Information for Incoming Graduate Students

Fall 2019

Keep an eye out for letters from the Graduate School.  Over the course of the next few months you may receive letters from the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate School:  read these letters!  Occasionally the letters will remind you to submit information missing from your records that is needed before you can enroll for the Fall semester.  Frequently the needed information will be:

  • Proof of immunizations.
  • Receipt of final, official transcripts from your previous institution, showing degree conferral.

Please keep the Chemistry Department and Graduate School informed of your current mailing address.

1. Arrival in Reno
2. Chemistry/Chemical Physics Contact Information
3. Important Dates
4. Registration Exams
5. Housing
6. Helpful Links
7. About your postal addresses at Nevada
8. Activating your NetID
9. Special information for international students

All new graduate students should arrive in Reno no later than August 1, 2019.  Be sure to check into the department as soon as you arrive to meet your new friends, sign your TA contract, and to receive any late announcements.  The chemistry main office is located in room 213 (southeast corner, second floor) of the Chemistry Building.  The Chemistry Building is on the New Quad (see the general campus map). 

Prof. Christopher Jeffrey, Chair, Graduate Admissions Committee
Phone:  775-784-6688Clipart of a phone

Chemistry Main Office:
Susan Kinder, Graduate Administrative Assistant
Phone:  775-682-5761Clipart of a phone

Prof. Robert Sheridan, Director of Graduate Studies
Phone:  775-784-6730Clipart of a phone

Prof. Sergey Varganov, Director of Chemical Physics Program
Phone:  775-784-1406Clipart of a phone

August 1
All students should have arrived in Reno and checked in with the department.  In addition, international students should have checked in with OISS as well.

August 6-7
SPEAK test (international students only, see below).  Cordinate with Susan Kinder to make an appointment for the exact time for the exam at the IELC office.

August 12, 10 a.m. - 12 noon, Location:  TBD
Chemistry/Chemical Physics New Graduate Student Orientation Meeting
Agenda:  Introduction, Overview of Department, Graduate Study Guidelines, etc., and General Safety Talk

August 12-14
Chemistry (or Chemical Physics) Proficiency/Advisement Exams (see additional information below).
Location:  TBD.  2 - 4 p.m., August 12, 13, and 14, and 10 a.m. - 12 noon, August 14.  

August 13, 9 - 11 a.m., Location:  TBD
New TA Meeting

August 15-16, times and locations by appointment.
Individual course advisement for new graduate students

Bridge Placement testing.  International only.

August 20, 9 a.m. - 12 noon., Location:  TBD
Chemistry Help Center Training

August 21, all day 
Laboratory Safety Training class

August 22, 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Ballroom A, JCSU
UNR Graduate Assistant Training (GRAD 701S).  This program familiarizes new teaching assistants with UNR instructional policies and instructional methods and is required.

August 22, 1 - 5 p.m., Ballroom A, JCSU
UNR new graduate student orientation

August 22, 5 - 7 p.m., JCSU Ballroom
GSA Social

August 23, Location:  TBD
9 - 11 a.m., Fire Extinguishers and Fire Safety Training
11 a.m. - 1 p.m., Chemistry TA meetings

Monday, August 26
Instruction begins

For other important dates, see the UNR Academic Calendar.

All chemistry graduate students need to eventually have a broad, factual background in chemistry, although the actual areas might differ some for students in different subdisciplines based on their research area.  So, starting on Aug. 12, new students will be taking basic proficiency exams to assess their background knowledge in various areas of undergraduate chemistry.  The tests will be drawn from the standardized ACS (American Chemical Society) multiple choice exams.  Students will be asked to choose 4 exams they wish to take from the possibilities of Organic, Inorganic, Physical, Analytical, Instrumental Analysis, and Biochemistry (the 1-semester option).  For Chemical Physics students, your initial exams will be somewhat different, although they will be taking the Physical Chemistry exam (Contact the Chemical Physics advisor will be sending out more information).  The results from these proficiency exams will be used to help us advise students which classes to take, and also whether to recommend any remedial undergraduate chemistry classes.  The graduate faculty in the department will determine reasonable passing levels on each exam.  Students will be expected to be able to pass 3 out of these 4 chosen exams by the time they finish their first full academic year.

Below are some typical undergraduate textbooks that are commonly used in these areas:

  • Physical Chemistry:  McQuarrie and Simon, Physical Chemistry - A Molecular Approach; Atkins, Physical Chemistry.
  • Organic Chemistry:  Bruice, Organic Chemistry; Solomon, Organic Chemistry.
  • Inorganic Chemistry:  Miessler and Tarr, Inorganic chemistry; Shriver, Atkins, and Langford, Inorganic Chemistry.
  • Analytical Chemistry:  Harris, Exploring Chemical Analysis.
  • Instrumental Analysis:  Skoog, et al., Principles of Instrumental Analysis.
  • Biochemistry:  Lehninger, Principles of Biochemistry; Stryer, Biochemistry.

This is the first matter to which you should attend when you arrive in Reno.  On-campus housing options for graduate students include the Ponderosa Village apartments (family housing), though nearly all single graduate students secure private housing off campus.  There are many housing options near the University campus.  Entering graduate students can often find roommates or leads on apartments through graduate students already in the program.  Contact Professor Jeffrey ( for help in making graduate student contacts.

See "Graduate Housing" on the Residential Life website.
o See "Relocation Guide" section of
o Once on campus, a "for rent" listing service is available in the Residence Life and Housing Services Office located in the lower level, lakeside, of Juniper Hall.


Your departmental mail address and contact information at the University of Nevada, Reno will be:

Department of Chemistry
University of Nevada
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89557-0216

Department general phone number:  775-784-6041Clipart of a phone

Please activate your NetID by logging in to MyNevada prior to your arrival.  You will need your NSHE ID to do this.  This should be found on your acceptance letter from the Graduate School.


  • You must arrive in Reno by August 1, 2019, in order to have enough time to complete the paperwork for the employment which includes applying for a social security number.  Obtaining a social security number takes about one month, but you can receive a temporary number for TA contract purposes.  You will need a valid picture identification card that is more than one year old in order to apply for a social security number.
  • International graduate students for whom English is not their native language must take the SPEAK test upon arrival at the University.  Students who have a sufficiently high score on the TSE (Test of Spoken English) or on the TOEFL may be exempted from this requirement.  The SPEAK test will be administered during the week of August 1 or thereabouts.  The Chemistry Department Office will have already arranged appointments with the IELC Office.
  • All international students must visit the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) before they register for classes.
  • International student arrival information from OISS.