Chemistry and Biochemistry

Program FAQ

Choosing a Research Advisor and Advisory Committee:

Program of Study:

Other

How will I choose an advisor?

Refer to the Graduate Student Handbook here.

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When do I choose an advisor, and what is the deadline?

You will formulate that decision during your first semester. It is strongly recommended you officially submit your request for your advisor before the end of your first semester. The deadline for your program of study is the third week of your second semester.

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Can I change my research advisor?

It is not impossible, but highly discouraged. If you feel the need to do this, please discuss it with either the area chair or assistant graduate coordinator.

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How do I form an advisory committee?

Refer to the Graduate Student Handbook here.

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How many faculty members should be on my advisory committee?

A Ph.D. committee should consist of five members; 3-4 should be within your area, and 1-2 should be outside your area.

An M.S. committee should consist of three members; 2 should be within your area and 1 should be outside your area.

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Can members of the advisory committee be from other departments?

Yes, if they are BYU graduate faculty members and approved by your research advisor and department chair.

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Can I change my committee members?

Yes. To do so you should obtain a POS change form from the assistant graduate coordinator. It will be need to be signed by your entire (new) committee. The faculty member(s) who will no longer be on your committee should be informed of this change.

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What is a program of study (POS)?

A program of study is required by Graduate Studies for all graduate students. It outlines all courses the student needs to take to complete their degree, and is signed by the student’s advisory committee, area chair, and graduate coordinator. In order to make any change to the POS, all signatures are again required. Go here for more information.

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How do I formulate a program of study?

Go here to see the courses that are required for your program and area. Obtain the form from the assistant graduate coordinator or download it here. Meet with your research advisor and determine which additional courses should be taken beyond the required courses.

Complete the form, including listing all the courses you will take for your program, have it signed by your committee members, and submit it to the assistant graduate coordinator. She will have it signed by the area chair and graduate coordinator, and will then submit it to Graduate Studies for approval.

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How many credits do I need?

Ph.D. students need 54 credits. Eighteen of these are “dissertation” credits. Ph.D. students who already hold a masters degree need only 36 credits.

M.S. students need 36 credits. Six of these are “thesis” credits.

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Are undergraduate courses allowed on my program of study?

Doctoral students may take only 500-700 level courses. The only exception to this is CHEM 481 which is blanketly approved for Ph.D. students. Other 400-level or below courses are not permitted on a doctoral student’s program of study. If such a course is needed for your research and is approved by your advisory committee, a request can be submitted to the waivers committee. If approved by the waivers committee, you may take the course and it will be paid for along with your POS courses.

M.S. students may take up to 9 credits of 300-400 level courses. All other credits must be 500-level or above.

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What happens if my grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.0?

When calculating your GPA, the department does not look at your research credits; just your coursework. If that GPA falls below 3.0 it will be brought to the attention of the waivers committee. You may be required to retake a course. Generally students are given one semester to get their GPAs up above 3.0, but whenever a student’s GPA falls below 3.0, their standing in the graduate program is compromised and could result in dismissal.

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Can I take a religion course?

All graduate students are permitted to take one religion course per semester at no cost. To do so, get the form from the assistant graduate coordinator or here. Do NOT register for the course. Take the form to the professor of the course you wish to attend and ask him/her for permission to attend the course. If approved, have the professor sign the form and you then submit it to the assistant graduate coordinator who will send it on to Graduate Studies. It is not required to seek permission of your research advisor to take the religion course.

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What if I want to take a course just for fun?

Sometimes graduate students wish to take an extra course just for fun (i.e. exercise or dance). This is discouraged while students are still taking POS courses. However, when you begin full-time research, if you wish to take a non-POS course you are required to ask permission of your research advisor. The advisor grants permission by writing a brief email to the assistant graduate coordinator for your student record. You may then register for the course. You are required to pay for the course yourself before the tuition payment deadline.

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What do I do if I want to change my degree level – from a Ph.D. to M.S., or vice versa?

Refer to the Graduate Student Handbook here.

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Can I ever take any days off?

Refer to the Graduate Student Handbook here.

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Can I hold a job other than my TA-ship or RA-ship?

Generally your time is not your own. By receiving financial support from the department you are committing your full effort to your coursework and research. It is not acceptable to have any other employment or studies while in this graduate program.

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Last updated 23 May 2013