Virginia Tech® home

Orientation Week

All incoming graduate students are required to attend Orientation the week before classes start in the fall.

Orientation includes

  • Introduction to department policies and procedures
  • Meeting with staff to arrange payroll, insurance, and other related matters.
  • Attending the GTA Workshop; this is required for teaching assistants
  • Taking the four (4) Proficiency Exams (ACS exams in instrumental analysis, organic, inorganic, and physical). Your scores on these exams will determine whether you need to take any additional courses.
  • Meeting individually with the Graduate Program Director to arrange your initial course schedule.
    The courses you will take are divided into four general categories
    • Foundation Courses: Performance on one or more Proficiency exams below the national 60th percentile requires additional course requirements to ensure that all of our students have a foundational knowledge in the four major areas of chemistry.
    • Core courses: Students choose four courses from an approved list. The Core can be amended after the first term in consultation with the Research Director.
    • Electives are chosen by students, in consultation with their Research Directors and Advisory Committees, to enhance knowledge needed for their individual research programs or for their future career development.
    • Programmatic courses are required of all doctoral students. These courses include CHEM 5004: Orientation to Graduate Research, CHEM 5914: Literature Review and Research Plan, CHEM 6904: Generating Research Ideas, CHEM 6914: Original Research Proposal, and CHEM 5944: Graduate Seminar.
  • Attend initial GTA Meeting with General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry lab instructors