The University of Rhode Island offers three graduate degrees in chemistry: Master of Science (thesis option), Master of Science (nonthesis option), and Doctor of Philosophy. Degree requirements include a balance between coursework and research. Most students take classes only during the first year in residence, depending upon their preparation upon entering graduate school and their specific needs for their research area. All students are required to pursue some research activity.
Coursework is offered to provide the student a firm understanding in the basics of the chemical sciences. Students are expected to be able to use this foundational material to build upon for their research area. The Department requires students to have sufficient breadth in coursework so that students can appreciate the latest discoveries in all of chemistry and, if desired, study multidisciplinary topics in depth.
The most important aspect of graduate education is research. Students pick their advisor by the end of their first year and concentrate on research for the remainder of their matriculation. URI offers coursework and research programs in the traditional areas of chemistry, including analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. Research areas are often interdisciplinary and there are ongoing projects in materials science, renewable energy, and forensics that students can choose as thesis or dissertation topics.