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Carnegie Mellon Department of Chemistry

Guide to Graduate Studies

Ph.D. Requirements

Advisory Committee

For students entering Fall 2015 and later

The primary purposes of the Advisory Committee are: (1) to evaluate the student’s performance on the research progress report/candidacy exam, original research proposal, and dissertation, and (2) to discuss the student’s progress and provide additional guidance on research and overall professional development. The Committee may also be called upon for input when there are questions about a student’s ability to continue in the Ph.D. program.

Forming the Advisory Committee

Prior to forming advisory committees, students are encouraged to consider the types of knowledge and skill that they would like to develop and to meet with potential committee members to discuss research interests. Students are encouraged to build 1-1 relationships with their Advisory Committee members, some of who may become collaborators, additional mentors or references.

In consultation with the Graduate Program Committee and his/her advisor, a student will select a Research Advisory Committee by the beginning of the third semester in residence. This committee will comprise the membership of the examination committee for the research progress report and original research proposal. The Committee may also be called upon for input when there are questions about a student’s ability to continue in the Ph.D. program. In addition, after the student reaches ABD status, the Advisory Committee will meet with the student approximately annually in Dissertation Progress Meetings to support timely completion of their Ph.D.

A typical Advisory Committee will consist of the Research Advisor(s) and two other Chemistry faculty members, normally from the Tenure Track or Research Track. When it would be advantageous for the student’s research, one of these members may be from outside the department. Note that each faculty member may serve on a limited number of these Advisory Committees to ensure that he/she can provide the appropriate amount of attention to each student. Therefore, students are typically advised to have committees with three faculty members; students with co-advisors should have four members.

Note that advisory committees may need to change when a student plans his/her dissertation defense in order to conform to MCS Guidelines on Doctoral Thesis Committees which require a “visiting” member not affiliated with the department.

Advisory Committee Chair

The student will also select a Chair of the committee, different from the Research Advisor(s), whose role is to oversee and provide feedback on the oral exams for the research progress report/candidacy exam and original proposal, to provide general guidance regarding the original proposal, to help the student in preparing for dissertation progress meetings, and to provide a brief summary and written feedback to the ABD student and the GPC after dissertation progress meetings. The student may also consult with the GPC about choosing a chair.

For students entering Fall 2014 and earlier

In consultation with the Graduate Program Committee and his/her advisor, a student will select a Research Advisory Committee by the beginning of the third semester in residence. The purpose of this Committee is to discuss and assess the student's progress and to provide additional guidance on research and overall professional development. This committee will comprise the membership of the examination committee for the research progress report and original research proposal, although the Graduate Program Committee may add another member if additional expertise is needed in a specific area. The Committee may also be called upon for input when there are questions about a student's ability to continue in the Ph.D. program. In addition, after the student reaches ABD status, the Advisory Committee will meet with the student annually in Dissertation Progress Meetings to support timely completion of their Ph.D.

A typical Advisory Committee will consist of the Research Advisor(s) and two other Chemistry faculty members, normally from the Tenure Track or Research Track. When it would be advantageous for the student's research, one of these members may be from outside the department. Note that each faculty member may serve on a limited number of these Advisory Committees to ensure that he/she can provide the appropriate amount of attention to each student. Therefore, students are typically advised to have committees with three faculty members; students with co-advisors should have four members. Note that advisory committees may need to change when a student plans his/her dissertation defense in order to conform to MCS Guidelines on Doctoral Thesis Committees which require a "visiting" member not affiliated with the department.

The student will also select a Chair of the committee, different from the Research Advisor(s), whose role is to oversee and provide feedback on the oral exams for the research progress report and original proposal, to provide general guidance regarding the original proposal, to help the student in preparing for dissertation progress meetings, and to provide a brief summary and written feedback to the ABD student and the GPC after dissertation progress meetings.