Doctoral Degree

The general requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees as well as course descriptions in Polymer Science are described in the current University Graduate Bulletin (see index for Polymer Science - course prefix 9871). These requirements are set by the Graduate School. The specific departmental requirements listed in the bulletin are set by the Department of Polymer Science. The combined requirements of the Graduate School and Department of Polymer Science represent the minimal standards for the attainment of a particular degree. As such, they do not adequately describe the concern of the DPS faculty that graduate programs also be tailored to each student's background and research interests. Consequently there are additional requirements and procedures that both the department and the research advisor impose beyond those described in the Bulletin.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

84 Total Credits = (38 course credits & 46 minimum research credits); formal seminar; research presentation; pass 6 cumulative exams; doctoral dissertation defense and final written dissertation; 1 year residency requirement; computer proficiency.

The doctoral degree is not awarded merely on the basis of the completion of a prescribed program of course requirements. The Ph.D. In Polymer Science is considered to be recognition that the recipient has carried out independent and original research at the prevailing advanced level of polymer science understanding.

In practice this original research is done under the guidance of a faculty member of the Polymer Science Department (see "Graduate Research Requirements", Section II). The student is assumed to have an advanced level of understanding of the principles of polymer science necessary to do research after the successful completion of course studies and cumulative or other examinations. After the public discussion of the research work both in a departmental "formal seminar" and then in a public "research presentation", the written dissertation is examined by the dissertation committee and an "oral doctoral dissertation defense" examination must be passed. A good measure of the scholarship inherit in the research can be determined by the faculty using the described procedures.

  • A public discussion referred to as a departmental "formal seminar" and "research presentation required which reviews the literature pertinent to the research problem.
  • Pass 6 Cumulative Exams - exams are given on a monthly basis (except June, July, August, and December)
  • Oral doctoral dissertation defense and final written dissertation
  • Computer proficiency is required and can be satisfied by an earlier undergraduate computer programming course or by a related course taken at the UA.
  • Attendance and participation is required in seminar-type discussions scheduled by the department.

Course Requirements for the Ph.D. Program

(See course descriptions in the Graduate Bulletin.)

The doctoral course program in Polymer Science consists of 38 credit hours based on a combination of:

Core Course Program - 20 credit hours (and 1 semester of Polymer Science Seminar required of all full-time doctoral students - credits are not included in the Total Course Credits),

Elective Courses - at least 18 credit hours of elective courses appropriate to each student's area of interest.

Core Courses

20 credits - required for all students

  • 9871:601 Polymer Chemistry (4 cr.)
  • 9871:607 Seminar in Polymer Science (1 cr.)
  • 9871:613 Polymer Science Laboratory (3 cr.)
  • 9871:631 Polymer Physics I (4 cr.)
  • 9871:632 Polymer Physics II (4 cr.)
  • 9871:674 Polymer Characterization (2 cr.)
  • 9871:685 Intro to Biomacromolecules (2 cr.)

Research Requirements

46 research credits required for all students

Computer Proficiency Requirement

All students in the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in DPS are required to have taken a minimum of one undergraduate or graduate level course in computer science, like the University of Akron course 3460:201, with a passing grade. Graduate students lacking such a course may demonstrate computer proficiency by taking (a) 3650:605, Computer Physics I, 3 credits, or another applicable course at UA.

Elective Courses

The student and the student's research advisor determine the elective courses that will be taken by the student to fulfill the student's course program. The courses may be in the departments of polymer science, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computing, polymer engineering or other engineering departments. Below is a list of a typical first semester and second semester course program.