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Second Year

M.S. Completion

Students may be required to complete an M.S. degree prior to continuing on to the Ph.D. program. Generally students will fulfill this requirement during the second year of the program.  The M.S. degree requires successful completion of a research program and defense of a thesis. During the semester in which a student plans to complete this degree, he or she must apply to graduate through the Graduate School and complete all requirements. Further information regarding the graduation process can be found on the Graduation Procedures page.

Candidacy Exam

The Candidacy Examination is a comprehensive test administered by a committee of faculty and is based on the fundamentals of the broad area of chemistry in which the student is specializing.  The student’s progress in research will be evaluated by the exam committee.  Satisfactory performance in this examination or series of examinations admits the student to candidacy for the doctoral degree at the end of the term in which the exam is passed.  The exam should be completed during the second year in the program.  Only students requiring further evaluation via completion of an M.S. degree should initiate their Candidacy Examination in a timeframe such that it may be completed by the end of spring semester of their third year.  All candidacy exams must be completed on or before the end-of-semester deadline listed in the Graduation Calendar in order for a student to be considered post-candidacy for the following semester.  Exam requirements are listed in the Chemistry Graduate Program Handbook and Graduate School requirements are listed in the Graduate School Handbook, but students should note that the process takes many weeks to complete and should plan accordingly. Detailed information about the path to candidacy can be found here.

Candidacy Timeline

  • Develop aims in the autumn semester of the second year and have them approved before Thanksgiving (the 4th Thursday of November).
  • Write proposal in January-February of second year and have it approved by March 15th.
    • To maintain reasonable progress, students must submit the written proposal to the committee for evaluation no later than March 15th of the year in which they must advance. Students will provide a copy to the Graduate Studies Office at the same time for tracking purposes.
      • Once the document has been revised and is ready for approval, a PDF should be provided to the Graduate Studies Office and signatures will be collected from each committee member electronically via DocuSign.
  • Hold oral exam no later than the final day of the Spring semester of the second year.
    • Once the document has been approved, students can schedule the oral portion of the exam and submit the “Application for Candidacy” via GRADFORMS
      • This application must be approved by the advisor and Vice Chair of Graduate Studies a minimum of two weeks before the date of the oral exam. 
      • Once your application has been approved by these two individuals it will appear as Pending* (with asterisk) which is acceptable for the Graduate School deadline.

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