Ph.D. Dissertation and Defense

Ph.D. Dissertation

The ability to do independent research in the field of chemical and biomolecular engineering must be demonstrated by an original dissertation on a topic approved by the Department or program. Directions for preparing and submitting dissertations is found in the Graduate Student Academic Handbook.

During the preparation of the dissertation, all candidates for any doctoral degree must register for the prescribed number of semester hours of Doctoral Dissertation Research (899) at the University of Maryland. A minimum of 18 hours of Dissertation Research is required.

Under unusual circumstances the research for the dissertation may be done off campus. Written permission must be obtained in advance from the Department Chair, prior to the preparation of the Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal if the proposed work is to be done off campus. Permission will not be granted if the proposed research represents, in whole or in part, duties performed as a condition of employment for an organization other than the University of Maryland.

Ph.D. Advisory Committee

The final oral defense of the dissertation is conducted by a committee of the Graduate Faculty appointed by the Dean for Graduate Studies and Research. Nominations for membership on the committee are submitted by the student's major advisor by the third week of the semester in which the student expects to complete all requirements, but no later than two months prior to the examination, on the designated form. The Graduate Director will recommend the committee to the graduate school.

The major advisor serves as chair of the committee, which will consist of a minimum of five voting members, all of whom hold the doctoral degree. At least one of the five must be a faculty member in a department or Graduate Program at UMCP external to the one in which the student is seeking the degree (this person will serve as the Dean’s Representative on the committee).

The dissertation committee must include at least three (3) members of the regular ChBE faculty. These faculty members are listed under the “Regular Faculty” tab of the faculty directory on this web site.

An exemption from the above requirement can be granted under special cases. To request an exemption, the student’s advisor must petition the Graduate Director detailing specific reasons for the request and listing the modified committee. The Graduate Director will make a decision on the request after consulting with the Graduate Studies Committee.   

One or more members of the committee may be persons from other institutions who hold the doctorate and who are distinguished scholars in the fields of dissertation.

The Dean designates one member of the committee as his representative. In addition to having the normal responsibility of a faculty examiner, the Dean's representative has the responsibility of assuring that the examination is conducted according to established procedures. A disagreement over the examination procedures is referred to the Dean's representative for decision.

Ph.D. Final Defense

The time and place of the Ph.D. Final Defense are established by the chairman of the committee. The student is responsible for distributing a complete copy of the dissertation to each of the committee members at least one week before the examination. The student must submit a completed abstract, dissertation title, and the time, date and location of final defense to Kathy Gardinier (lopresti@umd.edu) one week in advance. This will be announced to the ChBE community.

All final oral examinations are open to all the Graduate Faculty. After the examination, the committee deliberates and votes in private. Two or more negative votes constitute a failure. The student may be examined no more than twice.

Prior to the final oral defense, a candidate is required to present an open seminar to the faculty and graduate students of the department summarizing the work completed for the dissertation.

The following must be documented on the final page(s) of each student's written dissertation and emailed to the Graduate Director (PDF or Word Format):

  1. A list of publications on which the student is either the first author or a co-author. Provide the full citation (title, all authors, DOI, etc.). Subdivide into:
    1. Publications that have appeared in print: specify full citation
    2. Publications that have been submitted and are under review: specify dates
    3. Publications that will be submitted after the defense: specify tentative titles, and dates
  2. A list of conference presentations on which the student is either the first author or a co-author. Provide full details (title, authors, etc.). Specify speaker. Subdivide into:
    1. Presentations that have been delivered
    2. Presentations that have been scheduled (abstract accepted): specify dates
    3. Presentations for which abstracts will be submitted: specify tentative titles, and dates

After successful completion of the defense, a copy of the above page(s) will be made and placed in each student's folder. The Graduate Director will not sign off on the student's defense form if the above requirements are not met.