The Graduate Program

The major goal of a graduate education in chemistry is to master a significant segment of the existing knowledge, including theories and techniques, and to demonstrate the creative capability to discover new understandings and techniques through research. Accordingly, requirements include an established minimum of classroom course work and studies and completion of original research work presented in a written dissertation.

The graduate program at OU is a balance between required and elective coursework and research. Divisions within the areas of chemistry and biochemistry are used at OU to organize teaching assignments, course requirements and degree candidacy requirements. There are six divisions at OU: Analytical, Biochemistry, Chemical Education, Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry. Students elect one of these divisions as their major and must fulfill the requirements of that division to earn a degree. Given the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of modern chemistry, students will often fulfill the degree requirements of one division while carrying out research in an overlapping research area. Minimum course requirements are 21 credit hours of graduate level lecture courses (usually 7 courses). These must include at least nine credit hours in two divisions outside the student's major division. Depending on the division, candidacy exams for the Ph.D. degree are given in the second or at the beginning of the third year of graduate studies. More information on the degree requirements for each division is included in the Graduate Student Handbook.

Graduate_Student_Handbook (250kb, PDF format
MS Program Requirements (85kb, PDF format)
PhD Program Requirements (149kb, PDF format)

Ronald L. Halterman, Chair
SLSRC Room 1005

Robert White, Graduate Liaison
SLSRC Room 1210

Phone: (405) 325-4811
Fax: (405) 325-6111


Ashby, Cichewicz, Glatzhofer, Halterman, Hansmann, Liu, Mao, Nelson, Nicholas, Richter-Addo, West, White, Zgurskaya.

Associate Professors:
Morvant, Rice, Rybenkov, Schroeder, Sims,Yip.

Assistant Professors:
Biggs, Bourne, Burgett, Duerfeldt, Clifford, Li, Sharma, Thomson, Wu, Yang.


  • Master of Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy

Areas of Specialization
Students may specialize in one of the following major areas of chemistry (analytical, biological, inorganic, organic, physical and chemical education) or in any combination.

Prerequisites for Full Graduate Standing
Students who have satisfied the basic chemistry course requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree at the University of Oklahoma will have met the requirements for full graduate standing. Undergraduate majors from other institutions should meet departmental requirements as follows:

  • the equivalent of courses 3053, 3152, 3153 (organic chemistry);
  • 4023, 4033 (analytical chemistry);
  • 3421, 3423, 3521, 3523 (physical chemistry);
  • 4333 (inorganic chemistry)

Deficiencies in these requirements may necessitate additional coursework, and may increase the number of course credit hours required for an advanced degree.

Special Requirements for Graduate Students
Proficiency examinations are given to all incoming graduate students during the University's enrollment period at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. There are four proficiency examinations, one each in the areas of analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. These examinations cover well-defined areas as outlined by the undergraduate chemistry courses and textbooks employed at major universities. These examinations are used by the departmental Graduate Committee to ensure proper placement of each graduate student upon initial enrollment.

Minimum course requirements for graduate degree candidates include the completion of a minimum of twenty-one credit hours in letter-graded lecture courses at the 5000 or 6000 level. At least nine credit hours must be taken in courses at the 5000 or 6000 level which are offered in two other divisions or departments outside of the student's major division. If more than three hours of these general lecture course requirements are to be taken outside the Department of Chemistry, approval must be given by both the Advisory Committee and the Graduate Committee.

A minimum grade average of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) must be achieved for the first twenty-one credit hours taken which qualify as general lecture courses with no more than two grades below B allowed. Failure to meet these requirements will result in the student being terminated from the graduate program in chemistry. Students must also complete the specific courses required by their particular division.

The Degree of Master of Science
The general requirements for the master's degree in the Graduate College must be met. Within these limits the student works under the supervision of the research director, the graduate liaison, and the departmental Graduate Committee.

Master of Science (Thesis Option)
Students interested in developing research capability in a particular area of chemistry usually select this option. If desired, students may take an interdisciplinary approach in their thesis. Minimum course requirements include completion of fifteen credit hours in letter graded lecture courses at the 5000 or 6000 level with no more than 2 grades below B allowed. Nine credit hours are specified depending on the area of specialization. At least six credit hours must be taken in courses at the 5000 or 6000 level that are offered in two other divisions outside the student's major division.

Master of Science (Nonthesis Option)
This degree is generally selected by those students interested in obtaining an advanced degree in chemistry without research specialization. Minimum course requirements include completion of twenty-one credit hours in letter-graded lecture courses at the 5000 or 6000 level with no more than two grades below B allowed. Nine credit hours must be taken in courses at the 5000 or 6000 level that are offered in two other divisions outside the student's major division. A comprehensive examination, oral or written, is required.

Students who have passed the general examination for the Ph.D. degree may, on recommendation of the department, receive an M.S. degree (nonthesis option).

Master of Science (Chemical Education)
This degree deals with essential concepts in chemistry and effective methods and techniques for the teaching of these concepts. It is designed for the high school chemistry teacher working for a M.S. degree. The major course requirements include Chemistry 5013, 5023, 5033, 5203 and 5213, plus selected courses from the College of Education.

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
The Ph.D. degree in chemistry is awarded for excellence in research scholarship. It signifies the attainment of independently acquired and comprehensive learning attesting to general professional competence. Coursework must include the basic course requirements as stated in a preceding section on Special Requirements. Emphasis may be in one or a combination of the areas of analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, physical or chemical education. The student works under the general direction of the student's advisory committee. General examinations in the department consist of a written or an oral examination followed by the oral defense of a research proposition. Individual divisions within the department have different systems of written examination. Details of the requirements and general instructions to graduate students may be obtained from the Department of Chemistry office, SLSRC 1000.