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University of Pittsburgh    
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 14, 2024
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Chemistry, PhD

Requirements for the PhD

PhD candidates are required to earn 72 graduate credits that include 12 credits of core courses (CHEM 2110 , CHEM 2120 , CHEM 2210 , CHEM 2220 , CHEM 2230 , CHEM 2310 , CHEM 2320 , CHEM 2430 , CHEM 2440 , CHEM 2810 , CHEM 2820 ). In consultation with their research advisor or GSAC, students may take additional courses after they complete the required core selections. Candidates are required to participate in teaching activities, for at least one or two terms, during their doctoral program.

Additional Requirements

PhD Preliminary Evaluation: Satisfactory completion of the preliminary exam requires the student to achieve a grade point average of at least 3.00 in 12 credits of core courses selected from two or three of the five chemistry divisions. If the student receives grades below B in two or more core courses, regardless of the overall GPA, that student will have failed the Ph.D. preliminary evaluation and will not be permitted to remain in the Ph.D. program.

Comprehensive Examination: The comprehensive examination provides the candidate an opportunity to demonstrate their potential for independent research and scholarship. The student submits a research report on their own work to committee members; the oral exam is a discussion of the student’s research to date. The student must be prepared to answer questions related to the theoretical and practical aspects of the research problem. The student is also expected to show a command of graduate course work related to the field of the student’s research. The department’s comprehensive examination satisfies the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences requirements for an overview examination. Upon satisfactory completion of the Comprehensive Exam, with approval by the department chair and the assistant dean of graduate studies, the student is formally admitted to candidacy for the PhD program.

Seminar: Each student in the doctoral program is required to present at least one seminar, open to the department. The seminar may be given at any time during the student’s career and on any topic approved by the student’s major advisor, including the results of doctoral research.

Proposal: When substantial progress has been made by the student on the dissertation problem a proposal for an original research problem is to be written, presented and successfully defended before the student’s faculty proposal committee. The topic of this proposal should differ from that of the student’s dissertation problem. The proposal is an important opportunity for the student to display scientific maturity in terms of originality and critical thinking.

Dissertation and Final Examination: The PhD dissertation is a report of scientific investigation completed under the supervision of the student’s faculty mentor/research advisor. It must represent an original contribution to knowledge and must relate what is found to what was known before. The candidate must defend his/her dissertation in an oral examination before a doctoral committee consisting of the major advisor, at least two additional departmental graduate faculty members, and one graduate faculty member from another department within the University. With prior approval, a qualified faculty member from another institution may also be appointed. The final examination is open to all members of the University community.

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