First Year

    August: Arrive on Campus

    August: Attend Research Symposium

    This symposium serves as an introduction to the department and allows students to choose their desired research immersions. Research groups will present their current work and future research directions.

    September-November: Do Two Laboratory Immersions

    The choice of research advisor is one of the most important early decisions Ph.D. students make. To help with this decision, all students are required to do a 4-5-week immersion in at least two laboratories. Student-advisor matching is based on mutual interests and managed by the Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Associate Committee (GSPAC).

    August-December: Serve as a TA for Fall Semester

    Students are required to teach a minimum of two semesters during their time in the program. Most students generally complete their required teaching after the spring semester of their first year, and average three to four semesters in total, but this is variable depending on each group’s level of external funding. Exposure to teaching is valued as an essential skill gained during graduate school.

    January: Join a Research Laboratory

    Students may formally join a research group after their grades from the fall semester are finalized. The choice of research mentor is solely the decision of the student and advisor.

    January-May: Serve as a TA for Spring Semester

    Typically, students will complete their required teaching in the Spring semester of their first year.

    Second Year

    August-May: Complete Required Classwork

    Graduate students must complete 24 units with an overall GPA of at least 3.00 to be in good standing. Some of these units may be satisfied by graduate courses taken prior to entering the program.

    May: Appoint Screening and Qualifying Exam Committee

    On completion of coursework, the research advisor, in consultation with the department, will assign a committee of faculty members to serve as the student’s screening and qualifying exam committee. This committee is to consist of five members, including one faculty member from a section different from that of the research advisor and one tenure-track faculty member from a department other than Chemistry. This Committee will be responsible for ensuring the timely completion of all university and departmental requirements and has the authority to set dates for the exams in line with the requirements described in this document.

    Download Qualifying Exam Committee Form

    Contact the Chemistry Graduate Student Advisor with screening exam date.

    May-August: Screening Exam

    Before the start of the 5th semester, Ph.D. students are required to finish their screening exam. This exam involves an oral presentation detailing the student’s research progress and future directions.

    Third Year

    August-December: Qualifying Exam

    Before the end of the 6th semester, Ph.D. students are required to attempt their qualifying exam. This exam has both a written and oral component. The written component involves the preparation of an original research proposal in an area not directly related to their own thesis topic and a response to a separate question posed by the committee. The oral portion of the exam involves the defense of the written documents to the thesis committee.

    Students should contact the Chemistry Graduate Student Advisor to obtain a Report on Qualifying Exam Form at least a week before their scheduled qualifying exam date.

    After passing their qualifying exam, Ph.D. students should make sure they are enrolled in the CHEM 794 series every semester until they graduate.

    Fourth Year

    Within the Fourth Year: Fourth Year Seminar

    Prior to the 9th semester in residence, each student must present their research in a formal seminar that will be scheduled by the faculty within each section. Typically, students will present a 30-minute seminar to students, postdocs, and faculty in their section. Those members of the thesis committee from the student’s home section that attend the seminar will provide feedback.


    Continue Research and Publishing

    End of Ph.D.: Form Dissertation Committee and Dissertation Defense

    The student is required to present their Ph.D. thesis to their Dissertation Committee in a seminar that is open to the public and advertised to the department. At the conclusion of the seminar, the student is required to defend the work in a closed-door session.

    Download Dissertation Committee Form

    Contact the Chemistry Graduate Student Advisor for detailed deadlines and instructions.

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