Requirements & Policies

This is an overview of requirements and policies. For detailed information about the Chemical Physics Ph.D. program requirements, see the Graduate Studies Guide and the Graduate School Catalog.

Registration & Required Courses

Graduate students must maintain full-time registration during all Fall and Spring semesters until graduation. 

Students must earn a grade of B or higher in the following courses:

  • 2 semesters of CHPH718I: Chemical Physics Laboratory Rotation
  • CHEM684: Chemical Thermodynamics
  • CHEM687: Statistical Mechanics and Chemistry
  • PHYS612: Quantum and Statistical Physics I
  • PHYS613: Quantum and Statistical Physics II
  • Advanced laboratory course
  • Advanced course outside of the student's main field of study
  • 2 semesters of seminars

Research Rotations

Students will complete 2 laboratory rotations during their first academic year (one per semester). Rotations are seven weeks each, with student presentations about two weeks after the end of each rotation period.

Advancing to Candidacy

Requirements for advancing to candidacy are:

  • Completing all course requirements
  • Passing the qualifying exam at the PhD level
  • Preparing and presenting a scholarly paper
  • Submitting an application for admission to candidacy


Qualifying Exam

The Chemical Physics qualifying exam is given in four parts, generally taken immediately before the start of a student's third and fourth semesters.

  • Part A1: corresponds to the material in CHEM684
  • Part A2: corresponds to the material in PHYS612
  • Part B1: corresponds to the material in CHEM687
  • Part B2: corresponds to the material in PHYS613


Waiving the Qualifying Exam

Students can petition to waive either or both CHEMISTRY parts (Part A1, Part B1) of the Qualifying Exam if they earn a grade of B+ or better in CHEM684 and CHEM687.

Students can petition to waive either or both PHYSICS parts (Part A2, Part B2) of the Qualifying Exam if they earn a grade of B or better in PHYS612 and PHYS613.


Scholarly Paper & Oral Presentation

The paper should provide an informative review of the research topic selected by the candidate in consultation with his/her academic and research advisors. The bibliography is a particularly important part of the paper and should include the most significant references to the topic. The paper is not to be a collaborative effort. It is to be the work of the student alone. 

The length of the paper is expected to be approximately 20 double space pages (12-point font) with 1-inch margins.

The presentation is to last approximately one hour and can be part of regularly scheduled seminar series such as the Informal Statistical Mechanics Seminar or the Nonlinear Dynamics Seminar. At least two members of the Scholarly Paper Examining Committee must be present and there should be sufficient time for questions and discussion. The paper must be submitted to the Committee at least two weeks before the date of the presentation.

Scholarly Paper Examining Committee: At least 3 faculty, including the advisor, who will read the scholarly paper and attend the oral presentation.


Application for Admission to Candidacy

It is the responsibility of the student to submit an Application for Admission to Candidacy when all the requirements for candidacy have been fulfilled. The application must be submitted to the graduate program for further action and transmission to the Graduate School and must be received by the 25th of the month in order to be effective the first day of the following month.

Dissertation & Defense

Candidates must earn at least 12 credits of BIPH899 (PhD Dissertation Research) and must prepare a written PhD dissertation, the format of which must follow the University of Maryland Thesis and Dissertation Style Guide. 

The policies and procedures for the oral dissertation examination (“defense”) are set by the Graduate School.