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College of Arts and Sciences Department of Chemistry

Analytical, Environmental and Radiochemistry (AER)

General Information

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Analytical Chemistry is awarded in recognition of distinguished scholarship and original contributions to knowledge. Although formal courses are required, the award is made primarily for creative scholarship rather than for the accumulation of credits in courses or for the completion of the requirements listed in this document. Thus, it is of paramount importance that you begin research in the laboratory at the earliest possible time.

Research Program

Normally you should spend the first semester talking with research faculty and graduate students about the research being conducted within the Department of Chemistry. You should have selected a research advisor to guide you throughout the Ph.D. program by the end of this first semester. If you have decided on a specialization in the Analytical, Environmental, or Radiochemistry area, you should have discussed your interests with each member of the AER faculty before formally selecting the advisor. During the second semester, you should begin work in your advisor’s laboratory.

Ph.D. Advisory Committee

A Ph.D. Advisory Committee consist of no fewer than four members. With the aid of the research advisor, a Ph.D. Advisory Committee should be selected during the second semester of graduate study.  This committee must consist of at least three graduate faculty members, two of whom must be members of the AER faculty.

Formal Course Program and Other Requirements

With the aid of the Ph.D. Advisory Committee, a formal course program must be selected and filed with the Graduate School by the end of the first summer. This formal program must include 28 semester hours of 400 and 500 level graded courses beyond the bachelor’s degree. These courses must be listed in the Graduate Study Bulletin or be approved for graduate credit since publication of the last Bulletin. 300 level courses in departments other than chemistry may be counted if they are approved by your Ph.D. Advisory Committee. Specific requirements for the formal course program are listed below:

Specific requirements for the formal course program are

  1. 3 credit hours of Chemistry 592 “Analytical Seminar”. Every AER student must give a minimum of three seminars during the Ph.D. program: a literature seminar, a proposal seminar, and a final research seminar. These seminars may be taken for credit and must be listed on the formal course program. Participation in informal seminars, group discussions, etc. are a normal part of every student’s program. AER students are expected to attend all Chem 592 activities whether enrolled in the course or not.
  2. 10 credit hours (of course work) selected from the following analytical courses (Note: Analytical courses are revised periodically, but the 10-hour requirement will remain in effect):
    • Chem 425 (2 hr) Quantitative Instrumental Analysis
    • Chem 426 (2 hr) Quantitative Instrumental Analysis Laboratory
    • Chem 510 (2 hr) Introduction to Proteomics
    • Chem 514 (2 hr) Mass Spectrometry
    • Chem 517 (2 hr) Chromatography
    • Chem 518  (2 hr) Electrochemistry
    • Chem 521/522 (3 hr) Radiochemistry and Radiotracers – Lecture and Laboratory
    • Chem 527 (2 hr) Environmental Chemistry
    • Chem 529 (V 1-3 hr) Selected Topics in Analytical Chemistry
    • Chem 535 (3 hr) Applied Spectroscopy
    • Chem 550 (V 1-3 hr) Special Topics in Nuclear Processes and Radioactive Waste Management

Each student will present an oral research report to the analytical faculty and students during the 3rd semester.

The Ph.D. Preliminary Examination

All AER graduate students must complete the Ph.D. preliminary and qualifying exam for advancement to candidacy, normally by the end of the fifth semester of graduate study but no later than the end of the third year.

The Preliminary Examination consists of two basic components:

  1. A written examination during the fourth semester administered during spring break.
  2. Submission of a research proposal and an oral examination during the fifth semester.
  1. Written Examination. Written examinations will be taken in the fourth semester (normal progress). These examinations will cover the basic fields of analytical chemistry and related disciplines and the level of competency will be set at the advanced graduate level.
  2. Research Proposal. During the fifth semester of study, you must submit a research proposal. This proposal will normally be related to the thesis project and must be approved by the Doctoral Committee. The proposal must contain some original work performed by you at Washington State University. The proposal must also contain an authoritative review of the topic, and extensive bibliography, and experimental details of proposed research.The research proposal will be formally submitted to the AER faculty at the beginning of the fifth semester and a 45-minute seminar will be presented to the faculty and students. The Doctoral Committee must approve the research proposal before you can continue to the oral examination.
  3. Oral Examination. The Oral examination will be scheduled to take place after submission of the research proposal. The oral examination will be basically a defense of the research proposal, but questions may be asked on the written examination or in any area the Committee feels is appropriate. If the oral examination is passed, the Ph.D. preliminary examination is complete and you advance to Ph.D. candidate status.
  4. Unsatisfactory Performance. If the preliminary examination is failed, the Committee may advise the termination with a M.S. degree, or may recommend that the examination be retaken. If the oral examination is failed, only the oral examination need to be rescheduled.

Ph.D. Thesis

Each student will write a Ph.D. thesis in a form determined by the Advisory and the student’s Committee. A departmental seminar must be given prior to the final thesis defense oral examination.