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Graduate School



Department Chair

Dr. Greg Cook

Department Location

Ladd Hall

E-mail Address  

Telephone Number

(701) 231-8694

Degrees Offered

Ph.D., M.S.

Application Deadline

March 1 for fall, September 1 for spring

Test Requirements

GRE (general required; subject recommended)

English Proficiency Requirements

TOEFL ibT 81 (23 speak; 21 write) –TA; 71 – RA
IELTS 6.5 – TA; 6 – RA

Program Description

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers graduate study leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. The department also participates in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Cellular and Molecular Biology.

At the start of the first year of study, entering graduate students take entrance examinations in chemistry and biochemistry, as well as analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. The graduate student progress committee uses these exams for advisory purposes in recommending course work during the first year. As a consequence, programs are individually tailored to the needs of each student.

The chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology of plant, animal, insect, and microbial systems are studied through advanced course work and research. Selection of the area of emphasis depends on the interests of the student. Typically, coursework is completed in one to one-and-a-half years for M.S. candidates, and two years for Ph.D. candidates, leaving later years for full-time thesis research. The typical time to complete a graduate degree averages three years for the M.S. degree and approximately five years for the Ph.D. 

Admission Requirements

The graduate programs in biochemistry are open to all qualified graduates of universities and colleges of recognized standing. To be admitted with full standing to the program, the applicant must meet the Graduate School's admission requirements and have adequate preparation for the study of chemistry and biochemistry at the graduate level, and show potential to undertake advanced study and research as evidenced by academic performance and experience. 

Applications will be considered at any time. Application materials should be submitted directly to the Graduate School and need to be received before May 1 to be considered for the upcoming academic year. 

Financial Assistance

The student must first apply to the Graduate School and be accepted in full or conditional status before he/she is eligible for an assistantship in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are supported during both the academic year and during summer months by either teaching assistantships (TA) or research assistantships (RA).). As of the 2009-2010 academic year, the standard monthly stipend is $1,683 per month for RAs and $1,750 per month for TAs.  University tuition (except for an student activity fee) is waived for all TAs and RAs in good academic standing. 

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science program requires the completion of a total of 30 graduate semester credits with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better. This total is comprised of both class work and research credit, but must consist of at least 16 semester credits from letter-graded course work. The Ph.D. program requires the completion of a total of 90 graduate semester credits with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better. This total is comprised of both class work and research credit, but must consist of at least 27 semester credits from letter-graded course work. 

Each student chooses a thesis adviser within six months of beginning graduate school. As this is one of the most important decisions made in graduate school, students are strongly urged to visit multiple faculty members to discuss research opportunities. In addition, faculty seminars during the fall semester are designed to acquaint new students with the available research programs.

By the end of the first academic year, each student selects an advisory and examination committee, which consists of the thesis adviser, two other faculty members in the chemistry department, and one faculty member from a department outside the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. 

Admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree is accomplished by satisfying three requirements: 1) satisfactory performance in course work with a minimum 3.0 grade-point average, 2) satisfactory performance on a written comprehensive examination, taken by the end of the 4th semester, and 3) satisfactory defense of an original research proposal on a topic approved by the student's advisory committee. The defense of this proposal must occur at least eight months prior to the final oral examination. Following completion of dissertation research, the candidate must complete a written dissertation and an oral presentation to the department and advisory committee. 

Research Opportunities and Infrastructure

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has more than 10 externally funded faculty research programs. Research expenditures have averaged $1.8 million over the last 10 years, with more than $2.2 million in the last 2 years.

All research and most teaching activities within the department occur within three centrally-located buildings, including two connected facilities, Ladd Hall and Dunbar Laboratory, as well as the Industrial and Agricultural Communications Center (IACC) located across the street. Most departmental offices, classrooms and teaching labs as well as some research labs are located in Ladd Hall, while Dunbar and the third floor of the IACC primarily consists of research laboratories. Ladd Hall also houses departmental glass, machine, and electronics shops. 

Modern instrumentation is vital to research in the chemical sciences. The quality and quantity of instrumentation within the department has been greatly enhanced in the last few years through aggressive fund-raising efforts and university matching support. 

The department has recently upgraded its mass spectrometry capabilities to include a Bio-TOF III with accurate mass analysis, ESI and CI ionization; as well as an Esquire 3000 Plus - an Ion trap instrument with MS-MS and proteomics capabilities. A dedicated LC can be integrated with the both the instruments. 

The Organic Spectroscopy Laboratory is primarily devoted to maintenance and operation of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometers. The recently upgraded facility includes three modern high-field instruments: Varian 500, 400, and 300 MHz spectrometers. All have multinuclear, 2-D, and variable temperature capabilities, and the 400 MHz instrument has been recently upgraded for solids capabilities. This center also includes the departmental FTIR. 

The Materials Characterization Laboratory houses the departmental crystallography faculties including a Bruker single crystal CCD X-ray diffractometer with low temperature capabilities, a Philips MPD (Multi-Purpose Diffractometer), two Philips X-ray powder diffractometers, and a Kevex X-ray fluorescence unit. CHN Elemental analysis, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and differential thermal analysis (DTA) are also available. 

The Center for Protease Research - Core Biology Facility is a new facility housing equipment and technical personnel for performing bioassay, cell and tissue culture, and molecular biology experiments. For bioassays, the facility has a fluorimeter capable of top or bottom reading and the capability to handle both 96- and 384-well plates. For sample preparation, researchers can utilize cell and tissue culture capabilities such as flow hoods and culture chambers. In addition, RT-PCR and FPLC protein purification technology is available.

The chemistry library, located in Ladd Hall, provides graduate students and faculty with convenient 24-hour access to more than 200 journals and approximately 10,000 volumes. Literature searching via SciFinder is supported.

Prospective students are encouraged to visit the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Web site ( for the latest descriptions of research programs and instrumentation.

Click here for course descriptions.



Christopher L. Colbert, Ph.D.
Purdue University, 2000
Postdoctoral, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2000-2004
Research Interests: Structure Biology

Glenn Dorsam, Ph.D.
Virginia Commonwealth University,1998
Postdoctoral, University of California, San Francisco, 1998-2002
Research Interests: Transcriptional Regulation 

Heldur Hakk, Ph.D. (adjunct)
North Dakota State University, 1997
Research Interests: Fate and Metabolism of Environmental Contaminants 

Stuart J. Haring, Ph.D.
University of Iowa, 2004
Postdoctoral, University of Iowa, 2004-2008
Research Interests: DNA Metabolism and Cell Cycle Regulation

S. Derek Killilea, Ph.D.
National University of Ireland, 1972
Research Interests: Metabolic Regulation via Protein Kinases and Phosphatases 

Erika Offerdahl, Ph.D.
University of Arizona, 2008
Research Interests: Chemistry/Biochemistry Education 

Sangita C. Sinha, Ph.D.
Purdue University, 2000
Postdoctoral, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2001-2005
Research Interests: Structure Biology 

D. K. Srivastava, Ph.D.
Banaras Hindu University, 1980
Research Interests: Mechanistic Enzymology

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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NDSU Graduate School
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7033
Campus address:  106 Putnam Hall
Physical/delivery address:  NDSU Graduate School/106 Putnam Hall/1349 12th Avenue Northwest/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  NDSU Dept. 2820/PO Box 6050/Fargo, ND 58108
Page manager: NDSU Graduate School

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 8:14:48 PM