Graduate

Annual Progress Reporting

The Graduate School requires an annual report for each students progress towards their degree. From the Chemistry Department’s perspective, these annual reviews are meant to create a positive sense of direction for the student, and to enhance communication between the student, research advisor, and supervisory committee. Its purpose is also to prevent potentially bad situations from developing, and to aid and direct the student at all stages of the PhD program. It is one way in which the faculty is able to express to the student what the faculty feels is important in graduate education.

A description of required reporting and who is responsible for generating the report is described below.

First Year Students

At the completion of the first year of study, each student will receive a letter from the Director of Graduate Studies detailing the student’s academic standing. In general this will be based on the student’s performance in the academic course work taken during the first year in the program (see Section M). If the student has not achieved the necessary minimum grade point average (3.0) required for good standing, in most instances the student will be placed on academic probation with specific performance expectations for the upcoming academic year spelled out in detail. In rare instances, if the student’s academic performance in the first year has been unusually weak, the student’s graduate program may be terminated.

Second Year Students

The Graduate School requires all graduate students beyond their initial year of study to file annually with the Director of Graduate Studies a written report that details their progress towards the PhD degree. For second year students in chemistry, this report can be the document that was submitted as part of the preliminary examination during the spring semester. At the completion of the second year of study, each student will receive a letter from the Director of Graduate Studies that summarizes the results of the preliminary examination and makes note of any specific recommendations from the student’s PhD committee.

Third Year Students and Beyond

All chemistry graduate students in their third year of study and beyond are required to submit an annual progress report, guidelines for the preparation of which are presented below. This report serves as the basis for the department’s annual review of the professional progress of its advanced graduate students. By May 20, each student should submit copies of this report to his/her research advisor and to the other members of the PhD supervisory committee, with one additional copy being submitted to the DGS office. By May 20, the DGS is required to certify to the Graduate School that all reports from advanced chemistry students have been received.

The annual progress report should normally be no more than two pages in length, and should include:

  • a description of progress made over the previous year (including a listing of coursework, dissertation research, publications, scientific presentations, completed portions of the dissertation, etc.);
  • an approximate target date for the final PhD defense; and
  • an indication of future plans after successful completion of the PhD (post-doctoral, university teaching, law school, etc.).

Depending on the academic year of the student, these annual progress reports will be processed in the following different ways:

Third Year Students: For students completing the third year of study, supervisory committee members should alert the research advisor to any concerns they may have. The research advisor will then indicate to the DGS office whether the student’s progress has been excellent, good, satisfactory, or unsatisfactory. If the student’s progress is deemed satisfactory or better, the research advisor should convey this information to the student, preferably in a one-on-one meeting. If the student’s progress is deemed unsatisfactory, the research advisor should indicate to the DGS the nature of the problem and recommend that the student’s PhD advisory committee be convened in the early Fall of the student’s fourth year of study. Also, because the Fall semester of the fourth year is also the time for students to present and defend an original research proposal, the research proposal committee can recommend that a student’s PhD advisory committee be convened should serious concerns arise during the research proposal defense.

Fifth Year and Beyond Students: For students finishing their fifth year of study and beyond, the supervisory committee members and research director will respond to the annual progress reports in the same manner as for third year students. In addition, each advanced graduate student will meet with the PhD supervisory committee early in the following Fall semester (no later than Nov. 30). Using the annual progress report as a discussion starting point, it is expected that this meeting will last thirty minutes or less as the committee determines the student’s professional trajectory, including developing post-graduation plans. At the conclusion of the meeting the research director will provide the DGS with a summary of any specific recommendations. The research director will also convey the sense of the committee to the student.