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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to questions frequently asked by students interested in the doctoral program at Oregon. For further information regarding the Graduate Program in Chemistry at the University of Oregon, please contact the Chemistry Department by email:, Phone 1-800-782-4713 or Fax (541) 346-4643

How many people are in the UO Chemistry Dept.?
In Fall 2006, we have approximately 90 Ph.D. students. In addition, there are many undergraduates working in labs. We have 23 research-active faculty and five faculty instructors who teach undergraduate curriculum.

How long will it take to get a Ph. D. in Chemistry here?
Typically, it takes five years.

How much time is spent teaching?
Teaching for at least one year is required and usually done during the first year. The time actually spent – including all aspects of teaching such as preparation, class time, office hours and grading – is approximately 10 to 20 hours a week.

How do I choose a lab to work in?
Students rotate through three research labs during their first year. Rotations provide an opportunity to experience several different research groups before choosing the graduate advisor and lab you will stay with for the remainder of your graduate student career. Chemistry students may choose to rotate in labs outside the chemistry department, including biology and physics, and may even complete their theses in these labs.

What are the course work requirements?
Formal course work requirements consist of at least six graded graduate courses (four credits each) at the 500 OR 600 level. At least four of these course must be in chemistry; two may be in an obviously related field. An advising conmmittee will help you decide what courses to take. You will meet with faculty advisors during orientation before classes start fall term. For more detailed information on requirements, look at the degree requirements page.

How much time is spent in the lab?
During the first year, students must balance lab time with classes and teaching. After the first year, students spend the majority of their time in lab. How many hours you spend depends in part on the expectations of your advisor, but it also depends on the efficiency and productivity of the student. Research time should be considered at least a full-time job if you expect to complete your graduate work in a reasonable amount of time.

What if I don’t get along with my advisor?
Rotations help you get to know faculty before you make a decision about what lab to work in. While it gives you the time to experience the research in the lab, it also gives you a chance to see how you work with others in the lab, including the advisor.

How much is the stipend – and will it allow me to support myself during graduate school?
Based on information we’ve gathered from our undergraduates going on to graduate school elsewhere, our stipend level is right in the ballpark with what other schools are offering Ph.D. students. Current levels are more than adequate to support a student in graduate school. Read more about housing costs below. In addition to a stipend, Ph.D. students receive a tuition waiver and health insurance during the academic year. If you want more information about the specifics of what we offer, including the current stipend, please call our the graduate recruiting coordinator at 1-800-782-4713 or email her at She is happy to answer any questions you have about support.

Is it difficult to find affordable housing in Eugene?
While the standard of living in Eugene is probably typical of many college towns, we have had a huge increase in the number of rental properties in recent years. As a result, rental properties are relatively easy to find and the competition among rental property managers is great. The University also offers off-campus student housing, which graduate students are eligible for. You can go to the UO Housing website to learn more about these units and the cost: You might also check the department’s housing page for links to other resources for housing in Eugene. By perusing the links to the local classifieds, you can get a good idea of what is available for what price range. Contact us if you have questions ( Generally, it is easy to find affordable housing close to campus in the summer and early fall (before most students arrive for classes). After that, it is still easy to find affordable housing; it just might be farther out from campus. Keep in mind, however, that Eugene is a relatively small town. Two to three miles out is considered a good distance from campus, even though it’s still within walking or biking distance.

Is it easy to get around town without a car?
All UO students have access to the city-wide bus system free of charge. You just show your student ID when you board. Buses can drop you right on campus from all over town. Eugene is also one of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. There are bike paths all over town, many of which are seperate from automobile traffic. Many students do not own cars.

Are there opportunities available to work in the summer?
Doctoral students can begin working in a lab the summer before they begin classes. You can contact us if you’re interested in working with someone ( – 1-800-782-4713). For some students, this provides a way to get settled into graduate life before classes are added to the mix.

How is the weather in Eugene?
Summers in Eugene are worth waiting for. With temperatures in the 70s, 80s and 90s and very low humidity, the summers in Oregon are some of the most beautiful you will find anywhere in the world. Winters are mild and wet, with sunbreaks in between. Average winter temperatures are 53 degrees. Rain in the winter provides for the lush green of summer and a chance to get work done in the lab.