Fire safety training

Orientation dates

August 21 to August 31, 2017

  • Orientation schedule for all incoming students in fall 2017.
  • 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.
    • The absolute deadline is 4 p.m. Monday, August 28.
    • You should turn the forms electronically or into the Head TA office.

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 4 p.m. Tuesday, August 22, or you will 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