University of Vermont

2013-2014 Catalogue

Chemistry (Master of Science)


An M.S. degree in chemistry prepares students for careers in chemical sciences, biomedical sciences, catalysis, energy, environment, or materials science as well as other professional fields that apply strong research skills or basic chemical understanding. Because of the research-intensive graduate education at UVM, a description of research by classic chemical subdivision follows.

Analytical chemistry involves developing and applying instrumentation and chemical methods to solve problems across a range of chemistries and scientific disciplines. One focus is in electroanalytical chemistry studying redox processes of organometallic compounds, including electrocatalysis relevant to the environmental and biological applications. Another area focuses on the development of innovative methods and instruments to study the formation and chemistry of organic aerosols in the atmosphere. This work bridges the gap between analytical chemistry and atmospheric science, contributing to our understanding of the impact of aerosols on global climate through direct scattering of solar radiation and the formation of ice and water clouds. The third area develops mass spectrometry instrumentation and chemistries for addressing current problems in the biomedical sciences. Key foci are development of methods for advancing the rapidly growing field of proteomics and application of stable isotopically labeled tracers to answer questions of metabolism and metabolic diseases in humans.

Inorganic chemistry at UVM involves the study of main-group elements and transition metals in a variety of contexts, with applications in catalysis, energy, environment, and medicine. One example is the synthesis and characterization of inorganic particles, which can be functionalized for broad applications in heterogeneous catalysis, targeted drug delivery, and biological imaging. Another area of interest is spectroscopic and biochemical studies of metalloproteins, with the goal of using a detailed understanding of their structures to explain reaction patterns. Finally, a third example is the design of metal-based catalysts for chemical bond formation, which can be applied to the preparation of useful small molecules and novel polymeric materials.

Current research in organic chemistry includes the development of novel synthetic methodologies to prepare oxygen- and nitrogen-containing heterocyclic compounds, new ring fragmentation reactions and their applications in synthesis, development of efficient and stereoselective tandem/cascade reaction sequences, target-directed total synthesis of medicinally valuable natural products including macrolides, alkaloids, and terpenoids, biomimetic natural product synthesis, mechanistic studies of organic chemical reactions, development of 1,3-diaza-Claisen rearrangements and applications toward the synthesis of guanidine-containing natural products, and studies in bioorganic chemistry.

Physical chemistry research areas include three major areas of focus. The first is thermodynamics/kinetics of hydrogen absorption by metals, alloys, and intermetallic compounds with a view toward storage of hydrogen as a fuel. The second is utilization of TGA, IR, solid-state NMR, and powder X-ray diffraction in determining the structural features of layered zirconium phosphonates containing a mix of chromophores as pendant groups in the interlayer region. Subsequently, photophysics of the interlayer chromophores is explored via UV-vis and fluorescence spectroscopy. Third is the development of Co-59 NMR as a probe of metal tetrapyrrole electronic structure, and using NMR/MCD spectroscopies to elucidate tetrapyrrole-containing enzyme binding sites.

General Requirements

Specific Requirements

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Master of Science

An undergraduate major in an appropriate field, minimally with course work in the four classic subdisciplines of chemistry (analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical). This is most commonly satisfied with a B.A., B.S., or equivalent degree in chemistry. Applicants with prior research experience are preferred. Satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination general (aptitude) section is required.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Science

The requirements for admission to candidacy for the Master of Science degree are: (1) proficiency in three areas of chemistry evidenced by the biannual qualifying examinations or completion of designated courses at this university; (2) one semester of residence; (3) two credits of CHEM 318; (4) at least fifteen credits of formal course work including (a) six credits of graduate-level courses in the chemical field of specialization, (b) three credits of graduate-level chemistry courses not in the area of concentration, and (c) CHEM 381 (Seminar), and (5) maintenance of an overall point-hour ratio of 3.00.

Minimum Degree Requirements

The above prerequisites for admission to candidacy must be supplemented in either of the following two ways:

Option A (Thesis): Completion of twelve credits of Master’s Thesis Research (CHEM 391) and submission of a satisfactory thesis; and completion of at least thirty credits of graduate work (courses and Master’s Thesis Research).

Option B (Non-Thesis): Completion of six credits of Independent Literature Research Project (CHEM 395); and completion of at least thirty credits of graduate work (courses and Literature Research Project).

M.S. students should decide at the beginning of their program whether they will pursue Option A or Option B and inform the Department of Chemistry and the Graduate College of their decisions.