Selecting an Advisor and Research Project
During Orientation week and at the beginning of the fall term, students are introduced to faculty research through a series of seminars and a division-wide seminar day. New students are encouraged to talk with faculty about potential research projects and attend group meetings.
New graduate students in chemistry must participate in a minimum of 2 one-month rotations in different research groups during the fall term. (Exceptions to rotate in the same group twice are dissuaded, but may be approved on rare occasions by submitting a petition to the Option Representative.) Opening date to join a research group is December 1st.
Rotations may last longer than one month, and students may continue with rotations during the winter and spring term. Ideally, students will join a research group by the end of the spring term.
Once a student decides on a research project under the direction of a research advisor (or set of co-advisors), they must complete the Advisor Section Form and submit the form to the Option Representative for approval.
Students have the opportunity to attend a wide range of seminars, from weekly informal group seminars to named lectureships. Graduate students actively participate in the regularly scheduled seminars. These seminars are organized and operated by graduate students who select and invite the speakers as well as arrange appointment schedules. There are also seminar series in physics, biology, and biochemistry that may interest chemistry graduate students. Please see the Master Calendar for a listing of these seminars
Chemistry students are required to complete at least 5 courses (minimum of 9 units each) in science or engineering. These courses may be within or outside the chemistry option. Coursework taken outside of the scientific area in which the dissertation research is performed is encouraged. A wide selection of classes is offered that cover all areas of modern chemistry and chemical engineering as well as interdisciplinary topics such as biological chemistry, environmental science, and applied physics. See Chemistry Course listings.
The research advisor and Chemistry Graduate Study Committee must approve the final program of courses. Alternately a student may pursue a subject minor in another option. Please see the Caltech Catalog for more information on minors.
All PhD students are required to perform a minimum of one 9 term-hour GTA within the chemistry option before the completion of the fourth year of study. Those students who are interested in teaching are encouraged to continue their involvement. Assignments may consist of leading a recitation section in an undergraduate course or acting as an assistant in an undergraduate laboratory course. Advanced graduate students often help with graduate level courses. Class sizes at Caltech are small, thus enhancing the teaching experience.