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Carnegie Mellon Department of Chemistry

Guide to Graduate Studies

Ph.D. Requirements

Courses

For students entering Fall 2015 and later

The purpose of the course requirement is for students to display mastery of their field and in-depth knowledge appropriate for conducting research.

The equivalent of at least four full-semester graduate-level lecture or laboratory courses in chemistry or closely related fields must be passed with a B or better in each course by the end of three semesters in residence. Students are encouraged to take at least one course outside of their research area, which may include courses in other departments. Relevant department policies related to course work include the following:

Additional relevant university policies include:

Course Advising

Students, in consultation with the GPC and their research advisors, may plan a program of courses both to fit their background and interests and to satisfy the Ph.D. requirements. While well-prepared students often take the minimum four full-semester courses, students are advised to take additional work as needed for their background, career goals, and research interests. With permission of their research advisor, interested students may be able to take or audit a course in management, teaching, or policy that may be of interest for their career paths. Note that such courses do not count as one of the four required courses in chemistry or closely related fields. For non-credit options with flexible scheduling, please see also the Professional Development Seminar Series offered through the Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate Education and programs offered through the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. NOTE: Students who are interested in completing the M.S. in Chemistry need additional coursework and an overall GPA of 3.0. They are advised to seek advice from the GPC Co-Chairs by the beginning of the 3rd semester in residence (See M.S. Requirements.)

Expectations and Outcomes

Two grades of C or a single grade lower than C will lead to probation and to review of the student’s standing by the GPC each semester until the course work requirement is satisfied. To continue in the Ph.D. program, the student must earn a B or better in each course for enough GPC-approved courses in the subsequent semester(s) to remain on track to satisfy the course work requirement by the end of the third semester. Note that advisors are strongly encouraged to review a student’s grades before accepting him/her into their research groups and low grades may lead to an advisor’s negative decision.

The course requirement normally must be completed before the student is eligible to complete the research progress report oral exam and is required to advance to Ph.D. candidacy. Failure to meet the course work requirement by the end of the third semester is grounds for termination from the program. If terminated from the Ph.D. program, students who have not yet completed the M.S. degree may be eligible to transfer to the M.S. program for one semester as described under Academic Actions and Appeals.

For students entering Fall 2014 and earlier

The equivalent of at least four full-semester graduate-level lecture or laboratory courses in chemistry or closely related fields must be passed with a B or better in each course by the end of three semesters in residence. Students are encouraged to take at least one course outside of their research area. One relevant upper-level course (typically 500-level or higher) in another department may be considered for graduate credit; approval by the GPC for the course is required. The purpose of the course requirement is for students to display mastery of their field and in-depth knowledge appropriate for conducting research.

Students are also required to complete 09-700 Introduction to Research to become familiar with faculty and research in the department and 09-911 Graduate Seminar to develop skills in reading and presenting the chemistry literature. These units do not count toward the four full-semester graduate lecture and laboratory courses.

Students, in consultation with the GPC and their research advisors, may plan a program of courses both to fit their background and interests and to satisfy the Ph.D. requirements. While well-prepared students often take the minimum four full-semester courses, students are advised to take additional work as needed for their background and research area. NOTE: Students who are interested in completing the M.S. in Chemistry typically need additional coursework and an overall GPA of 3.0 (See M.S. Requirements for details)

If a student repeats a course, note that the first grade will continue to appear on the student's transcript and will be counted in the GPA used for the M.S. degree.

Courses may be taken in other departments or at the University of Pittsburgh (through cross-registration) with the approval of the Academic Advisor. The Department of Chemistry accepts the grading policy of other departments and the University of Pittsburgh for approved courses.

Students may request transfer of credit for up to two previous graduate courses from other institutions that are equivalent to courses offered at Carnegie Mellon. The student must provide a sufficient course description for such courses and obtain signatures from the Carnegie Mellon course instructor, his/her advisor, and the Graduate Program Committee. An approval form is available from the Graduate Program Assistant. A minimum grade of B is required to transfer credit for a course. Also, courses needed to meet the requirements of a previously received degree may not be transferred.

Expectations and Outcomes

Two grades of C or a single grade lower than C will lead to probation and to review of the student's standing by the GPC each semester until the course work requirement is satisfied. To continue in the Ph.D. program, the student must earn a B or better in each course for enough GPC-approved courses in the subsequent semester(s) to remain on track to satisfy the course work requirement by the end of the third semester. Note that advisors are strongly encouraged to review a student's grades before accepting him/her into their research groups and low grades may lead to an advisor's negative decision.

The course requirement normally must be completed before the student is eligible to complete the research progress report oral exam and is required to advance to Ph.D. candidacy. Failure to meet the course work requirement by the end of the third semester is grounds for termination from the program. With the agreement of the advisor, the student may petition the GPC in writing to request an extension beyond the third semester to complete the course requirement. (See Petitions for Extension) If terminated from the Ph.D. program, students who have not yet completed the M.S. degree may be eligible to transfer to the M.S. program for one semester as described under Academic Actions and Appeals.