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Carnegie Mellon Department of Chemistry

Guide to Graduate Studies

Evaluation of Student Standing and Progress Toward Ph.D.

Petitions for Extension

An extension of any of the Department’s program requirements requires petitioning the Graduate Program Committee, (1) explaining what makes the circumstances exceptional, (2) proposing an alternate deadline, and (3) providing a plan for satisfying the requirement as soon as possible. For example, serious illness or a death in the family would be exceptional circumstances, and the desire to finish a paper for publication would not be exceptional. Extensions may be given by the advisor, in consultation with the GPC Co-Chairs, only for health issues when circumstances are urgent or serious and do not allow time for a formal petition to the Graduate Program Committee. However, even in the urgent case, the advisor must provide some written record (e.g. a short email) to support an extension until discussion with the student can be reasonably arranged.

All petitions for extensions need to include a specific plan for satisfying the requirements. In addition, students on probation must offer a plan for gaining good standing. All plans must include a timeline with observable milestones in terms of courses, projected grades, TA assignment (if any is expected), and concrete evidence of research progress such as written research reports, posters or papers accepted at meetings, submitted publications, and/or patent applications. Supporting documents need to be attached with the petition as evidence of current research progress. A physician’s or psychologist’s note is needed to support a semester of extension based on ongoing personal/health issues, as opposed to a leave of absence which might also be considered for serious personal/health issues when the student would not be able to work full-time.

The normal extension request is for an additional 2–6 weeks, or up to one semester, with the possibility of an additional extension for students who have changed groups and need to establish research in the new group prior to the research progress report requirement or who have documented exceptional circumstances. As part of the petition review, the student, advisor or GPC may request formal input from the student and the advisory committee, and the advisor and GPC may place additional conditions on the continuation of the student in the Ph.D. program as a result of the review.

In general, petitions for extensions should be received four weeks before the start of the semester in which completion of the requirement is expected or as soon as possible, if the reason for the extension request is health or personal and cannot be foreseen. Note that extensions for the original research proposal will be granted only in rare cases.

If a potential extension is discussed with either of the GPC Co-Chairs in person, it is the student’s responsibility to summarize any agreements made in writing for consideration by the GPC. Requests should not be considered approved until written approval comes from the GPC.