Sep 15, 2019  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
    
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry


The prospective candidate for the Ph.D. in chemistry may do advanced study and research in the areas of analytical, biological, inorganic, organic, or physical chemistry; or in interdisciplinary nanotechnology.

Students who wish to enter the Ph.D. program should have a baccalaureate degree in a life, physical, or mathematical science, or engineering, including one year of physics; one year of general chemistry; one year of physical chemistry; and mathematics consisting of either three semesters of calculus or two semesters of calculus and one semester of differential equations. Also required are four courses in other areas of chemistry at the 300-400 level, except for doctoral students in the nanotechnology area, for whom two other courses in other areas of chemistry at the 300-400 level are required. Students deficient in these requirements may satisfy them after admission, but the courses may not be taken for graduate credit and must be approved by the Graduate Program Committee after consultation with department faculty in the student’s primary area of interest. These deficiencies must be satisfied with a grade of C or better during the first two semesters of enrollment in the program. University Honors students who graduate from Northern Illinois University with a baccalaureate degree in chemistry or a related area are guaranteed admission into the M.S. or Ph.D. program (with acceptable scores on entry tests for the latter) as space permits.

Check departmental information for any additional requirements.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.

Course Requirements


Graduate students working for a doctoral degree must complete the number of semester hours of graduate work required by the NIU Graduate School (currently 72) with a minimum GPA of 3.00. This includes formal course work, independent study, research, and the dissertation, as specified on the student’s program of courses.

A minimum of 19 semester hours of graduate credit must be earned by successfully passing graduate-level courses. At least 15 of the 19 must be from courses worth 3 or more semester hours. At least 12 of the 19 must be from the core courses listed at the department’s website. Suitable courses include the following: CHEM 570-573; CHEM 600; courses in the range CHEM 620-689, and CHEM 700. The remaining course hour requirement may be fulfilled from the departmental (CHEM 616, CHEM 691) and university (e.g., UNIV 600) “skills” courses, or by courses inside or outside the department course offerings as required by a student’s research adviser. Approval from the Graduate Program Committee is required for a student to earn credit for any such course work. Further requirements for the nanoscience specialization are given in the catalog under “Specialization in Nanoscience.”

Graduate courses from accredited institutions in which the student has earned a grade of B or better may be accepted towards an advanced degree, subject to approval of the department and the Graduate School.

CHEM 615, Chemistry Seminar, or CHEM 616, Special Topics Chemistry Seminar, must be taken each semester unless a written waiver is given by the director of graduate studies. As part of CHEM 615 or CHEM 616, students must give an oral presentation of their research once a year. CHEM 690, Graduate Seminar, must be taken during the first two semesters of enrollment.

Within one year after successful completion of their candidacy exam, a student must give a seminar based on a comprehensive literature review of a topic different from their primary research area. This seminar will be the primary activity of CHEM 618 (1 semester hour). The seminar will be observed and evaluated by the members of the student’s candidacy examination committee. The candidacy examination committee chair will enter the student’s grade for CHEM 618.

There is no general language/research skill requirement. However, a student’s research adviser may require that such skills appropriate for the student’s research be obtained, and course work to achieve this may also be included in the student’s program of courses.

The student must complete the degree requirements with a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or above in all NIU graduate course work included on the doctoral program of courses.

CHEM 799, Doctoral Research and Dissertation, should be taken as soon as possible after passing the qualifying examination, with enrollment to continue each semester until graduate work terminates.

Examinations and Associated Committees


The background examinations in general chemistry is required at the time of entering the program during the orientation weeks in January and August. All students must pass this exam with a normative score of 50% in order to hold a TA appointment in the department. Students failing to pass the exam must attend general chemistry lectures (CHEM 210 or CHEM 211) during their first semester, then retake the general chemistry examination at its next offering. Failure to pass the exam the second time will result in termination of the students’s TA appointment.

A written qualifying examination must be satisfactorily completed in the primary area. This examination will test comprehensive knowledge of the area at the graduate level. The examination will be based on three “core” graduate courses (the list is available in the department) that will contribute towards the examination material. If a student desires to substitute a single different graduate course for a core course for the examination, he or she must petition the Graduate Program Committee in writing. The qualifying examination must be taken no later than the first offering after completion of the fourth semester of enrollment as a graduate student. Students must have a GPA of at least 3.20 in previous graduate work to attempt the examination. A prospective doctoral candidate who has received an M.S. degree in chemistry from NIU must take the examination at the first offering following the awarding of the M.S. degree. Qualifying examinations will be given three times a year, in September, January, and May. A student who fails to pass this examination must retake it at the next offering. Failure on the second attempt will terminate further work toward the doctorate but not the M.S. degree.

Within one year of passing the qualifying examination in the primary field, the student must complete a candidacy research examination on the student’s field of research encompassing the background literature in the area, the current state of the student’s research, and the proposed direction of the research. The candidacy examination committee, in consultation with the student and research adviser, will be formed from at least two faculty in addition to the student’s adviser(s) representing the primary area and a secondary area and will constitute be included as part of the student’s examining committee for all future examinations, From the committee members, the Graduate Program Committee, in consultation with the research adviser(s), will select the examination committee chair, for which position the student’s adviser(s) are ineligible. The candidacy examination will consist of two parts. The written part will include a detailed survey of the background literature in the area, the current state of the student’s research, and the proposed direction of the research. This document must be at least 30 pages in graduate school dissertation format and will serve as the foundation for the future thesis/dissertation. It must be given to the committee at least two weeks prior to the examination date. The oral part will include a 45-minute presentation by the student based on their current and future research followed by questions from the committee. The combined written/oral candidacy examination will have a designed course number, CHEM 617 (1 semester hour). The grade will be entered by the examination committee chair. A student who fails to pass this examination with a grade of B- or above must retake it no earlier than four nor later than six months after the first attempt. Failure on the second attempt will terminate further work toward the doctoral degree.

Within one year after successful completion of their candidacy exam, a student must give a seminar based on a comprehensive literature review of a topic different from their primary research area. This seminar will be the primary activity of CHEM 618 (1 semester hour). The seminar will be observed and evaluated by the members of the student’s candidacy examination committee. The candidacy examination committee chair will enter the student’s grade for CHEM 618.

Following completion of the literature review, the student must form a Ph. D. examining committee incorporating the candidacy examination committee and additional members as may be required by department or Graduate School policy. The research director(s) shall act as the chair (co-chairs) of the Ph.D. examining committee. Each post-candidacy doctoral candidate must give an oral presentation of her or his research once a year. The student’s Ph.D. examining committee will evaluate the presentation and inform the student of its opinion in writing.

Appeals against dismissal for failure to satisfy above examination requirements shall be directed to the Graduate Program Committee, whose recommendation shall be passed on to the faculty. The decision of the latter shall be final.

Dissertation


The student must complete an approved research problem and incorporate the results in a dissertation. The dissertation will be a substantial contribution to knowledge in which the student exhibits original scholarship and the ability to conduct independent research. A successful defense of the dissertation before the student’s doctoral committee is required for its final approval.

Limitation of Time


All requirements for the Ph.D. degree in chemistry must be completed within seven consecutive years from entry into an NIU graduate program in chemistry.

Specialization in Nanoscience


Students in the interdisciplinary nanoscience specialization can earn a Ph.D. through the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry or the Department of Physics. Topics of research in this specialization include design, synthesis, characterization and fabrications of smart nanomaterials and their potential applications, advanced nanoscience theory, and functions and properties of nanofluids.

Students pursuing a graduate specialization in nanoscience complete designated graduate-level courses in a variety of disciplines. This interdisciplinary approach exposes them to diverse physical science and engineering experiences. Successful completion of the specialization will be noted on the student’s transcript.

Students interested in pursuing this specialization should apply to the Ph.D. program in chemistry or the Ph.D. program in physics, indicating their preference for nanoscience specialization. Contact the departmental director of graduate studies to determine the set of courses to be used for the specialization.

Requirements for the Specialization in Nanoscience within the Ph.D. in Chemistry


A student can complete a specialization in nanoscience (nanochemistry) within the Ph.D. program in chemistry. A minimum of 19 semester hours of graduate credit must be earned by successfully passing graduate-level courses.

See the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry section of the Graduate Catalog for further details.

Students must complete:

Core courses (9)


And at least one of the following:

The remaining 4 semester-hour-requirement

The remaining 4 semester-hour-requirement may be fulfilled from the departmental (CHEM 616, CHEM 691) and university (e.g., UNIV 600) “skills” courses, or by courses inside or outside the department course offerings as required by a student’s research adviser. Approval from the Graduate Program Committee is required for a student to earn credit for any such course work.