The Graduate Student Handbook is a great source of information and guide. Please keep it handy and refer to it.

How do I select a research adviser?

  • You may choose a research adviser any time during your first semester.
    • You must choose an adviser no later than November 15.
  • You are required to speak individually with faculty members and collect four signatures on the graduate Research Adviser selection form, found in the handbook, before you can join a research group.

How will my progress be reviewed?

  • If you are a first-year student, each semester the Graduate Committee will review your progress.
    • By the end of the first year, you must meet all of the following requirements to remain in good standing in the doctorate program
      • a GPA of 3.0 or better,
      • completion of at least 18 credits of coursework with a grade of B- or better, and
      • passing grades on all four proficiency exams.
    • Other than in exceptional circumstances, a decision to reassign a student from the doctorate to master's degree program is not made until the end of the first year.
  • Following the first year, an academic review is done annually at the end of spring semester.

What forms do I need to complete and when?

You must submit the Graduate Degree Plan Form and the Preliminary Oral Examination and Master-Plan B Defense Committee Form in September of your second year.

Graduate Degree Plan Form

  • Fill out forms for both the doctorate and the Master–Plan B degrees, which will be attempted concurrently with the doctorate preliminary exams.
  • The forms list all of the coursework that apply to the plans.

Preliminary Oral Examination and Master-Plan B Defense Committee Form

  • You must submit the Oral Preliminary Examination and M.S. Plan B Defense Committee form, found in the Graduate Handbook, along with the Graduate Degree Plan Form.
  • The Oral Preliminary Exam Committee members are the same as the three members of the Written Preliminary Exam committee, plus an additional committee member from outside the Chemistry Department.
    • Consult your advisers to select the non-departmental committee member.

Oral preliminary examination

You complete the preliminary oral exam in the spring semester of your second year.

Do I have to pass the exam?

  • You must pass the oral preliminary examination.
    • Possible outcomes are pass, fail with option to retake the examination (one time only), or fail.
    • Graduate School requires 10 weeks before a retake may be scheduled.

Are there consequences for not taking the exam?

  • If you do not take the oral preliminary examination by the beginning of summer term of year second year, you will no longer be in good standing in the doctorate program.
    • You will be reclassified into the master's degree program.

What are the procedures for graduation?

As you get closer to graduation,

Graduate Student Handbook 2018-19


  • General email

    Nancy Thao
    Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies
    115 Smith Hall
    (612) 624-0313

    • Director of Graduate Studies in Chemistry
    • Professor Philippe Buhlmann
    • Director of Graduate Studies In Chemical Physics
    • Professor Aaron Massari