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Programs of Study

The programs of study in chemistry at Columbia are aimed at training new generations of scientists who will take leadership positions in research and teaching.

The emphasis of our graduate program is on education tailored to the unique needs of each of our students. Our department ranks among the best in the world, yet it is among the smallest, and consequently, our graduate students receive an unusual amount of interaction with and guidance from the faculty.

Columbia's bright and enthusiastic undergraduates come from all over the world, providing our graduate students -- also an international group -- with a stimulating and rewarding teaching experience. Graduate students also interact closely with the faculty who teach the undergraduate courses, and they often develop long-lasting relationships as a consequence of such collaborations.

The department prizes excellence in teaching by both its faculty and graduate students. Graduate students who have excelled in teaching are honored at a yearly awards banquet.

Joint Programs with Other Departments

Since many of our graduates go into research related to bioorganic or medicinal chemistry, either in the pharmaceutical industry or in independent academic positions, the Chemistry Department, in conjunction with the Department of Biological Sciences and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, has training programs that provide graduate level courses and research in chemical approaches to contemporary problems in biology. Students take part in core courses that are taught jointly by both departments, laboratory rotations with Chemistry and Biology faculty, the Journal Club, and a mini-symposium.

The Departments of Chemistry and Physics jointly administer a Ph.D. program in Chemical Physics, for students whose interests lie in areas of research bordering both chemistry and physics.

Reseach Facilities

The Department maintains a wide array of sophisticated instrumentation necessary for modern chemical research. Among department instruments are ten NMR spectrometers, including 600-MHz, 500-MHz, 400-MHz, and two 300-MHz instruments, one with solid-state capability. Our mass-spectrometry facility has three MALDI-TOF systems, an ESI Q-TOF instrument, an APCI/ESI LC/MS, and a 4-sector tandem spectrometer. Other department instruments include a spectropolarimeter, an FDCD instrument, an X-ray diffractometer with CCD imaging camera, and state-of-the-art IR, UV, fluorescence, Raman, and ESR spectrometers. In addition, the department has access to the Protein Chemistry Core Facility at Columbia's Medical School, which provides protein sequencing, amino acid analysis, and peptide and DNA synthesis services.

The Chemical Dynamics and Spectroscopy Facility in the department provides a collection of lasers, optical diagnostic equipment, vacuum equipment, and electronics for research in physical chemistry. Additional facilities for research in microelectronics, photochemistry, and superfast dynamic processes are housed in the Columbia Microelectronic Sciences Laboratory (Columbia Radiation Laboratory). At nearby Brookhaven National Laboratory, the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) generates short-pulse optical radiation from 1 to 10,000 Angstroms for spectroscopy and photochemistry experiments. Work in nanoscience/nanotechnology is supported by several near-field optical microscopes, scanning tunneling microscopes, and atomic force microscopes.

Columbia's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center has a shared instrument facility equipped with a spectroscopic ellipsometer, an X-Ray diffractometer (for powder, small-angle and reflectivity measurements), an XPS/SIMS/ISS analysis system, and an atomic force microscope.

The department computing facility is a 100-MHz network of machines optimized for maximum computation capability and data throughput. Among these networked machines are 75 dual-processor Intel platforms, 9 Dell PowerEdge machines, and 10 SGI Origin 200 dual-processor systems. Our file server is a Sun SPARC Ultra 5 Model 333. It serves a 500-Gb RAID 5 storage array. There is also a 200-Gb RAID array available for processing large data sets. The department has 3 SGI Octane computers for viewing graphical output from molecular modeling programs such as Macromodel.. Other computational software available to researchers are MSI Insight II, Grasp, Jaguar, Titan, and Rasmol.