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Graduate Program Brochures

Chemistry Graduate Program

Research Details

The UT Department of Chemistry offers exceptional regional collaborative research opportunities with Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL). Faculty work in joint institutes that focus on advanced materials, biology sciences, computational, and neutron sciences. ORNL is partially managed by UT and some chemistry faculty serve as joint faculty.

Several of our faculty are nationally and internationally recognized for their accomplishments, such as induction into the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Chemical Society (ACS), International Mesoporous Materials Society (IMMA), and National Science
Foundation CAREER awards. Association of Chemistry Graduate Students is a student-led organization that promotes and maintains an environment optimal to the graduate learning experience of its members. Membership is open to all chemistry graduate students.

Annual research funding exceeds $4 million
• Strong ties to nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory – the nation’s largest energy research facility
• State-of-the-art NMR, polymer characterization, and mass spectrometry facilities

Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, Physical, Polymer,
Environmental, Materials, Synthetic Chemistry,
Catalysis, Chemical Physics, Chemistry & Life
Sciences, Neutron Sciences, Radiochemistry,
Theoretical & Computational Chemistry

Biological and Small Molecule Mass Spectrometry Core houses seven mass spectrometers and multiple computer workstations and provides project consultations and data analysis services. Polymer Characterization Lab is one of the premier academic laboratories in the world for characterizing polymers in terms of molecular weight, molecular weight distribution,
conformation, size, and thermal properties.

The Horiba Jobin-Yvon T64000 Raman Spectrometer is a triple grating spectrometer with micro- and macrostage sampling and multiple modes of operation, which include maximizing resolution and sensitivity.

X-Ray Crystallography Facilities with a D8 VENTURE Photon100 Kappa Dual source Mo/Cu (Iμs) single crystal instrument and
a multi-purpose research diffractometer.

Five Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometers used in research and teaching.

How to Apply
The department accepts applications on a rolling admissions basis
until the incoming class is full. Early applicants will be considered
for fellowships and scholarships, which can substantially raise the
stipend. Apply as soon as the application is open. Time may vary
between September-November. Learn more at
• Official transcript(s)
• Three (3) letters of recommendations
• Resume
• TOEFL or iBT required for International students
(IELTS is acceptable, but not preferred)
Chemistry subject test and a personal statement are recommended

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Eastern Kentucky University
“I had a great experience at UT. I could not have asked for a better advisor. He was instrumental in helping me obtain my post doc position and is still helping me any way he can through mentoring and facilitating contacts in the field. Through my studies and research experience at UT, I was able to lay the foundation of research skills that I needed to be successful in beginning my own research program here at EKU.”

DEJIN LI (’08)
Process Chemist
SABIC Innovative Plastics Technology Center
Washington, West Virginia
“During my five years of graduate studies at UT, I published nine journal
articles and was lead author on four. The articles have been cited more than 300 times. As a teaching assistant, I had a great opportunity to communicate with students and other faculty members, which not only strengthened my communication skills, but also solidified my fundamental chemistry knowledge. These are key factors for my success in the industry. After a year in the plastics industry, I have been elected into a leadership role of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). I truly appreciate that UT offered me great training and
assured my successful future.”

Your First Year
Orientation and Diagnostic exams:
Results of exam are only used to recommend first year courses.
6 courses (18 credit hours) must be completed over the first two years at the graduate level. This includes 3 to 4 classes and one sequence in focused areas of study: analytical, inorganic, organic, physical, and polymer. Chemistry seminar (501), special topics courses
(600 level), and research courses (500 and 600) are also included.
Teaching and Tutoring
The first semester usually involves being a graduate teaching assistant
(GTA). Some of a GTA’s duties include helping teach lab courses,
overseeing discussion sections, and grading exams.
Choosing an Advisor
Active research professors give research presentations to first-year
students. Students meet with faculty of interest and pick top choices.
(Completed during first semester)
Your Second Year and Beyond
Select Committee
This will consist of four faculty members: research adviser, in-division
member, Out-of-division member, and an out-of-department member.
Candidacy Exam
(November-April of second year)
Write a proposal and orally defend it in the presence of a chosen
committee. Research proposal in 8-12 pages long and in a chosen funding
agency format (i.e. NSP, NIH, etc.) The oral exam is a 20-25 minute presentation with approximately 1.5 hours of questions from the committee. Students can either pass, need further development, or fail. Passing will obtain PhD candidacy, and failing will move student to MS track. During the third year, student will participate in the Department Research Seminar.
Original Research Proposal (Fourth Year)
Students submit and orally defend an original research proposal (ORP). Passing the ORP is a dissertation requirement and must be completed at least six months before dissertation defense. Research and Dissertation
Research typically begins when student joins a group in the first year.

Stipend and Financial Information
One of the highest compensation packages in the Southeast starting
at $26,000 per year.
Health Insurance
Health insurance is included and paid for. Dental and vision are extra.
Housing and Transit
The University of Tennessee owns several apartment complexes for
graduate students:
There are also many other choices in Knoxville often within walking
distance of campus:
The nearest parking garage is adjacent to the Chemistry Department.
Parking passes may be purchased online: