Graduate Programs in Chemistry and Biochemistry
In 2010, Duquesne University’s Ph.D. program was ranked among the top 100 Chemistry programs in the country by the National Research Council and ranked as high as 6th in “Student Support and Outcomes” and 35th in “Program Diversity.”
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers three graduate degrees:
- Ph.D. in Chemistry or Biochemistry
- Research Thesis M.S. in Chemistry or Biochemistry
- Non-Thesis M.S. in Chemistry or Biochemistry
Ph.D. students in good standing in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are paid an annual stipend of $23,175 (as of Fall 2013). Teaching assistants typically have responsibility for conducting their own research and coursework, as well as teaching two sections of laboratory, whereas research assistants are typically paid from research grants in lieu of teaching.
As part of their degree requirements, all Ph.D. candidates are required to teach for at least two regular semesters. The department does not typically admit students directly into its M.S. programs.
Every year, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has four Bayer Fellowships available to new Ph.D. applicants on a competitive basis. These fellowships pay a $2500 supplement per year for two years in addition to the Fellow’s stipend. Applicants to our Ph.D. program will automatically be considered for a Bayer Fellowship. In addition, graduate assistants are encouraged to apply for nationally competitive fellowships.
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers an innovative Ph.D. program designed to transition each young scientist rapidly into an active research professional. The centerpiece of the first year of study is the research rotation program. After evaluating the department's ongoing research, each student selects up to two research groups for semester-long rotations. At the end of each semester, a student is expected to write a summary of the research experience, give a short presentation, and answer questions. After choosing a research advisor and dissertation project, the student will actively engage in research, begin taking fundamental and special topic courses recommended by a dissertation advisory committee, present a dissertation outline, and write and defend an original research proposal. Once the dissertation research nears completion, the student presents an oral dissertation data defense, completes the research, and writes and defends the dissertation. Throughout the process, each student is closely mentored by the dissertation advisory committee, chaired by the student’s research advisor.
Research Thesis M.S. Program
The Research Thesis M.S. program emphasizes research over coursework. The Thesis MS is offered primarily for students seeking a fairly rapid transition from their undergraduate experience to a research laboratory, usually in the chemical and biochemical industries. For the Research Thesis M.S., the student completes two research rotations, takes classes decided upon in consultation with a mentoring committee, and completes and defends a thesis. During the student’s first year the timeline is nearly the same as the timeline for the Ph.D. program, although M.S. students will generally have a much more carefully structured curriculum for the first two years.
The Non-Thesis M.S. is based entirely on advanced coursework and is offered to students wishing to expand their theoretical and practical understanding of Chemistry and/or Biochemistry. The Non-Thesis M.S. student takes 30 credit hours of graduate classes and gives one formal public seminar.
Our department occupies nearly 30,000 square feet of space, primarily on the third floor of the award-winning Richard King Mellon Hall, designed by renowned architect Mies van der Rohe. Over the past 12 years, approximately 85% of our 18,490 square feet of research space has been renovated, funded most recently (in 2013) by a $1.76 million grant from the NSF. A variety of modern chemical instrumentation is housed in our space and is readily available for use by all properly trained graduate and undergraduate students. A more detailed description of our facilities, including a list of major instrumentation acquired since 2004 may be found here.
Center for Teaching Excellence
The staff at Duquesne’s Center for Teaching Excellence is a unique resource for students who aspire to a career in academia or industry because they teach fundamental communication skills. The Center provides faculty and teaching assistants with numerous resources, including the opportunity to enroll in several series of workshops each year dealing with classroom or laboratory pedagogy and certification to students who complete any of the several series of workshops. The Center thus helps students build a teaching portfolio to document their dedication to improving their communication and teaching skills. The Center also sponsors several annual, campus-wide awards for faculty and teaching assistants who demonstrate teaching excellence in the classroom and/or who document creative, effective new ways to teach.
Travel to Scientific Meetings
Funding is available to reimburse travel expenses for Chemistry and Biochemistry students in good standing to present their research results at scientific conferences. The department will currently match up to $300 from a graduate student’s research advisor each year to defray the conference expenses of students who present their research results. Students are encouraged to seek funding from other sources as well.
Graduate Course Descriptions
For current course offerings in Chemistry and Biochemistry and a brief description of their content, see our graduate course descriptions. These courses are offered on a rotating basis, depending on faculty availability and student interest.