Graduate study in chemistry involves, above all, research. Therefore, the most important decision you will make during your graduate career is the selection of a research adviser. It is important that this be done carefully and that your choice is an informed one. You will be spending a great deal of time and effort on your research project; it is crucial that it be a problem that interests you. In almost all cases, the specific research project is developed by the student and research adviser, working together within the scope of the professor's research program. This Website includes a list of the faculty and brief research descriptions of their current research activities. As you will see, there is a great diversity of interests represented in the department. You should have no trouble finding someone with the necessary expertise to help you make significant contributions in your area of interest. These outlines, of course, only provide general areas of research activity; it is important that you talk with faculty individually to discuss more specific proposals.
Under most circumstances, selection of a research adviser should be made by the end of the first semester—only then can progress toward the thesis commence. Your adviser will help to assemble a doctoral program committee, whose purpose is to help guide your development, to suggest elective courses, and to provide advice as needed to help focus your research result into a cogent thesis. (Formal appointment of the committee requires the approval of the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies.) This same committee also serves as the examining committee for the oral comprehensive examination, which is usually taken during the third year. The working relationship among student, adviser and committee is one that can grow and flourish with benefit to all.