Upon arrival, all new graduate students are given examinations to assess their preparation for graduate study. These examinations are the standardized tests produced by the American Chemical Society. For the Chemistry Ph.D., proficiency in the four traditional areas of chemistry is required. Proficiency can be established by passing the entrance examination or taking a 'core class' in that particular area of chemistry. For the Medicinal Chemistry Ph.D., proficiency in medicinal chemistry and three other areas of chemistry is required. The results are used for advisement to help the student select their first semester courses. The Graduate Curriculum Committee will help the student select courses for their first semester.
An advisement committee assists the student in selecting the appropriate courses for the first semester of study. A typical first semester graduate student takes three core graduate level courses and is also engaged in TA duties. Most of the required course work is finished by the end of the second or third semester in the program.
The Department views an advanced degree in Chemistry or Medicinal Chemistry as primarily a research degree, so the choice of research director is an important decision for the first year graduate student. To facilitate the selection of the research mentor, the members of the faculty engaged in research present a general overview of their research interests in a series of meetings with the new graduate students. This allows the students to become acquainted with the different research opportunities in the program in an informal setting. After this, the students are encouraged to speak informally with as many faculty members as possible before making their decision. Assistance is available to those students having difficulty with this decision. However, it is to the student's advantage to select a research advisor at the earliest possible date. Typically, graduate research is initiated during the second semester or during the first summer within the program. More details related to a particular degree can be found under the specific program for the degree sought.