Fire safety training

Orientation dates

August 19 to August 29, 2019

  • Schedule
  • Orientation schedule for all incoming students in fall semester.
  • You will be expected to attend all events.
  • Meals will be provided where indicated.
  • All exams and meetings will be conducted in 331 Smith Hall, unless otherwise indicated.
  • Three-Member Advising committee meeting times and rooms will be given to you.

Proficiency exams

  • You are required to take four out of five proficiency exams during the first week of orientation.
  • Five examinations are offered—analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry.
  • You request which four exams you will be taking on the interest form sent via email.
  • You must pass all four examinations some time during the first year of study.
  • Prepare for these exams now.
  • The exams cover what the American Chemical Society defines as basic undergraduate chemistry.
  • Use your undergraduate texts to review.
  • With serious review of your past coursework, you should not have difficulty passing these proficiency exams.
  • We require you to take these exams even if you took them as an undergraduate student.

Lab training

  • meet other teaching assistants teaching your course
  • receive an overview of what kinds of experiments you will be instructing in the labs
  • go through check-in, safety, pre-lab talks, teaching assistnat meetings
  • receive your teaching assistant assignments and schedules

Three-member advising committee (TMC) meeting

  • First meeting with your three-member advising committee (TMC) to determine the courses you will be registering for and other plans for completing your first-year requirements.
  • After you meet with your TMC and determine the courses you will be taking, it is critical that you submit your schedule to the Head TA as soon as possible.

International students

Payroll Information Meeting

  • You must bring two forms of identification with you at this meeting.
  • Forms of identification that may be used include your state identification card, drivers license, social security card, VISA, green card, and birth certificate.
  • All payroll forms must be turned in to 141 Smith Hall no later than the 1st week of orientation, or you may not be paid. 
  • Foreign National Students: Please bring ALL documentation with you, including EAD cards, letter of acceptance to the department, and any paperwork given to you during your ISSS (International Student and Scholar Services) orientation.
  • Please visit for more information about the university payroll system.


  • General email

    Nancy Thao
    Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies
    115 Smith Hall
    (612) 624-0313

    • Director of Graduate Studies in Chemistry
    • Professor Philippe Buhlmann
    • Director of Graduate Studies In Chemical Physics
    • Professor Aaron Massari