Graduate Studies in Radiochemistry at UNLV. W. Johnson1 and M. Rudin, 1University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89154-3037 (702) 895-4320

Over the past decade there has been an increasing demand throughout federal and state government organizations (especially the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Defense) and in the private sector for individuals educated and trained in radiochemistry. During the same time period, university programs that have have historically supported research and development activities in radiochemistry, have been in decline. The numbers of faculty and students involved in the study of radiochemistry have also shown significant decreases. This is due to a number of reasons, including the lack of a national program to fund radiochemistry education and the gradual retirement of radiochemistry faculty at universities. These trends parallel what is observed in the public and private sector workforces. Subsequently, there is a serious shortage of radiochemists who are available for employment. Existing laboratories find that they must spend valuable time and financial resources to cross-train employees who have expertise in a related area in the principles of radiochemistry.

The Departments of Health Physics and Chemistry propose to establish a Ph.D. in Radiochemistry Program. The Program will be administered out of the UNLV Graduate College and will be governed by a Director and an internal Program Committee comprised initially of representatives from participating departments. The proposed program will involve the participation of faculty from a number of colleges and academic/research units across the UNLV campus, as well as professional radiochemists from the public and private sectors. The curriculum was developed by Department of Health Physics and Department of Chemistry faculty, with help from representatives of academia and the radiochemistry community. It will require 60 credits of courses beyond the baccalaureate degree (B.S.), 42 credits beyond a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Chemistry, or 45 credits beyond a M.S. in Health Physics. The proposed curriculum provides a comprehensive and interdisciplinary examination of topics and experiences necessary to produce graduates who are ready to secure employment in the radiochemistry area. Initially, the Program will focus on radiochemistry applications in environmental, medical, and nuclear waste research areas.