Ph.D. Requirements

Last updated 5/28/2019

View the Graduate School's general guidelines for completing your degree. The Chemistry Department's requirements for the Ph.D. are listed below. A timeline for the Ph.D. requirements is here.

First Year

  • TA Training: First week before the beginning of fall and spring semesters. 
  • Rotations: Three research group rotations, completed by early November.
  • Coursework: Required coursework varies by path (see below). All coursework is to be completed by the fall semester of the second year.
  • Minor Agreement Form: After you join a research group, discuss the course selections for the spring semester and following fall.  Complete the Minor Agreement Form with your PI and returned the signed document to the Graduate Program Office (room 2108). 

Second Year

  • Choose a mentoring committee by November 1. Use mentoring committee selection form is here. Rank 5 faculty, not including their PI, to be on the mentoring committee. Discuss your selection with your PI, considering faculty inside the department, affiliated with the department, and outside of the department. It is not necessary to contact the faculty that you select to be on your committee before you submit the form. There is a a comment box on the form.  
  • Thesis Background Examination (TBE): The examination will consist of a written report and an oral defense.  The details about the exam are here and the evaluation form is here. The student brings the evaluation form to the oral exam. Examples of the written portion: full paper #1 and full paper #2.

Third Year

  • Original Research Proposal Examination (RP): The examination consists of a written proposal and an oral defense. The details about the exam are here.
  • At least 3 weeks before oral defense, request warrant for Research Proposal here. Instructions to fill in the warrant are here. The student brings the warrant and evaluation form to the oral defense.
  • If the oral defense is done vitually, some suggestions are here.
  • Examples written portion: 1-page summary, template of the 1-page summary, full paper #1, full paper #2, and full paper #3.
  • Successful completion of the RP, along with the other program requirements (TBE, coursework) will complete the requirement for admission to candidacy, i.e., dissertator status.

Fourth Year

  • Fourth-Year Mentor Committee Meeting: This meeting is designed to provide a summary of progress and to establish a timeline for completion of work required the PhD degree. The Fourth-Year Mentoring Committee Form should be completed by the student and the research advisor and be provided to the mentoring committee members before the meeting. The 4th year meeting includes a brief (~10 minute) presentation of the student’s research to the mentoring committee (open to others, if desired), followed by a closed discussion of results and future plans between the student and committee members. The 4th committee meetings should be completed by May 31.

Fifth Year

Dissertation Defense: The examination will consist of a written dissertation and an oral defense.

  • At least 3 weeks before oral defense, request PhD Final Degree warrant here. 
  • Template for the dissertation defense is here
  • If the oral defense is done vitually, some suggestions are here.

Finishing Your Degree 

  • Apply to graduate here in the semester you intent to graduate.
  • Fill out the checkout form and return it to the Graduate Program Office (room 2108) before your last day.
  • If you are completing your PhD before the end of the semester, please complete the Grade Change Form.
  • If you need a "Degree Completion Letter" to verify that you have completed your degree before the end of the semester, please see the information here.

Year-End Meeting - If you are not graduating until your 6th year

  • Students who have not set a date for their dissertation defense by the end of their fifth year will meet with their mentoring committee members. This meeting is designed to provide a summary of progress and to establish a timeline for completion of work required the PhD degree. The Fifth-Year Mentoring Committee Form should be completed by the student and the research advisor and be provided to the mentoring committee members before the meeting. The meeting includes a brief (~10 minute) presentation of the student’s research to the mentoring committee (open to others, if desired), followed by a closed discussion of results and future plans between the student and committee members. The 5th committee meetings should be completed by May 31.