C. General requirements

1. Credit hours

During the academic year, students on TA or RA contracts must be registered for at least six credits in a semester. The normal course load taken by students who are serving as regular Teaching Assistants is 9 to 12 credits. If not on an assistantship, graduate students must register for at least three graduate-level credits each semester until graduation.

2. Course work performance 

University of Nevada, Reno overall graduate course GPA of 3.0 or better: good standing

University of Nevada, Reno overall graduate course GPA Below 3.0: Probationary Status

University of Nevada, Reno overall graduate course GPA Balance of Seven or More Grade Points Below 3.0: Dropped from Graduate Standing

NOTE: Students must be in good standing to hold an assistantship.

3. Graduate assistantships

All graduate students holding an assistantship (teaching GTA or GRA) are considered Nevada residents for tuition purposes. Non-resident tuition is only waived for the duration of the assistantship. To be eligible for an assistantship, students must be admitted to a degree-granting program and be in good academic standing. The student must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and must be continuously enrolled in at least 6 graduate-level credits (600-700) throughout the duration of the assistantship. 

State-funded assistantships (GTA/GRA) may be held for a maximum of three (3) years for master’s degree students and five (5) years for doctoral degree students.

The most updated information on graduate assistantships is available from the Graduate School: General information and the graduate assistantship human resources information.

4. Health insurance

All domestic degree-seeking graduate students, who are enrolled in six or more credits (regardless of the course level) in a semester, will be automatically enrolled and billed for the University-sponsored health insurance for each term they are eligible (fall & spring/summer). If a student has other comparable coverage and would like to waive out of the student health insurance, it is the student’s responsibility to complete the University online waiver form prior to the deadline. If approved, a health insurance waiver is good for the current academic year only. A new waiver must be submitted each academic year. All international graduate students are required to carry student health insurance, and the cost will be automatically added to your student account. Any international graduate students with insurance questions must contact the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) directly.

Information on Graduate health insurance

5. Leave of absence

Continuous Enrollment

To maintain “good standing” all graduate students are required to enroll in a minimum of three (3) graduate credits each fall and spring semester until they graduate. International students may be required to enroll in nine graduate credits each fall and spring semester depending on the requirements of their visa. All students holding assistantships (whether teaching or research assistantships) are required to enroll in a minimum of six (6) graduate credits each semester they hold the assistantship.

Leave of absence

Students in good standing may request a leave of absence by completing a leave of absence form during which time they are not required to maintain continuous registration. Usually, a leave of absence is approved for one or two semesters. The leave of absence request may be extended by the student filing an additional leave of absence form. Students applying for a leave of absence should not have any “incomplete” grades which could be changed to “F” and have a detrimental impact on their cumulative GPA. Requests for leaves of absences must be received by the Graduate School no later than the last day of enrollment for the semester the leave is to begin.


When a student has been absent for one semester or more without an approved leave of absence, he or she may request reinstatement via the reinstatement form. This form allows the program the option to recommend the student be re-admitted to their graduate program based on their previous admission OR require the student to re-apply for admission which would require students to submit a new application for admission and pay the application fee. The Notice of Reinstatement to Graduate Standing must be received by the Graduate School no later than the last day of enrollment for the semester the reinstatement is to begin.

6. Basic proficiency exams

A broad factual knowledge at the advanced level in all subfields of chemistry is one of the learning objectives of the graduate program in chemistry and as such, successful completion of the proficiency exam requirement is a pre-requisite to taking the written candidacy exam for PhD students, or for graduation with a MS degree.  The basic proficiency exams are drawn from the set of American Chemical Society (ACS) graduate placement exams (or an equivalent faculty-approved exam), which are offered in analytical chemistry, biochemistry (the 1-semester exam), inorganic chemistry, instrumental analysis, organic chemistry, or physical chemistry. The passing threshold for each exam will be determined by the graduate faculty.  Students are ultimately required to pass three of the four chosen exams by the end of their first year.  The exams will be offered at the start of their first semester (in August), the start of their second semester (in January), and again at the end of their second semester (in May), with students retaking any failed exams until passing three. 

Before the first round of testing, students will choose four different ACS exams to take and will notify the department of their choice.  A failed exam can be taken in a different area by the written mutual request of the student and his/her graduate advisor.  Incoming graduate students will be alerted to the basic proficiency exam requirement upon matriculation.

Passing three proficiency exams is required by the department for good standing in the program by the end of the first two semesters of graduate study.  Students that are not in good standing at the end of the first two semesters will be dismissed from the graduate program in chemistry.

7. Seminars

Students are also required to participate in the seminar program. This means attending both student seminars and seminars presented by visitors to our department. Candidates for the M.S. or Ph.D. degree must give a minimum of 2 seminars (see Sections D.3 and E.3).

8. Teaching

It is also a requirement of the department that all graduate students have some teaching experience as part of their advanced degree requirements. All first year T.A.’s must take CHEM 700 – Supervised Teaching in College Chemistry. 

9. Time limitation for completion of advanced degrees 

  1. All requirements for the master’s degree must be satisfied within the period of six calendar years immediately preceding the granting of the degree. All requirements for the doctoral program, excluding prerequisite graduate course work or master’s degrees, must be completed within eight years from the time of admission. It should be noted that the average M.S. degree in Chemistry takes no more than three years, and the Ph.D. five years. 
  2. Students must register for an appropriate course load each semester, or obtain an “approved leave” from the department. Unless these approved leaves are part of the student’s Graduate School records, extensions of the six and eight-year requirements will not be approved by the Graduate School.

10. Graduate-level courses in chemistry

Check out the Course Descriptions page in the course catalog for full links and course information

List of graduate level courses in chemistry at the University of Nevada, Reno.

CHEM 631 - Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 635 - Chemical Synthesis (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 637 - Separation Chemistry and Metallurgy of the Rare Earths(Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course) 

CHEM 639 - Green Chemistry and Sustainability (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 642 - Advanced Organic Chemistry (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 643 - Organic Spectroscopy and Structure (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 644 - Organic Structure Determination Laboratory (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 649 - Polymer Chemistry (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 650 - Advanced Physical Chemistry (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 651 - The Elementary Physical Chemistry of Macromolecules (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 655 - Instrumental Analysis (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 690 - Independent Study in Chemistry (Permissable “Elective” Course)

CHEM 692 - Advanced Topics in Chemistry (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 700 - Supervised Teaching in College Chemistry 

CHEM 707 - Research Instruments Practicum (Permissable “Elective” Course)

CHEM 711 - Theoretical Inorganic Chemistry (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 712 - The Less Familiar Elements (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 713 - Organometallic Chemistry (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 714 - Special Topics in Inorganic Chemistry (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 740 - Methods of Organic Synthesis (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 741 - Advanced Organic Structure Elucidation(Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course) 

CHEM 742 - Theoretical Organic Chemistry (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 743 - Special Topics in Organic Chemistry (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 744 - Stereochemistry and Conformational Analysis (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 745 - Strategy of Organic Synthesis (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 751 - Special Topics in Physical Chemistry (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 752 - Chemical Kinetics (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 754 - Molecular Spectroscopy (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 755 - Statistical Thermodynamics (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 757 - Quantum Chemistry (Permissable “Required” or “Elective” Course)

CHEM 788 - Research Conference (Permissable “Elective” Course)

CHEM 789 - Graduate Seminar I 

CHEM 790 - Graduate Seminar II 

CHEM 791 - Professional Paper 

CHEM 793 - Independent Studies (Permissable “Elective” Course)

CHEM 794A - Colloquia (Permissable “Elective” Course)

CHEM 794B - Colloquia (Permissable “Elective” Course)

CHEM 794C - Colloquia (Permissable “Elective” Course)

CHEM 795 - Comprehensive Examination 

CHEM 797 - Thesis 

CHEM 799 - Dissertation 

CHEM 899 - Graduate Advisement