graduate student is assigned to teach 5 quarters during their 1st year in the program. Inadequate performance of teaching responsibilities shows a lack of progress toward the Ph.D. degree.

Useful Documents from the Orientation Binder