Materials Chemistry Ph.D. Requirements

Last updated 06/13/2016


1. Core course work requirements

  1. Three graduate-level courses in materials approved by the Materials Chemistry Program Chair and major advisor including at least one from Inorganic Materials and at least one from Soft Materials

    • Inorganic Materials: Chem 613, 624, 630, 652, 653
    • Soft Materials: Chem 654, 664, 842
  2. Enroll in and attend Materials seminars
  3. The student will also have to satisfy the minor requirements set by the university and file a Minor Agreement Form (first semester, after joining research group).

2. Thesis preliminary exam format

  1. Written component: Format suggested by the major professor. Submitted to the committee seven days before the exam.
  2. Oral component: A 20- to 25-minute presentation (open to the public) with subsequent questions from a faculty committee (not open to the public). Completed by April 30 of their second year.
The written summary and oral presentation should outline the background, aims, and methods of the
Ph.D. research that will be pursued. If the student has obtained preliminary results, these should also
be presented. A period of questioning will follow by a committee of three faculty members including
the research advisor. For example, the student may be called upon to answer questions about pertinent
background literature, to demonstrate familiarity with some of the techniques discussed, or to describe
the significance of the research and the rationale for the methods to be employed.

3. Original research proposal format

  1. Written component: Format suggested by the major professor. Submitted to the committee seven days before the exam.
  2. Oral component: A 25-minute presentation (not open to the public) with questions from the mentor committee throughout the presentation. Completed in the spring of their third year.

The purpose of the original research proposal is to provide experiences that develop the skills required to function as an independent scientist and diversify students’ background and knowledge. Students first need to identify a research goal outside the areas of research represented in their research group that is significant, achievable, and acceptable to their major professor. They must then develop a suitable research plan that describes the major steps and techniques required to reach that goal, and provide arguments for its feasibility. The student’s mentor committee will evaluate the written proposal and oral presentation. It is important that the chair of the mentor committee and the student’s major professor are present for the research proposal.


4. Fourth-year presentation format

  1. Written component: Thesis outline (template provided) submitted to the committee three days before the exam. The outline should be discussed with the major advisor before submission.
  2. Oral component: A presentation with a maximum duration of 10 minutes to the faculty committee followed by a discussion (not open to the public). The presentation should provide a brief summary of the research done and a plan of what the student needs to do in order to complete the degree, including a tentative timeline. Completed by May of their fourth year.

View general Department of Chemistry Ph.D. requirements.