What degrees are available?
The department offers a non-thesis Masters of Arts (MA) and thesis Masters of Science (MS) in Chemistry, as well as the research-intensive Ph.D. program. The Ph.D. program consists of the following components:
- Original research, culminating in the defense of a dissertation project at the end of his/her graduate career.
- Lecture courses that provide the student with extensive depth and breadth of knowledge in major areas of chemistry.
- A cumulative examination program in the student’s major subject area of interest.
- A Seminar program based on presentations given by visiting scholars as well as TCU students and faculty.
- Teaching experience, typically as a laboratory assistant to undergraduate laboratory courses.
What will I experience studying chemistry at TCU?
TCU’s graduate program in Chemistry & Biochemistry have has been in place since 1963, and is one of the oldest graduate programs in North Texas. The department welcomes Ph.D. applicants from around the world. TCU graduate students have opportunities to use modern instrumentation in their research, and to participate in our active seminar program. The program focuses on providing students with a broad experience encompassing research, course work, and opportunities for teaching and mentoring.
The dissertation research project is the single most important undertaking of a student’s graduate career. Other requirements, including course work, cumulative examinations, seminars, and teaching, are intended to broaden students’ exposure to chemistry and aid in developing the essential skills of oral and written scientific communication.
Choice of a faculty mentor as dissertation research adviser comes early in thc Ph.D. program, typically by the end of the first semester of graduate study. By a series of one-on-one interviews, the student and individual faculty members explore subjects of mutual interest, leading to the student joining a research group and choosing a research topic tailored to individual interests.
Upon joining a research group, the student obtains advice on research, course selection, and career planning from advanced students in the research group as well as from the research adviser. Dissertation research normally begins soon after joining a specific research group and continues until a satisfactory dissertation is completed. Most students entering our program complete the program in approximately 4 and 3/4 years.
The TCU Graduate Catalog provides a current listing of courses offered. Students take most courses in the first year of graduate study. A wide selection of courses allows students to extend the breath and depth of their chemical knowledge. After selecting a research adviser at the end of the first semester, students select additional courses with the advice of their advisor to suit their needs and interests. Courses are offered on the semester system and meet for approximately 15 weeks.
The teaching experience is considered an important part of the graduate training program. As a consequence, each student is required to participate in a four semesters of teaching, typically as a laboratory assistant in undergraduate laboratory course(s). However, unlike most chemistry departments in the United States, at the end of this teaching requirement TCU provides full University fellowships and research assistantships to all chemistry graduate students in good standing. As a consequence, teaching by graduate students becomes a rich training experience instead of just part-time employment. This is one of many factors enabling most TCU graduate students in chemistry to complete the Ph.D. program successfully in approximately 4 and 3/4 years.
To reinforce the importance of the teaching experience as a part of the graduate degree, in 1997 the chemistry department instituted an annual Graduate Student Teaching Award. In addition to a small plaque, the recipient currently receives a honorarium of $100.