I have a student who is a chemistry major interested in sustainability. Any advice on graduate programs that would be a good fit?
James G. Goll
I would suggest that, while there are some very good graduate programs concerning sustainability, there are so few chemistry programs that it will be difficult to find them. I would counsel the student to look at all aspects of a graduate program. And if they're interested in organic, find a program that's strong in organic; if analytical, find a program strong in analytical; etc. Then look at individual programs to see if there are a core of faculty (or just one or two) with sustainability interests. Many universities that have enough of a commitment to have more than one or two faculty working in sustainability will have some kind of institute or center within their department. That might also be a guideline.
Another way might be to look at the names of sustainability articles the student has read or you use in class, or the references in the books you use. Then do a google search on these names and follow up with these people.
South Dakota State University
Sustainability may be more likely to be found in engineering departments. The Environmental Science and Forestry campus (www.esf.edu) of the SUNY system, where I work, has made sustainability a major theme. Within cour Chemistry Department, there three faculty and a number of graduate students researching biomass for energy and for specialty chemicals and materials. Much of this work is done in conjunction with our engineers.
The ACS Directory of Graduate Research (http://dgr.rints.com/search_faculty.cfm) lists 13 faculty when searching under the keyword "sustainability" and 79 when using the keyword "green".
I would imagine that many engineering graduate programs focused on sustainability would welcome applicants with a chemistry background.
SUNY-Environmental Science and Forestry
I agree with the other replies about sustainability programs. If the student is interested in green chemistry, there are a growing number of Chemistry Departments (with more than one interested faculty) and Centers with green chemistry research. Some of the larger programs include UC Berkeley, Yale, UMass (Boston & Lowell), and Oregon, as well as some international schools. You can find a list here.
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