Chemistry Graduate Courses

CHEM 5110: Organic Chemistry III (3 credits)

Systematic review and extension of the facts and theories or organic chemisry; includes the mechanicsm of reactions, structure, and sterochemistry.

CHEM 5120: Organic Chemistry IV: Synthesis (3 credits)

A comprehensive survey of synthetic organic reactions and their application to the design and execution of syntheses of relatively complex organic substances.

CHEM 5180: Instrumental Theory and Techniques in Organic Chemistry (3 credits)

Studies the theory and application of instrumental techniques in solving organic structural problems. Topics include ultraviolet and infrared absorption spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry, rotatory dispersion, and circular dichroism.

CHEM 5210: Advanced Physical Chemistry I: Quantum Mechanics (3 credits)

This course provides an introduction to quantum mechanics for scientists and engineers interested in the properties and phenomena of atomic, molecular, and nanoscale matter. The foundational ideas of quantum mechanics are introduced and tools for exact and approximate solutions of the Schrodinger Equation are developed. Model systems, such as particle in a box, harmonic oscillator, hydrogen atom, hydrogen ion and molecule, crystalline solids, as well as time-dependent phenomena, such as spectroscopy, tunneling, and scattering, are examined as time permits. The course aims to provide the elementary background and tools necessary to read and advance modern research requiring a microscopic understanding of matter.

CHEM 5220: Advanced Physical Chemistry II: Statistical Mechanics (3 credits)

This course provides an introduction to statistical mechanics for graduate students or highly advanced undergraduates. The course begins with a review of thermodynamics and an introduction to the fundamental assumptions of equilibrium statistical mechanics, continues on to examine both non-interacting and interacting systems of interest, and finally introduces the basic concepts of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics.  Throughout the course, analytical and numerical tools are introduced to solve physically-motivated problems that demonstrate course concepts. Students will learn: (1) what entropy is and how and why it influences physical phenomena; (2) to identify when a system is at equilibrium and the implications in terms of the kinds of measurements and calculations that are possible for such systems; (2) to choose and make use of appropriate ensembles, free energies, and partition functions to explore and predict the behavior of a given system under specific conditions; (3) to explain the role of temperature and predict temperature-dependent effects; (4) how phase changes can emerge from simple physical rules governing the interactions between particles in a system; (5) to recognize and articulate the role of statistical mechanics in both research and every-day life; and (6) to critically evaluate the use of and developments in modern statistical mechanics through the careful reading of current research articles.

CHEM 5224: Reaction Kinetics and Dynamics (3 credits)

Introduces the practice and theory of modern chemical kinetics, emphasizing reactions occurring in gases, liquids, and on catalytic surfaces. Develops basic principles of chemical kinetics and describes current experimental and analytic techniques. Discusses the microscopic reaction dynamics underlying the macroscopic kinetics in terms of reactive potential energy surfaces. Develops statistical theories of reactions that simplify the description of the overall reaction dynamics. Includes the transition state theory, Rice-Ramsperger-Kassel-Marcus (RRKM) theory for unimolecular reactions, Kramers’ theory, Marcus electron transfer theory, and information theory. Presents current topics from the literature and illustrates applications of basic principles through problem-solving exercises.

CHEM 5250: Molecular Spectroscopy (3 credits)

Includes basic theoretical principles of modern molecular spectroscopy, including microwave, infrared, Raman, visible, and ultraviolet spectroscopy. Gas-phase systems will be emphasized.

CHEM 5260: Introduction to Astrochemistry (3 credits)

This interdisciplinary course will introduce graduates and advanced undergraduates to molecules and their chemistry in different sources throughout the universe. Major topics include chemistry in interstellar clouds and star-forming regions, the kinetics of gas-phase and grain-surface reactions, astronomical spectroscopy, laboratory experiments, and astrochemical modeling. The class will cater to students with either an astronomy or chemistry background, to provide the knowledge and tools needed to understand the main themes and problems in astrochemistry. The course will also provide a foundation to those moving into astrochemistry research.

CHEM 5310: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry I: Reaction Mechanisms (3 credits)

Introduces the electronic structure of atoms and simple molecules, including basic concepts and applications of symmetry and group theory. The chemistry of the main group elements is described using energetics, structure, and reaction pathways to provide a theoretical background. Emphasizes applying these concepts to predicting the stability and developing synthetic routes to individual compounds or classes.

CHEM 5320: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry II: Organometallics and Synthesis (3 credits)

Introduces the electronic structure of compounds of the transition metals using ligan field theory and molecular orbital theory. Describes the chemistry of coordination and organometallic compounds, emphasizing structure, reactivity, and synthesis. Examines applications to transformations in organic chemistry and to catalysis. 

CHEM 5330: Structural Inorganic Chemistry: Characterization and Spectrocopy (3 credits)

Covers mathematical language which describes symmetry and focuses on its application to inorganic chemistry, determination of point groups, use of character tables, and construction of MO theory diagrams. This will be followed by application of these concepts to spectroscopic methods, e.g. Absorption, IR, Raman, NMR, magnetism, and EPR, etc. The material is intended to cover the theory and interpretation of standard spectroscopic techniques.

CHEM 5340: Nanomaterials: Synthesis, Properites, and Applications (3 credits)

Covers an introduction to nanomaterials and to physical methods for nanomaterials characterization; synthesis, surface modification and assembly nanomaterials; and magnetic, optical and catalytic properties of nanomaterials. The course also highlights the importance of the design of nanomaterials for modern energy, environmental and biomedical applications.

CHEM 5350: Main Group Inorganic Chemistry (3 credits)

Discusses the principles of main-group element chemistry with a focus on synthesis, structure, reactivity, and applications. This course is intended to provide sufficient background knowledge of the topics and techniques used in this field so that students should be able to understand and critically evaluate the current main-group literature.

CHEM 5360:  Materials Chemistry for Future Energy Needs

Expose students to the emerging advances in chemistry and materials science that underpin technologies for energy conversion, storage and distribution and to place these in a real world context that reflects a rudimentary exposure to regulatory and economic facts controlling energy technology development and will emphasize concepts in “green chemistry and green engineering practices” that are emerging with global focus on sustainable technology.

CHEM 5380: Determination of Molecular Structure by Diffraction Methods (3 credits)

This one-semester undergraduate/graduate course will focus on the modern applications of X-ray diffraction techniques in crystal and molecular structure determination. The class will also include powder diffraction and its application in X-ray structure analysis.

CHEM 5410: Advanced Biological Chemistry I: Molecular Assembly and Information Flow (3 credits)

Introduces the components of biological macromolecules and the principles behind their observed structures. Examines the means by which enzymes catalyze transformations of other molecules, emphasizing the chemical principles involved, and describes key metabolic cycles and pathways, the enzymes that catalyze these reactions, and the ways in which these pathways are regulated.

CHEM 5420: Advanced Biological Chemistry II: Macromolecular Structure and Function (3 credits)

Covers three main areas: (1) the structure and function of biological membranes, (2) complex biochemical systems and processes, including photosynthesis, oxidative phosphorylation, vision, neurotransmission, hormonal regulation, muscle contraction and microtubules, and (3) molecular biology, including DNA metabolism, protein synthesis, regulation of gene expression and recombinant DNA methodology.

CHEM 5430: Nanoscale Imaging of Complex Systems in Chemistry and Biology (3 credits)

Topics include principles of image formation; methods for sample preparation and chemical labeling; photophysics of fluorescent proteins and organic dyes; and computational image analysis and data processing. (3 credits)

CHEM 5540: Selected Topics in Biological Chemistry (Drug Discovery) (3 credits)

Selected topics in advanced biological chemistry developed to the depth required for modern research.

CHEM 5710: Advanced Analytical Chemistry (3 credits)

Advanced level survey of instrumental methods of analysis, theory and application of spectrochemical, electrochemical techniques; separations, surfaces, special topics, and recent developments from the literature.

CHEM 5720: Methods in Bioanalytical Chemistry (3 credits)

An introduction to classic & modern approaches of chemical analysis of biological systems. Detection of analytes ranging from small molecules & proteins, to cells, to structured materials. Focus on immunoassays: ELISA, bead-based assays, & surface plasmon resonance for analytes in solution; ELISpot for cell secretions; flow cytometry for cells and beads; & immunostaining for biomaterials and tissue samples.

CHEM 5740: Analytical Chemistry: Separations (3 credits)

Theory and practice of separation science are introduced. Topics include theoretical aspects of separations, including equilibrium theory, flow, diffusion, and solution theory. Major analytical separation techniques covered include liquid chromatography, gas chromatography, and capillary electrophoresis.

CHEM 5750: Analytical Chemistry Spectroscopy (3 credits)

Theory and practice of separation science are introduced. Topics include theoretical aspects of separations, including equilibrium theory, flow, diffusion, and solution theory. Major analytical separation techniques covered include liquid chromatography, gas chromatography, and capillary electrophoresis.  

CHEM 5760: Bioanaltyical Microsystems (3 credits)

Presents the analytical and physical science opportunities from the study of biosystems in engineered microsystems

Chemistry Professional Development Courses

CHEM 7010: Introduction to Research (3 credits)

This course is taken in the first semester of the graduate program and begins professional development for graduate students learning about the theory and practice of scientific research. The course functions primarily to familiarize students with the faculty research and tools for research at Virginia.

CHEM 7011: Teaching Science in Higher Education (1 credit)

This course is designed to help graduate teaching assistants integrate learning theory and effective practices into their teaching with the goal of improving student learning by enhancing student engagement.

CHEM 7020: Research, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Ethics (3 credits)

Offered in the spring semester of the first year, after students have joined a research laboratory to pursue their Ph.D., this course continues scientific professional development. Issues of safety in the laboratory, literature searching, ethical conduct in research, intellectual property, entrepreneurship, federal funding agencies, job opportunities in academe, industry, and national laboratories, curriculum vitae/resume writing, web-site creation, and effective written and oral communication skills are discussed. The class is designed to quickly focus students on their career path and to provide them with early opportunities to hone their skills in communicating their research plans and results.

CHEM 7021: Communicating Research to Diverse Audiences (1 credit)

This course is designed to help graduate students learn to communicate their research to non-technical audiences such as the public, the media, and policymakers.

CHEM 7030: Preparation for Ph.D. Candidacy Exam (3 credits)

The focus of this course is to prepare students for their Chemistry Ph.D. candidacy exam, an exam taken in the spring semester of their second year, by developing appropriate written and oral communication skills. In the fall semester before the exam, students in this course practice presenting their research and a critique of a journal article in the format of the exam.

CHEM 7031: The Art of Scientific Writing (1 credit)

This course aims to develop skill in scientific writing which is as essential for scientists as is learning the experimental techniques and analysis methods of their field.


The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at