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First-Year Graduate Students

We are pleased that you have chosen the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Brigham Young University to pursue your graduate degree. We have an excellent program. You will be well prepared to meet the challenges of your profession and your career as you work hard to develop your knowledge and abilities. We are committed to help you be successful in every way we can. Our laboratories are equipped with up-to-date equipment and with reagents and other supplies to help you carry out your research. Experienced faculty and staff members are available to teach, advise and support your efforts. We expect you to approach your graduate studies in a professional way.

Do not consider your graduate assistantship as pay for doing a job. Rather, your stipend is designed as a subsidy which will permit you to focus your attention on your graduate work. We ask you not to accept employment outside the department while you are a graduate student here. Our commitment to your education is substantial, and in return we expect a serious commitment from you. The graduate student who looks upon his or her graduate work as an eight-to-five job five days a week greatly underestimates what is required. It is not unreasonable to expect graduate students to spend many hours in the laboratory. Of course, students on teaching assistantships need to divide their time between teaching and research. The total commitment should be the same, with the hours not required for teaching to be spent in the research laboratory. This means arriving early, working late, and often coming back in the evenings and on Saturdays (but not on Sundays at Brigham Young University). One must use good judgment and plan to spend some time with family and friends, but extended holidays and breaks between semesters are times when much can be accomplished in the laboratory with minimum interruption. In an address given by former BYU Graduate Dean Marilyn Arnold, she stated the following:

“Graduate study at a university is not simply an extension of undergraduate work nor is it merely a group of courses and requirements that cluster into something called a program...graduate study is the doorway, and sometimes the entry hall, into new territories of discovery and truth. It is where students learn that knowledge has power and value in itself, that theoretical research is as precious and necessary as practical research, and that the two are not mutually exclusive.”

The rewards that go with the successful completion of a graduate degree are great. We wish you success in meeting this goal.

-David V. Dearden, Ph.D. Professor and Chair

Chemistry & Biochemistry