Planning for Graduate Study in Chemistry Chemistry Research at UA

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					Planning for Graduate Study
       in Chemistry
             &
 Chemistry Research at UA

           YOUR NAME
    Department of Chemistry
    The University of Alabama
      Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
      Why Graduate School?
   Graduate training is needed to become
    proficient enough to be a strong participant in
    chemical research and the development of new
    knowledge.

   With a PhD, you’ll be able to rise to top
    technical or administrative positions in
    industrial, academic, or government labs.

   An advanced degree will result in a higher
    overall career earning potential.
    Graduate School Can Be Fun!
   It’s hard work, but you’ll be performing challenging
    research in an area that interests you.
   You’ll be developing lifelong friendships and
    professional relationships.
    Chemistry Starting Salaries
   From the American Chemical Society (ACS) for 2007 graduates.
   Median salaries for starting chemists.
   Typically, only 2-3 years after obtaining a PhD you will recover
    any salary “lost” while attending graduate school as a ~$21,000
    per year GTA/GRA. After that, you’re ahead by $30,000 or
    more per year over a BS/BA chemist.
   For 2007 graduates, the median starting salary for a new PhD
    chemist was $75,000. For 2004, this value was $65,000.
    Starting salaries are increasing!

    Time after
                         BS/BA            MS              PhD
    graduation

    <12 months          $36,700        $48,000         $75,000

    12-36 months        $38,600        $47,000*        $70,000*

    *Occasionally, starting salaries have increased so that new
    hires earn more than chemists employed for 1-3 years.
    Preparation for Graduate School
   Undergraduate Curriculum
       ACS-Certified B.S. Degree (preferred, not required).
       Take a full range of courses over all subdivisions of
        chemistry, including biochemistry.
       Take as many upper level math, biology, and physics
        courses as time permits.
       Acquire good skills in problem solving, teamwork, and
        communications.
   Undergraduate Research
       Seize the opportunity for research at your own
        institution.
       Become a participant in a summer research program at
        an academic institution or an industrial intern or co-op.
   Acquire Additional Skills
       Computer skills, work processing, spreadsheets,
        databases, programming.
       Acquaint yourself with chemistry journals and the
        scientific literature.
    Admission to Graduate School
   For regular admission, usually need GPA ≥ 3.0.
   For regular admission, usually need Graduate
    Record Exam (GRE) ≥ 1000.
   Most schools don’t require the Chemistry
    Subject GRE exam.
   Letters of Recommendation (2 or 3) – ask
    faculty who you have interacted with.
   Foreign Students – TOEFL ≥ 213 (computer
    exam, cBT) or ≥ 550 (paper exam, pBT) of
    >79 (internet exam, iBT).
   Note: In Chemistry, you don’t need a Masters
    degree (MS) in order to obtain a doctorate
    degree (PhD).
             Where to Apply?
   Gain info for your selection process from:
       Undergraduate professors or advisors
       ACS student affiliate meetings
       Seminar speakers
       Speakers at scientific conferences
       Publications in chemistry journals
       ACS Directory of Graduate Research
       Brochures and wall hangers from various
        programs
       Websites
       Visits to departments were you are considering
        graduate study
    Where to Apply, continued
   The most important questions to consider
    are:
     (1) Where to go to school?
     (2) Who to work for?
   Choose a school with multiple research
    options that interest you.
   If you want to work with a specific individual,
    contact them before applying. E-mail faculty
    whose research interest you.
   Contact the Director of Graduate Recruiting
    or other faculty with questions.
   Academic pedigree can still be important.
   Visit a school before you accept their offer of
    admission.
            Financial Support
   Positions
       Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA)
       Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA)
       Fellowships or Scholarships

   UA Chemistry Current Support
       Stipend (2008-2009 AY): $21,036 for 12 months
       Full tuition waiver; no fees except for ~$60/semester
       Free health insurance for the student ($1,500/yr value)
       If a student remains in good academic standing, they
        are guaranteed support in the PhD program for up to 5
        years.

   You will be paid to go to graduate school, but don’t let
    money be a primary deciding factor. Make your decision
    based on how the overall program and its research
    opportunities meet your needs.
    Financial Support, conti.
   Put your offers on an equal footing. Compare:
       Stipend: Is it for 12 months or 9/10 months with
        summers being different?
       Tuition: Is it a waiver or are you given tuition
        money as taxable income? Must you pay it back?
        Are there hidden fees?
       Health Insurance: Is it free to you?
       Cost of Living: May negate differences in
        monetary offers.
       Add-Ons/Sweeteners: Have in writing whether
        these are only for initial year or for all years.
       Length of Financial Support: Is continuous
        support offered for the period of time in which you
        can reasonably be expected to complete your
        degree (e.g., 5 years for a PhD)? This is very
        important.
Regional Chemistry GTA Stipends, 2007-2008
Institution             Net Stipend   No-Cost Health Insurance
Emory U.                $20,784       Partial
Florida St. U.          $17,787       Partial
Louisiana St. U.        $17,105       Partial
Mississippi St. U.      $16,400       Partial
North Carolina St. U.   $19,132       Yes
U. of Alabama           $20,916       Yes
U. of Florida           $17,560       Yes
U. of North Carolina    $20,750       Yes
U. of Georgia           $20,500       Partial
U. of South Carolina    $20,300       Partial
U. of Tennessee         $18,900       Yes
Vanderbilt U.           $21,562       Yes
*12 month net stipends = amount paid to the student minus
   tuition and fees that the student pays out of pocket
    How and When to Apply?
   How?
     Electronic applications are usually preferred over paper
      forms. For online application and info, check out the
      website of the department or university.
     Many departments waive application fees for domestic
      students. It doesn’t hurt to ask the department’s
      Director of Graduate Recruiting before sending money.

   When?
     For complete consideration for all positions, including
      fellowships, it’s best to submit applications for Fall
      before the end of the prior calendar year.
     Although most entering graduate students begin in the
      Fall semester, a few students may be admitted at the
      beginning of Spring semester.
     It is never too late to apply.
    Parts of the UA Application
   Application Form – Online submission preferred
   Statement of Purpose (SOP) -
     Discuss experience, career goals, research
       interests.
     Toot your own horn. This is your opportunity
       to tell the department anything that you want
       them to know about you.
   GRE – Official scores sent by ETS are needed.
   TOEFL – Needed by applicants when English is
    not their native language and they don’t have a
    degree from a US institution.
   Transcripts – Official transcripts sent by your
    undergraduate institution.
   Letters of Reference - Normally 3 are required.
    Ask faculty who know you well to write them.
    Overview of UA Chemistry
   23 Research Active Faculty
   Plan to hire a new department chair in 2009,
    plus a new assistant professor in the area of
    biochemistry
   ~85 Graduate Students
   Research in all major areas of chemistry, plus
    materials, green manufacturing, hydrogen
    storage, biomolecular products
   Graduate Stipend: $21,036/year with waiver of
    tuition and free health insurance for the
    student

   http://www.bama.ua.edu/~chem/
UA Graduate Chemistry Programs
   PhD Program
   MS Program
       Plan I – Thesis Option
       Plan II – Non-Thesis Option (Course work only)
   Divisions and Research Programs
       Analytical Chemistry
       Biochemistry
       Inorganic Chemistry
       Organic Chemistry
       Physical Chemistry
   Interdisciplinary Programs
       Center for Materials for Information Technology
        (MINT)
       Center for Green Manufacturing (CGM)
       Center for Advanced Vehicle Technology (CAVT)
       Coalition for Biomolecular Products (CBP)
PhD Program Degree Requirements

   Usually completed in 4-5 years

   Courses (72 credit hours total)
       Placement exams (ACS exams) upon entering
        program assist in matching courses to a
        student’s background
       6 lecture courses - 18 credit hours
           4 in major area and 2 outside major area
       Research Techniques – 6 credit hours
       Advanced Research Techniques – 8 credit hours
       Graduate Seminars – 16 credit hours
       Dissertation Research – 24 credit hours
PhD Program Degree Requirements

   Research
       Selection of Research Advisor
           Seminars for entering students with all Chemistry
            faculty
           Detailed interviews with faculty of interest
           Selection made by student late in their 1st
            semester of study or early in their 2nd semester
       Dissertation Committee
           5 members selected by 3rd semester
           Meet for IRR, ORP, Dissertation Defense
       Start your research project under your
        advisor’s supervision – This is the fun part!
    PhD Program Degree Requirements

   Additional Requirements
       Initial Research Review (IRR)
           Present to dissertation committee by the end of the first
            month of your 4th semester
       Cumulative Exams
           2-3 hour exams offered 10 times a year in each of the 5
            subdisciplines of chemistry
           Must pass 4 exams by the end of the 2nd year of study (20
            attempts maximum)
           Usually taken in major area, but can take outside of area
       Original Research Proposal (ORP)
           Present an defend (in writing and orally) an original
            idea outside of your own research area
           Must be completed by 5th semester of study
    PhD Program Degree Requirements

   Seminars
       Literature – during 2nd year
       Research – during last semester


   Dissertation
       Write and defend orally - on your own
        research
       Must result in at least one refereed publication
    MS Plan I (Research) Requirements

   Usually completed in 2-2.5 years
   Admission preference is usually given to PhD
    applicants, except under special circumstances
   Requirements similar to PhD Program except:
       30 credit hours with 4 lecture courses (3 in major
        area)
       Only thesis committee meetings are IRR and
        thesis defense in last semester
       No cumulative exams, ORP, or literature seminar
   Research seminar to department in last
    semester
   Thesis written and defended orally to thesis
    committee
UA Analytical Chemists
   Carolyn J. Cassady
   Associate Professor
   ANALYTICAL/BIOANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY: mass
   spectrometry, ion/molecule reactions, MS/MS of peptides
   by FT-ICR and TOF, sequencing metallopeptides

   Shanlin Pan
   Assistant Professor
   ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY: electrochemistry, single
   molecule Raman and fluorescence spectroscopy,
   nanomaterials and biosensors

   Shane C. Street
   Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Recruiting
   ANALYTICAL/PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY: UHV surface
   science, thin film tribology, and surface chemistry
UA Analytical Chemists
   Gregory J. Szulczewski
   Associate Professor
   ANALYTICAL/PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY: chemistry of
   surfaces and interfaces, thin film devices, colloidal
   particles for sensing applications
UA Biochemists
Laura S. Busenlehner
Assistant Professor
BIOCHEMISTRY/BIOINORGANIC CHEMISTRY: metal-
related diseases, protein structure-function studies, amide
hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry

Russell Timkovich
Professor
BIOCHEMISTRY/BIOPHYSICAL/BIOANALYTICAL
CHEMISTRY: electron transport proteins, NMR analysis of
3D protein structure, biosynthesis of novel tetrapyrroles


John B. Vincent
Professor, Interim Department Chair
BIOINORGANIC CHEMISTRY/BIOCHEMISTRY:
elucidation of the structure, function, and mode of action of
metallobiomolecules, biological chromium chemistry
        UA Biochemists, conti.
                  Stephen A. Woski
                  Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
                  ORGANIC/BIOORGANIC CHEMISTRY: non-natural
                  nucleoside synthesis, peptide nucleic acids, interactions of
                  metal complexes with DNA, synthesis of components for
                  molecular electronics




An addition biochemistry faculty member will be hired and is expected to
start in Fall 2009.
UA Inorganic Chemists
   David E. Nikles
   Professor
   INORGANIC/MATERIALS CHEMISTRY: materials for
   information technology, polymer coatings for magnetic tape,
   porphyrin synthesis, porphyrin-dendrimers as optical devices

   Robin D. Rogers
   Robert Ramsay Professor of Chemistry, University Research
   Professor, Director of the Center for Green Manufacturing
   ANALYTICAL/INORGANIC CHEMISTRY: separation
   science, ionic liquids, x-ray diffraction & crystal engineering,
   self-assembled porphyrin arrays

   Joseph S. Thrasher
   Professor
   INORGANIC/ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY: novel sulfur-fluorine
   compounds, industrial fluorine chemistry, computational
   chemistry
UA Inorganic Chemists
   Thomas Vaid
   Assistant Professor
   INORGANIC/MATERIALS CHEMISTRY: inorganic and
   organic electronic materials, solar energy conversion
UA Organic Chemists
  Anthony J. Arduengo, III
  Saxon Professor
  ORGANIC/INORGANIC: the chemistry of new or unusual
  bonding arrangements, material science, new reagents for
  synthesis

  Silas C. Blackstock
  Professor
  ORGANIC CHEMISTRY: electron transfer chemistry, high-
  spin polyradical ions, redox-gradient dendrimers, electron
  donor-acceptor bonding, crystal engineering

  Michael P. Jennings
  Assistant Professor
  SYNTHETIC ORGANIC CHEMISTRY: total synthesis of
  biologically active natural products, enantioselective
  methodology development based on novel chiral ligands,
  asymmetric catalysis
UA Organic Chemists, conti.
     Kevin H. Shaughnessy
     Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies
     ORGANIC/ORGANOMETALLIC CHEMISTRY: metal-
     catalyzed organic synthetic methodology, environmentally
     benign reactions, High-throughput screening of reaction
     selectivity

     Timothy S. Snowden
     Assistant Professor
     SYNTHETIC ORGANIC CHEMISTRY: synthetic
     methodology, natural product synthesis
UA Physical Chemists
  Martin G. Bakker
  Associate Professor
  PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY: EPR, radical
  dynamics/reactions in organized media, surfactant
  aggregation, materials

  Michael K. Bowman
  Associate Professor
  PHYSICAL/BIOPHYSCIAL CHEMISTRY: EPR, structure
  and function of metalloproteins, defect centers in crystalline
  and non-crystalline solids

  David A. Dixon
  Robert Ramsay Professor of Chemistry
  PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY: computational and theoretical
  chemistry, applications to organic, inorganic, bio,
  environmental, industrial, and materials
UA Physical Chemists, conti.
     Arunava Gupta
     MINT Professor
     MATERIALS and PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY: nanostructured
     materials for biomedical applications and information
     technology

     Robert M. Metzger
     Professor
     PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY: molecular electronics, electrical
     conductivity in organic crystals, unimolecular organic
     rectifiers
Overhead View of the University of Alabama
Campus and Shelby Hall during Construction
Entrance to Shelby Hall
Shelby Hall Rotunda Ceiling
Shelby Hall Rotunda Floor
Center Courtyard – View of Rotunda
Hallway of a Research Wing
Research Lab – Kispert Group
Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) Lab
Research Lab – Shaughnessy Group
Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass
  Spectrometer (FT-ICR/MS) – Cassady Group
Mass Spectrometry Lab – MALDI/TOF and
 Double Focusing Sector Spectrometers
Typical Graduate Student Office
Faculty Office in Shelby Hall