Jun 22, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Chemistry Department

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Department Chairperson: Andrew G. Sykes, Ph.D.
Graduate Program Director: Chaoyang Jiang, Ph.D.

Department of Chemistry
Churchill-Haines, Room 115
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069
Phone: 605-677-5487




James D. Hoefelmeyer, Ph.D., Texas A&M University. Specialization: Inorganic Chemistry, Frustrated Lewis Pairs, Nanomaterials.
Grigoriy A. Sereda, Ph.D., Moscow State University. Specialization: Organic Chemistry, Synthesis of Biomedically Relevant Compounds, Catalysis, Photocatalysis, Controlled Modification of Fluorescent Nanocrystals with Organic Functionalities.
Andrew G. Sykes, Ph.D., University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Specialization: Inorganic Chemistry, Luminescent Sensors, X-ray Crystallography.

Associate Professors:

David C. Hawkinson, Ph.D., Northern Illinois University. Specialization: Physical Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry.
Chaoyang Jiang, Ph.D., Nanjing University. Specialization: Analytical Chemistry and Materials Chemistry. Layer-by-Layer nanocomposite, Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering, Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy, Plasmonic Nanomaterials.
Haoran SunPh.D., Jilin University. Specialization: Organic Chemistry, Fluorinated materials for energy conversion and drug development.
Joseph E. Vitt, Ph.D., Iowa State University. Specialization: Analytical Chemistry, Electrochemistry, Chemical Education.
Z. Rick Wang, Ph. D., University of South Florida (Tampa). Specialization: Inorganic Chemistry, Supramolecular Chemistry.

Assistant Professors:

Pere Miro, Ph.D., Universitat Rovira i Virgili / Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia. Specialization: Computational and Physical Chemistry, Catalysis, Environmental Chemistry, Molecular Metal Oxides, Low Dimensionality Materials.
Bess Vlaisavljevich, Ph.D., University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Specialization: Computational and Physical Chemistry, Complex Electronic Structure, Heavy Element Chemistry, Nanoporous Materials.
Xu Steven Wu, Ph.D., University of North Dakota. Specialization: Fluorescent Nanomaterials, 2-D Nanomaterials, Bioanalysis, Fluorescence Bioimaging, Mass Cytometry, Photothermal and Photodynamic Therapy, Theranostics of Cancer.


Kadarkaraisamy Mariappan, Ph.D., Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Specialization: Inorganic Chemistry, Chalcogenide Chemistry, Luminescence Sensors, General Chemistry.

Emeritus Professors:

Mary T. Berry, Ph.D., University of Virginia. Specialization: Physical Chemistry, Lanthanide Spectroscopy, Photochemistry.
Miles D. Koppang, Ph.D., University of North Dakota. Specialization: Analytical Chemistry, Electrochemistry as Applied to Bioanalysis, Electron-Transfer Mechanism at Electrodes, and Chemical Education.
P. Stanley May, Ph.D., University of Virginia. Specialization: Physical Chemistry, Spectroscopy of Transition Metal and Lanthanide Ions in Solid State, Solid-State Energy Transfer Dynamics, and Multiple Photon Excitation.


Master of Science, Plan A only 
Accelerated Master of Science, Plan A only   
Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Chemistry  

Program Description

While the fourteen research faculty span the major sub-disciplines of chemistry (analytical, inorganic, organic and physical), their work is focused on: (1) nanomaterials for catalysis, energy storage, environmental remediation, luminescent up-conversion, plasmonics, sensors, and solar energy conversion, (2) metalorganic chemistry for luminescent sensors and catalysis, (3) organic synthesis for photovoltaic and drug delivery applications, and chemical reaction mechanisms, (4) computational chemistry and molecular spectroscopy, (5) electro and photoelectrochemistry, and (6) bio-polymers and bio-medical devices. The department offers a Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry as well as a Master of Science in Chemistry. Graduate students may begin their program at the start of either the fall or the spring semester. Completion of requirements for the M.S. degree in Chemistry generally takes two years for students who enter with the equivalent of an ACS approved B.S. in Chemistry. There is a substantial research component to the program culminating in oral defense of a thesis whose basis is an original contribution to the discipline. The Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry is designed to allow students to complete both master’s and doctoral requirements within five years.


  1. Completed Graduate Application form found at: https://www.usd.edu/graduate-school/apply-now and a non-refundable application fee of $35.
  2. Baccalaureate degree or an equivalent degree from an institution with full regional accreditation for that degree. Applicants must complete a baccalaureate degree in Chemistry or closely related field. Satisfaction of additional requirements may be stipulated to provide a course background equivalent to that of an American Chemical Society (ACS) approved major. Official transcript(s) verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree and previous graduate credit (with English translation) must accompany an application for all students. Official transcripts of all academic work at the undergraduate and graduate levels are required for all students. The USD Graduate School and/or academic units retain the right to require credential evaluations from organizations, such as Educational Credential Evaluators/World Education Services (ECE/WES), for a student if such an evaluation is deemed necessary.
  3. A minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.7 on conferred degree and/or graduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, based on a 4.0 scale, on all graduate coursework is required for full admission. Each graduate program may admit students on provisional status per university policy.
  4. Applicants with degrees from countries other than the United States who have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from a regionally accredited American college or university or from an accredited institution in the following English-speaking countries: United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Canada (Excluding Quebec), Australia, and New Zealand are not required to submit an approved English proficiency exam score. For all other applicants, a minimum score of 79 on the Internet-Based TOEFL (iBT) or 550 on the Paper-Based TOEFL (pBT), a minimum International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.0, or a minimum Pearson Test of English (PTE) score of 53 is required for graduate admission.
  5. Applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose or goal statement. Please indicate your research experience and 1-2 page statement of purpose.

Additional Program Admission Requirements:

  1. Applicants who do not have a degree from an American college or university must submit General GRE scores for admission to the program. There are no minimum scores for the GRE. The average scores of applicants who were admitted into the program in recent years are 145 in the verbal and 156 in the quantitative reasoning. The GRE scores are considered along with the other application materials. Applicants to the Accelerated B.S./M.S. program are not required to submit the General GRE scores. *GRE General Test at Home will be accepted for spring 2021 and fall 2021 applications.
  2. Three (3) professional letters of recommendation are required.

Subject to faculty approval, those who do not meet all of the criteria above may be admitted on a provisional basis if their academic records indicate their ability to complete the program successfully.

Application Deadline

  • Fall start
    • Priority Deadline: February 15
    • Final Deadline: Two weeks before the start of the semester
  • Spring start
    • Priority Deadline: October 15
    • Final Deadline: Two weeks before the start of the semester



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