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Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
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Course Descriptions

Department of Chemistry

Chemistry Building
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400319
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4319
(434) 924-3344

Degree Requirements

In addition to fulfilling the general requirements of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, all graduate students in chemistry must give evidence of a satisfactory level of basic knowledge in four of the major subfields of chemistry by satisfactory performance in a specific course, or examination upon entrance. These exams stress fundamentals in analytical, biological, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry, and chemical physics. Course programs are developed for individual students that include further study in areas where additional background is necessary.

The total credit requirements of the Graduate School are 24 credits for the master’s degree, and 72 credits for the Ph.D. degree. In chemistry, these requirements are met by a combination of lecture courses, elective or special topics courses, and topical and non-topical research courses. The specific program depends upon the student’s area of interest. Candidates for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must pass an advanced two-part examination involving (1) an overview of his/her current research problem, including a testable hypothesis, the relationship of the project to related work of others and a detailed summary of the progress to date and (2) a critique of an assigned journal article related to his/her area of research. Each part is followed by a twenty-five minutes question period. The final examination for both the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees is in the form of an oral defense of the thesis or dissertation.

A graduate degree candidate must participate in the teaching activities of the department as a graduate teaching assistant or instructor for at least one academic year. Knowledge of a foreign language is not required for a graduate degree in chemistry.

Facilities The Chemistry Building, an air-conditioned, four-story structure of 160,000 square feet, houses an auditorium seating 500, lecture and classrooms, administrative offices, and laboratories for undergraduate instruction on the upper two floors. On the lower two floors are located an excellent library, main stockroom, shops, research laboratories, and faculty offices. The building, completed in 1968, is located in the science complex in the western part of the University Grounds. It contains laboratories, equipment, and other facilities for research in many of the most active fields of chemistry. A new addition completed in 1995 houses 30,000 square feet of research space for biological chemistry including an entire floor dedicated to bioanalytical and biophysical research.

Course Descriptions


Undergraduate chemistry, including year courses with laboratory in organic and physical chemistry (CHEM 361, 362, 371, 372 or equivalent), is a normal prerequisite for all of the following courses. Exceptions may be made by permission of the instructor in certain cases.

The student is responsible for breakage charges.

CHEM 511 - (3) (Y)
Organic Chemistry III
Prerequisite: One year of organic chemistry. In addition, one year of physical chemistry is recommended.
A systematic review and extension of the facts and theories of organic chemistry; includes the mechanism of reactions, structure and stereochemistry.

CHEM 521 - (3) (Y)
Advanced Physical Chemistry I
Studies introductory quantum mechanics; application of group theory to molecular orbital theory; and rotational, vibrational, and electronic spectra.

CHEM 522 - (3) (Y)
Advanced Physical Chemistry II
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Studies the laws of thermodynamics and extra-thermodynamic principles; statistical mechanics; theory of reaction rates, and the interpretation of experimental kinetic data.

CHEM 535 - (3) (Y)
Advanced Inorganic Chemistry I
Prerequisite: CHEM 432 or instructor permission.
Introduces the electronic structure of atoms and simple molecules, including basic concepts and applications of symmetry and group theory. The chemistry of the main group elements is described using energetics, structure, and reaction pathways to provide a theoretical background. Emphasizes applying these concepts to predicting the stability and developing synthetic routes to individual compounds or classes.

CHEM 536 - (3) (Y)
Advanced Inorganic Chemistry II
Prerequisite: CHEM 432 or instructor permission.
Introduces the electronic structure of compounds of the transition metals, using ligand field theory and molecular orbital theory. The chemistry of coordination and organometallic compounds is described, emphasizing structure, reactivity, and synthesis. Applications to transformations in organic chemistry and to catalysis are examined.

CHEM 551 - (3) (Y)
Instrumental Methods of Analysis
Prerequisite: CHEM 341 or 361, or instructor permission.
Utilization of modern analytical instrumentation for chemical analysis. Includes emission and mass spectroscopy, ultraviolet, visible, and infrared absorption spectroscopy, atomic absorption, electrical methods of analysis, gas chromatography, and X-ray methods. Three class hours.

CHEM 553 - (4) (SI)
Electronics and Chemical Instrumentation
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Studies the fundamentals of electronics and modern scientific instrumentation. Provides extensive laboratory experience with test equipment, power supplies, transistors, operational amplifiers, and digital and analog integrated circuits. Special project involving an area of interest to the student. Three class hours, four laboratory hours.

CHEM 554 - (4) (SI)
Computer Interfacing and Automation of Chemical Instrumentation
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Studies the principles of computer interfacing and on-line data processing applied to instrumentation. Includes assembly and high-level computer languages, analog-digital domain conversions, multiplexing, and signal averaging. Provides extensive hands-on experience interfacing and programming a microcomputer for electrochemical, spectroscopic and kinetics experiments. Special project involving area of interest to student. Three class hours, four laboratory hours.

Note: Specific background requirements vary for successful study of 700-level and higher courses. Students should consult with the instructor before registering for these courses.

CHEM 701, 702 - (3) (Y)
Research Seminar
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Entering graduate students attend departmental seminars and colloquia. These lectures expose the student to a wide range of the latest theoretical and experimental topics in chemistry. Chemistry 701, 702 provides graduate students with an introduction to the theory and practice of scientific research and professional development. Issues of safety in the laboratory, literature searching, ethical conduct in research, intellectual property, entrepreneurship, federal funding agencies, job opportunities in academe, industry, and national laboratories, curriculum vitae/résumé writing, web-site creation, and effective written and oral communication skills are discussed. Students are required to attend departmental seminars and colloquia in order to learn about a broad range of current experimental and theoretical topics in chemistry. Each student will prepare at least one oral and one written presentation for the class.

CHEM 707 - (3) (IR)
Topics of Current Interest and Pedagogy
Explores current topics in chemistry unified by a specific theme. Designed to aid teachers in promotion of scientific literacy among the student population of Virginia. Emphasizes topics suitable for stimulating interest among the majority of secondary school students rather than specialized material for advanced students.

CHEM 712 - (3) (Y)
Organic Chemistry IV
Prerequisite: CHEM 511.
A comprehensive survey of synthetic organic reactions and their application to the design and execution of syntheses of relatively complex organic substances.

CHEM 715 - (3) (Y)
Instrumental Theory and Techniques in Organic Chemistry
Studies the theory and application of instrumental techniques in solving organic structural problems. Topics include ultraviolet and infrared absorption spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry, rotatory dispersion, and circular dichroism.

CHEM 722 - (3) (S)
Reaction Kinetics and Dynamics
Prerequisite: CHEM 521, 522, or instructor permission.
Introduces the practice and theory of modern chemical kinetics, emphasizing reactions occurring in gases, liquids, and on catalytic surfaces. Develops basic principles of chemical kinetics and describes current experimental and analytic techniques. Discusses the microscopic reaction dynamics underlying the macroscopic kinetics in terms of reactive potential energy surfaces. Develops statistical theories of reactions that simplify the description of the overall reaction dynamics. Includes the transition state theory, Rice-Ramsperger-Kassel-Marcus (RRKM) theory for unimolecular reactions, Kramers’ theory, Marcus electron transfer theory, and information theory. Presents current topics from the literature and illustrates applications of basic principles through problem-solving exercises.

CHEM 743 - (4) (Y)
Biological Chemistry I
Prerequisite: One year of organic chemistry.
Introduces the components of biological macromolecules and the principles behind their observed structures. Examines the means by which enzymes catalyze transformations of other molecules, emphasizing the chemical principles involved, and describes key metabolic cycles and pathways, the enzymes that catalyze these reactions, and the ways in which these pathways are regulated. Three class hours, one seminar hour.

CHEM 744 - (4) (Y)
Biological Chemistry II
Prerequisite: CHEM 743 or instructor permission.
Covers three main areas: (1) the structure and function of biological membranes, (2) complex biochemical systems and processes, including photosynthesis, oxidative phosphorylation, vision, neurotransmission, hormonal regulation, muscle contraction and microtubules, and (3) molecular biology, including DNA metabolism, protein synthesis, regulation of gene expression and recombinant DNA methodology. Three class hours, one seminar hour.

CHEM 751 - (4) (Y)
Analytical Chemistry
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Advanced level survey of instrumental methods of analysis, theory and application of spectrochemical, electrochemical techniques; separations, surfaces, special topics, and recent developments from the literature.

CHEM 812 - (3) (Y)
Selected Topics in Organic Chemistry
Detailed treatment of specialized areas of current interest in organic and biological organic chemistry. Subject matter will vary from year to year. May be taken for credit more than once.

CHEM 814 - (3) (SI)
Chemistry of Heterocyclic Compounds and Related Topics
Prerequisite: CHEM 511.
The application of the concepts of organic chemistry, especially structure and reaction mechanisms, to the discussion of heterocyclic compounds. Emphasizes heteroaromatic compounds of nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. Offered as required.

CHEM 821 - (3) (SI)
Principles of Quantum Mechanics
Development of principles of quantum mechanics and application to simple systems; and discussion of angular momentum, variation method, and perturbation theory.

CHEM 822 - (3) (SI)
Chemical Applications of Quantum Mechanics
Application of quantum mechanics to atomic and molecular systems; includes molecular orbital and valence bond theory. Group theory is developed from first principles and applied to molecular systems.

CHEM 825 - (3) (SI)
Molecular Spectroscopy
Prerequisite: CHEM 521, 821, and group theory equivalent to that covered in CHEM 521 or instructor permission.
Studies basic theoretical principles of optical and radio-frequency molecular spectroscopy selected from electron spin and nuclear magnetic resonance, microwave, infrared, Raman, visible, and ultraviolet spectroscopy.

CHEM 831, 832 - (3) (SI)
Selected Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
Advanced treatment of topics of current research interest in inorganic chemistry.

CHEM 834 - (3) (SI)
Determination of Molecular Structure by Diffraction Methods
Studies the principles of X-ray, neutron, and electron diffraction by ordered solids; and the use of these phenomena in molecular structure determination.

CHEM 836 - (3) (SI)
Physical Inorganic Chemistry
An advanced treatment of inorganic chemistry emphasizing structure, physical properties, the physical techniques employed in inorganic chemistry, including ESR, NMR, Mossbauer, NQR and electronic spectroscopy, magneto-chemistry and high pressure chemistry. Application of the experimental and theoretical aspects to bioinorganic chemistry.

CHEM 845 - (3) (SI)
Enzymatic Reaction Mechanisms
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Studies the mechanisms of enzymatic catalysis of organic reactions, emphasizing the transformation of substrates to products rather than focusing on protein chemistry. Includes the application of physical organic techniques to the study of enzymatic reactions. Major reaction types considered include hydrolases, group transfer reactions, coenzyme-catalyzed reactions, biological redox reactions, eliminations, racemizations, and aldol cleavage reactions. Considers the regulation of enzymatic activity and the validity of current techniques of investigating enzyme catalysis.

CHEM 852 - (3) (SI)
Special Topics in Instrumental Methods
Studies recent developments in instrumentation and their significance to physical-analytical problems. Includes the theory and application of specialized techniques in analytical chemistry.

CHEM 854 - (3) (SI)
Analytical Spectroscopy
Prerequisite: CHEM 551 or instructor permission.
Studies advanced topics in optical spectroscopy as applied to analytical chemistry. Topics include fundamental principles of atomic and molecular spectroscopy, practical experimental methods including laser methods, and analytical optical methods of current research interest.

CHEM 861, 862 - (3) (SI)
Selected Topics in Advanced Physical Chemistry
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Selected topics in advanced physical chemistry developed to the depth required for modern research.

CHEM 897 - (1-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Research
For master’s research, taken before a thesis director has been selected.

CHEM 898 - (1-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research
For master’s thesis, taken under the supervision of a thesis director.

CHEM 907, 908 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Infrared Spectroscopy

CHEM 909, 910 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Crystallography and Structural Chemistry

CHEM 911, 912 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Inorganic and Organometallic Reactions

CHEM 915, 916 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Photochemistry and Luminescence

CHEM 919, 920 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Inorganic and Organometallic Synthesis and Structure

CHEM 921, 922 - (1-12) (S)
Research in High Resolution Molecules

CHEM 923, 924 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Mass Spectrometry

CHEM 925, 926 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Bioorganic Chemistry

CHEM 927, 928 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Biophysical Chemistry

CHEM 941, 942 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Membrane Biochemistry

CHEM 943, 944 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Membrane Chemistry

CHEM 945, 946 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Inorganic Chemistry

CHEM 949, 950 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Physical Chemistry of Surfaces

CHEM 951, 952 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Bioorganic Mechanism and Synthesis

CHEM 955, 956 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Synthetic Organic Chemistry

CHEM 959, 960 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Multistage Organic Synthesis

CHEM 961, 962 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Medicinal Chemistry

CHEM 963, 964 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Bioanalytical Studies

CHEM 965, 966 - (1-12) (S)
Research in Statistical Mechanics of Condensed Phases

CHEM 967, 968 - (1-12) (S)
Research: Biomolecular NMR

CHEM 969, 970 - (1-12) (S)
Research: Chemistry of Medicine

CHEM 971, 972 - (1-12) (S)
Research: Combinatorial Science

CHEM 996, 997 - (1-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research
For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director has been selected.

CHEM 999 - (1-2) (S)
Non-Topical Research
For doctoral dissertation, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.

Seminars and Colloquia Departmental seminars and colloquia are held on a regular basis with the presentations being given by visiting speakers and by graduate students, research staff, and faculty of the department. Specialized research seminars and discussion groups also meet regularly to examine topics of current interest. Most graduate students are scheduled to present a departmental poster in the third year of residence and a seminar at the completion of their research.

Lectures Distinguished visitors present lectures regularly on a wide variety of subjects in modern chemical research. The department sponsors the endowed Burger Lectureship in Medicinal Chemistry, the Lutz Lectureship, and the Pratt Lectureship.

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