Concordia University

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Chemistry

Doctor of/Doctorate in Philosophy (Chemistry)

Admission Requirements. The normal requirement for admission is a Master of Science degree in Chemistry with high standing from a recognized university. Comparable qualifications in biology or biochemistry are also acceptable for applicants wishing to do graduate studies in biochemistry. Upon recommendation by full-time members of the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, students enrolled in the Master of Science (Chemistry) program at Concordia University who have completed a minimum of 6 credits of graduate level course work and who have shown themselves to be outstanding through performance in research may apply for permission to proceed directly to doctoral studies without submitting a master’s thesis (fast-tracking). Outstanding students who have maintained a grade point average of greater than 3.50 in their last two years of study and those with external scholarships (NSERC, CIHR, FQRNT) may also apply to the PhD program directly (fast-tracking) from their BSc program.

It is also possible to carry out PhD studies on a CO-OP basis with the collaboration of an employer. A CO-OP graduate student conducts research of interest to the employer, normally in the employer’s laboratory, but directs the project toward a thesis topic acceptable to the department at Concordia and under the guidance of an academic supervisor in the department. The student will spend one term, normally with the support of an employer, gaining experience teaching in undergraduate laboratories and participating actively in the departmental seminars. This program will be available in areas of chemistry and biochemistry where the Department has the resources to provide a suitable academic co-supervisor. It is a condition of the program that the employers agree to the publication of thesis results. Prospective applicants should contact the Department for further details.

Requirements for the Degree

  1. Credits. A candidate entering the doctoral program with a master’s degree is required to complete a minimum of 90 credits. A candidate entering the doctoral program under accelerated admission (fast-tracking) from the BSc program is required to complete a minimum of 9 credits from graduate courses listed under Topics in addition to the regular 90 credits; a candidate entering the doctoral program under accelerated admission (fast-tracking) from the MSc program is required to complete a minimum of 3 credits listed under Topics in addition to the regular 90 credits.

  2. Residence. The minimum period of residence is two years (6 terms) of full-time graduate study beyond the master’s degree or three years (9 terms) of full-time graduate study (or the equivalent in part-time study) beyond the bachelor’s degree for those students who are permitted to enrol for doctoral studies without completing a master’s degree. It should be understood that this is a minimum requirement, and that a longer period may be necessary in order to complete all of the work that is required for the degree.

  3. Courses. The following are required of fully-qualified students:
    1. 6 credits from courses listed under Topics, in the general field of the student’s research project.
    2. CHEM 896: Research Proposal and Comprehensive Examination (9 credits).
      A student in the doctoral program is required to present a progress report on his/her research and on future research plans. The presentation should reflect the student’s awareness of current research in his/her field and demonstrate an ability to carry out a significant research problem and provide a rational approach to its solution. The student’s knowledge and understanding of fundamental chemical and biochemical principles will also be examined.
      The student is expected to complete CHEM 896 within 18 months of admission directly into the PhD program, or within 28 months of admission via the MSc stream. In exceptional circumstances the department may permit an extension of time for completion of this course. The CHEM 896 Examining Committee assigns one of the following two grades: (a) PASS - the student is admitted to candidacy for a PhD degree in Chemistry; (b) FAIL - the student must withdraw from the program.
    3. CHEM 856: Doctoral Research and Thesis (72 credits).
    4. CHEM 668: Seminar (3 credits).
      The course is designed to give students practice at communicating and defending their thesis research topic in a professional forum, and should successfully inform an audience of chemists and biochemists.
    5. With permission from their supervisory committee students are allowed to substitute graduate level courses from other departments relevant to their research problems, or professional development (e.g., selected MBA courses) as partial fulfillment towards their degree requirements.
       
  4. Thesis. Students will work on a research topic under the direction of a faculty member and present an acceptable thesis at the conclusion (CHEM 856: Doctoral Research and Thesis). Students may submit a manuscript-based thesis following the guidelines outlined in the section on Thesis Regulations in this calendar. In addition, a public oral examination will be conducted to test the student’s ability to defend the thesis.

  5. Seminars. Each student is required to attend and participate in departmental seminars.

  6. Cross-Registration. Students may, with the permission of their supervisory committee, cross-register for courses falling in the Topics categories in other Quebec institutions.

Academic Regulations

  1. GPA Requirement. The academic progress of students is monitored annually. To be permitted to continue in the program, students must obtain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 based on a minimum of 6 credits. Students whose GPA falls below 3.00 are considered to be on academic probation during the following review period. Students whose GPA falls below 3.00 for two consecutive review periods are withdrawn from the program.

  2. C Rule. Students who obtain a C grade in a course are required to repeat the course or take another course. Students who receive more than one C grade during the course of their PhD studies will be required to withdraw from the program. Students may apply for re-admission. Students who receive another C after re-admission will be required to withdraw from the program and will not be considered for re-admission.

  3. F Rule. Students who receive a failing grade in the course of their PhD studies will be withdrawn from the program. Students may apply for re-admission. Students who receive another failing grade after re-admission will be withdrawn from the program and will not be considered for re-admission.

  4. Time Limit. All work for a doctoral degree must be completed before or during the calendar year, six years (18 terms) of full-time study from the time of original registration in the program.

  5. Graduation Requirement. In order to graduate, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.

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Master of/Magisteriate in Science (Chemistry)

Admission Requirements. The admission requirement is an honours or specialization degree in chemistry or biochemistry or its equivalent. Comparable qualifications in related areas such as biology or physics may also be acceptable. Qualified applicants requiring prerequisite courses may be required to take up to two such courses in addition to their regular graduate program. Applicants with deficiencies in their undergraduate preparation may be required to take a qualifying program. This does not apply to International Students.

Candidates for the master’s degree may register on either a full-time or a part-time basis. It is also possible to carry out MSc studies on a CO-OP basis with the collaboration of an employer. CO-OP MSc graduate studies are arranged as a form of a full-time or part-time program where the student conducts research of interest to the employer, normally in the employer’s laboratory, but directs the project toward a thesis topic acceptable to the department at Concordia and under the guidance of an academic supervisor in the department. The student will spend one term, normally with the support of an employer, gaining experience teaching in undergraduate laboratories and participating actively in the departmental seminars. This program will be available in areas of chemistry and biochemistry where the department has the resources to provide a suitable academic co-supervisor. It is a condition of the program that the employers agree to the publication of thesis results. Prospective applicants should contact the Department for further details.

Requirements for the Degree

  1. Credits. A fully-qualified candidate is required to complete a minimum of 45 credits.

  2. Residence. The minimum residence requirement is one year (3 terms) of full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study. The degree can normally be completed in two years (6 terms) of full-time study.

  3. Courses. The following are required:
    1. 6 credits from courses listed under Topics, in the general field of the student’s research project;
    2. Another 3 credits from courses listed under Topics, outside the student’s research project, acceptable to the supervisory committee;
    3. CHEM 655: Master’s Research and Thesis (33 credits);
    4. CHEM 666: Seminar (3 credits).
      This course provides an opportunity for the student to prepare and present materials concerning their current research problem in an area of chemistry or biochemistry to a critical audience. It is designed to give students practice at communicating and defending their ideas on a research topic in a professional forum, and should successfully inform a broad audience of chemists and biochemists.
    5. With permission from their supervisory committee, students are allowed to take graduate level courses from other departments relevant to their research problems, as partial fulfillment towards their degree requirements.
       
  4. Thesis. Students will work on a research topic under the direction of a faculty member and present an acceptable thesis at the conclusion. CHEM 655 Master’s Research and Thesis will be examined by the student’s supervisory committee before being accepted by the department. Students may submit a manuscript-based thesis following the guidelines outlined in the section on Thesis Regulations in this calendar. In addition, an oral examination will be conducted before a committee of the department to test the student’s ability to defend the thesis.

  5. Seminars. Each student is required to attend and participate in departmental seminars.

  6. Research Areas. Areas for possible research are listed before the Doctor of/Doctorate in Philosophy section.

  7. Cross-Registration. Students may, with the permission of their supervisory committee, cross-register for courses falling in the Topics categories in other Quebec institutions.

Academic Regulations

  1. GPA Requirement. The academic progress of students is monitored annually. To be permitted to continue in the program, students must obtain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 based on a minimum of 6 credits. Students whose GPA falls below 3.00 are considered to be on academic probation during the following review period. Students whose GPA falls below 3.00 for two consecutive review periods are withdrawn from the program.

  2. C Rule. Students who obtain less than a grade of B- in a course are required to repeat the course or take another course. Students receiving more than one C grade will be withdrawn from the program.

  3. F Rule. Students who receive a failing grade in the course of their MSc studies will be withdrawn from the program. Students may apply for re-admission. Students who receive another failing grade after re-admission will be withdrawn from the program and will not be considered for re-admission.

  4. Time Limit. All work for a master’s/magisteriate degree for full-time students must be completed within 4 years (12 terms) from the time of initial registration in the program at Concordia University; for part-time students the time limit is 5 years (15 terms).

  5. Graduation Requirement. In order to graduate, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.

Courses

Specific course offerings in subject areas listed under Topics will generally vary from year to year, depending on the availability of faculty and the requirements of graduate students in the program. In the MSc program, every student must complete CHEM 666 (Seminar); in the PhD program CHEM 668 (Seminar) and CHEM 896 (Research Proposal and Comprehensive Examination) must be completed by every student.

Courses are worth 3 credits unless otherwise indicated. Over the next few years the department will offer a selection of courses from those listed below. Additional Selected Topics courses may be offered in a given year, and these will be identified by different subtitles. Further information on Selected Topics courses will be available from the department at the beginning of each academic year.

Topics in Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry

CHEM 610 Selected Topics in Analytical Chemistry
This course explores themes within the area of Analytical Chemistry.
Note: The content will vary from term to term and from year to year. Students may re-register for this course, provided the course content has changed. Changes in content will be indicated by a letter following the course number, e.g. CHEM 610A, CHEM 610B, etc.

CHEM 612 Analytical Separations
Prerequisite: CHEM 218, 312, or equivalent.
High performance liquid separations on an analytical (non-preparative) scale are surveyed. Fundamental separation mechanisms and application of the techniques are discussed. Emphasis is placed on separations of biologically relevant analytes which include peptides, proteins and nucleic acids. Lectures only.

CHEM 614 Modern Aspects of PracticalMass Spectrometry
Prerequisite: CHEM 494 or equivalent, previously or concurrently.
Theoretical and operational aspects of modern mass spectrometry are discussed in a number of formal lectures and training sessions. All students must carry out an independent mass spectrometry project on their molecules of choice. Projects can be selected from all areas of chemistry, biochemistry or biology including the “omics” sciences (e.g., proteomics, metabolomics).
Note: Students who have received credit for this topic under a CHEM 630 number may not take this course for credit.

Topics in Bioorganic & Organic Chemistry

CHEM 620 Selected Topics in Organic Chemistry
This course explores themes within the area of Organic Chemistry.
Note: The content will vary from term to term and from year to year. Students may re-register for this course, provided the course content has changed. Changes in content will be indicated by a letter following the course number, e.g. CHEM 620A, CHEM 620B, etc.

CHEM 621 Physical Organic Chemistry
Prerequisite: CHEM 222, 235; CHEM 324 or 325; or equivalent.
Determination of organic reaction mechanisms using kinetics, activation parameters, acid-base catalysis, Bronsted catalysis law, solvent effects, medium effects, isotope effects, substitutent effects, and linear free energy relationships. Lectures only.

CHEM 623 Organic Synthesis
Prerequisite: CHEM 222, 235, 324, or equivalent.
This course is concerned with synthetic strategy and design. It provides an introduction to advanced synthetic methods and reagents, involving heteroatoms such as sulphur, phosphorus, tin and selenium, as well as an overview of the uses of protecting groups in organic chemistry. The concept of retrosynthesis and a few asymmetric reactions are discussed using syntheses of natural products from the literature as examples. Lectures only.

CHEM 625 Nucleic Acid Chemistry
Prerequisite: CHEM 221, 222, 271, or equivalent.
This course introduces students to various topics in nucleic acid chemistry. The topics include nomenclature, structure and function of RNA and DNA; techniques and methods to investigate nucleic acid structure; DNA damage and repair; interaction of small molecules and proteins with nucleic acid; oligonucleotide-based therapeutics (antisense, antigene, RNAi); synthesis of purines, pyrimidines and nucleosides; and solid-phase oligonucleotide synthesis. Lectures only.
Note: Students who have received credit for this topic under a CHEM 620 number may not take this course for credit.

CHEM 626 Reactive Intermediates
Prerequisite: CHEM 324, 325, or equivalent.
This course offers an introduction to reactive intermediates with an emphasis on structure and stability as found in modern (physical) organic chemistry. While the focus is on radicals and carbenes, carbocations are discussed near the end of the term. The material covered is relevant to chemistry and biochemistry. Lectures only.
Note: Students who have received credit for this topic under a CHEM 621 number may not take this course for credit.

CHEM 627 Supramolecular Chemistry
Prerequisite: CHEM 324 or 325; CHEM 335; or equivalent; or permission of the Department.
This course reviews some fundamental aspects of synthetic and biological supramolecular chemistry and nanotechnology. Topics covered may include supramolecular forces, ion binding and ion channels, molecular recognition, self-assembly (meso-scale and molecular-scale), organometallic supramolecular chemistry, dynamic combinatorial chemistry (DCC), and foldamers. Lectures only.
Note: Students who have received credit for this topic under a CHEM 620 number may not take this course for credit.

Topics in Physical Chemistry

CHEM 630 Selected Topics in Physical Chemistry
This course explores themes within the area of Physical Chemistry.
Note: The content will vary from term to term and from year to year. Students may re-register for this course, provided the course content has changed. Changes in content will be indicated by a letter following the course number, e.g. CHEM 630A, CHEM 630B, etc.

CHEM 631 Computational Chemistry
Prerequisite: CHEM 234, 241, 333, or equivalent; or permission of the Department.
This course presents the concepts, tools, and techniques of modern computational chemistry, and provides a very broad overview of the various fields of application across chemistry and biochemistry. The course is divided into two parts: 1) Molecular structure, which covers molecular mechanics and elementary electronic structure theory of atoms and molecules; and 2) Chemical reactivity, which covers applications of quantum chemistry and molecular dynamics techniques to studies of chemical reactions. The applications discussed include organic molecules and their reactions, peptides and proteins, drug design, DNA, polymers, inorganics, and materials. The course includes a practical component where students acquire hands-on experience with commonly used computational chemistry computer software. Lectures and laboratory.

CHEM 632 Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics
Prerequisite: CHEM 234 or equivalent.
In this course, the basic concepts of classical (equilibrium) thermodynamics are first reviewed, followed by an introduction to statistical thermodynamics which gives a unified method of treating transport processes. At this point, the Boltzmann distribution function is derived, which leads to the statistical interpretation of entropy. Other important thermodynamic functions such as the partition function, the partition function for large ensembles and the Sackur-Tetrode equation are examined. The course also addresses non-equilibrium thermodynamics in the linear domain. The relations describing the production of entropy in irreversible processes due to heat transfer, charge transfer, change of volume, and chemical reactions are examined. The establishment of flux equations and the use of the Onsager reciprocal relations are then applied to the description of a variety of open systems. Lectures only.

CHEM 633 Quantum Mechanics in Chemistry
Prerequisite: CHEM 333, 431/631, or equivalent.
This course includes a thorough review of basic quantum mechanics in both the Schroedinger and Heisenberg representations, electronic structure theory, symmetry and group theory, interaction of matter with light, quantum scattering, the path integral formalism, quantum theories of chemical reaction rates, time-dependent approaches to spectroscopy, wave packet propagation, correlation functions and dynamics processes, and density matrices. Lectures only.

CHEM 635 Interfacial Phenomena
Prerequisite: CHEM 234, 235, or equivalent.
This course examines the physical chemistry of interfaces including surface and interfacial tensions, the absorption of surface active substances/surface excess properties, and surfactant self-assembly. Topics covered may include Gibbs and Langmuir monolayers, micelle formation, emulsions, foams, surfactant liquid crystals, layer-by-layer polymer self-assembly, and biological membranes. Techniques for characterization and applications (biological and industrial) of these systems are addressed. Lectures only.
Note: Students who have received credit for this topic under a CHEM 630 number may not take this course for credit.

CHEM 638 Physics and Chemistry of Solid State Electronic Materials
Prerequisite: CHEM 234, 333, or equivalent.
This course essentially explores how electrical conductivity is influenced by the nature of the chemical bonding in these solid-state materials. The course provides an introduction to solid-state structures and then goes on to explore band theory, the central model used to describe electrical conductivity in the following three categories of electronic materials: conductors, semiconductors, and insulators. Finally the course explores the extension of the band model to interpret electrical conductivity in molecular semiconductors and charge-transfer complexes. Lectures only.

Topics in Bioinorganic & Inorganic Chemistry

CHEM 640 Selected Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
This course explores themes within the area of Inorganic Chemistry.
Note: The content will vary from term to term and from year to year. Students may re-register for this course, provided the course content has changed. Changes in content will be indicated by a letter following the course number, e.g. CHEM 640A, CHEM 640B, etc.

CHEM 643 Organometallic Chemistry
Prerequisite: CHEM 324, 341, or equivalent.
This course covers the structure and properties of organometallic compounds, their main reactions and their application in catalysis and organic chemistry. Lectures only.

CHEM 644 Physical Methods in Chemistry
This course provides an in-depth evaluation of the different methods used in modern physical chemistry such as laser, microwave, FT-IR, electron spin resonance, nuclear magnetic resonance, x-ray photoelectron, x-ray diffraction and fluorescence, Auger eletron, Mössbauer, and gamma-ray spectroscopic analysis, as well as scanning probe microscopy and mass spectrometry. Lectures only.

CHEM 645 Bioinorganic Chemistry
Prerequisite: CHEM 241, 271, or equivalent.
Role of metals in biochemical systems. Essential trace elements, zinc enzymes, oxygen transport and storage, metalloproteins and biological electron transfer, structure-function relationships in heme enzymes, nitrogen fixation; model compounds for metalloproteins and metalloenzymes. Lectures only.

CHEM 646 Industrial Catalysis
Prerequisite: CHEM 234, 235, or equivalent.
Basic and recent concepts in catalysis are described with particular emphasis on heterogenous catalysis. The technical, economic and environmental aspects of industrial catalysis are covered. The processes to be studied are chosen from the petroleum industry, the natural gas and coal processing industry, and the production of thermoplastics and synthetic fibres. The course ends with a rapid survey of problems associated with the treatment of industrial pollutants and with catalytic converters. Lectures only.

Topics in Multidisciplinary Chemistry

CHEM 650 Selected Topics in Multidisciplinary Chemistry
This course explores themes within the area of Multidisciplinary Chemistry.
Note: The content will vary from term to term and from year to year. Students may re-register for this course, provided the course content has changed. Changes in content will be indicated by a letter following the course number, e.g. CHEM 650A, CHEM 650B, etc.

CHEM 651 Nanochemistry
Prerequisites: CHEM 217, 218, 221, 222, 234, 235, 241, or equivalent.
This modular course covers the areas of production, characterization and applications of nanoscale structures and materials. Each module is taught by a different professor as well as guest lecturers. Topics may include (but are not limited to): size dependent properties, synthesis of organic and inorganic nanostructures, self-assembled structures, chemical patterning and functional nanopatterns, biomaterials. Nanometer scale fabrication techniques such as lithographic methods, nano-stamping and patterned self-assembly are discussed. Modern analysis techniques such as atomic force microscopy and electron microscopy, which are used to map and measure at the single molecule level are introduced. Applications such as photonics, optical properties, biodetection and biosensors, micro- and nano-fluidics, nanoelectronics and nanomachines are presented. The course includes a term project carried out using the nanoscience facilities held in the department research labs.

CHEM 658 Aquatic Biogeochemistry
Prerequisite: CHEM 217, 218, 312, or equivalent.
The major aim of this course is to present a quantitative treatment of the variables that determine the composition of natural waters. Chemical equilibrium is the central theme of the course, but consideration is also given to kinetics, steady-state and dynamic models. Related themes include global chemical cycles, air and water pollution, as well as current research topics in water chemistry and chemical oceanography. Lectures only.
Note: Students who have received credit for CHEM 618 or for this topic under a CHEM 610 number may not take this course for credit.

Topics in Biochemistry

CHEM 670 Selected Topics in Biochemistry and Biophysics
This course explores themes within the area of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
Note: The content will vary from term to term and from year to year. Students may re-register for this course, provided the course content has changed. Changes in content will be indicated by a letter following the course number, e.g. CHEM 670A, CHEM 670B, etc.

CHEM 676 Structure and Function of Biomembranes
Prerequisite: BIOL 266, CHEM 375, or equivalent.
Examples from the current literature are used to discuss what is known about how the membranes of biological organisms are assembled and the roles that these membranes play in a number of important processes. Emphasis is placed on the transport of proteins to and through biomembranes and the roles that membranes play in metabolite and ion transport. Where applicable, the significance of these processes is illustrated by examining the roles of membranes in health and disease. Lectures only.
Note: Students who have received credit for CHEM 671 may not take this course for credit.

CHEM 677 Enzyme Kinetics and Mechanism
Prerequisite: CHEM 271, 375, or equivalent.
This course explores steady-state kinetics, including such topics as the use of initial velocity studies and product inhibition to establish a kinetic mechanism; nonsteady-state kinetics, isotope effects, energy of activation, and the detailed mechanisms of selected enzymes. Lectures only.

CHEM 678 Protein Engineering and Design
Prerequisite: CHEM 271, 375, or equivalent.
This course examines the principles behind protein design, how techniques of protein engineering are used, and the methods used to assess protein properties. Examples include studies of protein stability, structure-function relationships, and applications to drug design. Lectures only.

Topics in Instrumentation

CHEM 690 Selected Topics in Instrumentation
This course explores themes within the area of Instrumentation.
Note: The content will vary from term to term and from year to year. Students may re-register for this course, provided the course content has changed. Changes in content will be indicated by a letter following the course number, e.g. CHEM 690A, CHEM 690B, etc.

CHEM 691 Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Prerequisite: CHEM 222, 393, or equivalent.
This course is designed to provide the background in magnetic resonance theory necessary to understand modern high-resolution NMR experiments and instrumentation. The basic theory in the introductory section also applies to electron spin resonance (ESR). Relaxation and through-bond and through-space interactions, and experiments to investigate them are considered. Spin manipulations and behaviour in multiple-pulse, Fourier transform NMR techniques used for common spectral editing and two-dimensional experiments are discussed. Lectures only.

CHEM 692 Experimental Protein Chemistry
Prerequisite: CHEM 477 or equivalent or permission of the Department.
This “hands on” course introduces students to the common techniques used to study the structure and function of proteins and other macromolecules. Techniques covered include circular dichroism spectroscopy, fluorescence, UV/Vis spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, isothermal titration microcalorimetry, analytical ultracentrifugation, and protein crystallization/X-ray crystallography. The course includes theory, applications of the technique to the study of protein structure and function, and basic practice experiments to become familiar with the instrument and data analysis. For some of the techniques covered hands-on use will be limited. Each student is required to carry out a project on his/her own protein of interest. Each participant asks a specific question about a protein and then uses the techniques covered in the course to address the question. Lectures and laboratory.
Note: Students who have received credit for this topic under a CHEM 690 number may not take this course for credit.

Theses, Seminars, Comprehensive Exam and Special Courses

CHEM 655 Master’s Research and Thesis (33 credits)
CHEM 666 MSc Seminar (3 credits)
CHEM 667 PhD Literature/Topic Seminar (3 credits)
CHEM 668 PhD Research Seminar (3 credits)
CHEM 856 Doctoral Research and Thesis (72 credits)
CHEM 896 Research Proposal and Comprehensive Examination (9 credits)

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