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Polymer Science

Ph.D. in Polymer Science 

Students in the Ph.D. Program in the Department of Chemistry may elect the Polymer Science Option. The Polymer Science doctoral program is organized jointly with the Department of Plastics Engineering. The program is designed to provide students with a background in advanced course work and laboratory techniques that will prepare them to carry out an original investigation leading to an acceptable contribution to the body of contemporary knowledge in the fields of macromolecules or plastics.

1. Plan of Program

The doctoral degree normally requires four years of full-time study beyond the bachelor's degree or a minimum of two to three years of full-time study beyond the master's degree. The plan of study pursued by each student is dependent on individual requirements and is developed through conference with his/her Advisory Committee (or temporary advisor).

All students entering the program must take the American Chemical Society Graduate Level placement examinations in organic, physical and analytical chemistry. An evaluation examination in polymer science is given to those who wish to be exempted from 97-503-504.

2. Requirements for Admission

Requirements for admission into the program are the same as those for students entering other Ph.D. programs in Chemistry. It is the student's responsibility to satisfy any admission requirements stipulated for the Ph.D. in Chemistry.

Undergraduate deficiencies in the student's background must be remedied promptly, usually by the end of the student's second semester. During this period, the student must also successfully complete graduate courses appropriate to his/her background. Students will not be formally admitted to the Ph.D. program if their grade point average is below B.

3. Advisory Committee

Upon admission the student will be assigned a temporary adviser by the Coordinator of the Graduate Polymer Program. The student's major thesis adviser will become the chairperson of the permanent Advisory Committee.

The Advisory Committee will meet at least once each semester to monitor the progress of the student's research.

4. Program Outline

The initial part of the program is devoted to formal course work. The first year usually is devoted to subjects in major branches of chemistry, polymers, and plastics in preparation for the student's area (cumulative) examinations. The student must choose a research Adviser before the end of the second semester and is normally expected to start research during the first summer.

5. Language Requirements

Pathways for satisfying the language requirements have been described previously under the Chemistry section of this catalog.

6. Written Area Examinations

Upon formal admission to the Ph.D. program the student is required to pass a series of consecutive cumulative area examinations. This requirement must be completed by the end of the third semester for students entering in the fall semester, and by the end of the fourth semester for students entering in the spring semester. Policy and grading underlying each examination will be announced at the beginning of each academic year.

Each student must also present an oral defense of an original research proposal within six months after the completion of the last area exam.

7. Course Requirements

Of the 45 minimum credit requirements a minimum of 27 credits in course work, exclusive of thesis and seminar, is required with at least 18 to be taken in chemistry and polymer science (84 and 97 prefixes). The remaining course credits (nine or more, with a student's Advisory Committee having the authority to add six additional credits to the minimum in special situations) may be taken in chemistry or in a related field such as biology, physics, mathematics or engineering. Credit normally is not allowed for undergraduate subjects in chemistry except for those so designated in the catalog. Research credits would then make up the remainder of the 45-credit requirement. The program of courses is the responsibility of a student's Advisory Committee and must include advanced subjects in the appropriate areas of chemistry, polymers, and plastics. When it is necessary to carry less than the normal credit load of 9 per semester, the student must apply to the chairman of the department through the chairman of his/her Advisory Committee for approval.

Required Courses: The student must take the following core courses:

a.        Polymer Science:

84.523 Organic Reaction Mechanisms
84.568 Structural Analysis
84.532 Advanced Physical Chemistry
97.503 Advanced Polymer Science I
97.504 Advanced Polymer Science II
97.553 Organic Chemistry of Macromolecules
97.505 Polymer Preparation & Characterization

The following course schedule is suggested to prepare the students for the cumulative examinations:

First Semester

Course #Course Name
97.503Advanced Polymer Science 13 cr
84.568Structural Analysis3 cr
26.503Mechanical Behavior of Polymers3 cr

Second Semester

Course #Course Name
97.504Advanced Polymer Science II3 cr
97.553Organic Chemistry of Macromolecules3 cr
26.503Advanced Physical Chemistry3 cr

Third Semester

Course #Course Name
97.505Polymer Preparation and Characterization2 cr
Cumulative Examinations  

The remaining required courses may be taken in the following semesters.

In addition, the student must register for Polymer Seminar 97.601/602 and 97.603/604 Polymer Science Colloquium each semester.

8. Course Descriptions (Department of Chemistry)

97-503 Advanced Polymer Science I (3-0)3
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
A study of the principles of condensation, free radical, ionic, coordination and ring-opening polymerization.  The topics include the effect of polymerization techniques on reaction kinetics and molecular weight, and the evaluation of reactivity ratios in copolymerization reactions.

97-504 Advanced Polymer Science II (3-0)3
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Introduction to chain statistics and thermodynamics of macromolecular solutions, methods of study of molecular weight and chain conformation, and the properties of polymers in bulk including viscoelasticity and crystallinity.

97-505 Polymer Preparation and Characterization (0-4)2
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
A laboratory course designed to acquaint the graduate student with the techniques used in the synthesis and characterization of macromolecules with the instrumental study of macromolecules by utilization of osmometry, light scattering, gel permeation chromatography, vapor pressure osmometry and infrared spectroscopy.

97-553 Organic Chemistry of Macromolecules (3-0)3
Prerequisite: 97-503,504
An advanced study in polymer science concerned with the synthesis of macromolecules and their mechanisms of formation.

97-602 Polymer Science Seminar (1-0)1
Required of all Polymer Science graduate students.  
Presentation of current topics in polymer science by graduate students.

97-603-604 Polymer Science Colloquium (1-0)1
Required of all Polymer Science graduate students.
Presentation of current topics in polymer science by visiting scientists and staff.

97.649. Introduction to Conjugated Polymers (3-0)3
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
This course presents an introduction to the synthesis, characterization, and study of the electrical, magnetic, and optical properties of conjugated polymers  in both insulating and conducting forms.  Topics covered include solid state polymerization, electronic structure,doping, and assembly methods.  Physical properties emphasized include electrical conductivity, light emitting materials and devices, and nonlinear optical properties.

97-651 Selected Topics in Polymer Science (3-0)3
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Advanced topics in various aspects of polymer science.  Content may vary from year to year so that students may, by repeated enrollment, acquire a broad knowledge in the field of macromolecules.

97-751 Advanced Projects in Polymer Science (3-0)1
Special projects undertaken by a student to expand knowledge in a specific field not necessarily related to the thesis.  Content of project and hours assigned must be approve by the Department Chair.

97-743 M.S. Research in Polymer Science
3 credits

97-746 M.S. Research in Polymer Science
6 credits

97-749 M.S. Research in Polymer Science
9 credits

97-753 Ph.D. Research in Polymer Science
3 credits

97-756 Ph.D. Research in Polymer Science
6 credits

97-759 Ph.D. Research in Polymer Science
9 credits

9. Candidacy for Ph.D. Polymer Science

To be admitted for candidacy for the doctorate, a student must:
1.       Satisfy the course credit requirement with a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
2.       Pass the area examinations which includes completion of the research proposal.
3.       Fulfill the language requirements.
4.       Secure the approval of his/her Advisory Committee and the Graduate Coordinator of the Department of Chemistry.

When these requirements have been fulfilled, the Graduate Coordinator of the Department of Chemistry notifies the Graduate School in writing and recommends that the student be placed on the list of candidates for Ph.D. degree. Admission to candidacy in no way guarantees the granting of the degree.