The Department of Chemistry has as its main goal the education and training of professional chemists for entry into industry, government, or the academic world. Graduate students pursue research-oriented programs of study leading to the Ph.D. or M.S. degrees. Most graduate students directly pursue a Ph.D. without getting the M.S. degree, and they can specialize in analytical, inorganic (or bioinorganic), organic, or physical chemistry. Additionally, numerous areas of interdisciplinary research may be pursued by students, regardless of their major area in courses.
The overall mission of the chemistry graduate degree program is to train and mentor students as responsible scientists and scientifically literate professionals, involving them in all aspects of chemistry and the global chemical enterprise. The department offers Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. The major portion of the graduate degree involves dissertation research, typically specializing in one of many different areas of chemistry and related sciences. More details about the scope of this research can be found at our website: www.chem.uga.edu/DoC/AcaGra.html.
Graduate students complete a program of study consisting of formal courses designed to give a broad background of knowledge, while allowing specialization in one area. The student typically chooses a research advisor by the end of the first semester in residence and at least two additional faculty members as an advisory committee by the end of the second semester in residence. During the third semester in residence, students on the PhD track in consultation with their research advisors complete a prospectus, which consists of a written and oral presentation of the proposed dissertation research project. The prospectus is not required for MS students.
Students become candidates for the PhD degree after passing preliminary examinations, which are normally taken at the end of the second year in residence. There are two parts to these examinations: a report on the student’s research progress to date and an original research proposal on a topic outside the student’s research area. The research proposal is reviewed during an oral examination of the student before the advisory committee. PhD candidates are also required to give two graded departmental seminars: one about their research project, and another on a selected literature topic. MS students are not required to take preliminary examinations and are required to give only one graded departmental seminar.
Successful candidates for the MS and PhD degrees then typically concentrate on their research projects, and, after completing their research, they write a dissertation and defend it at a final oral examination.