CEM 993: Advanced Topics in Quantum Chemistry (Spring 2017)





MWF 3:00 pm – 3:50 pm, Chemistry Bldg., Room 183, plus one extra hour per week after each Wednesday lecture (beginning with the January 11, 2017 class), also in Room 183.

Lectures begin on Monday, January 9, 2017, and end on Friday, April 28, 2017.



Professor Piotr Piecuch, Department of Chemistry, Michigan State University, Chemistry Bldg., Room 17 (enter through Room 19, Theory Suite), tel.: 517-353-1151, email: piecuch at chemistry.msu.edu, internet: www.chemistry.msu.edu/piecuch and www2.chemistry.msu.edu/faculty/piecuch/.


Course Website:

http://www2.chemistry.msu.edu/courses/cem993/SS17/syllabus-CEM993.htm (this page).


Course Contents:

The detailed contents of the course can be downloaded from here.


Office Hour:

Mondays, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm. For questions about the course that do not require meetings in my office, email or telephone contact will work as well.


Books and Other Useful Materials:

There is no single textbook for this class. Thus, regular classroom attendance in Room 183 in Chemistry Bldg. and taking lectures notes during our classes is the best approach to learning the material. There are, however, excellent lecture notes by Professor Josef Paldus, which are related to the material discussed in class. Downloading them from www.math.uwaterloo.ca/~paldus/resources.html is strongly recommended. They will also be provided, along with other useful materials, by the instructor in the beginning of and throughout the semester. Other books and sources of information will occasionally be used as well to discuss specific topics, including, for example, books on reserve. Please use the www.lib.msu.edu/resources/reserves/ link and search for ‘CEM993’ or ‘Piecuch, Piotr’ for further information. Another way to facilitate and enhance learning is provided by the online lecture series of 44 videos, including 39 90-minute lectures, two 50-minute lectures, and one additional 4 hour 50 minute lecture split into three parts, which can also be watched on YouTube, recorded last year at Washington University in St. Louis, where a course similar to CEM 993, called CEM 580/PHYSICS 580, was offered to graduate chemistry and physics students by the instructor of the present CEM 993 offering (if you do not want to use the above links, search for ‘Chem 580’ in YouTube). Watching these lecture videos (if need be, multiple times) should be helpful too.



There will be six homework assignments, which will be successively added to the course website during the semester as PDF files. They will contain information about the relevant due dates. Students, who have registered for CEM 993, will be able to access them by clicking here and using the MSU NetID information. All homework assignments can contribute up to 35 % to the final grade. Late homeworks will not be accepted.


Midterm exam:

There will be one midterm exam, contributing up to 30 % to the final grade. The date of the midterm exam will be announced in due time. The solutions of the midterm exam problems will be made available in the same password-protected page where the homework assignments are posted. UPDATE: The midterm exam has been scheduled on Monday, April 10, 2017, from 6 to 8 pm in Room 183 in the Chemistry Bldg.


Final exam:

The date and time of the final exam will be announced later. The final exam will contribute up to 35 % to the final grade. UPDATE: The final exam has been scheduled by the Office of the Registrar on Wednesday, May 3, 2017, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 pm in Room 183 in the Chemistry Bldg.


Grading scheme:


  35 % of the final grade

Midterm exam

  30 % of the final grade

Final exam

  35 % of the final grade


100 %

Final grades will be assigned according to the following table:

85.0 – 100.0 %


70.0 –   84.9 %


55.0 –   69.9 %


45.0 –   54.9 %


35.0 –   44.9 %


30.0 –   34.9 %


25.0 –   29.9 %


20.0 –   24.9 %


  0.0 –   19.9 %