University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

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Where there's a question, there's an answer or at least a link to a helpful website. Information is grouped under four categories; the department, the Twin Cities campus, housing, and Minnesota. If you don't find answers to your questions please contact us at chmapply.

The Department

Some important people you will want to know...

Phil Buhlmann , Director of Graduate Studies,
Nancy Thao, Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies,

Who do I ask - Where do I go...

Chemistry Website with phone numbers, offices, etc:
Registration/Graduate School forms questions: Nancy Thao 115 Smith Hall
RA Appointments: Student's research advisor or the current Director of Graduate Studies.
TA Appointments: Nancy Thao, 115 Smith Hall, 624-0313,
Keys, desks and mailboxes: Main Administrative Office, 139 Smith Hall, 624-6000
Payroll (TA or RA): Chemistry Accounting 141 Smith Hall, 624-3500
Reimbursements: Chemistry Accounting 141 Smith Hall, 626-1794
Computers and Electronics: Electronics Shop, 136 Smith Hall, 624-7007
Web Site: Eric Schulz, 136 Smith Hall, 624-7007

Important Places in the Department...

NMR Lab - S168 Kolthoff (Dr. Steve Philson and Dr. Letitia Yao)
X-Ray Lab - S146 Kolthoff (Dr. Victor Young)
Mass Spec Lab - S145 Kolthoff (Joseph Dalluge)
Glass Shop - 49 Smith (Tom Stefanek)
Machine Shop - 49 Smith (Joel Fischer)
Computer and Electronics Shop - 136 Smith (Bruce Moe)
Research Stockroom (S13-S17 Smith) Supplies and chemicals can be purchased here using a university budget number. For chemicals, make sure you bring a container of some type to completely hold the chemical in the event of a spill or you will not be allowed to take your purchase with you. MSDS forms are also available here.


The department’s safety officer is Dawn Errede (4-1603). You will be required to take a short safety training course at some point. Chuck Tomlinson in the front office (4-6000) will give you information concerning safety training at the same time he discusses your insurance benefits.

Spill carts are available in the basement of Smith and the 4th floor of Kolthoff. Both are located near the elevators. Accessible by any departmental key.

Repairs to building systems in either labs or offices should be reported to the front office (4-6000).

Library Resources

Walter Library is the science and engineering library. The last ten years of selected chemistry and general science journals are located in the Walter Library Reading Room (2nd floor). The rest are in the stacks (chemistry journals are on stack level 10; general science journals are on stack 11). You will need your Ucard to access the stacks.
Biological/biochemical journals can be found in the Biomedical Library (Diehl Hall) and the St. Paul Campus Library (McGrath).
Check the website for journal locations: For electronic journals,
Library Copying In Walter library, you can buy copy cards for $10 or $40 to use the self-service copy machines. With a budget number, you can have the people at Photoduplication services do it for you.


All new students are expected to complete a two week orientation program before the start of the new semester. The orientation, which begins in mid-August, includes getting to know the people that you need to know in the department, proficiency exams, meeting with a Three Member Advising Committee to help you design a course of study that suits you and teacher training, etc. It is capped off with a party to which the entire department is invited to welcome you to our department! Feel free to look at the schedule from the new graduate student orientation to get a better idea of what is involved.

International Student English Course: A two week course in speaking and teaching skills is required for all non-domestic students. This program begins in early August, prior to our departmental orientation.


Newly Admitted Students: You will register for courses after your meeting with your Three-Member Advising Committee (TMC) during orientation. Before your TMC meeting, you should look at the Chemistry courses at: to determine which courses you think you would like to take.

Current Students: All graduate students and fellows must register as graduate students during each semester of the regular academic year until they graduate. No registration is required during the summer.

Teaching and Research Appointments:

Teaching Assistants (TAs) in Chemistry primarily are positions for graduate students to teach. Expectations of what is required of TAs depend upon the class involved. According to University guidelines, TAs work no more than 20 hours per week: this includes both classroom and preparation time. First year graduate students are typically Teaching Assistants, and virtually all first year Chemistry graduate students teach in the general or organic chemistry program.
During Chemistry Orientation, you will be involved in an extensive TA Training Program that will properly prepare you for teaching your classes, followed by weekly meetings with class coordinators to help you keep up.

Research Assistants (RAs) work with their professor primarily with lab research. Their pay may be less than that of TAs. For a standard 50% Chemistry RA, full tuition, health insurance and the University Fee are provided in addition to salary. There are other fees, which are the responsibility of the student. RAs are usually funded by outside grants in specific, topic-related research they themselves may be pursuing with their advisor.

Pay Schedules:

How much and when will I get paid? For 2014-2015 academic year (Fall and Spring), full TA’s in the Department of Chemistry earn $19,687. Research RAs normally receive a departmental average of $18,600 for the academic year; however this can vary by research group. Always read your award letters carefully. Summer earnings can vary from $3,976 to $7,437 depending on the mix of RA and TA positions. All figures are gross earnings. Pay periods are two weeks and paychecks are available every other Wednesday. Paychecks come 10 days after the end of a pay period. Pay date information can be found at Direct deposit can be requested online at Direct deposit pay stubs can be viewed and printed out at this same address.

There are no breaks in pay between Fall and Spring semesters. Depending on your summer appointment, however, you may have a break between the end of Spring semester and beginning of summer, as well as between the end of summer and beginning of Fall. You will receive the full amount of your offer letter by the end of your summer term.

Foreign Nationals: After visiting the chemistry accounting office, you will need to take your visa and passport to the central payroll office. From there, you will be sent to the Social Security Administration to apply for the social security card. After you apply for the card, you will be given a receipt. This receipt must be faxed to central payroll, or you may bring it to the chemistry accounting office.


If you are a full-time student with a 50%-time TA/RA or Fellowship appointment you will receive a full tuition scholarship and health insurance. Those students on a 25% appointment will receive a 50% tuition scholarship.

Fees & Textbooks:

Students are responsible for paying student service fees, computer fees, a university infrastructure fee and sometime a course will require a special fee. The fees for 2015-2016 are not finalized yet, but should be approximately $675.00-$850.00 per semester. You will also be responsible for buying your own textbooks. You do not need to register for any courses or credits during summer terms. You will not need to pay for any tuition or fees during the summer term.

Fee Statements:

Tuition Bills will be sent to you via your University email account only. This is the only way that you will be contacted regarding your fee statement.

International Students without Social Security Numbers:

See the Accounting Office (141 Smith Hall) for instructions on obtaining a Social Security Number. You must have a Social Security Number in order to be paid.

Health Insurance:

Please contact the Graduate Assistants Insurance Office (GAIO) if you any questions regarding your health coverage. There is 5% (~$100) fee per semester for health insurnce coverage. The Health Insurance Office is located in N-323 Boynton, 612-624-0627,


If you rent and your income is less than $35K/yr., you can obtain a form (either in the MN State tax booklet, or from the post office) to file for a property tax refund. Your landlord must give you a Certificate of Rent Paid by Jan. 31 in order for you to file, and refunds will come around August 15. You are also eligible if you are a homeowner with an annual income of less than $60K.
MN state sales tax is 6.5%. There is no sales tax on clothing, food, prescription drugs, and textbooks.

The Volunteer Tax Assistance Program prepares tax returns free of charge for students. International students may find additional resources on preparing taxes here


You will be issued keys for the buildings and your research/teaching labs. These keys will be provided to you during orientation. You will need to pay a $2.00 deposit for each key issued; this fee is refunded when they are returned.


You have been assigned a mailbox next to 139 Smith Hall, where you can receive regular mail, departmental announcements, etc. Please note that you will most likely be sharing this mailbox with one or two people; whenever there are announcements without specific names on them, please take one. Please do not include your mailbox number on your return address until your second year in residence when you will be assigned a permanent mailbox.

Email Account Information:

You are automatically given a central U of MN address (ends with ""). You are responsible for the contents of all messages sent to your UMN account. Instructions to activate your account are at:


University of MN Campus:

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus is actually two campuses, one in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul. There are campus buses that will take you from one campus to another (see below under Transportation/Buses). The Minneapolis campus is further divided into an East Bank and a West Bank by the Mississippi River. Cross between banks on the upper level (the walking bridge) of Washington Ave or again, take the campus connector bus.

The Chemistry Department is located in both Smith and Kolthoff Halls on the East Bank. These buildings are connected via skyways and tunnels on all but the first level. Also, much of the building is underground: in Smith, you have the basement (B) and the sub-basement (SB) levels; in Kolthoff, there are the plaza (P), street (S), and basement levels.


University info: 612-625-5000 from off-campus; "0" from any campus phone. University extensions are accessible by the last 5 numbers. Dial 8 to get an outside line. Long-distance calls require a UPAC number. Minneapolis and the U (both campuses) have a 612 area code; St. Paul is 651. You must dial all 10 digits to call between area codes. Do not dial a "one."

U Cards:

G22 Coffman Memorial Union, 612-626-9900,
A photo ID must be presented. Digital photos are taken as part of the card issuance process. Replacement cards (lost, stolen or damaged) cost $25.

Getting around Campus:

Campus maps
Campus shuttle system
Biking at the U
Parking at the U
Campus tunnel "Gopher Way" system
Campus escort and security services

Places to go/things to do:

Gopher sports
U museums and galleries
Campus events
Virtual tour of campus
University Rec Sports and facilities

Student Union:

Coffman Memorial Union: 624-9941,

CMU Postal Station 624-8602
Computer Lab 625-7850
Info Desk,/BusPasses/USave 624-INFO or 624-4636
Security Monitors 624-WALK
Goldy's Gameroom 624-8722
TCF Bank 626-2785

Useful Web Links:

Chemistry Women In Science Team (WISE):

Class Schedules, Grades and Course Information:

U Cards: G22 Coffman Memorial Union, 626-9900,

UMN Bookstore: G55 Coffman Memorial Union, 625-6000,

Student Accounts Receivable/Billing:
20 Frasier Hall, 624-1111,

E-mail in a question:
One Stop Counselors will be responding to these e-mails.

Financial Aid: 333 Science Teaching and Student Services Building, 624-1111,

Education Tax Benefits:
This page is a resource for UMN students who may be eligible for education related tax benefits.
The University of Minnesota does not provide personal tax advice. To determine your eligibility for a higher education tax credit, a student loan interest deduction or a deduction for qualified education expenses, please contact a personal tax advisor or the IRS.

Graduate Assistant Employment Office: 70 Donhowe Building, 624-7070,

International Student Scholar Services and Visas: International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), 190 Hubert Humphrey Center, 626-7100,

Health Insurance: Graduate Assistants Insurance Office (GAIO), N-323 Boynton,

Health Service: Boynton Health Service, 410 Church St. S.E., 625-8400,



Minnesota International Student Association:

Parking Transportation Services:

Department of Recreational Sports:

Graduate School:

Council of Graduate Students:
Useful COGS publications:

Disability Services:

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action:

Office of Graduate School Outreach:

Gay Lesbian, Bisexual Transgender Programs Office:

Multicultural Support Services and the Office of Multicultural Affairs:

Program Against Sexual Violence (Aurora Center): Crisis Line: 626-9111; Business Line: 626-2929

Student Dispute Resolution Center: 107 Eddy Hall, 625-5900,

Student Legal Services:

University Counseling and Consulting Services:


How to find a new place to live:

The University Housing Office in Comstock Hall (next to Coffman Union, to the West, 4-4476) ( offers information on a variety of on-campus housing options, as well as resources for finding off-campus housing. Both daily newspapers [Star Tribune ( and Pioneer Press (] have good housing search options on their web sites. Places with off-street parking are important during snow emergencies. There are Tenants Unions in Mpls and St. Paul to help resolve disputes with landlords.

Neighborhoods that are close to the campus:

Dinkytown: Dinkytown is a retail district next to the U of M Minneapolis in Southeast Minneapolis. It is just across University Avenue from the east bank campus. It's been around 80 years or more, as the campus is well over 100 years old. It's part of the University community, with coffee shops, a bookstore, a travel agency, a bank, and a dozen various restaurants and bars. Fraternities, student housing, a residential neighborhood, and University facilities like the Bierman field and the University parking lots surround it.
Stadium Village: Stadium Village is a similar, slightly smaller district to the east, on the other side of the east bank campus.
Seven Corners: Located on the west bank of campus across the street from the law school, 1/2 block from the Humphrey Institute, and a block away from the Carlson School of Management. There is a variety of apartments, restaurant and retail locations.
Prospect Park: Prospect Park is a residential area wedged between the Mississippi river, two freeways, and University Avenue in Southeast Minneapolis. It is an old neighborhood with winding streets.
Uptown: Further away from campus is Uptown - a commercial district centered on the intersection of Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue in south Minneapolis.
St. Paul: A little further away, St. Paul offers many varied communities. Como and St. Anthony are St. Paul neighborhoods closest to campus.

Como Student Community Cooperative:

Student families, with or without children, or single parents who have 50 percent or greater legal custody of minor children are eligible to live in the University of Minnesota Student Family Housing.

Temporary Housing for International Students:

Temporary student housing is available for newly admitted international students.


We are known by our license plates as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," but Minnesota actually has 12,000 lakes. Since 1997, Minnesota has been ranked the “Most Livable State” in the country by Morgan Quitno Press, an independent private research publishing company. Rankings are based on high home ownership rates, job growth, strong education, and low crime rates, among other indicators.

Explore Minnesota
Minnesota Public Radio
The Faces of Minnesota

How does the Twin Cities compare?

Annual unemployment rates for Minneapolis-Saint Paul
Minnesota salary tool
Cost of living calculator
City Comparison

What about the weather?

Worried about the cold and snow? Winter offers great recreational opportunities. St. Paul and Minneapolis downtowns both have skyway systems and U has a tunnel and skyway system to keep you out of the elements. Our first freeze of autumn comes around October 5 and April 28 is the average date for our last frost in spring. Typically, the first measurable snow falls around November 6, with the first inch around November 16. The first 1-inch snow cover is around November 22.

Seasonal weather averages
The Weather Channel - Minneapolis

Our cities

The University of Minnesota campus spans both of the Twin Cities—Minneapolis and St. Paul.
These cities offer something for everyone—a nationally recognized arts and theater community, a thriving entertainment industry, a host of Fortune 500 companies, four glorious seasons of outdoor recreation, exciting professional sports, shopping, and restaurants for every taste—all located close to campus.
The Twin Cities art scene includes the First Avenue and 7th St. Entry Nightclub, Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis Children's Theatre, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Ordway Music Theatre, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, and the Walker Art Center.
The Twin Cities is home to a number of professional sports teams, including the Twins (baseball), Vikings (football), Timberwolves (men’s basketball), Lynx (women’s basketball) and the Minnesota Wild (hockey). There are also minor league teams, in baseball (St. Paul Saints), hockey, soccer, and other sports.
There are several shopping malls in the area. The Mall of America is known as the largest enclosed shopping mall in the United States (4.2 million square feet) and is visited by people from all over the world.

Drivers License

Need to get your Minnesota drivers license? Check the online information for locations and procedures.

Employment for Spouses

There are numerous employment opportunities on campus as well as within the surrounding metropolitan area. Persons interested in on-campus positions, including Civil Service jobs, should contact:

The University of Minnesota Job Center
170 Donhowe Building
319 15th Av. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Telephone: (612) 625-2000
Job Center's Webpages

There are a number of employment agencies operating within the Twin Cities. Also, various state employment offices keep on file a number of job openings and provide counseling services for job hunters. One such office is:

The Minnesota Department of Employment Services
309 Second Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Telephone: (612) 333-0912