Develop research & lab techniques in the fields of macromolecules

Students in the Ph.D. Program in the UMass Lowell Department of Chemistry may elect the Polymer Science Option. The Polymer Science doctoral 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. 

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 conferences with his/her Advisory Committee (or temporary advisor).

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.

Learn more Information about application requirements.

Advisory Committee

Upon admission the student will be assigned a temporary adviser selected from the Polymer Science program by the Coordinator of the Graduate Polymer Science 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 and study. Unsatisfactory performance will lead to the recommendation for termination of the TA or RA sponsorship and the candidacy for the doctorate.

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 and polymers in preparation for the student's area (cumulative) examinations. The student must choose a Thesis Adviser before the end of the first semester; failure to do so will result in the termination of TA sponsorship. The thesis adviser should be a faculty member of the Polymer Science Program. In special occasions, with the approval from Coordinator of the Graduate Polymer Science Program, faculty members from other departments can be selected as a thesis adviser, but in that case, a faculty member from the Polymer Science Program must agree to serve as a co-adviser to ensure the continuation of TA sponsorship.

Language Requirements

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

Written Area Examinations

Upon formal admission to the Ph.D. program the student is required to pass a series of consecutive cumulative area examinations. Policy and grading underlying each examination will be announced at the beginning of each academic year.

Each student must also work with his/her Thesis Adviser to prepare and present an oral defense of an original research proposal after the completion of the last area exam. This should be completed within the third year of the Ph.D. candidacy.

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 (CHEM and POLY 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 and polymers. When it is necessary to carry less than the normal credit load of 9 per semester, the student must consult the chair of his/her Advisory Committee to initiate the approval process.

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

a. Polymer Science:

* Electives Courses:

# Chemistry Department: Organic Chemistry of Macromolecules (POLY.5530), Organic Reaction Mechanisms (CHEM. 5230), Advanced Physical Chemistry (CHEM.5320), Surface and Colloid Chemistry (CHEM.6720), Nanomaterials and Nanostructures (CHEM.5660), Modern Organic Chemistry (CHEM.5850), Organic Synthesis (CHEM.5240), Chromatography (CHEM.5260), Modern Inorganic Chemistry (CHEM.5430), Principles of Medicinal Chemistry (CHEM.6310), Biochemistry I (CHEM.5500), Protein Chemistry (CHEM.5700), Supramolecular Chemistry (CHEM.5950).

# Plastics Engineering Department: Mechanical Behavior of Polymers (PLAS.5030), Plastics Processing I (PLAS), Polymer Structure (PLAS.5090), Plastics Processing II (PLAS.5100).

# Chemical Engineering Department:- Introduction to Materials Sciences (CHEN.5080).

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

Fall - First Semester:

Spring - Second Semester:

Fall - Third Semester:

The remaining required courses may be taken in the following semesters

Candidacy for Ph.D. Polymer Science

To be advanced to candidacy for the doctorate, a student must:

  1. Satisfy the course credit requirement with a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
  2. Select a Thesis Adviser from the Polymer Science Program by the end of the first semester.
  3. Pass the area examinations which include completion of the research proposal.
  4. Fulfill the language requirements.
  5. Secure the approval of his/her Advisory Committee and the Graduate Coordinator of the Department of Chemistry.

Advancement to candidacy in no way guarantees the granting of the degree.