Sep 26, 2023  
USC Catalogue 2023-2024 
USC Catalogue 2023-2024

Chemistry (PhD)

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Qualifying Exam Committee

The qualifying exam committee is composed of the research adviser, three other members of the Chemistry Department, and one member from outside the Chemistry Department. The committee is appointed prior to the screening procedure.

Course Requirements

The student must pass a series of graduate courses totaling at least 24 units. The qualifying exam committee may require more than 24 units of graduate course work. Sixty units of registration, including CHEM 790  and CHEM 794a  CHEM 794b  CHEM 794c  CHEM 794d  CHEM 794z , are required for the PhD Registration for CHEM 790  and CHEM 794a  CHEM 794b  CHEM 794c  CHEM 794d  CHEM 794z  should be done with the approval of the staff graduate adviser.

Screening Procedure

The screening requirements designated by the department for continuation in the doctoral program are: an overall grade point average of B or better in at least 24 units by the end of the fourth semester of course work with no grade lower than B-; and a successful research seminar presented by the student to the qualifying exam committee. Only students who have passed the screening requirements are allowed to take the qualifying examination.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination requires the presentation of two original research proposals, or one original research proposal and one critical review of a scientific article, and oral defense of all of these. The qualifying examination is administered by the qualifying exam committee, which should not be chaired by the research adviser.


An acceptable dissertation based on completion of an original research project is required. The candidate must defend an approved penultimate draft of the dissertation in an advertised oral thesis defense lecture, which is open to the scientific community. The dissertation committee consists of three members of the qualifying exam committee including the research adviser and the outside member.

Foreign Language Requirement

The department has no foreign language requirement.

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