GOC Request Form

Click on the following link to submit a request to the GOC: Online GOC Request Form

The “Green Book”

An authoritative compilation of up-to-date graduate student requirements can be found in the Graduate Student Procedures handbook (commonly known as “The Green Book“).  A few  common topics are also discussed below.

Program Plans – Supplemental Information

Course Requirements

All graduate students are required to take a minimum 12 credits with at least 3 credits addressing subject matter outside the chosen area of specialization. Students may be exempt from taking one or more of these courses if they have taken and passed with a satisfactory grade (A or B) a similar graduate course or courses at a comparable institution.

Preliminary Examination

Ph.D. students must take an oral examination, administered by the thesis committee, between two and six months after the last cumulative exam is passed (except that no student can take an exam before starting the fourth semester). The examination involves presentation and defense of the student’s research project.

For more information about the preliminary exams, please visit here.

Final Examination

Students present a public seminar on the thesis work, followed by a private examination by the degree committee. Email your dissertation title, date and time to Kathy Lucas, Chemistry Main Office, at least one week prior to your defense.  An announcement will be prepared and posted.  A signed GS-24 form must be submitted to the Graduate School within two working days after the exam.


Q: How do I change my committee?

If you would like to change your committee, you must submit a request to the GOC. As faculty time and committee load must be balanced, students (and their advisors) are not allowed to choose substitutions. However, the GOC does do its best to balance research interests with committee assignments, and students are encouraged to provide names and reasoning for the substitutions.

One exception: PhD committees have changed from requiring four chemistry faculty (including your advisor) to three chemistry faculty (including your advisor). If you have a large committee, you may drop one chemistry faculty member of your choosing without GOC permission. Note that individuals with two co-advisors must have at least three additional chemistry faculty members on the committee. Questions? Contact the GOC!

Q: Who is my Reader?

As per the 2019 Green Book, your reader is the in-area member of the Chemistry department – i.e. the Chair of your oral exam (not your advisor). If your reader is unavailable in the semester when you are submitting your independent proposal due to sabbatical or other event, please first email the original reader to see if they can still evaluate your proposal. If they cannot do that, then the out-of-area Chemistry department committee member will act as your reader. Please let the GOC know of this change via the webform (e.g. “FYI: Reader changed to out-of-area committee member”), but you do not need GOC approval or confirmation for this change.

Q: What does an Independent Proposal look like?

Several program plans have additional information in the Appendix to the Green Book (e.g. Analytical, Organic). For most programs, we recommend students reach out to their reader (before beginning to write) in order to discuss length, format and scope. At the Reader’s discretion, students may be allowed to submit postdoctoral fellowship proposals or other non-standard formats under some Program Plans. Note that Readers often request revisions to a proposal before giving final approval, so students should allow time for the review and revision process prior to any graduation deadlines.

Q: When do I need to complete my independent research proposal in order to graduate?

While we recommend working on your proposal earlier in your graduate career, a grade needs to be submitted and the GS 25B needs to be signed by the department head and processed by grad school a couple days before the end of the semester.

As readers typically require two weeks to read a proposal and then request edits and revisions, we highly recommend students to contact their readers about timelines well before graduation deadlines (i.e. submit a proposal to your reader at least 6 weeks before the end of the semester).

Q: I have questions about my graduate program / forms / progress. Who do I talk to?

Kathy Lucas is the Graduate Program Coordinator, and possesses a wealth of information about the graduate program, Green Book, Graduate School policies, graduation forms and dates, etc. She can usually be found in the Main Office of the Chemistry Department. Kathy will also help schedule a room for your exams (preliminary and dissertation defenses).  For other questions…

GOC Office Hours! The GOC has instituted Office Hours approximately once a month throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. Times are posted on the departmental event calendar, and all Chemistry graduate students are welcome to come and discuss their questions in person with the GOC at those times. This is open for students needing assistance filling out program plans, questions about orals / defenses / seminars / etc, general graduate program concerns, or interest in modifying or changing degree programs.

For very specific approvals (e.g. waivers for coursework done during an MS degree, approval for out-of-area courses, committee change requests), you can use the webform https://apply.chem.colostate.edu/gradrequest .

For urgent requests that cannot wait until the next scheduled GOC Office Hours, please contact the relevant GOC member responsible for your general area of study. For the 2019-2020 academic year, that is Prof. Miyake (Organic, Materials), Prof. Farmer (Analytical, Inorganic), or Prof. Levinger (Physical, ChemBio). For personalized program plans, please contact the GOC member responsible for the most closely related program.

Q: What if I have graduate courses from another university that I would like to transfer?

Students who have taken graduate courses at another institution that are comparable to courses taught at CSU, and received a grade of B or better, may submit a petition to the GOC requesting credit for the course(s) specified. Petitions must be made before the start of the second semester in residence. The request must be submitted on-line at https://apply.chem.colostate.edu/gradrequest.  The following information will be required: (1) the name and course number of the CSU course and (2) a syllabus that includes the name, course number, instructor, department, and university of the previously completed course.  If the syllabus does not include this information or is otherwise incomplete, a written explanatory supplement may be included.  If CSU does not teach a course covering the same material, no credit can be given.  Further information may be requested if needed. GOC approval will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Q: What if I would like to request an exception to one of the requirements?

All requests should be submitted on-line at https://apply.chem.colostate.edu/gradrequest.  Emergencies should be brought to the attention of the Graduate Program Coordinator, Kathy Lucas, or one of the GOC members immediately.

Q: What if I want to take a course outside the department as an out-of-area course?

Students may also request to substitute an out-of-department course (e.g. physics, biochemistry, etc.) for one of their out-of-area courses. The request must be submitted on-line at https://apply.chem.colostate.edu/gradrequest.  The following information will be required:  (1) the name and course number of the CSU course, (2) a syllabus, and (3) an explanation of why the course is appropriate as an out-of-area course.

Q: How many credits do I need to take?

For all graduate students (Graduate School Requirements for the Ph.D. updated 08/15/2019)

  1. 72 total credits at the 400-level and above
  2. Program of study – selection of advisor and degree committee (GS-6 form)
  3. Preliminary examination (GS-16 form)
  4. Final examination (GS-24 form)
  5. Thesis/dissertation (GS-30 form)
  6. Application to graduate (GS-25 form)
  7. Continuous registration from the time of first enrollment through the graduation term. If graduating in summer, registration in a course or CR.

For example, for the organic program:

  • At least ten credits are required with at least 3 credits from an area outside of organic chemistry.
  • CHEM 543(2) and CHEM 545(3) are both required (5 credits total).
  • Four credits from CHEM 541 (1), CHEM 548 (2), and/or CHEM 549 (2) are required.
  • This means that organic students must take 9 credits including CHEM 543, 545, as well as at least 4 credits from CHEM 541, 548 and 549. They have to take 3 more credits in chemistry-related areas other than organic. And they have to take a total of 13 credits. This means that one credit could be CHEM 601 or GRAD 544 and then 3 credits from other areas or outside chemistry, as per discussion with advisor.

Note that non-dissertation-related courses (e.g. an athletic course, or a literature course) may be taken in consultation with the advisor, but will not count as ‘out of area courses’ for the Chemistry PhD.

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