Graduate Student Handbook

The UNH Chemistry Graduate Program

The Department of Chemistry has as its basic goal the development of professional chemists. Students acquire the specific skills required for careers in industry, government and academia through a program which includes research, course work and oral presentation combined with close interaction with members of the faculty, especially the student’s research supervisor. The Department of Chemistry Graduate Program offers programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and the Master of Science (M.S.) degrees in the areas of analytical, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry as well as interdisciplinary areas. The department also offers a Doctoral Degree in Chemistry Education.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Science and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees is based upon a strong undergraduate record, which requires satisfactory work in the usual undergraduate courses in analytical, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. In addition, satisfactory completion of the normal support courses of mathematics and physics are required.

Entering graduate students are expected to take placement examinations in chemistry to assist in starting each new graduate student at the appropriate level. These examinations will be offered during the orientation period of the semester; the dates are to be announced in the departmental graduate calendar.
Students with strong backgrounds in other areas may be accepted as “provisional”, and are expected to complete the normal undergraduate degree requirements in chemistry before entering the graduate program

Basic Criteria

M.S. Requirements

  • Coursework totals 30 credits; 20 of those credits are coursework with 8 credits being from a 900 level course. 6-10 of the credits will come from research, Chem 899.
  • Research Progress Report is comprised of written material and a discussion with your committee of faculty members
  • Mandatory attendance at your divisional seminar (I/O or A/P/E) and divisional lunch talks (I/O or A/P/E).
  • A thesis based on the student's research (oral presentation to thesis committee and written thesis).

Ph.D. Requirements

  • Coursework
  • Presentation of a seminar (1 credit course 997/998)
  • Cumulative Examinations to assess student's level of understanding and progress
  • Research Progress Report is comprised of written material and a discussion with your committee of faculty members
  • Mandatory attendance at your divisional seminar (I/O or A/P/E) and divisional lunch talks (I/O or A/P/E)
  • Research Proposal Defense is an oral examination to assess the student's proposal.  The purpose of the research proposal is to demonstrate the student's ability to conceive and execute a piece of original research.  This is required in the third year and moves the student into the Ph.D. candidacy
  • A dissertation based on the student's research (oral presentation to the dissertation committee and a written dissertation).

Research Projects

Original research is an integral part of both the M.S. and Ph.D. programs. This is conducted under the guidance of a faculty mentor (Research Director). The student's progress is monitored by the student's committee, which is chaired by the Research Director.

The choice of a research project is an important matter and should be made only after serious consideration. At the beginning of the first semester, the student should consult the department web page for information on the current research of faculty members. Faculty research presentations will be set up in the Fall semester; attendance is mandatory for first year graduate students at the faculty research presentations. In addition to attendance at the faculty research presentations, the student must interview at least three (3) faculty members to discuss potential projects. The Organic Division requests that students interested in organic interview all six of the organic faculty. The student is given instructions and a form for the faculty member to sign upon completion of the interview. A deadline for completion of this process is noted on the instructional form and the student will submit her/his first three choices of preference for a Research Director to the Graduate Coordinator. The Graduate Coordinator finalizes the assignments of students to Research Directors, with the concurrence of the Research Directors. Although every attempt is made to grant students their first choices, departmental need, current work loads of Research Directors, and other factors may not make this possible in all cases.


Upon arrival in the department, students receive initial guidance on their course program from the Registration Committee, which is comprised of a representative from each of the four divisions (analytical, inorganic, organic and physical). After selection of the research project, each graduate student will be assigned a committee with the Research Director as the chair of that committee. Master’s students will have two additional Chemistry faculty members assigned to form their committee. Doctoral students will have three additional Chemistry Faculty members and a faculty member from another University department to form their committee. The Option in Atmospheric Chemistry will have a co-chair committee whose area of specialization is in the area of Atmospheric or Earth Science


The performance of each M.S. and Ph.D. student will be reviewed periodically and, recommendations will be made to the student concerning the subsequent program.  A review by the entire faculty will occur at the end of the first and second years.   At these times, course and teaching performance, seminar participation, research progress, and, in the case of the Ph.D. program, performance on cumulative exams will be considered.   The student will be informed whether continuing in the program is advisable and will be apprised of any weaknesses.  Students whose performance is inadequate, or who show they may not be able to successfully complete the program will be asked to withdraw at this point or, in the case of Ph.D. students, possibly to switch to the M.S. degree program.

Financial Support

Most chemistry graduate students are supported by teaching assistantships (TA's) or research assistantships (RA's) during the academic year.  Students receiving such support are considered employees of the University.  The Graduate Catalog should be consulted for details on conditions of employment.  Departmental support is normally available to students in good standing for five years (Ph.D.) or three years (M.S.). 

Summer stipends are provided for first year graduate students from the Dean’s Office, but students are required to TA summer courses during that period. After the first year, summer stipends may be available through grant funding from your research director, Chemistry department summer scholarships, and potential summer teaching opportunities. There are also several sources of funding available from the Graduate School, such as Academic Year Fellowships and Summer Research Fellowships. Although they are extremely competitive, we encourage students to apply as such fellowships enable you to focus on your research by exempting you from teaching assistant duties. For further details, visit the Graduate School’s Homepage at


During one’s career as a graduate student, it becomes confusing to choose the right selection of credits after you have fullfilled all of your course requirements. Therefore, the “course game” was developed to assist you and your research mentor in choosing the correct option for continued registration.

Credits, credits, credits….

  • Students on RA’s and TA’s must take 6 credits per semester to remain eligible for an assistantship. Please note: This puts you as a “part-time” student for billing purposes which means your mandatory student fees are at the “part-time” rate. You are technically considered full-time by the graduate school and the department, but the Billing office charges the part-time rate.
  • Students NOT on an RA or TA must take 9 credits to be considered full time.
  • Students who take 9 credits up or more are considered to be “full time” by the Billing office which means you are billed full-time mandatory student fees. This is normally double the part-time rate. Please be advised: if you AUDIT a course, then the CREDITS of that course are “added” to your credit total for billing purposes which increases your mandatory student fees. For example, you have 6 credits and then audit a 3 credit course. Those credits are added to your total credit number giving you a total of 9 credits and thereby moving you into the “full-time” category. This will then increase your mandatory student fees from the part-time fee to full time fees.
  • Ph.D. Students who take Chem 999 at any point in their program are automatically moved to a “full-time” category and therefore charged full time mandatory fees.
  • MS students who take Grad 900 (after completing Chem 899) are automatically moved to a “full-time” category and therefore charged full-time mandatory fees.

When you have completed your coursework, you can sign up for these courses to maintain your enrollment:

  • Chem 899 – Thesis Problems in Chemistry (1-10 credits), for MS students only. You may take a minimum of 6 credits and not exceed 10 credits for your MS degree. Part-time mandatory student fees apply when taking Chem 899.
  • Chem 999 – Doctoral Research (0 credits) – for PhD students only. Full-time madatory fees apply whenever you take Chem 999.
  • GRAD 900 - Master's Continuing Research Credits:
    Master's students who have completed all course requirements, registered for the maximum number of thesis or project credits, and are in residence completing their master's program must register for Master's Continuing Research. Students registered for GRAD 900 are considered full-time. Not graded.
  • GRAD 800 - Continuing Enrollment Credits:
    All continuing graduate students who are not enrolled for course credits, thesis credits, Doctoral Research (999) or Master's Continuing Research (GRAD 900), and are not in residence, are required to register for GRAD 800 each semester of the academic year (or each summer for students in MATH M.S.T., and English M.S.T. and College Teaching M.S.T. programs). Students registered for GRAD 800 are considered part-time. Not graded.

Important Points:

  • Chem 899 is NOT to be taken by PhD students; Chem 999 is NOT to be taken by MS students.
  • If a student changes programs, then the student must submit a petition for exception to request to retroactively withdraw from any Chem 899 courses (if you changed from a MS to a PhD program) or from any Chem 999 courses (if you changed from a PhD to a MS prorgram). This must be signed by your advisor and Graduate Coordinator. Please see the Administrative Manager for a breakdown of your registration.
  • It is important to note that you should not register for Grad 900 UNTIL you have taken 6-10 credits of CHEM 899. Normally students in their third and final semester of the MS program take GRAD 900 because they have completed the credits allotted to Chem 899.
  • You should not register via telephone, on-line or walk-in without first confirming if using Chem 899 is appropriate and/or to see how many credits you have available. Check this with the Administrative Manager.
  • If a PhD student supported on an RA or TA is taking less than 6 credits, she/he can be considered full time by adding Chem 999 to their schedule.

Chemistry Department Facilities

University Instrumentation Center (UIC)

TThe University Instrumentation Center (UIC) is a core University wide facility dedicated to the advancement of the research and academic missions of UNH and is open and available to all Faculty, Staff, and Students. The UIC houses many of the major scientific instrumentation on campus and on a fee per use basis, a certified operator or UIC staff will perform the sample analysis on a specified instrument. Researchers who require frequent use of an instrument may become certified operators. To become a certified operator of an instrument, a professor, staff or a student must complete a training program specified by the UIC. A student must also have written authorization from a faculty member.

UIC instruments include the following:
-Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometer (FT-IR)
-Fourier transform nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers (NMR)
-UV visible near IR spectrophotometer
-Energy Dispersive Analysis of x-rays on SEM
-Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
-Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)
-X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer (XPS)
-four-color Flow Cytometer
-Confocal Micrscope

Further information about UIC facilities and policies may be obtained from

Office Facilities

The Department of Chemistry Office is located in room W115, Parsons Hall. Regular hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, unless otherwise noted. Contact phone is (603) 862-1550 or

Graduate students may use the following facilities for research or teaching activities: the paper cutter, transparencies, copier and fax machine, which are located in the Chemistry Department Office, Room W115.  Personal use of the copier is acceptable, BUT the student is responsible for payment of personal copies and must log their use in the folder located in the mailroom; you will be billed accordingly and prompt payment is appreciated. Personal copies do NOT include any copies required for your research, seminar, etc.

Copy machine etiquette:

  1. Office staff have first priority use of the copy machine.
  2. Faculty and Lecturers have the next priority.
  3. Refill the paper tray after use, especially if you are doing numerous copies.

Chemistry Library

Parsons Hall is fortunate in having an on-site chemistry library, ideal for research projects and papers. Once you are in your third year of research, you may obtain a key to the Chemistry Library from the Chemistry Office. It is important that you understand that this is a privilege and all rules and regulations must be adhered to, or the key will be revoked.

Instrument Repair

The UIC makes electronic and mechanical repairs on various scientific instruments including oscilloscopes, pH meters, spectrophotometers, liquid scintillation counters, microscopes and balances. Please contact UIC at 862-2790.

Machine Shop

Machine shop service is available in Kingsbury Hall and Morse Hall. A purchase order from the department is required and can be obtained for the Business Service Center (BSC) via the department contact at 862-4670.

Hazardous Waste

Marty McCrone (862-3536) and/or Jeff Anderson (862-0683), Environmental Health & Safety, are the contact persons for Hazardous Waste Disposal. Please call to schedule a pick up from your lab area.

Jeff Anderson will coordinate on-line Hazardous Waste Safety Training. To coordinate please email him at  For information on shipping chemicals and samples, please see the EH&S website or contact Andy Glode at

To locate more information on Environmental Health and Safety programs, CHEMS, etc. please visit their web site:

**All chemical materials must be disposed of properly prior to leaving the department, or the department will bill you for disposal of unknowns**

Leaving the Department

The Department Office requires the following criteria to be completed when exiting the department:

  1. Return all keys to either the Administrative Assistant or the Administrative Manager.
  2. It is important to note that your lab bench and office desk must be cleaned and all waste disposed of properly. The Administrative Manager will put an "Are you leaving form" in your mail slot. You will need to complete the form and have your Research Advisor sign off on it, verifying that your hazardous waste has been properly labeled and disposed. This form will also give the department your forwarding address and email, should we need to contact you.