About Us

The Chemistry and Nanoscale Science Ph.D. Program is an interdisciplinary program of research and teaching that promotes the understanding, development, and manipulation of chemical structures and phenomena that have nanoscale dimensions. Research and academic work towards earning a Ph.D. in Chemistry and Nanoscale Science addresses the development of materials and processes on the scale of roughly 1-100 nanometers in length, and the study of phenomena that occur on this size scale. The program prepares students to become scholarly, practicing scientists who possess the critical thinking, methodological, and communication skills required to advance and disseminate knowledge of fundamental and applied science in the areas of chemistry, biochemistry, energy materials, optics/spectroscopy, physics, and engineering.

The program consists of: (1) a series of core courses (6 courses, 17 credits).  All students are required to take NANO 8001 Perspectives at the Nanoscale (2 credits), NANO 8102 Nanoscale Phenomena (3 credits), and NANO 8203 Collaborative Research Proposal (3 credits).  The remaining three courses (9 credits) are selected by the student from a series of courses in instrumental methods, synthesis of nanomaterials, nanomedicine, and nanoscale biotechnology, depending on the student’s research focus (bio-nanoscale science, vs. energy and materials); (2) 3 elective courses (9 credits total) in nanoscale science and/or graduate courses from any approved science or engineering discipline; (3) NANO 8682 Nanoscale Science Colloquium (1 credit), normally taken a total of three times, during semesters 2, 3, and 4; (4) NANO 8900 Dissertation Research (1-8 credits), normally taken during every semester except semester 1; (5) NANO 8681 Nanoscale Science Seminar (1 credit) (visiting speaker seminar program), required of all students during each semester enrolled in the program; (6) a dissertation research proposal defense with associated qualifying exam (completed before or in the third year in the program); and (7) a written dissertation, public presentation of the dissertation, and dissertation defense.  The program requires the completion of 72 hours of coursework.  With the exception of the seminar (NANO 8681) and dissertation research (NANO 8900) courses, students are normally expected to complete all courses by the end of their fourth semester in the program; during the third year and onwards, students are normally only enrolled in Dissertation Research (NANO 8900, 8 credits) and Nanoscale Science Seminar (NANO 8681, 1 credit).  All students are required to complete GRAD 8002 Responsible Conduct of Research (2 credits) during their first year enrolled in the program.

The program does not require students to teach as a degree requirement.  Some students are supported on research assistantships, provided by external grants obtained by their research advisor, throughout their tenure in the program.  Most students are supported on a teaching assistantship in the chemistry department for at least one year and are supported on a research assistantship later in the program.  A teaching assistantship is for 20 hours per week and normally requires students to teach two sections of a chemistry laboratory course, plus grading and proctoring as needed. The graduate program director formally monitors and evaluates a student’s progress every semester. Students are advised of courses they need to take and requirements that must be met.