The Doctor of Philosophy is a research degree. It signifies that the recipient is able to conduct independent research and has both a broad basic knowledge of all areas of chemistry and a comprehensive knowledge of one field in particular.
Since graduate students arrive with a variety of backgrounds, some with M.S. degrees from other institutions in the United States and abroad, the program of courses for each student is designed in consultation with the director of graduate studies, taking each student’s specific background, experience, and interests into account.
Students must satisfactorily complete at least 72 points derived from courses and research, at least 32 of which must be taken in residence at New York University. 20 points of credit must be earned in actual course work maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater. A grade of B- or better in all classes is required to maintain in good standing in the program. All doctoral candidates are required to register for Professional Development in the Sciences, CHEM-GA 2673, during the first semester in residence, Graduate Seminar, CHEM-GA 3010, during the fall term of the second year, Original Research Proposal, CHEM-GA 3200, during the fall semester of their third year, and to attend at least twenty colloquia presented by distinguished visiting scientists, at least ten prior to the qualifying exam and another 10 prior to the thesis defense. Students gain laboratory research experience in two groups during their first semester in residence. This laboratory experience provides student with direct exposure to techniques and methodology used in the various labs and helps them to choose a thesis adviser.
Students can select a research advisor at the end of the Fall semester in their first year of residency.
Students are required to submit their core dissertation committee, four faculty members including the thesis advisor, by the beginning of the fall semester of their second year. The chair of the dissertation committee may not be the same person as the advisor. Prior to taking the Dissertation Evaluation Exam, students must choose an additional outside reader to serve on their final dissertation committee. Students who have not graduated by the end of the 5th year are required to hold a formal meeting with the dissertation committee at the end of the 5th year and of each subsequent year of enrollment to ensure progress toward graduation. This formal meeting will consist of an uninterrupted seminar presentation by the student, questions from committee, discussion of thesis timeline, and discussion of an individual development plan. If a student graduates by the end of year 5, this meeting is not required.
The following examinations are required:
Ph.D. Qualifying Exam—This exam consists of both written and oral components. Students must present their up to date research before their core dissertation committee at the end of their second year in residence.
Original Research Proposal Exam—Students are required to present an original research proposal to their core dissertation committee during the third year in residence in the form of a written report and an oral presentation. An original proposal provides an opportunity for the student to demonstrate proficiency in the design, planning and communication of an original research problem. Students are asked to propose a series of experiments to a specific problem or system or the application of an existing technique to a specific problem or application. The proposal must be original, meaning that there should be no overlap with the student’s dissertation topic and the proposed technique and/or application should not have appeared in the scientific literature.
Departmental Seminar—Students must present their work at a departmental Research in Progress Seminar or departmental retreat no later than by the end of the 4th year of study. To allow flexibility in scheduling, the Research in Progress seminars will be held twice a month during the academic year. The student can complete this requirement during the 3rd or 4th year of graduate study.
Dissertation—This exam consists of written and an oral presentation before the student’s dissertation committee members and it is open to the chemistry community and the public. The exam is approximately 45-50 minutes in length. The exam is judged on a pass/fail basis.
Doctoral Thesis: The heart of the doctoral program is the research leading to the preparation of the doctoral dissertation or doctoral thesis. The accumulation of high grades in formal courses, while important, is secondary to the demonstration of a capacity for original thinking and the completion of an investigation that contributes significantly to chemical knowledge. When the thesis is finalized, it is read by the core dissertation committee and one additional faculty member who is referred to as reader. All dissertation committee members must approve of the final version of the thesis prior to the public defense.