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10. DISSERTATION AND FINAL ORAL EXAMINATION

In this Section, “dissertation” is used to cover both the Ph.D. dissertation and the M.S. thesis.

10.1. University and Department Regulations

  1. The Graduate Bulletin specifies those regulations pertaining to dissertations which have been set forth by the Graduate School. The dissertation must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines presented in the most recent version of the document entitled, Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations , available from the Graduate School. The style of referencing should adhere to the specifications in either the American Chemical Society Style Guide or the American Institute of Physics Style Manual , or another style guide if agreed upon by the student’s ACC.
  2. Time Limit. It is Graduate School policy that a candidate must satisfy all requirements for the Ph.D. degree within seven years after completing 24 credits in the Chemistry Graduate Program. In rare instances, the Dean of the Graduate School will entertain a petition to extend this time limit, provided it bears the endorsement of the GPD.

10.2. Reprints in Lieu of Manuscript

In lieu of a manuscript, the candidate may submit one or more reprints of published papers in journals which are acceptable to the dissertation committee provided that such papers are written exclusively by the candidate or the candidate’s contributions are clearly described for each manuscript. The candidate must obtain written permission from the publisher and from all co-authors to include the work in the dissertation. The format and instructions relating to published materials given in the Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations must be followed. Additional documentation for each manuscript should set forth:

  1. The candidate’s contributions to the published work;
  2. Purpose of the research, if not included in the original document;
  3. Historical setting, if not included in the original document;
  4. Additional details of archival interest (tables of data, etc.).

10.3. Oral Defense

As part of the procedure by which a dissertation is approved, the Chemistry Department requires a departmental colloquium followed by a formal oral defense before the candidate's examination committee.

  1. Composition of the examination committee: Three members (typically a student's ACC), with at least two members internal to the Chemistry program ( Faculty or Affiliated Faculty), with an additional member from outside the Department (the "Outside Member") are required for the Ph.D. Dissertation Defense. The student and research advisor will identify a qualified candidate to serve as the outside member of the committee, and establish that person’s availability. The external member of the committee should be an independent voice, and therefore should not be a collaborator on the research described in the dissertation. The names of committee members should be submitted to the GPC and the GPD and the Graduate School must approve the final composition of the examination committee. Faculty affiliates of the Chemistry Department and Graduate Program may not serve as outside members of doctoral defense committees in Chemistry. The University regulations governing the structure of the committee are described in the Graduate Bulletin.
  2. The student, in consultation with the examination committee, arranges the time and place for the defense and notifies the Department through the GPC. For a Ph.D. defense, the student must notify the GPD and GPC at least 4 weeks in advance of the scheduled date by submitting an electronic dissertation announcement form using the most recent template provided on the Graduate School website. The GPD then submits this form to the Graduate School for approval. Approval must be requested from the Graduate School at least 3 weeks before the intended defense date. Dissertation examination announcements must be posted in the Department. A copy of the notice is put into the student's file.
  3. Copies of the dissertation must be delivered to the examination committee at least two weeks in advance of the planned examination. Failure to meet this deadline may result in postponement of the defense.

10.4. Actions of the Examination Committee

The Dissertation Examination Committee can return the following judgments on the dissertation as a result of the Oral Defense:

  1. Acceptance.
  2. Acceptance with minor changes: This category requires the candidate and the Research Advisor to incorporate the minor changes, and explicitly calls for the signature (appendix) of all committee members at the conclusion of the defense.
  3. Acceptance with major changes: This category requires a reexamination of the corrected dissertation by the committee, but no repetition of the oral examination.
  4. Rejection: This category requires the student to prepare a new dissertation, and will generally involve further scientific work.

10.5. Deadlines

The initiative for the appointment of the Dissertation Examination Committee rests with the student in consultation with their Research Advisor. The Graduate School establishes a deadline each term (see the "Important Deadlines" section on the Graduation Information webpage) for submission of the Examination Committee form, and it is the student’s responsibility to make sure this deadline is met.

The student who desires to receive a degree at a particular commencement must take the responsibility for learning about the deadlines for the various stages in the completion of the work and for informing the Research Advisor and the Chair of the Dissertation Committee of these matters.

Further restraints may be imposed by absences of members of the Dissertation Examination Committee. This should be taken into account in the process of nominating and screening potential members for the committee.