Ph.D. in Chemistry
The Ph.D. program in Chemistry is designed to train students as mature scientists capable of independent activity, i.e. capable of conceiving a research problem, planning and carrying out the necessary experimental work, properly interpreting the results, and advancing their knowledge by independent study.
Traditionally, the Ph.D. degree is the mark of scholarly attainments and connotes a high degree of proficiency in a specialized field in addition to a wide breadth of knowledge of other fields. The program outlined below will assist the student in attaining the required scientific maturity, mastery of a chosen area of chemistry, and adequate proficiency in all other areas. The program also provides a means of testing the progress of the student. Capable students can complete the doctoral program in four to five years. Financial support is guaranteed for four years and is normally available to fifth-year students in good standing.
The rules and information which follow are intended to supplement those found in the Graduate School catalog. Each student is expected to become familiar with the rules found in the catalog as well as those of this program. The student may elect to major in Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, or Physical Chemistry. Students interested in interdisciplinary areas should consult a separate document governing these areas.
Students must demonstrate proficiency in the four major areas of chemistry: analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical. Students satisfy this requirement by taking the appropriate 900-level courses in their area of specialization. Outside their area, students can satisfy the requirements by either passing the advanced placement exams given to entering students the week before classes or by passing the appropriate 800-level courses (Chem 862 for analytical chemistry, 874 for inorganic chemistry, 855 for organic chemistry, and 876 for physical chemistry) with a grade of at least B-.
Required Courses/Course Information
Students are required to take courses in their field as required by the faculty in that area. These obligatory courses are:
- Analytical - Chem 930, 933, 934, 935 and Math 835
- Inorganic - Chem 808 (Organic), 903, 904, and 947.
- Organic - Chem 808, 855, 902, 911, 917, 918. An advanced proton and carbon NMR interpretation course, currently offered as either 917 or 918, is strongly recommended in addition to 808.
- Physical - Chem 905, 906, 926, 927, 995D
- In addition, all students must take at least two graduate chemistry courses outside their area of specialization, at least one of which must be at the 900-level.
- Students must present one satisfactory seminar (Chem 997 or 998)
- Successfully defend an original research program (Note: you no longer need to register for Chem 907 for Research Proosal Defense.)
- All graduate students who are or will be TAs are required to take Chem 800 (1 credit).
- Chem 992 - Professional Writing Portfolio - students will sign up in their third semester (usually fall semester, second year), maintain a writing portfolio and be awarded credit at the end of their fourth semester by their research mentor with advice from the thesis committee.
- Course requirements for interdisciplinary program students are:
- Atmospheric Option: 5 Chemistry courses at the 900 level. These will be decided by the advisor and co-advisor. Students also choose 4 ESCI/EOS courses.
- Chemistry Education Option: Chem 971 is required and 3 courses at the 900 level in Chemistry sub-discipline. course requirements to include Grad 990, 3 courses Quant Stats and 1 course in Cognition. Advisor will provide couse options for selection.
- All students are required to take pre-comprehensive examinations in their major field.
- Requirements for the examinations are set by each division.
- Examinations will be offered two times per year-September & May. A pass is required before advanced (comprehensive) examinations can be taken.
- A student may repeat the examination, but only once, and when it is next offered.
The student will take a series of comprehensive examinations in the major field after passing the pre-comprehensive examination. Specific requirements of the various divisions follow:
- Analytical Chemistry. Doctoral students in analytical chemistry who have passed the pre-comprehensive examination must take eight comprehensive examinations. Performance in the eight examinations will be evaluated be the analytical chemistry faculty and will be a major factor in the evaluation of the student's overall performance at the end of the second year. Comprehensive examinations are normally given once per month during the academic year.
- Inorganic Chemistry. Doctoral students in inorganic chemistry who have passed the preliminary (pre-comprehensive) examination must take the next ten comprehensive examinations. Performance in these examinations will be evaluated by the inorganic chemistry faculty and will be a major factor in the evaluation of the student's overall performance at the end of the second and third years.
- Organic Chemistry. Six comprehensive examinations are administered each academic year. These are taken consecutively until a total of six is passed.
- Physical Chemistry. Doctoral students in physical chemistry who have passed the preliminary (pre-comprehensive) examination must take the next six comprehensive examinations. Performance in the six examinations will be evaluated by the physical chemistry faculty and will be a major factor in the evaluation of the student's overall performance at the end of the second year. Comprehensive examinations are normally given once per month during the academic year.
All students in the Ph.D. program will submit an outline of a Research Progress report to their research advisor by January 15th of their second year. This outline is to be comprised of 2-3 pages of double-spaced typed text. The advisor will return this report with comments to the student within seven days. The student will then prepare a final fuller version, which is to be distributed to the student's committee by February 15th. A meeting between the student and the committee will be scheduled by the end of March. The committee will evaluate the document at this meeting. The advisor will summarize orally the consensus of the committee to the student. Written summary of the committee recommendations will be retained in the department files. If the Committee's consensus is that the student's report or research progress are inadequate, a follow-up report and meeting with the committee will be required before the end of the semester. The Committee may advise the student to either switch to the M.S. program or possibly withdraw from the graduate program if problems associated with the first progress report have not been adequately addressed during this second meeting.
The Research Report should include a review of the relevant literature. It should summarize the student's research progress to date, as well as the student's plans and ideas for future work. As a guideline, it is suggested that the report should comprise about ten pages of double-spaced typed text. Any figures, references and tables incorporated should not be incorporated in that total.
Each student must present a satisfactory seminar based on the literature. The seminar must be presented no later than the first semester of the student's third year. The seminar topic cannot be directly related to the student's dissertation research at UNH. "The Students' Guide to Seminars" should be studied by every student well in advance of choosing a seminar topic. Attendance at the student's divisional and at departmental seminars is MANDATORY for all graduate students while in residence.
Each doctoral student must present and satisfactorily defend a research proposal before a committee of four (4) faculty members consisting of the student's guidance committee. The proposed research must be original from the student and must not be related to any research work being carried out in this department. The proposal will be judged on the basis of its intrinsic scientific merit, feasibility of execution, and the student's ability to defend it in a logical and convincing manner. It is recommended that students read "Research Proposals: how to Choose and Defend Them".
Students are allowed to develop a proposal based on their literature seminar. Students are encouraged to integrate the seminar and proposal requirements in this manner to expedite progress in the program.
Procedure for Submission and Defense of the Proposal
- An abstract of the proposal (1000 words or fewer) is presented to the committee. Students are encouraged to present this during their second year but must do so by February 1st of their third year or October 15th if the student entered the program in a spring semester. Within one week of receipt of the proposal abstract, the committee will evaluate it and notify the student whether or not it is acceptable.
- Once the proposal abstract is judged acceptable by the committee, a detailed proposal must be prepared for the committee. This should include a short abstract (less than 150 words), a statement of the problem and its significance, historical background, theoretical justification, anticipated experimental results, possible alternate outcomes, and conclusions.
- The student and the student's committee will set a date for an oral defense of the proposal. Each committee member will score the oral defense, assigning either a pass or a fail. At least three (3) passes are required to pass the defense. The student will be informed by the committee chairperson whether the proposal has passed or failed.
If the student fails a proposal defense, the committee will recommend one of the following:
- That the student successfully re-defend the proposal no later than the first month of the following semester.
- That the student successfully defend a new proposal, with an abstract judged acceptable no later than the first month of the following semester.
A second failure to defend a proposal satisfactorily will result in an automatic permanent denial of advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. At this point, completion of a M.S. degree is an option. After advancement to candidacy, completion of the doctoral dissertation and its oral defense are the only remaining requirements.
The performance of each student will be reviewed periodically, and recommendations will be made to the student concerning the subsequent program. The initial review by the entire faculty will occur at the end of the first and second years. At these times course and teaching performance, seminar participation, research progress and performance on cumulative exams will be considered. The student will be informed whether continuing in the program is advisable, and will be apprised of any weaknesses. Students whose performance is inadequate, or who show they may not be able to successfully complete the program will be asked to withdraw at this point or possibly switch to the M.S. degree program.
Each student will be evaluated by the divisional staff at the end of each subsequent year. By the end of the third year, the proposal presentation and the results of the advanced examinations will be considered in addition to the items mentioned previously. At this time students will be informed of one of the options listed below:
- Student will be advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D.
- Student must complete specified requirements, for which a time limit may be set
- Student will be awarded the M.S. degree on completion of a satisfactory thesis
- Student will be required to withdraw from the graduate program.
Oral Defense of the Doctoral Dissertation
The culmination of the doctoral program is the presentation and defense of the doctoral dissertation before the Doctoral Committee and any other members of the University community who may wish to attend. The doctoral dissertation embodies the results of the student's doctoral research program and is prepared under the supervision of the Research Director.
Formatting & Required Copies
- Format requirements are specified in the Thesis and Dissertation Manual available from the Graduate School 862-3000 or access via their web-page: www.gradschool.unh.edu. You will need to submit a copy for format review to the Academic Counselor of the Graduate School. Currently Laurie Witham is this person. Please note that you cannot submit a dissertation for binding until review and approval of the format has been given by the Graduate School.
- Please refer to the Graduate School "Thesis and Dissertation Manual" for formatting details and a Ph.D. Checklist for ordering bound copies (last page of the manual). Please note that the Department Copy is the Chemistry Library Copy.
- Various drafts of the dissertation (thesis) should be proofread by several people (i.e., members of your research group or other graduate students) for content, clarity, grammar and style before giving it to the committee. The candidate should consult with his/her research advisor regarding procedures to be followed in preparing the dissertation (thesis). The role of the student's committee is to assess the science and not to serve as proofreaders.
- The Administrative Manager must be notified of the time, date and title of the dissertation (thesis) defense at least two weeks prior to the defense date to issue a memo to the Graduate School. At that time, the Administrative Manager will also issue a memo to the department inviting all to attend.
- Copies of the completed dissertation (thesis) must be distributed to the committee at least TWO WEEKS prior to the date of the public presentation; otherwise the final defense will AUTOMATICALLY be rescheduled to take place at least two weeks later to comply with Graduate School regulations. The candidate must also notify the Administrative Manager at the time the dissertation (thesis) has been distributed to the committee so that the defense can be rescheduled if necessary.
- The public presentation will be in the form of a seminar lasting 40-50 minutes followed by questions and discussion from the audience. The committee will question the candidate further in a closed session immediately afterwards.
- A reading committee, to consist of the Research Director and one other member of the doctoral committee selected by the director, will read the draft copy of the dissertation and suggest corrections before the final copy is prepared for submission to the full committee.
The Administrative Manager will then issue a memo one week prior to the dissertation defense inviting all department members to attend. The public presentation will be in the form of a seminar. Following the seminar, the floor will be open for questions and discussion from the audience. The committee will then question the candidate further in a closed session immediately afterwards.
Leaving the Department
The Department Office requires the following criteria to be completed when exiting the department. An exit form will be placed in your mail slot after your defense for your convenience.
- Return all keys to either the Administrative Assistant or the Administrative Manager.
- If you are expecting a bound dissertation, please give the distribution of your copies to the Administrative Manager.
- It is important to note that your lab bench and office desk must be cleaned and all waste disposed of properly. The Administrative Manager will put an "Are you leaving form" in your mail slot. You will need to complete the form and have your Research Advisor sign off on it, verifying that your hazardous waste has been properly labeled and disposed. This form will also give the department your forwarding address and email, should we need to contact you.
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