Department of Chemistry Biochemistry

Choosing a research advisor

What is the deadline for choosing a research advisor?

Can I change my research advisor?

Can I have a research advisor outside the Chem. & Biochem. department?

Can I choose a research advisor who is not a tenure track faculty?

Can I choose a research advisor who is an Emeritus faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry?

Can I have a co-advisor?

The supervisory, oral examination and dissertation committees

What is the supervisory committee? When do I choose it?

Can members of the supervisory committee be from other departments?

Can members of the supervisory committee be non-tenure track researchers?

Can I change my committee members?

What is the oral examination committee? When do I choose it?

Can members of the oral examination committee be from other departments?

Can members of the oral examination committee be non-tenure track researchers?

Can I change the chair of my oral exam?

What is the difference between the supervisory committe, the oral examination committeeand the dissertation committee?

Can members of the dissertation committee be from other departments?

Program of studies and coursework

I took graduate courses in another institution. Can I transfer the credits?

What is the program of study (POS)? When do I need to submit it?

How many classes do I need to take each semester?

Can I take classes outside the department?

Can I take 300-level classes? 400-level?

How many classes do I need to pass before taking the oral exams?

What happens if my GPA drops below 3.0?

How many times do I have to take CHM 501? Can I choose any CHM 501 course?

The oral exam

When do I have to take the oral exam? What happens if I cannot take the oral exam on time?

Can I take the oral exam before my 4th semester?

Can I take the oral exam after my 4th semester?

What happens if I fail the oral exam?

Other

What is a Masters in Passing? Should I apply for a MIP?

What do I have to do to drop to the Masters program? Can I reapply to the Ph.D. program afterwards?

I am on a TA assistantship; can I take time off during the winter holidays and summer months?




ANSWERS

What is the deadline for choosing a research advisor?

At the end of the first semester students select a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry who agrees to serve as their Research Advisor. The research advisor must sign the Committee Selection Form. The advisor selection should be made only after students interview professors in their area of research interest. Students should fill out the committee selection form to make the commitment official. This form should be submitted to the Graduate Programs Coordinator, immediately after it is signed by the student and the research advisor.
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Can I change my research advisor?

Changing an advisor is not encouraged, but if circumstances justify the need, it is possible. Use this form to petition a change of research advisor to the Graduate Program Committee. The petition should be supported by both your old and new advisor.
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Can I have a research advisor outside the Chem. & Biochem. department?

Members of other departments can serve as co-advisors, but your research advisor should be a faculty member of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
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Can I choose a research advisor who is not a tenure track faculty?

No, your research advisor has to be a tenure-track faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Non-tenure track faculty can serve as co-advisors.
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Can I choose a research advisor who is an Emeritus faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry?

Generally no, but individual approvals can be requested to the Graduate College. A note from the Emeritus faculty saying that he/she will be physically present at the student's defense should be included. Talk to the Graduate Programs Coordinator to analyze individual situations.
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Can I have a co-advisor? Who can serve as a co-advisor?

Yes, you can have a co-advisor from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry or other science or engineering departments. Non-tenure track faculty can also serve as co-advisors. Moreover, you can have a co-advisor from other institutions (e.g. Mayo clinic) or from the private sector (e.g. Motorola). Co-advisors who are not affiliated with ASU need to be approved by the Graduate College. Talk to the Graduate Programs Coordinator to discuss the paperwork involved.
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What is the supervisory committee? When do I choose it?

Students must select a supervisory committee before the end of their second semester (i.e. the end of the first year of study). The supervisory committee will serve as the student's primary research board and as the dissertation committee who evaluates the student for graduation from the program.
The chair of the supervisory committee is your research advisor. At least one of the two members of the supervisory committee(members A and B, figure 2) should be faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The other member can be selected from other science or engineering departments. Committee members who are not tenure track ASU faculty members need to be approved by the Graduate College. Talk to the Graduate Programs Coordinator to discuss the paperwork involved.
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Can members of the supervisory committee be from other departments?

Yes, one of the members of the supervisory committee can be from other science or engineering departments at ASU, or from related departments of institutes outside ASU (e.g. Mayo Clinic). However, the chair (your research advisor) and at least one other member (member A or B) should be from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Note that committee members who are not tenure track ASU faculty members need to be approved by the Graduate College. Talk to the Graduate Programs Coordinator to discuss the paperwork involved.

Can members of the supervisory committee be non-tenure track researchers?

Yes, however note that committee members who are not tenure track need to be approved by the Graduate College. Talk to the Graduate Programs Coordinator to discuss the paperwork involved.
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Can I change my committee members?

Yes. All requests should be addressed to the GPC and supported by your research advisor.
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What is the oral examination committee? When do I choose it?

Your oral examination committee is formed by a chair appointed by the GPC, the two members of the supervisory committee, and another member from any science or engineering department. This last member will serve in your oral examination committee, but it's not part of your dissertation committee (see figure 2).
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Can members of the oral examination committee be from other departments?

One of the members of the oral examination committee can be from any science or engineering department (member C, figure 2). However, the other two members, who are also part of the supervisory committee, should be from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
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Can members of the oral examination committee be non-tenure track researchers?

Yes, however note that oral examination committee members who are not tenure track need to be approved by the Graduate College. Talk to the Graduate Programs Coordinator to discuss the paperwork involved.

Can I change the chair of my oral exam?

The chair of the oral exam is selected by the Graduate Programs Committee. Petitions for changes should be addressed to the committee, who will decide if a change is appropriate. Petitions should be supported by the student's advisor. Acceptable reasons for petitioning a change of chair include prolonged absences due to sabbatical leaves or unusually long trips. If the petition is approved, the Graduate Programs Committee will assign you a new chair. Note that you cannot choose or suggest an oral exam chair, do not include a name in your petition.
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What is the difference between the supervisory committee, the oral examination committeeand the dissertation committee?

While your research advisor is the chair of both your supervisory and dissertation committees, the chair of the oral examination committee is appointed by the GPC. Your research advisor is not part of the oral examination committee.
Furthermore, the oral examination committeehas an extra member (member C, figure 2), who is not part of your supervisory and dissertation committees. This member is present during your oral examination only, and can be a faculty of any science or engineering department.
Also, you may choose to add members to your dissertation committee (member D, figure 2). These members will not be present in your oral examination, and won't be part of your supervisory committee.
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Can members of the dissertation committee be from other departments? What about non-tenure track researchers?

Yes, you can add members from science or engineering departments to your dissertation committee (member D, figure 2). Also, one of the members of your dissertation committee can be from other departments (member A or B). Note that dissertation committee members who are not tenure track ASU faculty need to be approved by the Graduate College. Talk to the Graduate Programs Coordinator to discuss the paperwork involved.
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I took graduate courses in another institution. Can I transfer the credits?

Graduate course work taken at other accredited institutions may be included in the program of study provided that it meets the objectives of the program, as defined by the Graduate Program Committee, and is approved by the Graduate Programs Committee. Usually, an earned Master's degree may be included in a program of study as the equivalent of thirty (30) credit hours of graduate credit toward the Ph.D. degree.
Students are required to send a letter to the attention of the Graduate Programs Committee stating which courses they want to transfer. The GPC will then review the letter and approve or deny the courses for transfer. Then, for the approved courses, the GPC will recommend the transfer of credits for the student. Then the student will list the approved courses on his/her Program of Study.

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What is the program of study (POS)? When do I need to submit it?

The POS is basically an agreement between the student and the department indicating courses the student needs to take to complete program requirements. The POS is required by the Graduate College for all degree programs and must be approved by the Graduate College before a student can graduate (M.S.) or take the oral exam and advance to candidacy (Ph.D.). The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry requires students to complete the POS during the third semester in the program. The process of completing and submitting the POS is done through the ASU Interactive website. Students must print the committee signature form, have each member sign it and submit it to the Graduate Programs Coordinator. This must be done before the POS is forwarded on to the Graduation Office and Graduate College for processing and final approval. Read the Graduate Handbook for helpful tips and more information.
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How many classes do I need to take each semester?

Ph.D. students are required to take a total of six graduate courses, including four 500-level courses. Up to two courses can be 400-level upon recommendation of the faculty mentor/advisor. CHM/BCH 501 courses are also required, but do not count towards this quota.
There is no requirement regarding the number of classes a student needs to take each semester. However, the student shoudt take four 500-classes before his/her oral examination.
The Graduate Program Committee does not recommend taking more than two classes in each semester, so as to allow enough time for research. However, the student should discuss these recommendations with his/her advisor.

M.S. students are required to take a total of four graduate courses before the thesis defense. One 400 level course can replace one of the required 500-level course only after advice of the faculty mentor/advisor and/or the supervisory committee. All 500 level courses must be either 2 or 3 credit hours. CHM/BCH 501 courses are also required, but do not count towards this quota. There is no requirement regarding the number of classes a student needs to take each semester. The Graduate Program Committee does not recommend taking more than two classes in each semester, so as to allow enough time for research. However, the student should discuss these recommendations with his/her advisor.
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Can I take classes outside the department?

Ph.D. students: Two of the six required courses can be taken at a science or engineering department outside chemistry as long as the courses are related to the student's field of research.
M.S. students: One of the four required courses can be taken at a science or engineering department outside chemistry as long as it is related to the student's field of research.
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Can I take 300-level classes? 400-level?

Up to two/one (Ph.D./M.S.) 400 level courses can be taken after recommendation of the faculty mentor/advisor. 300-level courses do not count towards a graduate degree.
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How many classes do I need to pass before taking the oral exams?

Students should have completed at least four 500-level courses before the oral examination.
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What happens if my GPA drops below 3.0?

Graduate students should maintain a cumulative GPC of 3.0 on a yearly basis. Students whose GPA drops below 3.0 will be cited to discuss the situation with members of the Graduate Program Committee and are subject to departmental probation.
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How many times do I have to take CHM 501? Can I choose any CHM 501 course?

All entering graduate students are required to register in the special section of CHM 501 presented during the Fall semester which is devoted to a series of seminars by the faculty covering their own research projects and interests. (Student's entering in January will register for the special section of CHM 501 when it is offered the following semester.)
In subsequent semesters, students must enroll in CHM 501 in an area appropriate to their research interests. Ph.D. students are required to take 8 semesters of CHM 501 (including the special section for incoming students). M.S. students are required to take 4 semesters. The seminar courses count towards the required coursework but are not part of the 6 - 500 level courses. The 501 seminars are graded in the A-E system.
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When do I have to take the oral exam? What happens if I cannot take the oral exam on time?

You are expected to take the oral exam before the spring break of your fourth semester. Any student who does not complete the Oral Examination by this deadline may be placed on departmental probation. Requests for extensions should be addressed to the Graduate Program Committee no later than six weeks before the spring break of your fourth semester, and should be supported by a letter from your advisor. Your petition should include an explanation of the extenuating circumstances that prevent you to complete the exam on time together with an alternate timeline approved by your advisor and your oral examination committee. Note that oral exams cannot be held during the summer semester unless your examination committee and oral exam chair agree to do so in writing.
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Can I take the oral exam before my 4th semester?

Yes, you can take your oral exam before your 4th semester. However, it is recommended that you discuss it with your advisor and advisory committee to find out if they believe you have enough research accomplishments to do so.
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Can I take the oral exam after my 4th semester?

Only if an extension was granted to you by the Graduate Program Committee. If you believe there are valid reasons to request an extension, contact the Graduate Program Committee as soon as possible. Your petition for an extension should include an explanation of the extenuating circumstances that prevent you to complete the exam on time together with an alternate timeline approved by your advisor and your oral examination committee. Note that oral exams cannot be held during the summer semester unless your examination committee and oral exam chair agree to do so in writing.
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What happens if I fail the oral exam?

A decision will be made based on the recommendation of the oral examination committee and your advisor. Some of the possibilities include dropping to the M.S. degree, dropping to the M.N.S. degree, or terminating without a degree. Students who failed the oral exam are not eligible for the Masters in Passing degree.
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What is a Masters in Passing? Should I apply for a MIP?

This degree is only offered to students pursuing a Ph.D. This degree will not be offered to students who have previously earned a M.S. in Chemistry from Arizona State University or any other institution. However, the Master's in Passing (MIP) can be offered to students who previously earned a master's degree(s) in other fields of specialization. The Graduate Program Committee does not recommend that students apply for a MIP unless they need to leave the Ph.D. program under circumstances that prevent them to get a degree. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of obtaining a Masters in Passing with their advisor.
Eligibility: The student must have completed 30 hours of credit, including at least four (4) 500 level courses (3 credits each), four CHM/BCH 501 seminars (1 credit each), and 14 credits of CHM 792 research. Moreover, the student must have passed the oral examination.
Requirements: Students who desire to complete a MIP degree must write a research portfolio and they must give a presentation during the semester immediately following their Doctoral Oral Examination (technically this should be their fifth semester in residence). Please read the Graduate Handbook for details concerning the research portfolio style and paperwork process.

Ph.D. students who do not pass the Doctoral Oral Examination are not eligible for the MIP degree.
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What do I have to do to drop to the Masters program? Can I reapply to the Ph.D. program afterwards?

Please talk to the Graduate Programs Coordinator to analyze your particular case.
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I am on a TA assistantship; can I take time off during the winter holidays and summer months?

Students who wish to take time off during the winter holidays and summer months must approve the absence with their research advisor. This is true even for students supported on TA assistantships. No student should take time off unless he/she arranges an agreement with his/her research advisor first. The decision to allow leave will be left solely up to the research advisor's discretion and will be based on the student's academic progress, arrangements to make up the missed time, and any current deadlines or projects.
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