Graduate Program

The department offers MS (thesis and non-thesis options) and PhD degrees in Chemistry and Applied Chemistry. In addition, MS and PhD degrees are also offered in Geochemistry, Hydrological Sciences and Engineering, Materials Science, Nuclear Engineering, and Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering through interdisciplinary graduate programs. All students in good academic standing are initially provided with financial support in the form of teaching assistantships, research assistantships or fellowships. Incoming students are provided teaching assistantships during the academic year and are expected to join research groups that provide research assistantships during the summer. In addition to paying a stipend, teaching assistantships also cover tuition, health insurance and most student fees.

How to Apply

Graduate Admission Requirements

Applicants for chemistry degree programs are expected to demonstrate undergraduate level proficiency in physical, organic, inorganic, and analytical chemistry. Most applicants have completed a BS in chemistry. Those with BS degrees in other fields are occasionally accepted; however, they typically must complete deficiency courses prior to or concurrent with taking graduate courses.
Applicants for geochemistry degree programs are expected to have completed a BS program in geology or in chemistry comparable to those offered at Mines.

Currently, the Department does not require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to apply for the MS Chemistry and PhD Applied Chemistry programs. The Department has no established minimum for GPA. Admission/Entrance requirements for the Geochemistry, Materials Science and Hydrology programs are described in more detail in the separate brochures for those programs.

Significant weight in admissions decisions is placed on comments in the letters of recommendation relative to creativity and to independent thought and action. These attributes are critical to success in a graduate research program. Before you submit a formal application for admission, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your interests and goals in person or via telephone (toll-free numbers are 1-800-446-9488, extension x3610). You are also encouraged to contact any of our faculty directly to learn more about current opportunities for projects within specific research groups.

Additional information about Graduate Admissions Requirements can be found on the web at http://www.mines.edu/graduate_admissions.html. Online Application at www.mines.edu/gradschoolapp/onlineapp.html

Financial Assistance

Applicants seeking financial support should indicate such within the Application for Admission. Support may be in the form of teaching assistantships (TA), research assistantships (RA), or fellowships. TAs are generally offered by March 15 for the next academic year.

Individual faculty offer RAs to students whom they expect will contribute quickly to a particular funded research project. Applicants interested in RAs should contact directly the faculty members whose research interests parallel their own. Fellowships, awarded on the basis of scholarship, are normally granted to continuing students rather than entering students. For more information, see Financial Aid, at http://inside.mines.edu/Admin/General-Information.html.

Western Regional Graduate Program

WICHE, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, promotes the sharing of higher education resources among fourteen western states. One of the WICHE programs established for this purpose is the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP). The chemistry and geochemistry programs at Mines participate in the WRGP. The program offers students access to many high-quality graduate programs at reduced costs. Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming participate in the WRGP, and more than one hundred graduate programs are available to WRGP students. In most cases, WRGP students pay tuition at resident student rates. WRGP includes a wide range of graduate programs designed around the particular educational, social, and economic needs of the West.

Graduate students who are residents of participating WICHE states may enroll as WRGP students in participating programs. Students do not have to meet specific financial criteria, but they must meet all admissions requirements and deadlines set by the institution.

Graduate Course Descriptions

CHEMISTRY COURSES

CHGN502. ADVANCED INORGANIC CHEMISTRY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (II) Detailed examination of topics such as ligand field theory, reaction mechanisms, chemical bonding, and structure of inorganic compounds. Emphasis is placed on the correlations of the chemical reactions of the elements with periodic trends and reactivities. Prerequisite: none. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGN503. ADV PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY I. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (II) Quantum chemistry of classical systems. Principles of chemical thermodynamics. Statistical mechanics with statistical calculation of thermodynamic properties. Theories of chemical kinetics. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Prerequisite: none.

 

CHGN505. ADVANCED ORGANIC CHEMISTRY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. Detailed discussion of the more important mechanisms of organic reaction. Structural effects and reactivity. The application of reaction mechanisms to synthesis and structure proof. Prerequisite: none. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGN507. ADVANCED ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (I) Review of fundamentals of analytical chemistry. Literature of analytical chemistry and statistical treatment of data. Manipulation of real substances; sampling, storage, decomposition or dissolution, and analysis. Detailed treatment of chemical equilibrium as related to precipitation, acid-base, complexation and redox titrations. Potentiometry and UV-visible absorption spectrophotometry. Prerequisite: none. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGN508. ANALYTICAL SPECTROSCOPY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (II) Detailed study of classical and modern spectroscopic methods; emphasis on instrumentation and application to analytical chemistry problems. Topics include: UV-visible spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, fluorescence and phosphorescence, Raman spectroscopy, arc and spark emission spectroscopy, flame methods, nephelometry and turbidimetry, reflectance methods, Fourier transform methods in spectroscopy, photoacoustic spectroscopy, rapid-scanning spectroscopy. Prerequisite: none. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

 

CHGN510. CHEMICAL SEPARATIONS. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (II) Survey of separation methods, thermodynamics of phase equilibria, thermodynamics of liquid-liquid partitioning, various types of chromatography, ion exchange, electrophoresis, zone refining, use of inclusion compounds for separation, application of separation technology for determining physical constants, e.g., stability constants of complexes. Prerequisite: CHGN507. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

 

CHGN511. APPLIED RADIOCHEMISTRY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (II) The Applied Radiochemistry course is designed for those who have a budding interest radiochemistry and its applications. A brief overview of radioactivity and general chemistry will be provided in the first three weeks of the course. Follow-on weeks will feature segments focusing on the radiochemistry in the nuclear fuel cycle, radioisotope production, nuclear forensics and the environment. Prerequisites: CHGN121/CHGN122. 3 hours lecture and discussion; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGN512. COLLOID AND SURFACE CHEMISTRY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. Introduction to colloid systems, capillarity, surface tension and contact angle, adsorption from solution, micelles and micro – emulsions, the solid/gas interface, surface analytical techniques, van der Waal forces, electrical properties and colloid stability, some specific colloid systems (clays, foams and emulsions) will be introduced.

 

CHGN515. CHEMICAL BONDING IN MATERIALS. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (I) Introduction to chemical bonding theories and calculations and their applications to solids of interest to materials science. The relationship between a material?s properties and the bonding of its atoms will be examined for a variety of materials. Includes an introduction to organic polymers. Computer programs will be used for calculating bonding parameters. Prerequisite: none. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGN523. SOLID STATE CHEMISTRY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (I) Dependence of properties of solids on chemical bonding and structure; principles of crystal growth, crystal imperfections, reactions and diffusion in solids, and the theory of conductors and semiconductors. Prerequisite: none. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

 

CHGN536. ADVANCED POLYMER SYNTHESIS. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (II) An advanced course in the synthesis of macromolecules. Various methods of polymerization will be discussed with an emphasis on the specifics concerning the syntheses of different classes of organic and inorganic polymers. Prerequisite: CHGN430, ChEN415, MLGN530. 3 hours lecture, 3 semester hours.

 

CHGN538. ORGANIC SEMICONDUCTORS: NEW TECHNOLOGIES FOR EMERGING APPLICATIONS. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (II) Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) is a display technology that can be found in many commercial products such as the smartphones and tablets. This technology was on the R&D bench-top just 10 years ago and has now reached high volume manufacturing. Other related technologies like organic photovoltaics (OPV) and organic thin film transistors (OTFT) are now on the heels of commercialization as well. This course will provide an overview on how this meteoric rise from bench-top to commercial products occurred as well as the design, synthesis and uses of conjugated organic small molecules, oligomers and polymers in applications such as OLEDs (for flat panel displays and lighting), OPV, OTFT, and sensors. Additional topics to be covered are factors governing the materials physical properties and structure-property relationship in electronic device applications. The prospect of using low cost printing techniques such as inkjet, screen, and gravure printing in the fabrication of roll-to-roll organic based devices will be discussed. Encapsulation, lifetime and reliability issues will also be presented. Prerequisites: Organic Chemistry 1 & 2 are encouraged. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGN540. PROFESSIONAL SKILLS FOR CHEMICAL SCIENTISTS. 1.0 Semester Hr. The goal of this course is to provide students a set of skills that are complementary to their core education. The contents of this course cover a broad range of topics that will provide the participants a perspective on careers in science and the skill sets necessary to be successful in each. These skills are in line with the latest recommendations of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and CSM educational goals. In particular, the 2013 ACS Presidential Commission Report on Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences presents a platform for educational reform that includes a focus on multi-level (from general public to specialists) and multi-platform communication (formal and informal, written, oral), an understanding of the global chemical enterprise and the career possibilities within each, an understanding of networking and collaboration, etc. 1 hour lecture; 1 semester hour.

 

CHGN555. POLYMER AND COMPLEX FLUIDS COLLOQUIUM. 1.0 Semester Hr. Equivalent with BELS555,CBEN555,CHEN555,MLGN555,
The Polymer and Complex Fluids Group at the Colorado School of Mines combines expertise in the areas of flow and field based transport, intelligent design and synthesis as well as nanomaterials and nanotechnology. A wide range of research tools employed by the group includes characterization using rheology, scattering, microscopy, microfluidics and separations, synthesis of novel macromolecules as well as theory and simulation involving molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo approaches. The course will provide a mechanism for collaboration between faculty and students in this research area by providing presentations on topics including the expertise of the group and unpublished, ongoing campus research. Prerequisites: none. 1 hour lecture; 1 semester hour. Repeatable for credit to a maximum of 3 hours.

 

CHGN560. GRADUATE SEMINAR, M.S.. 1.0 Semester Hr. (I, II) Required for all candidates for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry and geochemistry. M.S. students must register for the course during each semester of residency. Ph.D. students must register each semester until a grade is received satisfying the prerequisites for CHGN660. Presentation of a graded non-thesis seminar and attendance at all departmental seminars are required. Prerequisite: Graduate student status. 1 semester hour.

 

CHGN580. STRUCTURE OF MATERIALS. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (II) Application of X-ray diffraction techniques for crystal and molecular structure determination of minerals, inorganic and organometallic compounds. Topics include the heavy atom method, data collection by moving film techniques and by diffractometers, Fourier methods, interpretation of Patterson maps, refinement methods, direct methods. Prerequisite: none. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

 

CHGN581. ELECTROCHEMISTRY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (I) Introduction to theory and practice of electrochemistry. Electrode potentials, reversible and irreversible cells, activity concept. Interionic attraction theory, proton transfer theory of acids and bases, mechanisms and fates of electrode reactions. Prerequisite: none. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

 

CHGN583. PRINCIPLES AND APPLICATIONS OF SURFACE ANALYSIS TECHNIQUES. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (II) Instrumental techniques for the characterization of surfaces of solid materials; Applications of such techniques to polymers, corrosion, metallurgy, adhesion science, microelectronics. Methods of analysis discussed: x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), auger electron spectroscopy (AES), ion scattering spectroscopy (ISS), secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), Rutherford backscattering (RBS), scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM, TEM), energy and wavelength dispersive x-ray analysis; principles of these methods, quantification, instrumentation, sample preparation. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Prerequisite: B.S. in Metallurgy, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Physics, or consent of instructor.

 

CHGN584. FUNDAMENTALS OF CATALYSIS. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (II) The basic principles involved in the preparation, characterization, testing and theory of heterogeneous and homo geneous catalysts are discussed. Topics include chemisorption, adsorption isotherms, diffusion, surface kinetics, promoters, poisons, catalyst theory and design, acid base catalysis and soluble transition metal complexes. Examples of important industrial applications are given. Prerequisite: CHGN222. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGN585. CHEMICAL KINETICS. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (II) Study of kinetic phenomena in chemical systems. Attention devoted to various theoretical approaches. Prerequisite: none. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

 

CHGN598. SPECIAL TOPICS IN CHEMISTRY. 6.0 Semester Hrs. (I, II, S) Pilot course or special topics course. Topics chosen from special interests of instructor(s) and student(s). Usually the course is offered only once, but no more than twice for the same course content. Prerequisite: none. Variable credit: 0 to 6 credit hours. Repeatable for credit under different titles.

 

CHGN599. INDEPENDENT STUDY. 0.5-6 Semester Hr. (I, II, S) Individual research or special problem projects supervised by a faculty member, also, when a student and instructor agree on a subject matter, content, and credit hours. Prerequisite: ?Independent Study? form must be completed and submitted to the Registrar. Variable credit: 0.5 to 6 credit hours. Repeatable for credit under different topics/experience and maximums vary by department. Contact the Department for credit limits toward the degree.

 

CHGN625. MOLECULAR SIMULATION. 3.0 Semester Hrs. Principles and practice of modern computer simulation techniques used to understand solids, liquids, and gases. Review of the statistical foundation of thermodynamics followed by indepth discussion of Monte Carlo and Molecular Dynamics techniques. Discussion of intermolecular potentials, extended ensembles, and mathematical algorithms used in molecular simulations. Prerequisites: ChEN509 or equivalent, ChEN610 or equivalent recommended. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGN660. GRADUATE SEMINAR, Ph.D.. 1.0 Semester Hr. (I, II) Required of all candidates for the doctoral degree in chemistry or geochemistry. Students must register for this course each semester after completing CHGN560. Presentation of a graded nonthesis seminar and attendance at all department seminars are required. Prerequisite: CHGN560 or equivalent. 1 semester hour.

 

CHGN698. SPECIAL TOPICS IN CHEMISTRY. 6.0 Semester Hrs. (I, II, S) Pilot course or special topics course. Topics chosen from special interests of instructor(s) and student(s). Usually the course is offered only once, but no more than twice for the same course content. Prerequisite: none. Variable credit: 0 to 6 credit hours. Repeatable for credit under different titles.

 

CHGN699. INDEPENDENT STUDY. 0.5-6 Semester Hr. (I, II, S) Individual research or special problem projects supervised by a faculty member, also, when a student and instructor agree on a subject matter, content, and credit hours. Prerequisite: ?Independent Study? form must be completed and submitted to the Registrar. Variable credit: 0.5 to 6 credit hours. Repeatable for credit under different topics/experience and maximums vary by department. Contact the Department for credit limits toward the degree.

 

CHGN707. GRADUATE THESIS / DISSERTATION RESEARCH CREDIT. 1-15 Semester Hr. (I, II, S) Research credit hours required for completion of a Masters-level thesis or Doctoral dissertation. Research must be carried out under the direct supervision of the student’s faculty advisor. Variable class and semester hours. Repeatable for credit.

 

GEOCHEMISTRY COURSES

 

CHGC503. INTRODUCTION TO GEOCHEMISTRY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (I) A comprehensive introduction to the basic concepts and principles of geochemistry, coupled with a thorough overview of the related principles of thermodynamics. Topics covered include: nucleosynthesis, origin of earth and solar system, chemical bonding, mineral chemistry, elemental distributions and geochemical cycles, chemical equilibrium and kinetics, isotope systematics, and organic and biogeochemistry. Prerequisite: Introductory chemistry, mineralogy and petrology. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGC504. METHODS IN GEOCHEMISTRY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (II) Field sampling of natural earth materials including rocks, soils, sediments, and waters. Preparation of naturally heterogeneous materials, digestions, and partial chemical extractions. Principles of instrumental analysis including trace elemental analysis by ICP-atomic spectroscopy, isotope analysis by ICP-MS, EM/X-ray methods, and chromatography. Quality assurance and quality control. Interpretation and assessment of geochemical data using statistical methods. Course format is hands-on, project oriented. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in geochemistry or environmental science and engineering. 2 hours lecture, 3 hours lab; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGC505. INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. Equivalent with CHGN403,
(II) Processes by which natural and anthropogenic chemicals interact, react, and are transformed and redistributed in various environmental compartments. Air, soil, and aqueous (fresh and saline surface and groundwaters) environments are covered, along with specialized environments such as waste treatment facilities and the upper atmosphere. Meets with CHGN403CHGN403 and CHGC505 may not both be taken for credit. Prerequisites: GEGN101CHGN122 and CHGN209 or CBEN210. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGC506. WATER ANALYSIS LABORATORY. 2.0 Semester Hrs. Instrumental analysis of water samples using spectroscopy and chromatography. Methods for field collection of water samples and field measurements. The development of laboratory skills for the use of ICP-AES, HPLC, ion chromatography, and GC. Laboratory techniques focus on standard methods for the measurement of inorganic and organic constituents in water samples. Methods of data analysis are also presented. Prerequisite: Introductory chemistry, graduate standing. 3 hour laboratory, 1 hour lecture, 2 semester hours.

 

CHGC509. INTRODUCTION TO AQUEOUS GEOCHEMISTRY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. Analytical, graphical and interpretive methods applied to aqueous systems. Thermodynamic properties of water and aqueous solutions. Calculations and graphical expression of acid-base, redox and solution-mineral equilibria. Effect of temperature and kinetics on natural aqueous systems. Adsorption and ion exchange equilibria between clays and oxide phases. Behavior of trace elements and complexation in aqueous systems. Application of organic geochemistry to natural aqueous systems. Light stable and unstable isotopic studies applied to aqueous systems. Prerequisite: DCGN209 or equivalent. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGC511. GEOCHEMISTRY OF IGNEOUS ROCKS. 3.0 Semester Hrs. A survey of the geochemical characteristics of the various types of igneous rock suites. Application of major element, trace element, and isotope geochemistry to problems of their origin and modification. Prerequisite: Undergraduate mineralogy and petrology. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

 

CHGC514. GEOCHEMISTRY THERMODYNAMICS AND KINETICS. 3.0 Semester Hrs. (II) Fundamental principles of classical thermodynamics and kinetics with specific application to the earth sciences. Volume-temperature ?pressure relationships for solids, liquids, gases and solutions. Energy and the First Law, Entropy and the Second and Third Laws. Gibbs Free Energy, chemical equilibria and the equilibrium constant. Solutions and activity-composition relationships for solids, fluids and gases. Phase equilibria and the graphical representation of equilibira. Application of the fundamentals of kinetics to geochemical examples. Prerequisite: Introductory chemistry, introductory thermodynamics, mineralogy and petrology. 3 hours lecture, 3 semester hours. Offered in alternate years.

 

CHGC527. ORGANIC GEOCHEMISTRY OF FOSSIL FUELS AND ORE DEPOSITS. 3.0 Semester Hrs. A study of organic carbonaceous materials in relation to the genesis and modification of fossil fuel and ore deposits. The biological origin of the organic matter will be discussed with emphasis on contributions of microorganisms to the nature of these deposits. Biochemical and thermal changes which convert the organic compounds into petroleum, oil shale, tar sand, coal and other carbonaceous matter will be studied. Principal analytical techniques used for the characterization of organic matter in the geosphere and for evaluation of oil and gas source potential will be discussed. Laboratory exercises will emphasize source rock evaluation, and oil-source rock and oil-oil correlation methods. Prerequisite: CHGN221GEGN438. 2 hours lecture; 3 hours lab; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

 

CHGC555. ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIC CHEMISTRY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. A study of the chemical and physical interactions which determine the fate, transport and interactions of organic chemicals in aquatic systems, with emphasis on chemical transformations of anthropogenic organic contaminants. Prerequisites: A course in organic chemistry and CHGN503, Advanced Physical Chemistry or its equivalent. Offered in alternate years. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGC562. MICROBIOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT. 3.0 Semester Hrs. This course will cover the basic fundamentals of microbiology, such as structure and function of procaryotic versus eucaryotic cells; viruses; classification of micro-organisms; microbial metabolism, energetics, genetics, growth and diversity; microbial interactions with plants, animals, and other microbes. Additional topics covered will include various aspects of environmental microbiology such as global biogeochemical cycles, bioleaching, bioremediation, and wastewater treatment. Prerequisite: ESGN301. 3 hours lecture, 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

 

CHGC563. ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY. 2.0 Semester Hrs. An introduction to the microorganisms of major geochemical importance, as well as those of primary importance in water pollution and waste treatment. Microbes and sedimentation, microbial leaching of metals from ores, acid mine water pollution, and the microbial ecology of marine and freshwater habitats are covered. Prerequisite: none. 1 hour lecture, 3 hours lab; 2 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

 

CHGC564. BIOGEOCHEMISTRY AND GEOMICROBIOLOGY. 3.0 Semester Hrs. Designed to give the student an understanding of the role of living things, particularly microorganisms, in the shaping of the earth. Among the subjects will be the aspects of living processes, chemical composition and characteristics of biological material, origin of life, role of microorganisms in weathering of rocks and the early diagenesis of sediments, and the origin of petroleum, oil shale, and coal. Prerequisite: none. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

 

CHGC598. SPECIAL TOPICS. 1-6 Semester Hr. (I, II, S) Pilot course or special topics course. Topics chosen from special interests of instructor(s) and student(s). Usually the course is offered only once, but no more than twice for the same course content. Prerequisite: none. Variable credit: 0 to 6 credit hours. Repeatable for credit under different titles.

 

CHGC599. INDEPENDENT STUDY. 0.5-6 Semester Hr. (I, II, S) Individual research or special problem projects supervised by a faculty member, also, when a student and instructor agree on a subject matter, content, and credit hours. Prerequisite: ?Independent Study? form must be completed and submitted to the Registrar. Variable credit: 0.5 to 6 credit hours. Repeatable for credit under different topics/experience and maximums vary by department. Contact the Department for credit limits toward the degree.

 

CHGC698. SPECIAL TOPICS. 1-6 Semester Hr. (I, II, S) Pilot course or special topics course. Topics chosen from special interests of instructor(s) and student(s). Usually the course is offered only once, but no more than twice for the same course content. Prerequisite: none. Variable credit: 0 to 6 credit hours. Repeatable for credit under different titles.

 

CHGC699. INDEPENDENT STUDY. 0.5-6 Semester Hr. (I, II, S) Individual research or special problem projects supervised by a faculty member, also, when a student and instructor agree on a subject matter, content, and credit hours. Prerequisite: ?Independent Study? form must be completed and submitted to the Registrar. Variable credit: 0.5 to 6 credit hours. Repeatable for credit under different topics/experience and maximums vary by department. Contact the Department for credit limits toward the degree.