Graduate Rules

Graduates entering the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering are subject to the academic rules of the University, of the Case School of Engineering, and of the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering.


University Rules

The University rules are stated in the University catalog. You may also consult the Graduate Student Handbook on the Graduate Studies website. A short abstract of important points includes:

GPA requirements are described below in the Departmental Rules.

A student receiving a “U” in a course is automatically placed on probation and must remove him/herself from probation within one year (usually by repeating the course). If a course is repeated, both original and revised grades will count in the grade point average.

Some students are admitted on a probationary basis and must achieve a 3.0 GPA after two semesters to remain in good standing (this is a rule of the Engineering School).

Students entering the graduate program for a Ph.D. will need to fill out the “Planned Program of Study” within the first semester from the beginning of the program.

All graduate students are required to serve as teaching assistants. Responsibilities as a TA include serving as an instructor, lab assistant, recitation leader, grader, or tutor in an undergraduate course. After fulfilling the required teaching assistant program, UNIV 400, students will make sure that three teaching courses (400T, 500T, and 600T) are listed on their Planned Program of Study form. Completion of this teaching requirement will be monitored by Graduate Studies and is required in order to graduate.

Engineering School Rules

Most of these rules are incorporated in the number and type of courses required by the Department. However, Case School of Engineering Ph.D. students are required to 1) maintain full-time status as a Ph.D. bound student; 2) maintain a grade point average of 3.2 or above; and 3) continue making satisfactory academic progress as certified by their advisor.


Departmental Rules

Students in the Ph.D. program receiving a GPA below 2.50 in any two consecutive semesters will be asked to terminate their graduate study program.

The GPA requirement established by the University at various stages of the graduate program shall exclude M.S. or Ph.D. thesis credits which will be graded “S” or “U” until a final grade is given at the end of the program. Hence a student must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75 (for an M.S.) OR a 3.0 (for a Ph.D.) in coursework. (As mentioned above, Case School of Engineering Ph.D. students must maintain a GPA of 3.2 or above.)

Plan A M.S. students must give a departmental seminar (as part of the student lecture series).

Plan B M.S. degrees are limited to non-fellowship students.

Coursework may be transferred from another University, subject to Graduate Committee approval if:

- the courses duplicate requirements of the Department
- the courses were in excess of the undergraduate degree requirements or
the courses were taken in a graduate program elsewhere
- a grade of B or better was achieved in those courses
- a petition is made to and approved by the Graduate Committee of the Department
- the transferred grades will not count in the GPA at CASE.

The Department reserves the right to withhold financial support to a student if that student takes an undue amount of time in completing his/her M.S. or Ph.D. requirements (normally no longer than 3 years for M.S. and 5 years after initial registration of EMAC 701).

A Ph.D. student must pass the written Qualifying Exam (WQE) within 18 months after enrollment with a M.S. degree into the Ph.D. program. A Ph.D. student must pass the WQE within 24 months after enrollment with a B.S. degree into the Ph.D. program. A student only has two chances to pass the Qualifying Exam.

Students will be asked to answer 4 mandatory questions – one from each of the following five areas:

Polymer Synthesis
Polymer Physical Chemistry
Polymer Physics
Polymer Engineering
Seminars (from the previous year)

Two elective questions will be chosen from a number of questions from all elective courses offered in the Department. NOTE: The WQE is given twice per year respectively on the first Friday in the beginning and the first Friday after the end of the Spring semester. For Ph.D. students enrolled in a Spring semester, those with a M.S. degree must pass the WQE at the end of his/her second Spring semester, and those with a B.S. degree must pass it at the beginning of his/her third Spring semester.

The Research Qualifying Exam (RQE) is designed to test the student’s knowledge of the chosen field as well as his/her originality and ability to perform high quality, independent research. It consists of a written research proposal and an oral defense. All Ph.D. students who hold an M.S. degree must pass the RQE within two years of enrolling in the Ph.D. program, while students with a B.S. degree must do so within two and a half years. Successful passing of the Written Qualifying Exam (not to be confused with the written portion of this RQE) is prerequisite to taking the RQE. Students have two chances to pass the RQE, and no student will be allowed to continue on to a Ph.D. degree if he/she has not successfully taken it. A conditional pass with major revision (see below) requires modification to the written or oral portion, at the examination committee discretion, within ten business days and following guidelines by the examination committee. A second exam, if required due to failure of the first exam, must be taken within six months of the first exam with at least one examination committee member remaining the same. Passing the exam constitutes advancement to candidacy and is required for enrolling in EMAC 701, “Dissertation Ph.D.”

At least three (3) weeks prior to the RQE oral defense, the student will submit to the graduate chairperson a research proposal title with a one-paragraph synopsis of the research problem and approach, along with suggestions for two members ((i) and (ii), below) of the three member examining committee. The examining committee will consist of three faculty members: (i) a member (or intended member) of the student’s Thesis Advisory Committee, (ii) an expert in the research proposal area and (iii) a faculty member selected systematically and in a neutral manner by the Graduate Committee. The student’s primary thesis advisor or co-advisors is/are excluded from the examining committee. Upon establishing the examining committee, the student will arrange with the committee for the date, time, and location of the RQE.

The student will then distribute the written research proposal to the examining committee five full business days before the defense. It should be no less than 15 and no more than 20 pages of double-spaced text with 1” margins on all sides. No more than five pages can be devoted to the proposal introduction or background. Figures, tables, and schemes should not exceed five pages in total. Literature citations are in addition to this page count. The oral presentation will be chaired by a designated chairperson from the examining committee. It should contain only limited background material, focusing primarily on execution of the proposed research. The oral presentation should last 20-30 minutes, with questions from faculty being for clarification only. Following the presentation, the examining committee will ask questions for the student to answer concerning the proposal. On the basis of the written proposal and oral defense (presentation and question responses) the faculty will then confer and tender a decision of pass, conditional pass with major revision, or fail, immediately. The decision will be communicated to the student and graduate chairperson in writing within one business day.

Every Ph.D. student is required to fulfill his teaching requirement by registering for the three teaching courses, 400T, 500T, and 600T that will be posted to our departmental roster each semester. Completion of the teaching requirement will be monitored by Graduate Studies, and these three teaching courses must appear both on the Program of Study form and the student’s transcript.

It is expected that all students will present the results of their research in a Departmental Seminar. This is mandatory for students enrolled in the Ph.D. program. Attendance and registration for these seminars (EMAC 677: Colloquia Seminars) is also mandatory.

The Department requires the equivalent of six credit hours of departmental assistance. This requirement takes the form of grading, laboratory assistance and/or general departmental duties and is designed to utilize no more than three hours/week of a student’s time. The departmental service requirement must be completed within the first two semesters of study. However, the departmental service requirement form must be turned in at the end of the each semester until the obligation is met.

Vacation Policy. Graduate students in the Department who receive Fellowship support for 12 months are normally entitled to two weeks vacation plus national holidays. Alternative arrangements may be made with the student’s advisor, giving ample advance notice. In certain situations, it is possible to take a leave of absence without financial support.

Prior to graduation a student is required to clean out his/her laboratory space including a removal of waste solvents and hazardous material.

Failure to comply with all of the above course requirements may result in termination or delay graduation.