Graduate Studies Requirements


  1. Selection of a Research Advisor. Research advisor assignments are made near the end of the first semester after completing the advisor selection process. The selection process consists of a research overview course, one-on-one interviews with potential advisors, and submission of the Advisor Selection Form.

    1. The research overview course, Introduction to Graduate Studies (CH 610G), provides an introduction to each of the research faculty and their research programs for students entering in the Fall.

    2. Each student is required to meet individually with at least three professors in order to discuss potential research projects. Students are encouraged to schedule these one-on-one meetings at their earliest convenience once the semester commences.

    3. Students should obtain an Advisor Selection Form from the Graduate Office and have this form signed by the professors interviewed. For students who enter in August, the form must be submitted to the Graduate Office by October 15 indicating 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices of research advisor. For students who enter in January, the form must be submitted by March 15. The Department Head and the Director of Graduate Programs will make the research advisor assignments based on student selections and research group availability.

  2. Appointment of a Research Advisory Committee. The appointment of research advisory committees should be completed within 12 months of entry, i.e., by July 31 for students whose entered in the previous fall semester, and by December 31 for students who entered in the previous spring semester. Committees are composed of Graduate Faculty members from the Chemistry Department as well as from other departments on campus if appropriate. Students are encouraged to discuss the composition of their committee with their advisor. Students in the Doctoral (Ph.D.) program should select three faculty members in addition to their advisor to form a 4-person Advisory Committee. For the Masters (M.S.) program, students should select two faculty members in addition to their advisor to form a 3-person Advisory Committee. For Ph.D. students, the Graduate School will assign a Graduate School Representative to serve on their Committee. The Advisory Committee will serve to advise the student and evaluate the preliminary and final examinations. The first action of the Committee will be to approve the Plan of Work.

  3. Plan of Work. The Plan of Work should be completed and submitted no later than 12 months after entry, i.e., by July 31 for students who entered in the previous fall semester, and by December 31 for students who entered in the previous spring semester.

  4. Course Requirements. The graduate school at NCSU has the following course requirements. For the Doctoral degree program, completion of a minimum of seventy-two (72) credit hours is required, unless the student holds a prior Master’s degree in chemistry, in which case a minimum of fifty-four (54) hours are required. For the Master’s degree program, completion of a minimum of thirty (30) credit hours is required. Selection of first-semester courses will be made by the student in consultation with a temporary advisor, either the Director of Graduate Programs (DGP) or a faculty member approved by the DGP. Subsequent to the first semester, students will develop course plans in consultation with their research advisors. No coursework registration changes are permitted without the DGP or research advisor’s approval. The minimum course requirements for students who have completed a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry are:

    Formal Coursework. The Chemistry Department requires eighteen (18) credit hours of 700-level coursework in chemistry or other relevant disciplines for the Ph.D. and M.S. programs. Additional courses can be taken as needed and are encouraged when beneficial to research progress and development. Students with a prior M.S. in Chemistry or a related discipline can petition to take fewer courses. A signed plan of work (POW) from the student's committee and the DGP shall constitute acceptance of any course plan.

    Chemistry Seminar. Beginning in the first semester, research graduate students are required to register each semester for seminar, either CH 801 (Ph.D.) or CH 601 (M.S.), and to attend Departmental Seminars. Note that only two (2) of the seminar credits may be formally listed on the Plan of Work as counting toward the total graduation credit-hour requirements imposed by the Graduate School. Students who register for CH 899 (Dissertation Preparation) or CH 699 (Thesis Preparation) during the latter stages of their graduate programs are not allowed to register for the seminar course (or any other course), but are encouraged to attend.

    Introduction to Graduate Studies. All graduate students entering for the fall semester are required to register for CH 610G (Introduction to Graduate Studies). Each research-active faculty member will have the opportunity to present an overview of his/her research program. These discussions will assist the students in choosing a research advisor and an Advisory Committee. Attendance at all sessions is required to receive a grade of Satisfactory. Each student is also required to take and pass a safety quiz.

    Research hours. Doctoral students register for CH 895 (Dissertation Research) and Master’s students register for CH 695 (Thesis Research) under the unique section number for their advisor. Once courses are completed, most students will register for 9 hours of research each semester.

  5. Departmental Poster Session. During the academic year following the first full summer in residence, each student will present a poster describing his/her research at the “Departmental Poster Session”. See Department Calendar for the specific date.

  6. Preliminary Examination (Ph.D. only). The preliminary examination shall take place before October 15 (for students entering in the Fall) or March 1 (for students entering in the Spring) of the fifth semester. The exam date and location should be finalized no later than September 1/January 15 (as appropriate depending on entry date), and a Request to Schedule Preliminary Examination shall be submitted to the Chemistry Graduate Office by that time. The preliminary exam shall consist of:

    1. A written document that includes a detailed literature review, completed research, and future research plans for completion of the Ph.D. Expectations with regard to content, organization, length, and formatting can be found in a separate document, Guidelines for Preparing the Preliminary Oral Examination. The written preliminary exam document must be submitted to the student’s Advisory Committee one week prior to the examination date.
    2. An oral presentation consisting of an analysis of relevant literature, completed research, and future research plans. Expectations with regard to content, organization, length, and presentation can be found in a separate document, Guidelines for Preparing the Preliminary Oral Examination.
    3. Defense of the proposed research before the student’s Advisory Committee.

    There are three possible outcomes for the preliminary examination pass, conditional pass, and fail. In the case of a conditional pass, the Committee can either 1) require the successful completion of additional work before approving a pass, or 2) require the student to retake the preliminary exam no earlier than 4 months and no later than 5 months after the initial attempt. Failure to pass the oral preliminary examination will result in a change in program status from Ph.D. to M.S.

  7. Formal Departmental Seminar. To be completed before the end of the seventh semester in residence. This requirement can be fulfilled either by:

    1. An oral research presentation at a national or other high-level scientific meeting.
    2. A literature review or research presentation (at the discretion of the student’s advisory committee) as an announced departmental seminar.

    The successful completion of either of these will be certified by the signatures of the student's advisory committee. In the case where the presentation is given for the department, the student should schedule the presentation so that the student's committee members are available and attend the presentation.

  8. Final Examination. Upon completion of the research project, the student will be required to defend her/his research. The thesis/dissertation must be submitted to the Advisory Committee two weeks prior to the examination date. The defense will consist of a formal public seminar of the thesis/dissertation research followed by an examination conducted by the student's Advisory Committee, which is open to the Graduate Faculty.

    After successful completion of the final oral examination, each student must submit a doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis to the Thesis Editor in the Graduate School. NCSU theses and dissertations must be submitted electronically. In addition each student is responsible for providing two bound hard copies, one for the research advisor and one for the Chemistry Department (to be submitted to the Graduate Office). In the case of co-advisors, an additional copy for each co-advisor is required. For detailed information and instructions, please consult the Electronic Thesis and Dissertations (ETD) section of the Graduate School website.

  9. Chemistry Minor. Graduate students in non-Chemistry departments may elect to minor in chemistry. The requirements for a chemistry minor are: 1) a minimum of three (3) 700-level chemistry graduate courses totaling a minimum of 9 credit hours, and 2) representation on the student’s research advisory committee by a member of the Graduate Faculty of the Chemistry Department.

Last revised November 21, 2016