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General Advising

When it comes time for registration, please make an appointment by leaving a voicemail at (330) 941-1553, or by emailing me at pnorris@ysu.edu. Links to the YSU registration webpage and Chemistry Department course description information are given below.

YSU registration information

YSU Chemistry Department information

YSU Chemistry MS program


Pre-Professional Advising

The YSU Chemistry Department has a designed pre-Pharmacy track, as well as a Chemistry tracks that fulfills the requirements for entry to Pharmacy, Medical, and Veterinary school:

YSU Chemistry pre-professional paths

Application Process: Plan to ask for letters of recommendation from faculty members who know you well at YSU. Please give them plenty of time to get these written and sent as we are very busy people. A file folder containing any required reference forms (check websites of the schools to which you are applying), addresses, and any deadlines (important) is the most organized way to get a faculty member on your side during this process. Most faculty will not write you a letter if they only know your face from class; you need to interact.


Graduate School Advising

Once you have decided that you want more training in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, or whatever area, you have to go about applying and securing a position. Preferably you want a decent school who will pay your tuition and give you a stipend, either as a Teaching Assistant or a Research Assistant. Be aware that you do not have to get an MS degree before you do a Ph.D., although a growing number of people are doing so because it makes them very competitive when they eventually move on to the Ph.D. The following is a rough guide on when to do what.

Summer/Fall of the year prior to beginning Graduate School: Decide where you would like to go and get relevant information on possible programs of interest. I advise my students to apply to a couple of departments where they have a high chance of acceptance, a couple of the higher-ranked places (maybe Big Ten type schools), and at least one premier program (Top Ten in your field of interest).

Fall of the year prior to beginning Graduate School:There are several components to the application process which have to be completed by certain dates to ensure a successful attempt at acceptance: Find out if the Graduate Record Exam is required (most schools want the General Test, the better places want the Subject Test as well). Find out where you can take the test (GRE Website) and schedule to take it before the end of December. The GRE folks will forward your scores to the schools that you indicate on the GRE forms.

Plan to ask for letters of recommendation from 3 faculty members who you have had contact with at YSU. Please give them plenty of time to get these written and sent, we are busy people. A file folder containing any required reference forms (check websites), addressed envelopes and deadlines (important) is the most organized way to get a faculty member on your side during this process.

Winter of the year you would like to begin Graduate School: Be completing application packages to ensure you meet deadlines. Most places will want application files to be complete by January 15th or February 15th. Make sure you know the dates for each program you are applying to. Graduate schools get so many applications that a late effort will probably be discarded without consideration. The deadlines are especially important when you are applying for assistantships (TA, RA, fellowships, etc.).

Spring of the year you would like to begin Graduate School: Most competitive departments will let you know about their decisions before April and will expect a firm acceptance from you by April 15th. This can be nerve-wracking but if you use the stategy above (applying to differently tiered departments), you should have an acceptance or two in hand while you are waiting to hear from the better departments. Many departments will pay to have you visit once you are accepted. This can be a real help in deciding between programs which, maybe on paper, are difficult to choose between. You can get a real feel for a place by spending a couple of days on a campus and in a department. At that point, they are selling their programs to you so it can be fun. We have seen that better departments may put marginal candidates on a waiting list while they are sending offers to their favoured candidates. This can be difficult when waiting however most places get the process sorted early and their graduate intake organized in the Spring.

Summer before you plan to start Graduate School: Some departments offer early start programs to give their better incoming students a chance to get into the research lab over the summer. You might want to discuss this with the people at your schools of interest when you visit. It might be worth a few thousand dollars and definitely gives you a leg up on other students.



Department of Chemistry, Youngstown State University, 1 University Plaza Youngstown, Ohio 44555; Contact: 330-941-1553; pnorris@ysu.edu