Graduate Program in Chemistry: Chemical Education

Department and Program

Chemistry How to apply

The Chemical Education program at Purdue University is comprised of faculty and student groups studying factors affecting how students learn chemistry and improved methods for teaching chemistry.  Transforming research findings into practices that impact educational environments connects the division's fundamental research to teaching methodologies.

Current faculty members in the division include Professors:

  • Trevor Anderson
  • George Bodner
  • Marcy Towns
  • Minjung Ryu
  • Roy Tasker

These faculty and their graduate students conduct research on various topics, including:

  • Problem solving
  • Instructional technologies
  • Alternative modes of instruction
  • Science Inquiry
  • Visual literacy
  • Classroom discourse analysis
  • Laboratory learning
  • Mathematics in physical chemistry
  • Climate literacy
  • Development of identities in science (incl. for speakers of other languages)

How to demonstrate discipline-specific competence?

Students are given a maximum of 2-years to pass a total of 5 cumulative exams from either one of the five disciplines of chemistry (biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry & physical chemistry).

How to demonstrate independent research competence?

In their fifth semester, students ought to write and present an original proposal. The topic for the proposal can be from either one of the five disciplines of chemistry.

Suggested Course Work 

All students in the Ph. D program and the M. S. program in the Department of Chemistry take a minimum of 18 credit hours of course work: 9 hours in an area of concentration and 9 hours in two supporting areas. As their area of concentration, students in chemical education usually take a 9 hour block in one of the traditional areas of chemistry:

  • analytical chemistry
  • biochemistry
  • inorganic chemistry
  • organic chemistry
  • physical chemistry

Or in one of the specialty areas, for example:

  • physical-organic chemistry
  • atmospheric chemistry
  • materials chemistry
  • environmental chemistry
  • nuclear chemistry
  • radiochemistry
  • physical biochemistry
  • chemical physics

For additional information about the Graduate Program in the Department of Chemistry, please visit the Department of Chemistry - Graduate Chemistry web site.

Students in chemical education also take courses in education as their supporting areas, but most students need more that 9 hours.  A Ph. D. students need enough background to write and defend a proposal for original research in chemical education and a separate dissertation proposal that describes the research intended for the Ph. D. dissertation. Both Ph. D. and M. S. students need enough background to carry out the research they wish to do for their thesis. In most cases this requires about 5 or 6 courses (15-18 hours) selected from the following areas

  • selected readings in chemical education
  • educational psychology
  • survey of science education
  • measurement and evaluation
  • multi-cultural education
  • educational technology
  • qualitative research
  • methods of teaching chemistry
  • courses from other departments

Students in chemical education commonly select from the following courses from the School of Education to build their supporting areas:

  • EDCI 517 Survey Of Science Education
  • EDCI 518 The Nature Of Science In Science Teaching
  • EDPS 530 Advanced Educational Psychology
  • EDCI 585 Multicultural Education
  • EDCI 615/616 Qualitative Research Methods In Education/Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
  • EDCI 622 A special topics course in science education
  • EDPS 633 A special topics course in advanced educational psychology

For more information about graduate courses in Education, please visit the College of Education - Science Education web site.

Research Advisor (for VIBE)

Prof. Trevor Anderson

Graduate funding opportunities

There are a couple of scholarships that a student can apply for. However, if one doesn’t get a scholarship, the chemistry department offers a guaranteed five year teaching assistant (TA) funding