Analytical Chemistry

Analytical chemistry is concerned with providing qualitative and quantitative information about the chemical and structural composition of a sample of matter. A huge variety of samples, from high concentrations of elements in alloy steels to part-per-billion levels of drugs in biological tissue, are handled by the analyst. The field is founded on the conversion of a measured physical property of the species being examined to a usable signal. It is generally divided into two categories, classical and instrumental, on the basis of its historical development. The overall strategy is to prepare a sample correctly, choose a particular method of analysis, and report the results in a meaningful format, which may include a statistical evaluation.

Analytical Chemistry is a vibrant and growing sub-discipline in the Department averaging about 15 to 20 graduate students per year. We have four full-time faculty (R. Jockusch, U. Krull, M. Thompson, and A. Wheeler) who are formally appointed as professors of Analytical Chemistry and there are also several other faculty members who specialize in analytical instrumentation and techniques who are available to supervise students in Analytical Chemistry. The list of possible areas of research is very broad and includes areas of spectroscopy, electrochemistry, and atomic-level imaging, with applications to cutting edge problems, including genomics, proteomics, and biosensing. Incoming graduate students interview a number of faculty members who offer research that the student finds of interest, and then provide a ranked list of their preferences to the Graduate Chair. Appointment to a research group is made as quickly as possible, based on the preferences of the student and the availability of positions.

At the M.Sc. level, a student of Analytical Chemistry will complete 2 graduate-level half courses selected from the core programme and/or area specifically related to research interests. Students are expected to participate in the Analytical Seminar Series and present their research work to the Department. The final requirement of the M.Sc. programme is submission of a research thesis which is evaluated by the research supervisor, another faculty member, and the Departmental Chairperson. There is no oral defense of the M.Sc. thesis.

At the Ph.D. level, a student of Analytical Chemistry will complete a minimum of 4 half-courses. A core programme requirement exists to provide background in the 3 main subject areas of the sub-discipline before the student is tested at the Departmental oral examination. One half-course is taken from each of the 3 areas, which include spectroscopy, separations/electrochemistry, and instrumentation/data analysis. Credit for previous studies of these topics at the fourth-year or graduate level may be granted to satisfy the core programme requirements, but the equivalent of 4 half-courses are still required for the Ph.D. degree. Shortly after completion of the last course, a student will participate in the Departmental oral examination. This usually involves the research supervisor and 3 other faculty members, who examine the student on general knowledge of Analytical Chemistry and its application to the student's research problem. Other requirements of the Ph.D. programme include successful completion of 7 cumulative examinations, and participation in the Analytical Seminar Series, including presentation of research work to the Department. A written thesis is defended in another oral examination at the end of the Ph.D. programme. A small committee comprised of the research supervisor and two other staff members is assigned to each student as an advisory committee, and will meet with the student once a year to offer guidance in research and background studies.

We offer competitive stipends as well as top-up awards for NSERC recipients. Students in the Analytical Chemistry programme are excited about their research and highly motivated in their studies. We offer an excellent programme as a result of the combined efforts of faculty and students. A list of recent Analytical Chemistry graduates follows. We hope that you will join us.

Recent Graduates (M.Sc. and Ph.D.)

  • L. Henke, Group Leader, Product Quality Assurance, Abbott GmbH, Germany
  • Emma-Louise Moore, Senior Analytical Scientist, Alphora Research Inc., Mississauga, Ontario
  • Rozalia Nisman, Project Scientist, Sanofi-Pasteur, Toronto, Ontario
  • Paul Li, Professor of Analytical Chemistry, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC
  • D. Bagby, Forensic Scientist, Chemistry Section, Center of Forensic Sciences, Toronto, Ontario
  • J.D. Brennan: Associate Professor of Chemistry and Canada Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry (Tier II), Hamilton, Ontario
  • R.S. Brown, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
  • Reno DeBono, Director of Product Applications, Research and Development Group, Smiths Detection, Warren, NJ, USA
  • P.A. E. Piunno, Research Program Manager, Ontario Genomics Institute, Toronto, Ontario
  • E. Vandenberg, Director, Quality, GlaxoSmithKline Canada
  • J.H. Watterson: Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Science, Laurentian University


Research Faculty