Ohio University

Chemistry Ph.D. Specific Requirements

Advancement to Ph.D. Candidacy

Ph.D. candidates must submit and orally defend a dissertation research proposal to their dissertation committee no later than during their fifth semester, excluding summers (i.e. in the Fall of their third year for students who joined in the Fall).

  1. The proposal must be submitted to the student’s committee two weeks before the scheduled oral exam date.
  2. The oral exam also may include comprehensive questions on scientific knowledge and creativity.

The research proposal must be based on the student’s intended dissertation research project, written in the student’s own words (i.e., not copied from one or more literature sources), and must contain the sections listed under Proposal Requirements. (See Research Proposal Requirements.) The proposal must be at least 2,000 words and 10 pages (single-spaced, 1-inch margins) in length (not including references).

Successful completion of this process will be determined by consensus of the student’s dissertation committee. The outcome of this examination will determine whether the student may proceed to the Ph.D. degree or be limited to a terminal M.S. degree. The student’s dissertation committee also may request changes to the proposal or a second defense, at its discretion. In any case, the student must satisfy all requests by the end of the fifth semester of study (excluding summers).

Appeals of the decision for candidacy need to be made to the Graduate Committee before the end of the fifth semester (excluding summers).

  • A positive appeal is only granted for exceptional circumstances and if proper written documentation is supplied from the student, research adviser and the dissertation committee.

If the student fails to advance to Ph.D. candidacy, then financial support is terminated after the fifth semester of support (including summers).

Students will not be recommended for Ph.D. candidacy until the written proposal, oral examination, competency coursework, and the major coursework requirements have been successfully completed.

Starting in their third year, students are typically required to give a graduate seminar (up to 50 minutes) on their current research project. Thorough coverage of background and motivation is recommended. Coherent presentation of experimental results obtained to date is expected, as is an in-depth, logical analysis of those results. It is understood by the audience that these seminars will present a “work in progress;” they need not tell the story of a completed research project. Accordingly, time should be devoted to explain the future directions of the project and how the future work will resolve the problems that remain unanswered.

Starting in their third year, all students must present posters at the annual Ohio University Student Research & Creative Activity Expo.

Pre-Defense Committee Meeting

At least one meeting with the student’s Dissertation Committee to discuss research progress should be held before the final dissertation defense.

Typically this meeting will be in the student’s fourth year and ideally no later than six months before anticipated defense date.


A written dissertation with an oral defense is required.

The dissertation must be acceptable to the student’s adviser, dissertation committee, the department, the college, and the University.

Dissertation Defense

A written dissertation with an oral examination is required for completion of the Ph.D. degree.

The oral examination will consist of two parts. A full-period (50-minute) presentation of the research work will be made before all faculty, graduate students, and interested parties. This will be followed by an oral defense of the dissertation, which will be held before the dissertation committee.

Additional Requirements

Student-specific requirements: The student’s graduate adviser and dissertation committee will determine the specific requirements for each student within the above framework.

Division-Specific Requirements: There are, at present, no division-specific requirements.