Doctoral students in Chemistry are required to complete a minimum of 60 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate. All 60 credits hours must be completed from courses at the 700-level. For students entering the Ph.D. program with an approved M.S. degree in Chemistry or a closely related discipline, at least 30 credit hours must be completed in the Ph.D. program at UNLV comprised of courses at the 700-level.
The doctoral degree requires course work, a proposal defense, a comprehensive oral and written examination, and a written dissertation. All students are required to complete and publicly defend a dissertation describing their research. It is suggested and expected that each student publish at least one research-based manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal prior to graduation.
Students will be advised on which courses to take by the faculty within each discipline of study. It is suggested that students take between 18 – 21 credit hours of 700 level courses with additional credit hours comprised of a combination of:
(a minimum of 12 credits)
(minimum, 1 credit)
(minimum, 1 credit)
(5 credits, 3 presentations minimum)
The faculty in the division of study will determine if course work from the M.S. degree are comparable to existing 700 level courses offered in the Department of Chemistry. Students will be notified by the department in writing within the first semester of enrollment which courses from their M.S. degree will be accepted toward the requirements for the Ph.D. degree.
Satisfactory progress toward meeting the degree requirements is required of all candidates. Satisfactory progress is defined as, at a minimum:
1. All students are required to maintain a minimum a 3.00 grade point average in all graduate-level courses. Two grades of B- are permitted in the degree program as long as the GPA remains at or above 3.00. One grade of C+ or lower will result in academic probation even if the overall GPA is above 3.0. Two grades of C+ or lower will result in automatic suspension or separation from the program.
2. A dissertation advisor must be chosen by the end of the first semester, and the Doctoral Advisory Committee must be appointed prior to the end of the second semester. An approved graduate degree program must be filed prior to the beginning of the third semester of enrollment. All students must meet these deadlines; failure to do so will result in academic probation. Failure of a student on academic probation to meet these requirements within the next semester could result in separation from the program.
The Doctoral Advisory Committee must consist of the faculty advisor (chair), chemistry graduate faculty in the discipline of study, one additional chemistry graduate faculty member, and one graduate-college representative from outside the department. Failure to identify an advisor and form this committee will result in the student being placed on academic probation. The use of committee members external to UNLV is allowed with approval from the examination committee. External members without graduate faculty status at UNLV will be non-voting members of the Ph.D. examination committee.
3. All students are required to schedule an interview with the advisor either before or during the first semester of study. If the student does not select an advisor, the Graduate Coordinator will assign a temporary advisor. The purpose of the initial interview is to develop a plan of course work for the first year.
4. All students are required to schedule a diagnostic interview with the Doctoral Advisory Committee before the end of the 2nd semester. The purpose of the interview is to develop a list of recommended courses and design the student’s degree program, which must be submitted prior to completing 16 credits of course work toward the degree.
5. All students must prepare a dissertation proposal for a Proposal Defense Examination. The student will register for CHEM 796 Dissertation Prospectus. This examination must be completed prior to the end of the fourth semester. To remain in good standing students are required to develop and defend a dissertation prospectus no later than the fourth semester of enrollment. If a student does not defend a dissertation prospectus they will be placed on academic probation. The Proposal Defense Examination focuses on the dissertation proposal and the student’s ability to perform the research. It includes a formal oral presentation of the student’s dissertation proposal, research to date, and questions by the dissertation advisory committee on the dissertation topic. The Proposal Defense Examination is to be taken prior to the Comprehensive Examination.
6. Advancement to Candidacy. Students will advance to candidacy if the Comprehensive Examination is passed and the enrolled coursework is successfully completed based on the evaluation of the students Doctoral Advisory Committee. The comprehensive exam will consist of written and oral components as defined by the Ph.D. Examination Committee. Satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination requires that Ph.D. students have a basic knowledge of the discipline of study. It also requires the student to follow the guidelines established for each discipline (i.e., Biochemistry, Physical Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry). The student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee or the faculty from the discipline of study will determine the format and content of both the written and oral exams.
7. The Ph.D. Examination Committee will determine if the student passes the Comprehensive Examination. If a student fails any part of the Comprehensive Examination, the Ph.D Examination Committee will determine if the student is allowed to retake the portion of the comprehensive exam that is not passed.
Students who fail to pass any part of the Comprehensive Examination or Proposal Defense on the first attempt must successfully complete a second attempt (as specified by the Ph.D. Examination Committee) within the next six months to remain in the program.
Failure to advance to candidacy by the end of the sixth semester of enrollment will result in the student being placed on academic probation. Failure to advance to candidacy by the end of the seventh semester will result in the student being separated from the program.
Students who enter the program with a baccalaureate degree and who fail the second examination may be allowed to continue as a Master of Science student with the consent of the Doctoral Advisory Committee.
Students who entered the program with a master’s degree who fail the examination a second time will be separated from the program.
A student who has successfully passed both the Proposal Defense and Comprehensive Examinations will advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.
After advancement, subsequent years of study will be required for the graduate student to complete their degree. The duration of this period will depend on the success of the research project as defined by the Doctoral Advisory Committee.
Completed coursework will only be counted towards the graduation requirements of this program for six years, if the student completed a master’s degree or eight years if the student completed a baccalaureate degree. It is recommended that students publish at least one research-based manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal prior to graduation.
Satisfactory performance on the final examination will consist of the presentation and defense of the dissertation research. The defense will consist of an oral presentation open to the public, a short period of questions from the public, a closed session of questions from the Doctoral Advisory Committee, and a closed deliberation and vote by just the Doctoral Advisory Committee members. Any graduate faculty member may attend the closed session of questions of the defense.
Sample Program of Study