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MS and PhD Courses and Descriptions

MS Requirements - 30 credits


Chemistry                 Biochemistry         
Note: Pass 3/5 proficiency exams Pass biochemistry proficiency exam
PLEASE NOTE: Unless instructed otherwise by their committee, MS students do not have a publication requirement.
Year 1
  • Courses: 2-5 total elective classes
  • -1-2 elective classes 1st semester    
  • -1-2 elective classes 2nd semester     
  • CHEM 594R, General Seminar
  • CHEM 601, Safety
  • CHEM 692R, Current Topics
  • Annual review
  • 3.0 course GPA
  • At least 6 cr each in Fall & Winter
  • At least 1 cr each in Spring & Summer
  • Courses: 2-5 total elective classes
  • -1-2 elective classes 1st semester
  • -1-2 elective classes 2nd semester
  • CHEM 594R, General Seminar
  • CHEM 601, Safety
  • CHEM 692R, Current Topics
  • Annual review
  • 3.0 course GPA
  • At least 6 cr each in Fall & Winter
  • At least 1 cr each in Spring & Summer
Year 2:
  • CHEM 692R, Current Topics
  • CHEM 594R, General Seminar
  • CHEM 694 (W) – Scientific Writing
  • (CHEM 699R Thesis (6 cr)
  • Annual review
  • 3.0 course GPA
  • Good research progress
  • At least 2 cr each in Fall & Winter
  • At least 1 cr each in Spring & Summer
  • Thesis & Defense
  • CHEM 692R, Current Topics
  • CHEM 594R, General Seminar       
  • CHEM 694 (W) – Scientific Writing
  • (CHEM 699R Thesis (6 cr)
  • Annual review
  • 3.0 course GPA
  • Good research progress
  • At least 2 cr each in Fall & Winter
  • At least 1 cr each in Spring & Summer 
  • Thesis & Defense


PhD Requirements - 54 credits

Chemistry                 Biochemistry         
Note: Pass 3/5 proficiency exams Pass biochemistry proficiency exam
PLEASE NOTE:  PhD students must have at least one first-author paper submitted to a peer-reviewed journal prior to defense of their dissertation.
Year 1:
  • Courses: 4-7 total elective classes
  • 1-2 elective classes 1st semester
  • 1-2 elective classes 2nd semester
  • CHEM 594R, General Seminar
  • CHEM 601 (W), Safety
  • CHEM 692R, Current Topics  
  • Annual review - August 
  • 3.0 course GPA
  • At least 6 cr each in Fall & Winter
  • At least 1 cr each in Spring & Summer
  • Courses: 4-7 total elective classes
  • 1-2 elective classes 1st semester
  • 1-2 elective classes 2nd semester
  • CHEM 594R, General Seminar
  • CHEM 601 (W), Safety
  • CHEM 692R, Current Topics  
  • Annual review - August
  • 3.0 course GPA
  • At least 6 cr each in Fall & Winter
  • At least 1 cr each in Spring & Summer
Year 2:
  • CHEM 594R, General Seminar
  • CHEM 692R, Current Topics 
  • CHEM 694 (W) – Scientific Writing 
  • 1-2 elective classes 1st semester
  • 1-2 elective classes 2nd semester
  • Annual review
  • Presentation Requirement
  • 3.0 course GPA
  • Good research progress
  • At least 2 cr each in Fall & Winter
  • At least 1 cr each in Spring & Summer
  • CHEM 594R, General Seminar
  • CHEM 692R, Current Topics 
  • CHEM 694 (W) – Scientific Writing
  • 1-2 elective classes 1st semester
  • 1-2 elective classes 2nd semester
  • Annual review
  • Presentation Requirement
  • 3.0 course GPA
  • Good research progress
  • At least 2 cr each in Fall & Winter
  • At least 1 cr each in Spring & Summer
Year 3:
  • CHEM 594R, General Seminar
  • CHEM 692R, Current Topics
  • CHEM 697R, Research 
  • Research Proposal - 3rd Yr Proposal
  • Presentation Requirement
  • 3.0 course GPA
  • Good research progress
  • At least 2 cr each in Fall & Winter
  • At least 1 cr each in Spring & Summer
  • CHEM 594R, General Seminar
  • CHEM 692R, Current Topics
  • CHEM 697R, Research
  • Research Proposal - 3rd Yr Proposal
  • Presentation Requirement
  • 3.0 course GPA
  • Good research progress
  • At least 2 cr each in Fall & Winter
  • At least 1 cr each in Spring & Summer
Year 4:
  • CHEM 594R, General Seminar
  • CHEM 697R
  • CHEM 699R Dissertation
  • Annual review
  • Presentation Requirement
  • 3.0 course GPA
  • Good research progress
  • At least 2 cr each in Fall & Winter
  • At least 1 cr each in Spring & Summer
  • CHEM 594R, General Seminar
  • CHEM 697R
  • CHEM 699R Dissertation
  • Annual review
  • Presentation Requirement
  • 3.0 course GPA
  • Good research progress
  • At least 2 cr each in Fall & Winter
  • At least 1 cr each in Spring & Summer
Year 5:
  • Good research progress
  • CHEM 697R - any remaining credits
  • CHEM 699R Dissertation 
  • Publication Requirement
  • At least 2 cr each F/W/Su until defense
  • Dissertation & Defense 
  • Good research progress
  • CHEM 697R - any remaining credits
  • CHEM 699R Dissertation 
  • Publication Requirement
  • At least 2 cr each F/W/Su until defense
  • Dissertation & Defense


Core Classes by Area*

MS: 2-5 core classes / PhD: 4-7 core classes:

Analytical

CHEM 521, 523, 629R (729R)

Biochemistry

CHEM 581, 583, 584, 586 (689R, 789R)

Inorganic

CHEM 514, 518, 619R

Organic

CHEM 552, 553, 555, 659R (759R)

Physical

CHEM 565, 567, 563, 569


*Additional courses may be recommended by the candidate’s advisor/committee

  • Take 1-2 core classes during their 1st semester (self-select based on course descriptions & recommendations from temporary advisor)
  • Take 1-2 core classes during their 2nd semester (advisor/committee help select)
  • CHEM 601 (Chemical Safety) during 1st yr (Winter)
  • CHEM 694 (Scientific Writing course) during 2nd yr (Winter)
  • CHEM 594R (Seminar course) for 7 (PhD) or 3 (MS) semesters (3.5/1.5 total credits)
  • CHEM 692R Current Topics course for 6 (PhD) or 4 (MS) semesters (3/2 total credits)
  • CHEM 697R Graduate Research (variable)
  • CHEM 699R Thesis 18 (PhD) or 6 (MS) credits

Required Course Descriptions

CHEM 594R – Seminar course

  • Attend at least 10 seminars per semester.
  • For 2 of the 10 seminars, read and write abstract-like summaries for 2-3 articles written by the speaker on the topic of the presentation. These must be turned in prior to the seminar.
  • Take notes (using the form for the class) during the seminar for which the summaries are written. Turn the notes in immediately following the seminar. Two passing grades are required. If one or both of the summaries fails to meet the necessary standard of writing, additional summaries (as appropriate) will be required. Take notes using the form for the class on all of the seminars on which the student writes summaries.

CHEM 601 – Safe Chemical Practices

This is taken in the Winter semester of the first year.  This class will address University and department safety policies. Chemical hazards, fire safety, and biosafety, including laws.  Graduate students who received their undergraduate degree at BYU in chemistry or biochemistry will be exempt from this class and will make up the credit in Chem 697R.

CHEM 692R - Current Topics course (3 credits)   

- Refer to the Current Topics webpage for the requirements.

There are six sections of CHEM 692R, each with a different theme:

  • Biochemistry
  • Synthesis and Chemical Biology
  • Catalysis or Functional Materials
  • Instrument and Method Development
  • Spectroscopy
  • Bioanalytics

CHEM 694 – Graduate Writing course

  • This is taken in the Winter semester of the second year. As part of this course, students write a full literature review on the topic of their graduate research project. For PhD students, this review is intended to be the foundation for the student’s proposal/prospectus which will also be drafted as part of the course. For MS students, the review will be the basis of the introductory chapter of their thesis.
  • With approval from their committee, students may take this class during the winter of their first year.

Chemistry & Biochemistry