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Graduate Studies

Graduate Student in a Lab

The Graduate Chemistry Program fosters active learning through a research-based curriculum. Beginning with advanced coursework and training in the discipline as a whole and one or more selected subdisciplines, our award-winning graduate students engage in cutting-edge research alongside expert faculty.

The department offers MS and PhD programs in analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry and materials science. Research fields include: analytical chemistry ­­– analytical spectroscopy, biomedical analysis, chemical imaging, chemical instrumentation, electrochemical analysis, electrosprays, elemental and isotope analysis, laser-material interactions, mass spectrometry, nanophotonic structures, nmr spectroscopy, proteomics and metabolomics, single cell analysis; biochemistry—biological sensing via nanoparticles, biomaterials, biomolecular analysis, biophysical topics, lipids chemistry, proteomics and metabolomics, enzyme expression and inhibition, structural biology enzymology, inorganic  (materials) chemistry—battery chemistry, coordination chemistry, f-element chemistry, green chemistry, hydrothermal chemistry, mineral surface geochemistry, nanoscale and nanostructured materials, organometallic chemistry, small-molecule crystallography, solid-state materials; organic chemistry—biomaterials and lipids, computational docking and ligand design, green chemistry, heterocyclic chemistry, molecules of biological interest, synthesis; physical chemistry—CO2  removal, combustion chemistry, elemental and molecular spectroscopies, fuel cells, laser analytics, renewable energy conversion, solar chemical syntheses, surface chemistry, theoretical chemistry, thermochemical energy cycles.


Collaborative rsearch is also conducted with faculty from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The size of the department is relatively modest with 17 professors, and about 40 graduate students. Thus, there is significant interaction between students and their dissertation advisors.

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Chemistry Graduate Program

Work closely with faculty in the lab while learning to think on your feet and take on new challenges while making lifetime connections in the heart of our nation’s capital.

Fighting Tuberculosis

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Cynthia Dowd (left) is engaged in drug research to treat tuberculosis (TB). She is developing small molecule inhibitors of biochemical pathways that the TB bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, needs to survive. Dowd successfully created molecules based on a compound called fosmidomycin, which killed the TB bacterium. She is now looking at ways to change the structure of fosmidomycin so that it works more specifically against tuberculosis.