Communication Guidance

section I, article 4

Email Policy

Email is the primary medium for official communication between scholars, faculty, and staff in the Department of Chemistry at Emory University. Official Department of Chemistry communications will be sent to your address. Time sensitive communications will be sent to your email with the expectation that they will be reviewed within 24 hours or less.

Department Calendar

Events of interest in the department, including weekly seminars, are posted on the Trumba calendar that appears on the front page of Scholars are encouraged to subscribe to this calendar. Events are also posted throughout the department and announced via email. 

Scholars may submit events to the department calendar using this online form.

Communicating Public Events

For any event that is open to the public, it is the scholar’s responsibility to advertise the time and place of the event by submitting the event to the calendar via the form on the department website. Events must be advertised at least one week in advance. An unadvertised defense, report, or other event may be considered incomplete.

The following events are required to be “open door”:

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Next: Safety

Resource Guidance

Appendix A

Emory University offers a number of resources to scholars enrolled in academic programs. You are encouraged to familiarize yourself with these resources by reading your email, exploring university websites, visiting university offices in person, and beyond.

The following list should not be considered exhaustive. It is provided as a resource to help you begin the process of learning what resources the university has to offer.

Please review the department website at to ensure you are familiar with chemistry-specific resources. Each member of staff has a short description next to their name describing key responsibilities in the People directory. In addition, the faculty diversity and safety liaison and the directors of academic programming will be identified in the People directory.

Within the graduate program structure, you are encouraged to consider the DGS, Graduate Program Coordinator, and Communications and Outreach Manager as a resource team. Most academic process questions and signature requests will be addressed by the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Office of Equity and Inclusion

  • University Title IX
  • Discrimination and harassment management
  • Affirmative action plans and implementation
  • Educational programming
  • Best practices for searches and hires
  • Access and disability services

Office of Respect

  • Sexual violence awareness and prevention
  • Victim support (Note: Scholars who have been victimized are encouraged to contact the Office of Respect for victim advocate assistance prior to OEI if they can safely do so. If scholars are engaged in an active Title IX investigation, the Office of Respect can only play a limited role.)

University Ombuds Office

  • Problems, conflicts, or concerns from students affiliated with any academic division of Emory University. Problems, conflicts, and concerns can be academic or non-academic in nature.
  • Confidential discussion except where reporting is required by law, such as in cases of sexual assault of misconduct or when, in the judgement of the Ombudsperson, there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.

Environmental Health and Safety Office

  • Safety concerns, questions, and complaints
  • Anonymous reports: Emory Trust Line

Laney Graduate School (LGS)

  • Scholars may consult the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs or the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement for academic and non-academic concerns, and/or if it is not clear which resource would be appropriate.

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Section III, Article III

Laney Graduate School seeks to ensure that a scholar’s education includes thoughtful and thorough preparation in the art of teaching. All chemistry scholars will serve as Teaching Assistants as part of their education. Additional teaching opportunities are available on a competitive basis to those who are interested.

Teaching Requirements

  • All scholars will complete the Laney Graduate School TATTO (Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity) Program—including the two-day TATT 600 workshop and microteaching during graduate orientation.
  • All scholars will serve as a Teaching Assistant for two semesters—once in the Fall and once in the Spring of the first year.

First Year TA Assignments

  • TA assignments are made by the DGS in consultation with the Graduate Committee. Class size and type are the primary driver of TA assignments.
  • Faculty are allowed to request specific students and/or skill sets for their assigned TA(s) via the DGS. These requests are given priority over scholar requests but are not guaranteed.
  • First year scholars may make requests for specific TA placements to the DGS, but these selections are not guaranteed and, in many cases, cannot be honored. Most first year scholars will TA in laboratory courses.

TA Responsibilities

  • Provide classroom instruction as needed
  • Develop laboratory course materials as needed
  • Lead a lab section (if applicable)
  • Grade homework and quizzes
  • Proctor exams
  • Work closely with your faculty supervisor to ensure duties are completed to a high standard of excellence
  • Other duties supportive of University instruction as assigned

TA assignments are 10 hrs/week for a TA enrolled in TATT 605. Laboratory TAs may be required to occasionally work more than 10 hrs/week to assist with exam grading. The expectation is that lead instructors will balance this requirement with a lower work load in other weeks.

TA Probation Procedures

Graduate TA assignments are graded on an S/US basis. Scholars are expected to achieve an “S” grade. If a scholar receives—or is advised that they are on track to receive—a “U” grade, the following probationary procedure will be followed.

  1. Graduate scholar must re-take any failed assessments.
  2. Graduate scholar must arrange a meeting with their lab/course director, advisor, the DGS, and the Graduate Program Coordinator to collaboratively develop a plan to achieve an “S” grade either by improving performance in the current semester or via an additional TA assignment.

Teaching for Advanced Scholars

If a scholar wishes to change their TA commitment request, they must submit a new form by the last day of classes in the semester prior to the commitment you want to change. Changes requested after this date, either to reduce or add TA hours, may not be possible.

Additional Teaching Opportunities for Advanced Scholars

  • Dean’s Teaching Fellowship
  • Emory Advanced Graduate Teaching Fellowship (AGTF)
  • SIRE for Natural Sciences
  • Emory Pipeline
  • Instructor-of-Record for chemistry courses

For the most up-to-date opportunities, visit the Laney Graduate School Advanced Student Fellowships page. Also, keep an eye out for opportunities in your email inbox via the LGS and chemistry digests.

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section III, article 1

Coursework is an opportunity to delve deeper into the science of your chosen research area as well as the discipline of chemistry more broadly. Required skills-based coursework in proposal preparation, pedagogy, and ethics, among others, will help prepare you for your thesis work and for the job market.

Required Courses for All Scholars

In addition to the course requirements listed below, all scholars must enroll in research credit as defined in the Coursework Residency Requirement and Research Credit section below.

  • six chemistry graduate courses (or approved external courses)
  • TATT 600 + 605
  • JPE 600 + 605 + 610
  • CHEM 597: Proposal/Library Course

New Scholar Enrollment

Course Registration for Continuing Scholars

All scholars should meet with their advisor to decide on necessary coursework. Scholars must register themselves online via OPUS with assistance, as needed, from the Graduate Program Coordinator. Scholars are responsible for ensuring that they are enrolled prior to the enrollment deadline each semester. 

Registering for Non-Chemistry Courses


Courses are graded as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) or on a letter grade basis (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C, or F). Courses that offer a letter grade must be taken for a grade if they will be applied towards the requirements for candidacy.

Petitioning for Course Credit or a Course Waiver

Scholars may petition to receive course credit for graduate courses taken at another institution or a course waiver for a maximum of 9 credit hours. The scholar should submit the Petition for Course Credit and/or Waiver form to the Graduate Program Coordinator. Petitions will be forwarded to the Graduate Committee for review. Transfer credit requests must also be approved by the Laney Graduate School Dean (see Box 8.A).

Coursework petitions must be submitted by the end of the first semester of coursework and will be accepted as early as the first graduate committee meeting of the semester.​​​​​​​

What is the difference between transfer credit and a waiver?

Course credit may be given only for courses that were not used to satisfy the requirements of any previous degree. Transfer credit may also reduce the number of courses required at Emory by an equivalent amount—a waiver. A course waiver alone may be requested to reduce the usual six-credit course load required for candidacy but the courses themselves will not be reflected on the Emory transcript.

Scholars wishing to use non-chemistry coursework as part of a transfer or waiver request should include a rationale from their advisor indicating the relevance of the course to the chemistry degree. This should be signed by the advisor.

All requested waivers and petitions will be reviewed. However, scholars should be advised that in most cases, it benefits the scholar to take a full slate of courses at Emory.​​​​​​​

Coursework Residency Requirement and Research Credit

All scholars in the graduate program are required to maintain a full course load consisting of at least 9 units during the fall, spring and summer semesters. Scholars should carefully review the Research section of the handbook to understand how to pair required coursework with research credit to fulfill this minimum.

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Research Group Selection & Assignment

section II, article 3

Your research group will comprise a large part of your network at Emory. Other important professional relationships – whether with student organizations, rotation advisors, committee members, and beyond – will also have an impact. Thinking of the entire “network” you are seeking to build can help with your group decision.

Advising Before You Choose a Group

Prior to research advisor selection, scholars should consider the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Program Coordinator as primary contacts for questions and concerns, including about the rotation experience. 

Finalizing Group Selection

Scholars should indicate the group that they wish to join by emailing the Graduate Program Coordinator and copying the requested advisor no earlier than the first day of the discernment period and no later than noon on October 30.

The Director of Graduate Studies will finalize group assignments in consultation with faculty. The DGS will work with scholars who do not “match” to facilitate additional discussions with faculty so that the scholar may seek an alternate group placement or an additional rotation assignment.

Options for Scholars Who Do Not Match with a Group

Faculty may accept a scholar seeking a fourth rotation either as a rotator or as a lab member, even if the scholar has not yet rotated with their group. Scholars who do not secure an additional rotation or lab placement OR who are not offered a lab placement following the completion of an additional rotation will be asked to leave the program by the end of the Spring semester.  

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Next: Committee Selection

Research Rotation Program

Section II, Article 2

Rotations are short experiences in Emory research groups for the benefit of first year scholars. The rotation program is intended to acquaint scholars with the research and resources of the Department before they choose a research home for pursuing their PhD. All scholars are required to complete three rotations before joining a research group.

Rotation Structure

Group Exploration Period

August 25 – September 15

Submission of Rotation Preferences

September 15 at 5 pm

Scholars submit three unranked rotation choices to the Graduate Program Coordinator on the Group Exploration Period form. Faculty will have an opportunity to review the names of all scholars who have requested a rotation in their lab and indicate their response to the request to the Director of Graduate Studies.

Rotation Assignments and Notification

September 17

Scholars will be advised of the faculty response to rotation requests and receive a rotation schedule. Scholars who fall short of the required three rotations will be required to meet with the DGS to discuss their options and secure three rotation placements.


Rotation 1: September 20 – October 8
Rotation 2: October 11 – October 29
Rotation 3: November 1 – November 19

Faculty have considerable flexibility in assigning rotation activities. At a minimum, satisfactory completion of the rotation will require attendance at all group meetings, seminars, scholar seminars, and/or journal club activities scheduled during the rotation period. Faculty may set a minimum hour-per-week requirement for graduate scholar engagement.

During the time a scholar is engaged in a rotation, the scholar’s total research effort should be focused on that rotation. Faculty cannot require that scholars participate in research activities in a group outside their current rotation assignment. Scholars are expected to complete coursework and TA responsibilities during rotations and rotation requirements should account for these responsibilities. With these requirements in mind, scholars should feel free to participate broadly in the intellectual life of the department.

Discernment and Discussions

November 20-December 1

Scholars are encouraged to meet with their rotation advisors during this time with the goal of finalizing their group selection. Faculty and scholars are encouraged to be candid about their goals during this period. However, group assignment is only finalized by the DGS in consultation with the faculty after the scholar submits their selected group.

Rotation Etiquette 

Rotation and group selection is an opportunity to fully explore scientific opportunities at Emory and to join a group with confidence. However, the inherent uncertainty in this process can be stressful for scholars and faculty. Based on feedback from scholars, clear and consistent “rules of engagement” for both students and faculty help to ensure a positive rotation experience.

The following rules for rotation etiquette should guide faculty, current scholars, and rotating students:

  • Faculty are encouraged to provide clear feedback related to performance during the rotation but to remind rotators that group selections cannot be made until the rotation period has concluded. At the risk of being prescriptive, we suggest that the following language would be appropriate: “I would be happy to discuss group placement with you at the end of the full rotation period.” Rotators, in turn, should not press faculty for a commitment prior to the conclusion of the rotation experience.
  • Faculty are asked not to accept rotators that they are not willing to consider for placement in their group. Faculty have the option of advertising a cap on the number of rotation students and group members that they plan to accept during the Exploration Period.
  • Faculty and rotators are asked to confine their discussions of other groups to issues related to scientific work rather than group placement.
  • To accommodate the need for in-depth discussion about group placement, faculty should plan time to meet with rotators after rotations conclude and before the group selection deadline. Students should be proactive in scheduling these discussions.

Changes to Rotation Placements

A scholar may change their choice of the second and/or third rotation group during an earlier rotation. The scholar must submit a petition email to the DGS stating the reasons for the requested change. The DGS will discuss the petition with all faculty involved and advise the scholar of the outcome.

Summer Rotations

Summer rotation opportunities are handled by individual P.I.s. Scholars who are interested in summer rotations should reach out to P.I.s directly. An offer of a summer rotation can only be made to a student who has accepted an offer of admission. Once an offer is made, it is not finalized until the P.I. confirms a start date and funding details to the Graduate Program Coordinator. Once this happens, the Laney Graduate School will generate a new offer letter for the scholar that outlines the terms of summer support. Once this offer is accepted by the scholar, generally by reply email, the rotation is finalized.

Summer rotations can be an excellent opportunity to get started at Emory, but they are not required for students to have a successful Emroy experience. Scholars should keep in mind that there is no formal orientation for summer rotators. Additionally, there is no obligation on either side for a scholar to join a lab that offers them summer support.

In consultation with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), the Laney Graduate School has determined that summer rotations cannot be offered to international scholars unless they can obtain a visa and start work on the first day of the first summer term. This policy is in place to ensure that summer does not jeopardize the visa status of international scholars. In order to start on this date, scholars must have formally completed commencement at their previous institution.

Scholars who have completed a summer rotation have two options for the fall semester:

  1. Request to repeat a rotation in the same group pending available space;
  2. Select three new rotation advisors, completing a total of four rotations.

Scholars enrolled during summer may not skip a fall rotation.

For more information on summer rotations, admitted students should contact the communications and outreach manager.

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Next: Research Group Selection and Assignment


section II, article 1

Orientation activities always begin on the start date indicated in your Emory offer letter – this is quite a bit earlier than the first day of classes! In Fall 2021, orientation starts on August 13th.


Orientation Overview

New scholars are required to attend orientation for both the chemistry graduate program and the Laney Graduate School before the start of classes.

Advanced students may be required to attend orientation activities to complete program requirements that were missed or not offered during their own orientation.

​​​​​​​All orientation activities are mandatory. Scholars who do not participate may forfeit their August stipend payment and/or be excluded from rotation activities.

Orientation Content

Orientation will include the following:

  • program requirements, including rotations
  • mail and keys
  • Emory ID cards and building access
  • payroll and compensation
  • facilities and stockroom
  • safety training
  • TA training
  • course selection/academic advising with faculty
  • cohort team building
  • strategies for success in graduate school
  • peer mentoring and graduate organizations

Orientation Schedule

An orientation schedule will be provided to scholars by the graduate program coordinator prior to the start date in their Emory offer letter. In turn, scholars are asked to submit a photo and short bio to the graduate program coordinator before orientation begins.

For more information about the schedule for Laney Graduate School orientation activities, please visit their website.

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Goals for Graduates

section I, article 3

The James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies at Emory University is committed to education that provides scholars with deep and broad expertise in their chosen fields, creativity to cross disciplinary boundaries, courage to challenge convention, and confidence to ask unexpected questions and articulate bold new perspectives.

Graduates of the PhD program in chemistry should be able to:

  • Pose a research question and formulate an investigative approach using current research methods in chemistry.
  • Conduct and communicate independent, original research in chemistry.
  • Critically evaluate the research literature in chemistry.
  • Communicate concepts and procedures in chemistry effectively — to peers, scholars, the scientific community, the lay public, and granting agencies.
  • Apply their education to careers and, more broadly, to challenges and opportunities in the world around them.

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Next: Communication Guidance

Graduate Program Administration

section I, article 1

Core Administrators

Simon Blakey, Director of Graduate Studies| Atwood Hall 630

Kira Walsh, Outreach and Communications Manager  | Atwood Hall 380C

Laura Hilado, Graduate Program Coordinator   | Atwood Hall 380K

Information for additional Department of Chemistry staff and faculty can be viewed on the People page of our main website.

Working With the Graduate Admin Team

Your core graduate administrators work as a team. If you have a question or concern, you can reach out to any member of the admin team for support. Our team approach controls for different schedules and even different personalities as well as conflicts of interest. Any member of our team can assist you with:

  • advising questions and concerns, including student progress issues such as milestones, probation, and group changes
  • understanding graduate program policies and procedures
  • support for graduate student organizations/student life

Unless you ask for confidentiality, your graduate admin team may discuss issues shared with any one of us in our regular meetings. You may request anonymity from a member of the admin team for any issue. We are mandated reporters for Title IX concerns or in cases where we feel that a member of our community may be a danger to others. If you have a issue that you feel cannot be productively addressed within the graduate admin team, you are encouraged to contact other Emory administrators within or outside chemistry. See our Grievance Policy and Resource Guidance for more information.

While any member of our admin team can assist you, our expertise is generally as follows:

Director of Graduate Studies
  • Primary research advisor for first year scholars; advising support for advanced scholars
  • TA assignment and management of rotation/group selection
  • Signatory for graduate program on chemistry and LGS forms (submit forms to Graduate Program Coordinator)
  • Instructor of record for CHEM599R/CHEM799R
Graduate Program Coordinator
  • Point of contact for graduate program forms/signature requests
  • Graduate hiring, stipend changes, and paycheck questions
  • Graduate orientation and enrollment
  • Milestone and defense announcements
  • Program-level PDS support
Outreach and Communications Manager
  • Recruitment and retention programs
  • Special projects/outreach
  • Advising for program customization, including petitions, change of program, grievances

Core Chemistry Offices

Chemistry Main Office, Atwood Hall 380
Core Office Hours: 9:00am-4:00pm, Monday through Friday

Chemistry Stockroom, Atwood Hall 109
Core Hours: 7:00am-12:00pm

Core hours are subject to change. Changes will be advertised to the community via chemistry list servs.

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