Graduate Studies


Admission | Courses | Program | Requirements |Integrated Program | Profile

Chairperson: Rose McConnell
Graduate Committee Chairperson: Brian Bellott
Office: Currens Hall 214
Telephone: (309) 298-1538 Fax: (309) 298-2180
Location of Program Offering: Macomb

Graduate Faculty

  • Jenq-Kuen Huang, Ph.D., Kansas State University
  • J. Scott McConnell, Ph.D., Texas A&M University
  • Rose McConnell, Ph.D., Texas A&M University
  • T. K. Vinod, Ph.D., University of Victoria

Associate Professor

  • R. J. Terry, Ph.D., Loyola University

Assistant Professors

  • Brian Bellott, Ph.D., University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign
  • Jin Jin, Ph.D., University of Albany

Associate Graduate Faculty
Adjunct Faculty

  • W.E.Klopfenstein, Ph.D., Penn State University
  • M.Venugopalan, Ph.D., Banaras Hindu University

 Program Description

The Department of Chemistry offers work leading to the Master of Science degree through either a thesis plan or an applied plan (see degree requirements). The program is designed to prepare graduate students for continuation to the Ph.D. or other professional training, or for immediate employment in advanced positions in government, industry, or education. Through thesis and internship options, the program accommodates individual career objectives for those with degrees in chemistry and allied fields and allows those with minors in chemistry to pursue advanced work and placement in the field. The department also provides inservice training to chemists and chemical educators who are not candidates for the M.S. degree.

Integrated Baccalaureate and Master’s Degree Program

Go to integrated_programs for details and program offerings.

 Admission Requirements

Admission to graduate studies in the Department of Chemistry at Western Illinois University requires a minimum of a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in chemistry or related discipline. In addition to meeting the general requirements of the Graduate School, entering graduate students should have completed 18 semester hours of undergraduate coursework in the areas of general, organic, analytical, inorganic, and physical chemistry. Deficiency courses may be required for those admitted without a B.S. degree in chemistry. Typical overall grade point averages for successful applicants are 2.75 overall or 3.0 and higher for coursework in the last two years. Applicants may qualify for regular or conditional admission. For consideration of a Teaching Assistant position, applicants are strongly recommended to submit scores for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test. Applicants from non-English speaking countries must present the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test of Spoken English (TSE). Additionally, undergraduate transcripts and three letters of recommendation are required. The above requirements represent minimum requirements and the competition for available space may limit admissions to persons with credentials above these minimum requirements.

American Chemical Society (ACS) diagnostic examinations covering the traditional areas of chemistry (biochemistry, analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry) are required of all entering graduate students. These examinations are given a few days prior to registration for the first semester so that the results may be used by the departmental graduate committee in planning the student’s coursework for the first year.

 Degree Requirements

General Requirements

A. Diagnostic examinations in the fields of analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry are administered at the time the student registers for graduate work in chemistry. The department may require students to remedy deficiencies in their undergraduate preparation on the basis of the diagnostic examinations.

B. Graduate coursework shall consist of directed electives including a minimum of four 500-level courses (12 s.h.) to comprise a total of 18 semester hours in the Applied Chemistry Plan and a total of 15 semester hours in the Thesis Plan. The 15 semester hours of directed electives must be comprised of all five disciplines of chemistry (analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical).

C. 300- and/or 400-level courses may be taken as deficiency courses.  A 400-level course taken for undergraduate credit will not count for graduate credit. All deficiency courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better.

D. A maximum of nine semester hours may be transferred from another institution. Transfer credit will require approval of the Departmental Graduate Committee.

E. A degree plan must be filed immediately after the student completes 9 semester hours of graduate credit.

I.  Applied Chemistry Plan

This plan is designed for those interested in graduate training for careers in specific areas such as pollution control, forensic chemistry, agricultural chemistry, chemical production, energy, and material resources utilization. An integral part of this program is an internship whereby the student will spend one semester at a cooperating industrial or government laboratory.  The Graduate Committee requires students to submit an internship report and present an oral defense following the internship. Students will receive the Department of Chemistry Graduate Handbook which outlines requirements and timelines.

Those students in applied chemistry who are interested in teaching at the secondary or two‑year college level are advised to have satisfied the academic requirements for teacher licensure. The internship for these students will be spent at WIU on special projects within the general chemistry program. Eight semester hours of work in education may be taken, and as many as two semester hours of CHEM 575 may be counted toward the degree.

Students may elect a minimum of eight hours of study in cognate fields, as approved by the Departmental Graduate Committee, to complement their program. Cognate fields, which students in the applied chemistry plan might consider, include (but are not limited to) agriculture, biological sciences, computer sciences, law enforcement, or geology.

CHEM 580 Seminar: 2 s.h.
CHEM 590 Internship: 10 s.h.
CHEM 591 Internship Report: 2 s.h.
Electives in cognate area:  8 s.h.
Directed Chemistry electives: 10 s.h.

II.  Thesis Plan

This plan is available for those students who wish to continue their professional training with graduate work emphasizing research. Students will receive the Department of Chemistry Graduate Handbook which outlines requirements and timelines.

Students may elect a minimum of eight hours of study in cognate fields, as approved by the Departmental Graduate Committee, to complement their program. Cognate fields, which students in the thesis plan might consider, include physics, biological sciences, mathematics, or computer science.

CHEM 580 Seminar:  2 s.h.
CHEM 600 Research: 12 s.h.
CHEM 601 Thesis*:  3 s.h.
Directed Electives: 15 s.h.

*An oral examination covering the thesis work will be given following completion of the thesis.

 Course Descriptions

Chemistry (CHEM)

401G Inorganic Chemistry III. (4) Chemistry of transition and nontransition elements and their compounds; nomenclature, stereochemistry, symmetry, bonding, solids, and acid‑base theories. Laboratory involves synthesis and physicochemical measurements of selected compounds. (Three lectures and one three‑hour laboratory per week.) Prerequisites: CHEM 332 and 370 or 374.

416G Chemical Literature. (1) An introduction to searching the chemical research literature. (One lecture per week.) Prerequisite: Eighteen semester hours of chemistry.

421G Biochemistry. (4) The chemistry of major cellular constituents and their metabolism. (Three lectures and one three‑hour laboratory per week.) Prerequisite: CHEM 330 or CHEM 332.

422G Advanced Biochemistry. (4) A continuation of CHEM 421 emphasizing the regulation of biosynthetic pathways and gene expression.  Laboratory includes analysis of biological molecules by GC, HPLC, UV spectroscopy, and electrophoresis. (Three hours lecture; three hours laboratory per week) Prerequisites: CHEM 421.

429G Biochemistry Topics. (3) Topics include current research including protein chemistry, enzyme kinetics and mechanisms, and methods used in biochemistry and molecular biological research. Students will apply the techniques to team research projects. Current techniques and state-of-the-art instruments are used. Prerequisite: CHEM 421.

442G Analytical Chemistry. (4) Theory and practice of analytical chemistry with emphasis on selected instrumental techniques. (Three lectures and two three‑hour laboratories per week.) Prerequisites: CHEM 341 and one semester of physical chemistry.

451G Applications of Forensic Chemistry. (3) Designed primarily for students interested in forensic chemistry. In-depth applications of physic-chemical principles to analysis of physical evidence from criminal investigations, including explosive residues, arson debris, hairs, fibers, glass, paint, papers, inks, and soil. State-of-the-art techniques and instrumentation are used. Prerequisite: CHEM 332, 341, 370 or 374, or permission of the instructor.

452G Forensic Toxicology and DNA Analysis. (4) Designed primarily for students interested in forensic chemistry. A continuation of CHEM 451. Applications of pharmacological, toxicological, and molecular biological principles to analysis of commonly encountered abused and toxic substances. Topics will include serology and DNA analysis. State-of-the-art techniques and instrumentation are used. Prerequisite: CHEM 451. Prerequisite or corequisite: CHEM 421, or graduate standing, or permission of the instructor.

463G Advanced Pharmacology. (3) This course introduces the students to the chemical aspects of drug-receptor interactions, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of major categories of pharmacologic agents. Not open to students who have credit for PSY 444. Prerequisites: CHEM 421, and either ZOOL 231 or ZOOL 430, or NURS 310 and permission of instructor.

482G (cross-listed with PHYS 482G and BIOL 482G) Science in Context. (3) Interdisciplinary course for science majors in which students explore science through inquiry, the unifying principles of science, and the role of social contexts and ethics in science. Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) course. Not open to students with credit in BIOL 482 or PHYS 482. Prerequisites: Senior standing in one of the following science majors – Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, or Meteorology; ENG 280; or permission of the instructor.  

492G Safety Practices in Chemistry Research. (1) The course is designed to train students in safety techniques and practices commonly used in laboratory research. A combination of lecture and demonstrations are used to describe MSDS, PPE, federal regulations, safe handling of hazardous reagents and isotopes. Prerequisite: CHEM 101 or 201 or permission of the instructor.

500 Special Topics. (1–4, repeatable to 8) Lectures on topics of current interest which may be supplemented by outside speakers or audio tutorial material from the American Chemical Society.

507 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry. (3) Kinetics and mechanisms of reactions of inorganic and organometallic complexes.  Selected topics include ligand substitution, oxidative addition, reductive elimination, and electron transfer reactions and industrial processes using homogeneous catalysis. Prerequisite: CHEM 401.

521 Advanced Biochemistry. (3) An advanced treatment of biochemical topics selected on the basis of student interest and background. Prerequisite: CHEM 421.

534 Advanced Organic Chemistry. (3) Reactions, mechanisms, and structure of organic compounds. Prerequisites: CHEM 332 and 375.

541 Advanced Analytical Chemistry. (3) An advanced treatment of selected topics in analytical chemistry with emphasis on chemical instrumentation. Prerequisites: CHEM 375 and 442.

542 Environmental Chemistry. (4) Selected studies of sources, reactions, transport effects, and fates of chemical species in water, soil, and air environments; and the applications of current analytical techniques to the analysis of selected samples. Prerequisite: CHEM 442.

551 Forensic Analytical Chemistry. (3) This course introduces the application of analytical chemistry to forensic sciences, aspects of trace analysis, drug, fire debris, and DNA analysis.  This course will emphasize trace analysis, drug identification, toxicology, and arson. Prerequisite: CHEM 421 or permission of instructor.

571 Theoretical Physical Chemistry. (3) A course in quantum mechanism, spectroscopy, with statistical thermodynamics, with application to chemical bonding, structure, and reaction kinetics. Prerequisite: CHEM 375.

575 Topics for Chemical Education I. (1) Principles of General Chemistry. Repeatable.

580 Seminar. (1, repeatable)

590 Internship. (2–10, repeatable to 10) Internship experience in cooperating industrial laboratory, government laboratory, or chemical educational program at WIU. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

591 Internship Report. (2) An oral and written report of the internship experience.

600 Research. (2–12, repeatable) Prerequisite/corequisite: CHEM 492 or CHEM 492G.

601 Thesis. (3)