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Ph.D. Program Overview

The Ph.D. in Chemistry comprises the following components:


  1. Lecture courses to provide students with extensive depth and breadth of knowledge in major areas of chemistry.


  1. A seminar program designed to supplement the traditional course program with presentations by visiting scholars and by TCU students and faculty. Graduate students are required to present one departmental seminar on a topic selected from the current literature that is distinct from their own research. Students normally present this seminar in their second semester, and present a final seminar describing their Ph.D. work in the last semester in residence.


  1. A research progress report written and oral, to be presented to the student‚Äôs supervisory committee by the end of the second year in residence. The written report must provide a summary of the research results obtained up to that point as well as a plan for the future direction of the student’s research project. The research progress is evaluated on the pass/fail basis.


  1. A cumulative examination program designed to inform faculty of the student’s knowledge and ability in the chosen field and to guide the student in his/her own development. These examinations are administered four times per semester during the academic year in the areas of inorganic, organic, physical chemistry and biochemistry. In general, they are based on advanced coursework and/or the current chemical literature. A student is expected to begin taking cumulative examinations no later than the beginning of the third semester. Students are expected to pass two cumulative exams during their first six attempts, and must pass a total of four cumulative within three semesters (12 attempts total). Part-time students should consult with their faculty adviser concerning time limitations associated with the cumulative examinations.


  1. An original research proposal covering a feasible research plan within their area of interest but outside their current research efforts. This proposal should be at least five double-spaced pages, 12-point font, and not be longer than ten pages including references. The proposal is to be evaluated by the student’s supervisory committee on a pass/fail basis, defended in oral presentation before the supervisory committee, and should be completed by the beginning of the second regular semester following completion of the cumulative exams. Upon completion of the proposal defense, a student is formally admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Admission to candidacy must occur at least one full semester before graduation.


  1. A teaching experience  Each student is required to participate in four semesters of teaching, normally as an assistant in an undergraduate laboratory course. During these semesters the student enrolls in CHEM 50120. The department considers teaching experience to be an essential part of the graduate training program.


  1. A dissertation that is based upon the successful completion of an original research project. Each student defends the dissertation in an oral examination before the student’s supervisory committee.