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6.1. Qualification to Candidacy

Chemistry Ph.D. students must first qualify for candidacy through coursework, research, and completion of the First Meeting with their Advancement to Candidacy Committee (ACC) before they can be advanced to candidacy. Upon qualification to candidacy, a student is placed by the department into one of the tracks of the Ph.D. program, either the Direct track to Ph.D. or the M.S. thesis track.

According to the regulations of Stony Brook University, advancement to candidacy occurs when a Ph.D. student has completed all degree requirements, except the dissertation and third meeting, usually at the end of the second year.

6.2. Qualification to the Ph.D. degree

  1. After the third semester of graduate study at Stony Brook, the student's record is reviewed by the faculty. At this time, the student may be qualified to the direct Ph.D. or master’s thesis track, or dismissed from the graduate program. The factors considered by the faculty are:

    a. The student's performance in graduate course work. At least 12 credits in formal graduate courses (excluding seminars, teaching, directed study, etc.) are normally expected for qualification to the Ph.D. degree. At least nine of these credits must be from courses numbered CHE 501 through 559. Exceptions to this distribution are made for students in the Chemical Physics program, and others with written permission from the Graduate Program Director (GPD).

    b. The student's research performance.

    c. The report from the First Meeting with the student's ACC.

    d. The student's performance in CHE 582 or CHE 619.

    e. The student's background in undergraduate chemistry. See Section 4.2.

    f. The student's performance as a teaching assistant.
  2. A student who has been qualified to candidacy for the Ph.D. but wishes to first seek an M.S. may petition the GPD for this change. Normally, this re-qualification will be by administrative action.
  3. A student who has been qualified to candidacy for the M.S., by whatever route, may petition to be qualified to candidacy for the Ph.D. only after completing the M.S. thesis and defense. Such a petition can only be approved by faculty vote. The student must have the support of a research advisor to rejoin the PhD track.

6.3. First Meeting with the ACC

  1. The purpose of the first ACC meeting is to examine the student's progress toward a degree, and to recommend a course of study to promote the student's continued growth. In the meeting, students will present oral progress reports on their research activities. One week before the meeting, the student will give each committee member a written summary report. The committee will examine the student's knowledge of his/her research topic and related areas, and will discuss the student's goals and progress.
  2. Each student must complete the first meeting with the ACC before the end of the first semester of the second year (which typically arrives in early December), unless a prior agreement has been made with the GPD and ACC to hold the meeting at a later time. Students should contact all the members of their committees at the beginning of the semester to arrange a meeting time. A student who does not hold a First Meeting with their ACC will no longer be in good standing.
  3. The committee will report to the student and to the GPD on the results of the first ACC meeting, including recommendation for qualifying the student to the Ph.D. direct track or the M.S. thesis track. The form given in Section 15 of this handbook will be used by the ACC to provide feedback. The final decision on qualification to the Ph.D. direct track or M.S. thesis track will be made by the faculty as a whole. Students will normally be qualified to a degree program at the beginning of the semester following their first ACC meeting.
  4. For students qualified to the M.S. thesis track, the committee, together with the research advisor, will continue to monitor the student's progress and will normally serve as the M.S. thesis defense committee.

6.4. The Second ACC Examination

The Second ACC Examination consists of one of two options. Students who plan to do their thesis research in physical or inorganic chemistry will follow Option One or Two. Students who plan to do research in organic chemistry groups will usually follow Option Two, but may also elect Option One, with permission of the advisor. Students who plan to do research in biological chemistry will follow Option Two. Regardless of which option is chosen, the Second Meeting requirement must be completed by the end of the student’s fourth semester in order for the student to remain in good standing.

  1. OPTION ONE: The student and his/her ACC will agree upon a date for a second meeting, which should be reported to the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC). At least one month before the second meeting, the student will choose suitable publications (normally two) from the literature for discussion at that meeting. The publications must be approved by the student’s advisor and the ACC chair. The publications to be discussed should not be related directly to the present or past research performed by the student. The meeting must be held before the end of the fourth semester at Stony Brook. The second meeting shall consist of an oral report on the chosen publications, with questions from the ACC. This report should demonstrate a mastery of the problems and methodology covered in the publications. The role of the ACC is to assess the quality of the report and also to assess the student's intellectual growth. The form given in Section 15 of this handbook will be used by the ACC to provide feedback.Further study may be recommended at this time.
  2. OPTION TWO: In the second semester of their second year in the graduate program, each student who chooses this option will register for the appropriate section of CHE 619 Critical Readings of Current Topics in Chemistry (organic, biological, or physical/inorganic/materials chemistry) for 1 credit (A-F grading) and give a presentation on a paper or topic from the literature, chosen in consultation with the course coordinator and the student’s ACC. The student’s ACC should attend the CHE 619 presentation. Successful completion of CHE 619 under these terms will count for the second meeting requirement.

    For organic chemistry students following this option, enrollment in CHE 696 in all other semesters of the program is expected. All students in CHE 619 (Organic section) and CHE 696 are expected to attend all seminars and to fully participate in organic problem-solving sessions. All students in their second year and beyond will also be required to prepare the problems for and lead at least one of these problem sessions each year.

    For biological chemistry students following this option, subsequent enrollment in CHE 694 in years 3 through 5 of the PhD program is expected. Each student will give one presentation per year, and will attend all of the CHE 619/694 presentations. Attendance is mandatory and all are expected to participate in the discussion after each presentation. All of the students will fill out two evaluations, one for each talk. The evaluator signs these evaluations. The CHE 619 coordinator will separate the forms, keep the signed part as evidence of attendance, and give the anonymous comments to the speakers.

6.5. Advancement to Candidacy

Once a student has completed all coursework (as described in Section 8) and has successfully completed the 1st and 2nd ACC meetings, the student will be advanced to candidacy by vote of the faculty.