Graduate Program

The department offers MS and PhD degrees in Chemistry, Applied Chemistry and Geochemistry. In addition, MS and PhD degrees are also offered in Materials Science, Hydrological Sciences 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.

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.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of both geochemistry and chemistry applicants. Subject tests are not required. 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 (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: Consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

CHGN503. ADVANCED PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY I (I) Quantum chemistry of classical systems. Principles of chemical thermodynamics. Statistical mechanics with statistical calculation of thermodynamic properties. Theories of chemical kinetics. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. 4 hours lecture; 4 semester hours.

CHGN505. ADVANCED ORGANIC CHEMISTRY (I) 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: Consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

CHGN506. WATER ANALYSIS LABORATORY (I) 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 or consent of instructor. 3 hours laboratory; 1 semester hour.

CHGN507. ADVANCED ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY (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: Consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

CHGN508. ANALYTICAL SPECTROSCOPY (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: Consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

CHGN510. CHEMICAL SEPARATIONS (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 or consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

CHGN515/MLGN503. CHEMICAL BONDING IN MATERIALS (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: Consent of department. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

CHGN523/MLGN509. SOLID STATE CHEMISTRY (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: Consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

CHGN536/MLGN536. ADVANCED POLYMER SYNTHESIS (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 or consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture, 3 semester hours

CHGN560. GRADUATE SEMINAR, M.S. (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/MLGN501. STRUCTURE OF MATERIALS (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: Consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

CHGN581. ELECTROCHEMISTRY (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: Consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

CHGN583/MLGN583. PRINCIPLES AND APPLICATIONS OF SURFACE ANALYSIS TECHNIQUES (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. Prerequisite: B.S. in Metallurgy, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Physics, or consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

CHGN584/ChEN584. FUNDAMENTALS OF CATALYSIS (II) The basic principles involved in the preparation, characterization, testing and theory of heterogeneous and homogeneous 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 or consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

CHGN585. CHEMICAL KINETICS (II) Study of kinetic phenomena in chemical systems. Attention devoted to various theoretical approaches. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

CHGN598. SPECIAL TOPICS IN CHEMISTRY (I, II) Pilot course or special topics course. Topics chosen from special interests of instructor(s) and student(s). Usually the course is offered only once. Prerequisite: Instructor consent. Variable credit; 1 to 6 credit hours. Repeatable for credit under different titles.

CHGN599. INDEPENDENT STUDY (I, II) 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; 1 to 6 credit hours.  Repeatable for credit.

CHGN660. GRADUATE SEMINAR, Ph.D. (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 (I, II) Pilot course or special topics course. Topics chosen from special interests of instructor(s) and student(s). Usually the course is offered only once. Prerequisite: Instructor consent. Variable credit; 1 to 6 credit hours. Repeatable for credit under different titles.

CHGN699. INDEPENDENT STUDY (I, II) 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; 1 to 6 credit hours.  Repeatable for credit.

CHGN705. GRADUATE RESEARCH CREDIT: MASTER OF SCIENCE Research credit hours required for completion of the degree Master of Science – thesis. Research must be carried out under the direct supervision of the graduate student’s faculty advisor.  Repeatable for credit.

CHGN706. GRADUATE RESEARCH CREDIT: DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY Research credit hours required for completion of the degree Doctor of Philosophy. Research must be carried out under direct supervision of the graduate student’s faculty advisor. Repeatable for credit.

SYGN600. FUNDAMENTALS OF COLLEGE TEACHING Principles of learning and teaching in a college setting. Methods to foster and assess higher order thinking. Effective design, delivery, and assessment of college courses or presentations. Prerequisite: Graduate standing, or consent of instructor. 2 semester hours.

GEOCHEMISTRY COURSES

CHGC503. INTRODUCTION TO GEOCHEMISTRY (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 equilibriumand kinetics, isotope systematics, and organic and biogeochemistry. Prerequisite: Introductory chemistry, mineralogy and petrology, or consent of instructor. 4 hours lecture, 4 semester hours.

CHGC504. METHODS IN GEOCHEMISTRY (II) 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 atomic spectroscopy, mass separations, and chromatography. Quality assurance and quality control. Interpretation and assessment of geochemical data using statistical methods. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in geochemistry or environmental science and engineering. 2 hours lecture; 2 semester hours.

CHGC505. INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY (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 CHGN403. CHGN403 and CHGC505 may not both be taken for credit. Prerequisites: SYGN101, CHGN 124 and DCGN209 or permission of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

CHGC506. WATER ANALYSIS LABORATORY (I) 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 or consent of instructor. 3 hour laboratory, 1 semester hour.

CHGC509/GEGN509. INTRODUCTION TO AQUEOUS GEOCHEMISTRY
(I) 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, or consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

CHGC511. GEOCHEMISTRY OF IGNEOUS ROCKS (II) 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 or consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

CHGC527/GEGN527. ORGANIC GEOCHEMISTRY OF FOSSIL FUELS AND ORE DEPOSITS (II) 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: CHGN221, GEGN438, or consent of instructor. 2 hours lecture; 3 hours lab; 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

CHGC530. ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY AND GEOCHEMISTRY (II) Mobility of the elements in air, water and the surficial environment. Geochemical cycles of elements and constituents of environmental interest. Plant composition, animal and human health in relation to the natural environment. Acid deposition and other processes affecting water quality. Environmental aspects of fossil fuel processing. Sampling design in large scale environmental studies. Prerequisite: CHGC503 or ESGN500 and ESGN501. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

CHGC555. ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIC CHEMISTRY (II) 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, or consent  of instructor. Offered in alternate years. 3 hours lecture;  3 semester hours.

CHGC562/CHGN462. MICROBIOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT 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 or consent of Instructor. 3 hours lecture, 3 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

CHGC563. ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY (I) 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: Consent of instructor. 1 hour lecture, 3 hours lab; 2 semester hours. Offered alternate years.

CHGC564. BIOGEOCHEMISTRY AND GEOMICROBIOLOGY (I) 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: Consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

CHGC610. NUCLEAR AND ISOTOPIC GEOCHEMISTRY (II) A study of the principles of geochronology and stable isotope distributions with an emphasis on the application of these principles to important case studies in igneous petrology and the formation of ore deposits. U, Th, and Pb isotopes, K-Ar, Rb-Sr, oxygen isotopes, sulfur isotopes, and carbon isotopes included. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours Offered alternate years.

CHGC640. SOIL GAS GEOCHEMISTRY AND APPLICATIONS IN THE EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (II) Thermal, chemical and microbiological reactions in the production of gases. Quantitative review of transport of gaseous species in the saturated and unsaturated zones. Sampling and analysis of soil gases. Applications of soil gas in the earth and environmental sciences, including exploration, contaminant mapping and global climate change. Prerequisites: CHGC503, or ESGN500 and ESGN501, or consent of instructor. 3 hours lecture; 3 semester hours.

CHGC699A. SELECTED TOPICS IN GEOCHEMISTRY (I, II) Detailed study of a geochemical topic under direction of a member of the staff. Work on the same or a different topic may be continued through later semesters and additional credits earned. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. 1 to 3 semester hours.

CHGC699B. SPECIAL TOPICS IN AQUEOUS AND SEDIMENTARY GEOCHEMISTRY (I, II) Detailed study of a specific topic in the area of aqueous or sedimentary geochemistry under the direction of a member of the staff. Work on the same or a different topic may be continued through later semesters and additional credits earned. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. 1 to 3 semester hours.

CHGC699C. SPECIAL TOPICS IN ORGANIC AND BIOGEOCHEMISTRY (I, II) Detailed study of a specific topic in the areas of organic geochemistry or biogeochemistry under the direction of a member of the staff. Work on the same or a different topic may be continued through later semesters and additional credits earned. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. 1 to 3 semester hours.

CHGC699D. SPECIAL TOPICS IN PETROLOGIC GEOCHEMISTRY (I, II) Detailed study of a specific topic in the area of petrologic geochemistry under the direction of a member of the staff. Work on the same or a different topic may be continued through later semesters and additional credits earned. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. 1 to 3 semester hours.