Chemistry and Biochemistry
Chair: John L. Wood Director of Graduate Affairs: Michael A. Trakselis
Director of Graduate Recruiting: Darrin J. Bellert
The department offers the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
A bachelor’s degree equivalent to a B.S. degree in chemistry or biochemistry at Baylor is the standard requirement for admission. A personal statement from the applicant as well as three letters of reference are also required. A current TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo exam score is required for all international applicants. Prior research experience at the undergraduate level during the summer, or in the workplace is valued highly. Complete application packages for admission to the Ph.D. program will be evaluated holistically by the Graduate Admissions Committee of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Students are required to qualify in three areas of chemistry either by taking ACS style division exams or by passing appropriate coursework with a grade of B or better no later than by the end of the second semester. A student will take at least three courses within their major field of specialization and two courses outside of that area, as well as CHE 5260 Scientific Communication and CHE 5101 Responsible Conduct of Research. The student’s dissertation or thesis committee may require any course work that it deems proper and advisable. The Ph.D. Dissertation Committee will consist of at least 5 members, the Advisor, two members from the student’s division, one member from Chemistry and Biochemistry outside of the student’s division, and one member from outside the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The M.S.Thesis Committee will consist of at least four members, the Advisor, one member from the student’s division, one member from Chemistry and Biochemistry outside of the student’s division and one member from outside of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. All Committee members must be Graduate Faculty. M.S. and Ph.D. students specialize in one of the following areas: analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, or physical, as set forth below. A written Thesis/Dissertation of the student’s research is required for the thesis M.S. and the Ph.D. degrees. There is a mandatory publication requirement of at least two contributed works in recognized national or international journals for awarding of a Ph.D. All doctoral degree program students must fulfill at least two semesters as a graduate teaching assistant. There is no foreign language requirement for the Ph.D.
Note: The requirement for a minor field of study (as described in the Graduate Catalog) does not apply to the graduate degrees in chemistry and biochemistry.
A wide range of experimental techniques currently used in preparative inorganic chemistry research. Such techniques include dry bag, inert atmosphere, ion-exchange, and vacuum line manipulations; electrolytic, non-aqueous solvent, and tube furnace preparations. Emphasis will be given to both the preparation and characterization of compounds prepared in the laboratory.
Laboratory work in instrumental analysis with an emphasis on spectroscopy, separations, and electrochemical methods.
Techniques of physical property measurement, data analysis, and interpretation, with emphasis on thermodynamics, electrochemistry, surface chemistry, solutions, and kinetics. Instruction in effective report writing.
Advanced work in measurement and data analysis techniques, with emphasis on lasers, molecular spectroscopy, and photochemistry. Instruction in effective report writing.
Advanced organic synthesis, purification and analysis techniques, including the use of instrumental methods, such as inert atmosphere techniques and modern analytical and preparative chromatography.
Advanced topics in inorganic chemistry; molecular symmetry with applications to electronic structure and spectroscopy; reaction kinetics and mechanisms; inorganic synthesis and catalysis; bioinorganic chemistry.
Introduction to instrumental methods of analysis including spectroscopy, separations, and electrochemical methods.
Gases, liquids and solids, phase changes, electrochemistry, and the principles of kinetics and thermodynamics. (Not applicable to a major in biochemistry.)
Postulates of quantum mechanics. Application of quantum theory to simple models: particle in a box, rigid rotor, and harmonic oscillator. Electronic, rotational, and vibrational motion in molecules. Molecular energy levels and spectra. Electronic structure of atoms and molecules. Basic concepts of statistical thermodynamics.
The most common spectroscopic methods including infrared, ultraviolet-visible, nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopies, with emphasis on the practical use of NMR and MS in structure determination problems.
A weekly, graduate-level seminar featuring speakers from science departments at Baylor, industry, medical schools, and other universities.
Covers ethical and regulatory issues regarding modern scientific research.
A seminar program in which students will be required to present a paper for evaluation before the graduate faculty and other graduate students. Must be taken two times for the master's degree and three times for the Ph.D. degree.
A weekly colloquium in which students are required to present papers and study the literature in the area of their research project. May be repeated, but no more than three semester hours may be counted on a master's degree and no more than six may be counted on the Ph.D. degree. May not be used to fulfill course work requirements.
This experiential-learning course, designed for first-year graduate students, provides instruction and practice in the development of an original research proposal. Strategies for effective oral and written communication of scientific information are emphasized, along with the importance of mastering primary literature in the chosen field of interest.
Comparative chemistry of the Main Group and Transition elements; relationships between structure and reactivity; energetics and kinetics of inorganic reactions.
Application of symmetry and group theory to chemical bonding and spectroscopic selection rules; use of character tables; electronic and vibration spectroscopy.
This course concerns characterization of redox active inorganic complexes by a number of physical methods. Topics covered include electronic structure and geometry (Group theory, MO diagrams), orbital energies of ground and excited states (UV-vis absorbance/emission), and ways of accessing and interpreting changes in oxidation states (electrochemistry, Marcus theory). Symmetry and group theory are fundamental to many of these applications, and will be introduced.
Chemical reactions of organometallic compounds and their role in homogeneous catalysis with emphasis on the transition metals. Reactivity patterns and reaction mechanisms in organometallic chemistry. Factors influencing stabilities and reactivities of metal-carbon bonds.
An overview of the biological chemistry of metal ions. Emphasis will be on the structural motifs of metalloproteins and their associated reactivities in relation to physiological function.
Principles of chemical instrumentation, including principles of electronic signal handling, sources of noise and signal-to-noise theory, noise reduction techniques such as modulation and phase-sensitive detection, introductory information theory, introductory geometrical optics, and vacuum systems.
Understanding of chemical interactions within complex mixtures, such as biological fluids and environmental samples, requires simultaneous characterization of all sample components at the molecular level. State-of-the art high performance mass spectrometers, coupled to various separation techniques, provide the necessary sensitivity, resolving power, and multidimensionality for comprehensive characterization of complex mixtures. This course covers current topics in x-omics research (including genomics, metabolomics, petroleomics, and proteomics) with a focus on bioanalytical aspects of utilizing ion generation methods, ion-molecule reactions, ion fragmentation techniques, particle analyzers/detectors, and multidimensional data generation/analyses. Moreover, fundamental aspects and practical significance of accurate mass measurements and conformational analyses in biomedical research and drug development strategies are presented.
Theoretical foundations and practical applications of analytical separations with emphasis on gas, liquid, supercritical fluid, and ion chromatographies.
Modern electroanalytical techniques and their application to analytical, kinetic, mechanistic, and synthetic problems.
Theoretical and practical aspects of analytical optical spectroscopy with emphasis on instrumentation.
Principles of classical and statistical thermodynamics.
Theory of rate processes and the use of kinetic data in the interpretation of reaction mechanisms.
Preliminary studies of X-ray structure determination and solving the phase problem by various techniques to be learned before employing methods of structural refinement. Results and conclusions derived from refined structures will be applied to chemical research problems. Practical experience of crystal structure analysis will be the main emphasis.
Comparison of classical and quantum mechanics and application of quantum mechanics to electronic structure of the atoms and to the study of molecules and chemical bonds.
Properties of lasers and the fundamental principles of laser operation. Modern application of lasers to the study of spectroscopy and energy flow in atoms and molecules.
The stereochemistry of compounds of carbon and other elements, steric effects on physical and chemical properties of compounds, and recent developments in the field.
The chemistry of heterocyclic compounds including substances containing nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. Synthesis, typical reactions and reaction mechanisms will be emphasized.
Organic reaction mechanisms, including kinetics, steric and electronic effects, and molecular orbital considerations.
A study of modern synthetic organic chemistry with particular emphasis on the synthesis of complex natural products and reaction mechanisms.
This current topics course covers current breakthroughs in the development and application of bioanalytical tools. Applications of bioanalytical tools in fundamental biochemical science, as well as in biomedical applications, are included.
Revolutionary transformations in chemistry and biology have led to a merging at the boundary of these disciplines where contributions from both fields impact our molecular and quantitative understanding of biology. This course covers current research in chemical biology with a focus on enzyme mechanisms, molecular probes, biological pathways, chemical tools, and analytical methods to study biology, while also harnessing biological activity for chemical syntheses and commercial applications.
Theory and applications of physical chemistry to systems of biological interest including such topics as reaction kinetics, protein folding and denaturation, ligand interactions, x-ray diffraction of proteins and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
Kinetics, mechanisms, regulation, and other topics related to enzyme-catalyzed reactions.
Topics in chemistry that are not covered in other graduate chemistry courses. May be repeated for credit if topic is different.
Required of all graduate students. For research credit prior to admission to candidacy for an advanced degree. Credit will be given for the amount of work done. May be repeated for credit through 45 hours.
Credit for the amount of work done. In no case will fewer than six semester hours be accepted for a thesis. Required of all master's students.
Required of all doctoral candidates. In no case will fewer than twelve semester hours be accepted for a dissertation.