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All entering graduate students take a series of guidance examinations to determine whether the student has a command of the four major areas of chemistry – analytical, inorganic, organic and physical – at a level corresponding to the American Chemical Society Certified Degree of a bachelor of science in chemistry. Based on the results of the exams, the graduate advising committee will recommend a suitable course program for the first semester. 

After a student joins a faculty member's research group, the faculty advisor provides guidance on coursework. The coursework must also meet the approval of the graduate research committee (the faculty advisor plus other chemistry faculty who oversee the student’s degree program) and the graduate studies committee (faculty who oversee the entire graduate program).