B. Entry into the graduate program in chemistry

An updated version of all forms can be found on the Graduate School Website under the Graduate Forms and Deadlines Webpage.

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is also an incredibly useful resource.

The purpose of the Graduate Student Association shall be to promote the welfare and interests of the graduate students of the University. This includes supporting GSA's Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities document. The GSA defines a graduate student as any student enrolled in a graduate degree program as well as all students enrolled as graduate specials. The government of this GSA shall function through the Council of Representatives, Executive Council and established committees. The GSA shall work closely with all appropriate university administrative offices, including the Graduate School and Student Services. GSA shall report to the President of the University.

Graduate School Academic Requirements

All graduate students must maintain a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0. If their GPA drops below 3.0, they are either placed on probation or dismissed. Undergraduate courses will not count towards graduate GPA.


Students whose cumulative graduate GPA falls between 2.31 and 2.99 are automatically placed on academic probation for one semester. If they fail to raise their cumulative GPA to 3.0 by the end of one semester, they are dismissed from their graduate program. Thesis, dissertation, S/U graded credits and transfer credits have no impact on a student’s GPA.


Students whose cumulative graduate GPA is 2.30 or lower are dismissed. Dismissed students are no longer enrolled in their graduate program but may take graduate-level courses as a Grad Special. Dismissed students wishing to complete their degree must obtain approval to take graduate-level courses, raise their graduate GPA to at least 3.0, and then re-apply to their graduate program. Any courses taken in an effort to raise their GPA will be included in the graduate special/transfer credit limitation (9 credits for master’s degrees).

Non-University of Nevada, Reno coursework

These are credits transferred from another institution. Credits completed at the University of Nevada, Reno in another program or as a graduate special do not need to be transferred. Transfer credit can be requested on the Graduate Credit Transfer Evaluation Request form available on the Graduate School website and must be signed by the student, major advisor, and graduate director. Transfer credits applied to a master’s program must comply with the time limitation on master’s work (six years). Thus, if a student took a course five years prior to admission, they would have to complete the degree within one year for the course to apply to the degree. Credits from a completed master’s degree will be exempt from the eight-year time limitation for those students pursuing a doctoral degree.

1. Graduate record examination scores and transcripts

Scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be filed with the Graduate School by the student prior to admission to graduate standing.

This is applicable to both M.S. and Ph.D. programs.

2. Advisement examinations

Advisement exams in the areas of inorganic, organic, physical and analytical chemistry are given to all entering graduate students prior to class registration and upon completion of their first year. These exams are used to assess each student’s background and to identify deficiencies in these areas so that more effective course advisement can be given. These exams also serve to assess student progress in the program following completion of the first year.

3. Speak test

Foreign students, for whom English is not their native language, are required to take and pass the Speak Test administered by the Graduate School. Those who do not pass this test may not serve as teaching assistants. Failure to pass the test by the end of the Spring Semester of a students’ first full year of study may result in dismissal from the graduate program.

4. First-semester core courses 

A series of “core courses,” CHEM 631 (Advanced Inorganic Chemistry), CHEM 642 (Advanced Organic Chemistry) and CHEM 650 (Advanced Physical Chemistry), are offered each Fall semester to aid entry into the graduate program. These courses are not designed to make up specific deficiencies in the student’s background, but are rather broad spectrum courses intended to introduce the student to advanced ideas in chemistry. All students must complete at least two of these courses, usually during their first Fall semester in residence, unless an outstanding performance on the corresponding advisement exam indicates the student has already achieved the necessary competency. Please refer to the University’s Course Catalog for the most up-to-date information.

5. Choice of research advisor

The M.S. (Plan A) and Ph.D. programs require a completed research thesis or dissertation, respectively.

During the first semester in residence each student should consult with the various faculty members in his or her chosen field of specialization to choose a research advisor. These consultations should be arranged by the student, and generally involve discussion of the type of research programs of interest to the faculty member. Students are required to meet with at least four faculty, and solicit their signatures on the departmental “Application for Research Group Affiliation” form. After these consultations, the student chooses a faculty member under whose direction he/she elects to pursue his/her research. The faculty member is asked by the student to serve as the student’s research director and advisor. Submission of the ‘Group Affiliation’ form must be completed by November 2 and returned to the Graduate Director. Students must submit a Declaration of Advisor/Major Advisor/Committee Chair form to the Graduate School at the end of the semester. Each student must select their Graduate Study Committee members and complete their Program of Study form by the end of their second semester in order to receive an S grade in their CHEM 789 course.

6. Advisory committee

After a student has chosen a research advisor, an Advisory Committee is to be formed. The student should be prepared to suggest members for the committee. The M.S. degree committees must have at least three members: the research advisor, another member of the department and one from outside the Department of Chemistry. Ph.D. degree committees must have at least five members: the research advisor, two other members of the Chemistry Department and two members from outside the department.  Generally, one of the latter is also chosen to serve as the Graduate School Representative.

The student initiates the paperwork necessary to form this committee and the student’s advisor acts as its chairman. This committee is responsible for formally approving both the student’s program of study and the research thesis or dissertation. The appointment of this committee must be accomplished before the end of the second semester.

In case of interdisciplinary graduate programs, the Graduate School Representative cannot have a primary appointment in the same department (or other appropriate major unit) as the student's committee chair.

Formal approval of all student advisory committees is made by the Graduate Dean.

For master’s and doctoral students, the completed form must be submitted to Graduate School by the end of the student’s second semester.

Forms and Resources

7.  Program of study

Students admitted to Graduate Standing must have their initial course work approved by the Graduate Study Committee. An Advisory Committee must be established and an approved Program of Study submitted to the Graduate School no later than the end of the student’s second semester (note that this is earlier than Graduate School rules, stating for doctoral students, the completed form must be submitted to Graduate School by the end of the student’s fourth semester).

It is suggested that the Advisory Committee should be convened by the research advisor to discuss the student’s proposed program of study. Generally, the student and advisor work together to decide on the courses that will be taken by the student during his/her graduate program. These courses are selected to fit the student’s vocational objectives and provide background useful for research while at the same time meeting the requirements for the desired degree (see Sections C and D). The student should download the Study Program Forms from the Graduate School and have these forms filled out prior to meeting with the Advisory Committee. The student should arrange a suitable time and place for the meeting after consulting with committee members. The committee then meets with the student to discuss and approve the proposed program. As part of this meeting, the student might be asked to give a brief presentation describing the proposed research. This helps the committee become better acquainted with the student and allows it to better evaluate the proposed course of study.

Forms and Resources