Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Chemistry
The recently adopted, restructured Ph.D. program features minimal, flexible course requirements and an emphasis on research.
Entering students will have a Promotion to Candidacy Committee established upon entering the Ph.D. Program. The Committee advises students as to what courses they need to take in their first semester. There are no set course requirements, but the decision of the Committee is binding. Advanced courses in other subject areas may be assigned by the Committee, where appropriate. Final coursework decisions are made by the candidate's research advisor. Students need to take one graded course so they have a GPA. Preferably, this should be done in the student's first semester.
Because the doctoral degree is earned on the basis of advancement to doctoral candidacy status and satisfactory completion of the dissertation, the Graduate School does not specify any minimum number of courses or credit hours that must be completed for award of the degree. Students must comply with general enrollment requirements and also institutional residency requirements.
Students need to choose a pre-Ph.D. candidate research adviser by the beginning of second semester to begin pre-candidate research in that laboratory. (see below) The student will then proceed to initiate a research project by the beginning of the second semester and through the first summer of study.
Selection of a research advisor is one of the most important decisions a student will make during the graduate career. In order to avoid hasty or poorly founded decisions each student must discuss potential research projects with at least three members of the chemistry faculty. Appropriate forms can be obtained from the Chemistry Graduate Office and should be completed and returned no later than the end of the second semester (excluding summer semester) after entering the program.
Promotion to Candidacy
At the conclusion of the first year (before the start of the third semester), a written research document outlining progress to date and future plans is submitted to and approved by the Promotion to Candidacy Committee. This proposal is subsequently defended in front of the committee. A successful defense results in Promotion to Ph.D. candidacy, contingent upon the student being formally accepted into a research group. The committee must vote three quarters in favor of the candidate (for a four person committee) or two thirds in favor (for a three person committee) for a pass. A vote of two of four members (or one of three) in favor results in a conditional pass, and the committee must set conditions to be met to promote the student within 30 days of the first meeting. At the discretion of the committee, the students not promoted to candidacy may be given a pass at a M.S. level of competency and proceed to obtain a terminal research masters degree, or be terminated from the program. Appropriate forms to document promotion to candidacy must be completed and forwarded to the Graduate School. The forms may be obtained from the Chemistry Graduate Office.
Upon promotion the candidate must formally choose and declare a research adviser and a dissertation committee must be established initially with at least three members. An additional committee member from outside the department or university must be added before the final defense. The research adviser chairs the committee.
Original Research Proposal
Students will now need to complete their Original Research Proposal in a time window starting their second year and closing by the end of their third year. Failure to do so will normally result in the student being put on probation. At the discretion of the research adviser, the student's original research proposal may or may not be the related to the student's current or future research. The student must be informed of the research adviser's preference in advance of seeking approval for the thesis topic. The thesis committee formally approves the proposal and its defense. The candidate should meet with the thesis committee members (individually or as a group) to discuss the proposal topic. The original research proposal should follow the format of a major federal granting agency appropriate to the nature of the proposed research. The format of the proposal, in conjunction with the topic, should be approved in advance by the thesis committee. The written proposal must be given to the thesis committee members two weeks in advance of the scheduled defense. After the defense, the committee must vote three quarters in favor of the candidate (for a four person committee) or two thirds in favor (for a three person committee) for a pass. A vote of two of four members (or one of three) in favor results in a conditional pass, and the committee must set conditions to be met to pass the candidate within 30 days of the first meeting. Students not passing will normally be terminated from the Ph.D. program.
Research Data Presentation and Dissertation
By the end of the fourth year, a research data presentation must be made to thesis committee and the committee formally advises the candidate on research milestones that need to be met before permission to "write up" the dissertation is granted. The permission to "write up" the dissertation can be given at any subsequent time.
A peer-reviewed publication based upon the dissertation research is required to obtain the degree of Ph.D.
NOTE: Extenuating circumstances will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Further, students will now have to wait a minimum of 6 months after successful completion of their Research Data Presentation (aka Data Defense) (and the associated online data base forms) before they will be permitted to defend their dissertation. This rule can only be waived by the Department Chair with the written approval of the majority of the Thesis Committee in the case of exceptional circumstances.
Each student should consult with their supervisory committee for deadlines in submitting the thesis prior to the defense. Thesis or dissertation defenses are not normally scheduled during final exam week or during the weeks between regularly scheduled sessions.
The defense dissertation must be scheduled through the Chemistry Graduate Office at least two weeks in advance. The Chemistry Graduate Office will then announce the defense to the entire Chemistry Department. The candidate normally defends their dissertation in the fourth or fifth year.
NOTE: These deadlines are in addition to those Imposed by the Graduate School. The Graduate School sets a deadline for scheduling thesis defenses each semester.
Candidates may be offered a departmental TA position in year five given satisfactory progress in research as judged by the thesis committee and approval of the Department Chair, TA's are not normally awarded beyond year 5. RA's are only permitted beyond year six in exceptional cases with the written approval of the department chair. It is important to note that the Graduate School will not award tuition waivers for credit hours beyond 120 for students entering with a baccalaureate degree and 90 for students entering with a masters degree.
According to University Regulations, the Ph.D. supervisory committee must consist of at least four (4) members, including the student's research director. At least two (2) of the members must be from an area related to the student's research.