Research Proposal | Chemistry and Biochemistry | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Agriculture, Life and Physical Sciences

Research Proposal

Research Proposal and Preliminary Oral Examination

The preparation and defense of an original research proposal serves as the second portion of the preliminary examination. For this portion, there exists a Proposal Evaluation Committee (PEC) to consist of the student's entire graduate committee except for the member from outside the school. The school chair, if serving on the graduate committee as an ex-officio member, will be a non-voting member of this PEC. Initial work on the proposal should be initiated when the student begins taking cumulative examinations, as the first draft of the written proposal (see below) must be submitted to the PEC before the end of the student's fifth semester. Failure to submit the draft by the end of the fifth semester will result in discontinuation of assistantship support until the requirement is fulfilled. The student chooses the topic for an original research proposal. The topic must be approved by the Proposal Evaluation Committee (PEC) at a meeting in which the student outlines the proposal idea. The topic may use the techniques of the student's research project, but must not be an extension of the project. The proposal must be original with the student. After obtaining approval of the topic, the student will prepare a written proposal in accord with the prescribed format. (See Appendix IV.) During preparation, the student may obtain advice and suggestions from any faculty member but the proposal itself must be original with the student. The student must complete preparation of the proposal and submit it to the PEC before January of his or her third calendar year. The committee is allowed one week for evaluation of the proposal. The evaluation will include at least one meeting of the PEC. The evaluation shall be by a numerical score from 1.0 (lowest) to 4.0 (highest). An average score of 3.0 shall be required to pass. The scores will be accompanied by a written review by each voting PEC member. If the score is less than 3.0, the proposal must be revised and resubmitted within 30 days. The re-evaluation will follow the same procedure as described above. Only one re-submission is allowed. A second failure will be reported in writing by the PEC to the School Chair and to the Director of Graduate Studies. The latter will request that the Graduate School terminate the student from our doctoral program. In most cases, the students will be eligible for a Master’s degree. When the score is less than 3.0, copies of the final approved proposal must be provided to all members of the student's graduate committee at least one week before the date of the preliminary oral examination. Within 30 days of receiving notification of a passing grade, the student shall schedule a preliminary oral examination (defense of the proposal). This oral defense shall consist of a formal open seminar at which the student will present the proposal for credit as Chemistry 595. After questions from the general audience, the student's graduate committee will conduct an oral examination of the student. The grade for Chemistry 595 is based on the oral presentation and is independent of the oral examination. Only one attempt is allowed to pass the preliminary oral examination (defense of the research proposal). However, if the committee cannot decide whether to pass or fail the student at the end of the scheduled examination time, they may vote to continue the examination at a later date. Only one such continuation is allowed. The decision of the committee to pass the student or to continue the examination must be made with a majority vote of the committee. The student, the School Chair, and the director of graduate studies will be notified by the Chair of the graduate committee in writing on the next working day after the examination whether the result was Pass, Fail, or Continue. If a continuation is required, it must be scheduled no earlier than 30 days and no later than 90 days after the original oral examination date. Students in the Ph. D. program must complete the proposal defense by the end of third year in residence. Failure to complete the proposal defense by the end of third year will result in discontinuation of assistantship support until the requirement is fulfilled. If the student has not completed the defense by the end of the third year, the student will have one semester in which to complete the proposal defense (without assistantship support). Failure to complete the proposal by the deadline will result in termination from the graduate program. 4/5 Effective 12/13/07


A research project is required of all graduate students. A student in the doctoral program must earn at least 32 credit hours in research and dissertation (Chemistry 598 and 600). A minimum of 24 hours must be dissertation credit (Chemistry 600). The results of the research must be presented in the form of a dissertation acceptable both to the student's committee and to the Graduate School.