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This archived information is dated to the 2011-12 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering

The Ph.D. degree is awarded after the completion of a minimum of 135 units of graduate work as well as satisfactory completion of any additional University requirements and the following departmental requirements. Completion of a M.S. degree is not a prerequisite for beginning, pursuing, or completing doctoral work.

Unit and Course Requirements—A minimum of 135 completed units, including a minimum of 45 units of lecture course work, is required for the Ph.D. degree. The following courses are required: CHEMENG 300, 310, 320, 340, 345, and 355, plus two courses in the CHEMENG 440, 450, or 460 series. These are to be taken at Stanford, and any petition to substitute another graduate-level course for any of these core courses must be approved by the department chair. The remaining lecture courses may be chosen from graduate-level science and engineering lecture courses in any department and, by petition to the department chair, from upper-division undergraduate lecture courses in the sciences and engineering. Three units of CHEMENG 699 must be completed and may be included in the required 45 units of lecture courses. Additionally, 1, 2, or 3 units of seminar courses with faculty developed curricula, such as CHEMENG 459, may be substituted for up to 3 units of the unspecified lecture courses, but not for any of the specified CHEMENG courses above. All proposals for Ph.D. course work must be approved by the student's adviser and the department chair or his designee. Students admitted to Ph.D. candidacy should enroll each quarter in the 500 series, 600, and 699 as appropriate and as study list unit limits permit. Students with questions or issues should see departmental student services. Predoctoral students may petition for a M.S. degree program to be added to their university record. When the petition is approved, students may apply in Axess for M.S. degree conferral once the requirements for that degree have been fulfilled (see the "Master of Science in Chemical Engineering" section in this bulletin). The M.S. degree must be awarded within the University's candidacy period for completion of a master's degree.

Minimum Grade Requirement—Any course intended to satisfy the Ph.D. degree requirements must be taken for a letter grade, if offered. An overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 must be maintained for these courses.

Qualifying Examination—To be advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree, the student must pass both parts of the qualifying examination. The first part is held at the beginning of Spring Quarter, or the third quarter of study, and the first-year student is asked to make an oral presentation to the faculty of a critical review of a published paper. This preliminary examination, in addition to performance in courses and during research rotations, is the basis for determining whether or not a first-year student is to be allowed by faculty to choose a research adviser and to begin doctoral research work immediately. Failure in the first part of the qualifying examination normally leads to termination of a student's study towards the Ph.D. degree; however, the student may continue to work toward an M.S. degree (see the "Master of Science in Chemical Engineering" section of this bulletin). It also precludes any financial aid beyond that already awarded. Students who pass the preliminary examination take the second part of the qualifying examination at the beginning of their second year, or the fifth quarter. This second examination before the faculty is an oral presentation of their thinking about their research proposal and current progress and an examination of the specifics as well as their understanding of the fundamental chemical, physical, and biological concepts that govern the molecular behavior of the system being studied. Students who pass both parts of the qualifying examination must promptly submit to graduate student services an Application for Candidacy for Doctoral Degree form which has been approved by their research adviser(s), and at the same time establish their doctoral dissertation reading committees.

Reading Committee Requirement—All Ph.D. candidates are required to assemble reading committees and to have an initial meeting with the full committee by the end of their seventh quarter. Reading committee meetings are not examinations; they are intended to be discussion sessions to help focus and guide the dissertation project. Following the initial committee meeting, additional meetings must take place no less than once per year until all the requirements for the Ph.D. degree are satisfied. The department encourages students to take advantage of the benefits of more frequent meetings with their full reading committee. It is the student's responsibility to schedule committee meetings and to assist in the maintenance of degree progress records by reporting the meeting dates to the student services manager.

Teaching Requirement—Teaching experience is considered an essential component of doctoral training because it assists in the further development and refinement of candidates' skills in conveying what they know, think, and conclude, based on articulated assumptions and knowledge. All Ph.D. candidates, regardless of the source of their financial support, are required to assist in the teaching of a minimum of two chemical engineering courses.

Dissertation and Oral Defense Requirements—A dissertation based on a successful investigation of a fundamental problem in chemical engineering is required. Within approximately five calendar years after enrolling in the Ph.D. program, a student is expected to have fulfilled all the requirements for this degree, including the completion of a dissertation approved by his or her research adviser(s). Upon adviser approval, copies of the final draft of a dissertation must be distributed to each reading committee member. No sooner than three weeks after this distribution, a student may schedule an oral examination. This examination is a dissertation defense, based on the candidate's dissertation research, and is in the form of a public seminar followed by a private examination by the faculty members on the student's oral examination committee. Satisfactory performance in the oral examination and acceptance of an approved dissertation by Graduate Degree Progress, Office of the University Registrar, leads to Ph.D. degree conferral.

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