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Doctoral Committee

Selection of a Faculty Advisor

The student is normally assigned to a faculty advisor within two months of the beginning of the student’s first term in the department. Faculty make presentations on research topics during the early weeks of ChE 595. Each student is asked to meet personally with four faculty members and to rank-order preferences for available research projects.

Student/faculty assignments are made by the Graduate Program Chair taking into account both student preferences and faculty preferences and needs.

If your chair doesn’t have a ChE appointment

If the dissertation chair does not have an appointment in the Department of Chemical Engineering, the student is required to have a co-chair in Chemical Engineering on the dissertation committee.  The ChE co-chair serves as the Doctoral Standards Committee Representative at the Thesis Proposal Exam, Data Meeting, and Defense and as one of the two required faculty members from ChE on the dissertation panel.  The co-chair position does not imply co-advising (beyond the role of a thesis committee member) or a financial commitment, but rather the co-chair serves as the official ChE representative on the committee.

Approval of the Dissertation Topic

If the dissertation research differs from the previously passed Thesis Proposal Exam proposal and Project Summary page (formerly Preliminary Examination), that one-page summary should be re-submitted as the dissertation topic proposal.

Role of the Doctoral Committee

The Doctoral Committee consists of at least four graduate faculty members, at least two of whom are from the Chemical Engineering Department, (including the faculty advisor, who serves as Chair of the Committee), and at least one of whom must be from outside the department (designated the “Outside Member”).
Formation of Doctoral Committee

Nominations for dissertation committee service are subject to Rackham Doctoral Degree guidelines.

The Committee’s role is principally to advise the student in the research activity and to uphold departmental and University standards for the conduct of doctoral research.

Each doctoral student should meet with his or her committee as a whole at least once per year, to insure that satisfactory progress is being made toward the PhD degree.

A PhD student who is near the completion of his/her PhD research and is ready to start writing should hold a data meeting with his/her dissertation committee. At this meeting, the dissertation committee is expected to approve the ending of research and recommend that the student begin writing the dissertation. This is typically done two to three months before the proposed dissertation defense date. The student is responsible for submitting the Data Meeting Form within one week after the data meeting to the ChE graduate program office.

In addition to the department data meeting, students are required to register online for a pre-defense review with the Rackham Graduate School Office of Records and Dissertations (OARD) at least three weeks prior to the oral defense.

PhD Dissertation and Oral Defense

The Doctoral Committee approves the student’s request to end the dissertation research effort and to write the dissertation describing the research results.

When the dissertation has been written and the format approved by the Rackham Graduate School, it is distributed to members of the Committee, who then conduct the final oral examination (typically ten days to two weeks later). Once the thesis is successfully defended and approved by the committee, the PhD degree is granted at the following commencement.