Graduate Handbook

Last revised: August 21, 2020


Two handbooks

This handbook outlines program policies and procedures for chemistry graduate program scholars. Scholars should also familiarize themselves with the policies and procedures of the Laney Graduate School Handbook. Continuing scholars agree to be bound by the rules and requirements of both handbooks.

Understanding handbook versions

While we strive to keep the Department of Chemistry graduate handbook complete and up-to-date, the program administration may clarify or change policies as needed. All changes will be announced to scholars ahead of their implementation (see Communication Guidelines) and reflected in the copy of the handbook available on the department website.

If a policy (what must be done) changes, scholars who entered the program under a previous handbook will still be held to the handbook in place when they started at Emory. If a procedure (how something is done) changes, scholars may be asked to adhere to the new process if it does not affect their progress through the program.

Scholars can find a copy of the specific handbook procedures in force when they entered the program in their electronic student folder and under the tab for their year cohort on the “Path to the PhD” page on our department website. Even in cases where scholars are bound by deadlines or requirements from previous handbooks, it may be helpful to review the most current version of the handbook as edits are often included to clarify existing requirements rather than to change the substance of these requirements.


If you have questions about the handbook, your first point of contact should be the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Need forms?

All forms referenced in this handbook are available from the Graduate Program Coordinator and on our website.​​​​​​​

Graduate Program Administration

Brian Dyer, Department Chair | Atwood Hall 380S

Todd Polley, Director, Department of Chemistry  | Atwood Hall 380R

Simon Blakey, Director of Graduate Studies| Atwood Hall 630

Kira Walsh, Outreach and Communications Manager  | Atwood Hall 380E

Ana Maria Vélez, Graduate Program Coordinator   | Atwood Hall 380K

Emory University Department of Chemistry
Atwood Hall 380

Core Office Hours: 9:00am-4:00pm, Monday through Friday


The graduate handbook is designed to allow graduate scholars to inform themselves about the policies and procedures in place for their program of study. The design of this resource is intended to help you navigate:

  • Forms available on the main website appear as purple underlined links
  • Dates and deadlines appear in pink

​​​​​​​In making the most of this resource, the following information may be helpful.

  • The handbook in place in the year in which you enter the program is the handbook of record for your entire graduate career. In the event that there is a substantial change to program policy, you will generally be offered a choice of adopting the new policy or continuing to follow the handbook for your year of entry. As an example, when cumulative exams were dropped from the curriculum, students whose exams were in progress were given the option of continuing towards completion of the exams or adopting the new Third Year Milestone requirement. It is important that you read and understand the handbook in place during your year of entry to place advice from other students, who may be bound by a different handbook, into appropriate context.
  • Your program handbook should be understood to work in concert with the Laney Graduate School handbook and with university-level policies. Unless the handbook outlines a specific customization of an LGS policy, you should follow the rules of the LGS handbook. Where an LGS-level policy is not addressed in this handbook, you should follow the LGS policy. Examples include: parental leave, leaves of absence, M.S. degree, grading and incompletes, etc. It is important to read this handbook and the LGS handbook in full after which you can utilize them as reference documents.
  • This handbook is a living document – its meaning and effectiveness may shift according to the people who put its language into practice. You may encounter a unique situation that is not covered here or, perhaps, your own interpretation of handbook language at some point in your career will be ambiguous. In this case, you have several paths available to you:
    1. In the case of ambiguity in regard to a program requirement, consult with your P.I. If your P.I. cannot answer your question, you may consult any member of the graduate team for clarification. If you and your P.I. cannot come to an agreement on how to interpret a requirement, you should reach out to the Director of Graduate Studies for clarification and mediation. In cases where this presents a conflict of interest, you should reach out to the Dean of Students in Laney Graduate School.
    2. Graduate scholars may petition the graduate committee to customize their path through the program where unique circumstances require a deviation and/or clarification of handbook policy. As an example, students may petition to complete a milestone requirement after the handbook deadline in the case of a significant competing academic requirement or personal circumstance. Requests should be written by the student and addressed as a letter to the Director of Graduate Studies. The P.I. may cosign the letter or submit an additional letter in support of the petition, but this is not required.
    3. In an instance where you believe that you understand a requirement but disagree with its meaning and/or the way it is applied, you may petition the graduate committee to address your concerns. Another option is to reach out to the University Ombuds Office as this office is charged with “a responsibility to address concerns about policies and procedures, including potential future issues, and provide recommendations for responsibly addressing them.”


The James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies at Emory University is committed to education that provides scholars with deep and broad expertise in their chosen fields, creativity to cross disciplinary boundaries, courage to challenge convention, and confidence to ask unexpected questions and articulate bold new perspectives.

Graduates of the PhD program in chemistry should be able to:

  • Pose a research question and formulate an investigative approach using current research methods in chemistry.
  • Conduct and communicate independent, original research in chemistry.
  • Critically evaluate the research literature in chemistry.
  • Communicate concepts and procedures in chemistry effectively — to peers, scholars, the scientific community, the lay public, and granting agencies.
  • Apply their education to careers and, more broadly, to challenges and opportunities in the world around them.


​​​​​​New scholars are required to attend orientation for both the chemistry graduate program and the Laney Graduate School before the start of classes.

Orientation will include the following:

  • Program requirements, including rotations
  • Mail and keys
  • Emory ID cards and building access
  • Payroll and compensation
  • Facilities and stockroom
  • Safety training
  • TA training
  • Coursework advising with faculty
  • Cohort teambuilding and strategies for success
  • Peer mentoring and graduate organizations

​​​​​​​All orientation activities are mandatory. Scholars who do not participate may forfeit their August stipend payment and/or be excluded from rotation activities.

For more information about Laney Graduate School orientation, please visit their website.


Rotations are 2-week experiences in Emory research groups for the benefit of first year scholars. The rotation program is intended to acquaint scholars with the research and resources of the Department before they choose a research home for pursuing their PhD. All scholars are required to complete 3 rotations before joining a research group.

Note: In Fall 2020, all rotation experiences will be fully virtual. Students will have the opportunity to join their group in person following group selection in November.

Structure of the Rotation Experience

Group Exploration Period

August 19 – September 9

Submission of Rotation Preferences

September 9 at 5 pm

Scholars submit three unranked rotation choices to the Graduate Program Coordinator on the Group Exploration Period form. Faculty will have an opportunity to review the names of all scholars who have requested a rotation in their lab and indicate their response to the request to the Director of Graduate Studies.

Rotation Assignments and Notification

September 11

Scholars will be advised of the faculty response to rotation requests and receive a rotation schedule. Scholars who fall short of the required three rotations will be required to meet with the DGS to discuss their options and secure three rotation placements.


Rotation 1: September 14 – September 25
Rotation 2: September 28 – October 9
Rotation 3: October 12 – October 23

Faculty have considerable flexibility in assigning rotation activities. At a minimum, satisfactory completion of the rotation will require attendance at all group meetings, seminars, scholar seminars, and/or journal club activities scheduled during the rotation period. Faculty may set a minimum hour-per-week requirement for graduate scholar engagement.

During the time a scholar is engaged in a rotation, the scholar’s total research effort should be focused on that rotation. Faculty cannot require that scholars participate in research activities in a group outside their current rotation assignment. Scholars are expected to complete coursework and TA responsibilities during rotations and rotation requirements should account for these responsibilities. With these requirements in mind, scholars should feel free to participate broadly in the intellectual life of the department.

Discernment and Discussions

October 24 – October 29

Scholars are encouraged to meet with their rotation advisors during this time with the goal of finalizing their group selection. Faculty and scholars are encouraged to be candid about their goals during this period. However, group assignment is only finalized by the DGS in consultation with the faculty after the scholar submits their selected group.

Rotation Etiquette 

Rotation and group selection is an opportunity to fully explore scientific opportunities at Emory and to join a group with confidence. However, the inherent uncertainty in this process can be stressful for students. Based on feedback from students, clear and consistent “rules of engagement” for both students and faculty are supportive of a positive rotation experience. The following rules have been articulated to faculty, current students, and rotation students. The graduate program asks that the following guidelines be observed by students and faculty:

  • Faculty are encouraged to provide clear feedback related to student performance during the rotation but to remind students that group selections cannot be made until the rotation period has concluded. At the risk of being prescriptive, we suggest that the following language would be appropriate: “I would be happy to discuss group placement with you at the end of the full rotation period.” Students, in turn, should not press faculty for a commitment prior to the conclusion of the rotation experience.
  • Faculty are asked not to accept rotation placements for students that they are not willing to consider for placement in their group. This year, we will also offer faculty the option of advertising a cap on the number of rotation students and group members that they plan to accept during the Exploration Period.
  • Faculty and students are asked to confine their discussions of other groups to issues related to scientific work rather than group placement.
  • To accommodate the need for in-depth discussion about group placement, faculty should plan time to meet with rotation students after rotations conclude and before the group selection deadline. Rotation students should be proactive in scheduling these discussions.

Additional Guidelines

•    A scholar may change their choice of the second and/or third rotation group during an earlier rotation. The scholar must submit a petition email to the DGS stating the reasons for the requested change. The DGS will discuss the petition with all faculty involved and advise the scholar of the outcome.

•    Scholars who have completed a summer rotation have two options. 1) They may request to repeat a rotation in the same group pending available space; 2) They may select three new rotation advisors, completing a total of four rotations. Scholars enrolled during summer may not skip a fall rotation.


Prior to research advisor selection, scholars should consider the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Program Coordinator as primary contacts for questions and concerns. 

Scholars should indicate the group that they wish to join by emailing the Graduate Program Coordinator and copying the requested advisor before noon on: October 30.

The Director of Graduate Studies will finalize group assignments in consultation with faculty. The DGS will immediately begin working with scholars who do not “match” with a group to find an alternate group placement or an additional rotation assignment.

Faculty may accept a scholar seeking a fourth rotation either as a rotator or as a lab member, even if the scholar has not yet rotated with their group. Scholars who do not secure an additional rotation or lab placement OR who are not offered a lab placement following the completion of an additional rotation will be asked to leave the program by the end of the Spring semester.  

Changing Research Groups

1.    Scholar submits a letter to the Graduate Committee describing the reason for the requested change AND an up-to-date research progress report.
2.    Scholar’s current advisor submits a letter to the Graduate Committee outlining the scholar’s research progress and the length of continuing support.
3.    Scholar’s new advisor submits a letter to the Graduate Committee outlining conditions for completion of the degree and the status of support.


Scholars should begin the process of asking faculty to join their committee no later than the start of their second year. Scholars may begin these discussions at any time. However, committee assignments are not finalized until DGS review in the second year as described in the Committee Selection Timeline (below). In addition to acting as a resource for advice throughout the PhD, the committee will:

  • Serve as the scholar’s Annual Report Committee 
  • Contribute to any other required progress reports
  • Serve as the scholar’s dissertation committee

The scholar’s responsibility to the committee includes:

  • Providing regular reports of research progress, including, but not necessarily limited to, the annual report and milestone requirements. 
  • Responding to email from the committee in a timely manner—within 24 hours on regular working days.
  • Taking responsibility for scheduling of activities that require the committee to collaborate, including reserving rooms and providing at least one week’s notice when the committee needs to meet.

Committee Selection Timeline

September 30: Scholars submit committee selections to the Graduate Program Coordinator by email. The DGS will review and finalize committee requests, with possible adjustments to ensure distribution of responsibility across the faculty. 

October 15: Scholars will receive a formal letter finalizing their committee.

Note: Scholars should submit the Laney Graduate School Dissertation Committee Signature Form when they apply for candidacy. This form must be submitted as soon as possible but no later than September 15 of the 4th year. See the “Candidacy” section for details.


Coursework is an opportunity to delve deeper into the science of your chosen research area as well as the discipline of chemistry more broadly. Required skills-based coursework in proposal preparation, library research, pedagogy, and ethics, among others, will help prepare you for your thesis work and for the job market.

New Scholars

Course Registration for Continuing Scholars

All scholars should meet with their advisor to decide on necessary coursework. Scholars must register themselves online via OPUS with assistance, as needed, from the Graduate Program Coordinator. Scholars are responsible for ensuring that they are enrolled prior to the enrollment deadline each semester. 

Registering for Non-Chemistry Courses


Courses are graded as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) or on a letter grade basis (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C, or F). Courses that offer a letter grade must be taken for a grade if they will be applied towards the requirements for candidacy.

Petitioning for Course Credit or a Course Waiver

Scholars may petition to receive course credit for graduate courses taken at another institution or a course waiver for a maximum of 9 credit hours. The scholar should submit the Petition for Course Credit and/or Waiver form to the Graduate Program Coordinator. Petitions will be forwarded to the Graduate Committee for review. Transfer credit requests must also be approved by the Laney Graduate School Dean. 

Coursework petitions must be submitted by the end of the first semester of coursework and will be accepted as early as the first graduate committee meeting of the semester.​​​​​​​

What is the difference between transfer credit and a waiver?

Course credit may be given only for courses that were not used to satisfy the requirements of any previous degree. Transfer credit may also reduce the number of courses required at Emory by an equivalent amount—a waiver. A course waiver alone may be requested to reduce the usual six-credit course load required for candidacy but the courses themselves will not be reflected on the Emory transcript.

Scholars wishing to use non-chemistry coursework as part of a transfer or waiver request should include a rationale from their advisor indicating the relevance of the course to the chemistry degree. This should be signed by the advisor.

All requested waivers and petitions will be reviewed. However, scholars should be advised that in most cases, it benefits the scholar to take a full slate of courses at Emory.​​​​​​​

Coursework Residency Requirement and Research Credit

All scholars in the graduate program are required to maintain a full course load consisting of at least 9 units during the fall, spring and summer semesters. Most  scholars in the first year will fulfill this minimum with required coursework. Advanced scholars must enroll in research credit (599R Pre-candidacy/799R Post-candidacy) to reflect their research effort. 

Scholars should refer to the guidance below to determine if they should enroll in research credit hours. Scholars may not enroll in more hours than indicated by this table and are encouraged not to enroll in less hours in most cases. In extraordinary circumstances, scholars may petition the DGS to increase or decrease research credit.

Research Credit Guidance

Engaged in Full Time Research, No TA: 15 hours of 599R/799R
Engaged in Research & 10 hours of TA: 12 hours 599R/799R
Engaged in Research & 20 hours of TA: 9 hours 599R/799R


Laney Graduate School seeks to ensure that scholar’s education includes thoughtful and thorough preparation in the art of teaching. All chemistry scholars will serve as Teaching Assistants as part of their education. Additional teaching opportunities are available on a competitive basis to those who are interested.

Teaching Requirements

  • All scholars will complete the Laney Graduate School TATTO (Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity) Program—including the two-day TATT 600 workshop and microteaching during graduate orientation.
  • All scholars will serve as a Teaching Assistant for two semesters—once in the Fall and once in the Spring of the first year. Assignments are made by the Graduate Committee.

TA Responsibilities

  • Provide classroom instruction as needed
  • Develop laboratory course materials as needed
  • Lead a lab section (if applicable)
  • Grade homework and quizzes
  • Proctor exams
  • Work closely with your faculty supervisor to ensure duties are completed to a high standard of excellence
  • Other duties supportive of University instruction as assigned

TA assignments are 10 hrs/week for a TA enrolled in TATT 605. Laboratory TAs may be required to occasionally work more than 10 hrs/week to assist with exam grading. The expectation is that lead instructors will balance this requirement with a lower work load in other weeks.

TA Probation Procedures

Graduate TA assignments are graded on an S/US basis. Scholars are expected to achieve an “S” grade. If a scholar receives—or is advised that they are on track to receive—a “U” grade, the following probationary procedure will be followed.

  1. Graduate scholar must re-take any failed assessments.
  2. Graduate scholar must arrange a meeting with their lab/course director, advisor, the DGS, and the Graduate Program Coordinator to collaboratively develop a plan to achieve an “S” grade either by improving performance in the current semester or via an additional TA assignment.

Advanced Scholars

Additional Teaching Opportunities for Advanced Scholars

  • Dean’s Teaching Fellowship
  • Emory Advanced Graduate Teaching Fellowship (AGTF)
  • SIRE for Natural Sciences
  • Emory Pipeline
  • Instructor-of-Record for chemistry courses

For the most up-to-date opportunities, visit the Laney Graduate School Advanced Student Fellowships page. Also, keep an eye out for opportunities in your email inbox via the LGS and chemistry digests.


It is the responsibility of the scholar to track their progress towards the PhD. Annual report and milestone requirements will assist you in this process. If you don’t know where you stand—ask!

Scholars should obtain signatures on the Annual Committee Evaluation during an in-person meeting scheduled on or before April 30 each year. First year scholars are only required to submit the signature of their P.I.

The annual meeting can be scheduled at any time, but it cannot be scheduled earlier than any required in-person meetings for annual milestones (Second Year Qualifying Exam, etc.) The meeting may take place at the same time as the evaluation of milestones with the permission of the committee.

In addition to a discussion of milestone requirements completed in a given year, scholars should be prepared to discuss the following:

  • What did you accomplish this year?
  • Where are your future plans and goals?


Qualifying Exams are an important checkpoint meant to show that you are on a promising research track toward the Ph.D. degree.

  • basic research skills
  • knowledge of the literature
  • work ethic and motivation.

Scholar Responsibilities

  • Enroll in CHEM 798 to receive course credit for exam preparation.
  • Coordinate scheduling with the committee.
  • Reserve a room for the report.
  • Ensure that the committee completes an assessment and submit the assessment to the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Due: The written report must be submitted at least one week prior to the scheduled oral defense and no later than February 1 in the second semester of the second year. The oral defense must be completed by March 1 of the same semester.

Grading and Re-test Policy

Scholars must receive an “S” grade on both the written and oral portion of the exam to pass CHEM 798. 

Failure to submit both portions of the exam or a receipt of a “U” on the oral and/or written portion of the exam will result in a “U” in CHEM 798. When a scholar receives a “U” grade, they may re-test before the end of the semester. At that time, if the “U” grade is not cleared, their committee may recommend termination from the program. 

If given the option to retest by their committee during the summer semester, scholars will be placed on probation and must re-test any portion of the exam for which they received the “U’ grade by the end of the summer term. Failure to earn an “S” on all exam requirements by the end of the summer term will result in termination from the program. Probation will be lifted in the semester following a successful re-test (assuming a scholar is in good standing in regard to all other program requirements.) 


Proposal development is a critical skill for scientists. The ability to recognize problems and creatively address them is key to success in research and teaching. Scholars who develop research proposals also practice critical thinking, learn to evaluate the work of others, and become more familiar with the scientific literature. 

In the third year, scholars will be required to write three one-page research proposals. 

Topic Requirements

  • One proposal may be an optimized form of the scholar’s proposal from the proposal writing course
  • Two proposals must detail an idea for research outside of what is being conducted in the scholar’s home group

Content Requirements

  1. Identify the problem.
  2. Identify known approaches to solving the problem and assess the merits and demerits of each.
  3. Propose a solution to the problem.
  4. Describe expected outcomes and implications of proposals.

Format Requirements

Each proposal should be written using the “quad sheet” format taught in the proposal course. A quad sheet format template is available on the website.

Assessment Criteria

Faculty feedback will be provided based on the following:

  1. Importance of the problem and the need for a new approach;
  2. Logical development of the problem and new idea;
  3. Creativity of the scholar’s solution to the problem;
  4. Quality of the writing.

Assessment Timeline

Scholars who fail to have three proposals approved by the end of the spring semester in the third year will receive a “U” research grade and be placed on academic probation. Scholars who fail to achieve three “S” grades by the end of the summer semester may be recommended for termination from the program.


Taken together, the third year proposals, the original research proposal, and the proposal writing course provide scholars with a solid foundation in creating and communicating original research. The original research proposal is the penultimate outgrowth of these efforts, followed by the dissertation.

All fourth year scholars must present and defend an original research proposal in the first semester of the fourth year. It is essential that the proposal not overlap significantly with any ongoing research at Emory. 


  • Scholars should use the NIH Research Training Proposal requirements as a guideline for the written proposal.
  • The oral presentation should:
    • Clearly define the proposed problem and how the proposed research would be accomplished
    • Include approximately one dozen PowerPoint slides or other visual aids

The scholar is responsible for scheduling a date, time, and location for the oral defense with their committee and for ensuring the location meets any A/V needs.



All chemistry graduate scholars are admitted with a stipend, 100% health insurance subsidy, and 100% tuition waiver. Funding is guaranteed as long as the scholar continues to make satisfactory progress towards the degree.

Graduate scholar stipend support comes from a number of sources, including:

  • Laney Graduate School fellowships
  • Teaching Assistantships
  • External fellowships
  • Faculty research grants

Scholars receiving any form of stipend support are expected to devote themselves full time to graduate work and research. Outside employment is not permitted. The only exception is tutoring which must be kept to ten hours or less per week. Breaks should be discussed with the research advisor and should be limited to two weeks per year. Scholars who take extended breaks may have their stipends terminated.

Additional Funding

Professional Development Support (PDS) funding is available for research travel, conferences, and training via the Laney Graduate School. Scholars should familiarize themselves with program guidelines and take advantage of this support. Two additional travel grants of $250 each are available by application to the Graduate Student Council (GSC).

Scholars are encouraged to research and apply for grants relevant to their graduate work, including, but not limited to, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Scholars should carefully review email digests from Laney Graduate School and the Department of Chemistry for potential funding opportunities and explore funding opportunities from professional organizations and government agencies. When a scholar receives an external stipend that fully replaces 75% or more of the annual program stipend, they are eligible for an additional $2,000 annual stipend supplement from LGS. Refer to the Special Funding Requests page for instructions – students should proactively request this supplement if they become eligible.

Stipend Termination

A scholar’s stipend may be terminated due to:

  • degree completion
  • transfer
  • leave of absence
  • withdrawal (either voluntary or required based on academic performance)


While they cannot self-nominate, scholars are encouraged to make their research advisors aware of awards for which they may be eligible. The Department of Chemistry awards outstanding scholars a total of over $15k each year above and beyond stipend funding.

Quayle Outstanding Dissertation Award

One award $6000

Awarded to the PhD scholar with the best PhD dissertation, defended in the 2019/20 academic year. Nominations are restricted to one scholar per research group. Nominations consist of a letter from the primary nominator (the scholar’s research advisor), and a supporting letter from an additional expert in the field. Letters should address the exceptional nature of the scholar’s research

Quayle excellence in research awards

Six awards, $1500 each

Recognizes excellence in research.

  • Two awards will be given to students completing their second year.
  • Two awards will be given to students completing their third year.
  • Two awards will be given to students completing their fourth year.

Nominations should include a faculty nomination letter and a 1-page research summary written by the student highlighting their major research accomplishments. A student may only receive one “Quayle excellence in research award” during their time at Emory (i.e. student receiving a second-year award, is not eligible for this award in their third or fourth years).

Quayle Early Innovator Award

One Award, $1500

This award specifically recognizes students who have made significant contributions to developing a new line of research/project, significantly beyond work that was undertaken in the group before their contribution. The nomination should include a faculty nomination letter and a 1-page research summary, written by the student, that emphasizes their individual contribution to developing a new line of research.

Quayle Citizen Scholar Award

One Award, $1500

This award specifically recognizes a student who has demonstrated excellence in research, and made a significant contribution to community building, outreach, broadening participation, public education and/or scholarship. The nomination should include a faculty nomination letter, a 1 page research statement (written by the student), and a 1 page outreach statement, written by the student, outlining the contribution to community building/outreach/broadening participation/public education/scholarship.

Quayle Teacher Scholar Award

One Award, $1500

This award specifically recognizes a student who has demonstrated excellence in research, and also a commitment to mentoring others/education. The nomination should include a faculty nomination letter, a 1 page research statement (written by the student), and 1 page mentoring/teaching statement (written by the student).

Quayle Spectrum Scholar Award

One Award, $1500

This award is given in acknowledgement of a graduate scholar whose personal and professional efforts over the past school year have contributed to diversity, inclusion and community engagement in the Department of Chemistry and/or the university more broadly. The nomination should include a description of specific actions undertaken by the student in support of full engagement. Nominations may come from any member of the chemistry community.


Candidacy status is an indication that a doctoral scholar has developed sufficient mastery of a discipline to produce an original research contribution in their field.


PhD scholars are eligible for candidacy when they have earned at least 54 credit hours at the 500 level or above. All incomplete (I) and In Progress (IP) grades must be resolved. Candidates must be in good standing with the program. Scholars must also complete the following before entering candidacy:

  • Rotations
  • JPE: LGS Ethics course JPE 600 (JPE 610 may be completed after entering candidacy) 
  • Chemistry JPE Requirements
  • Second Year Qualifying Exam
  • TATTO: TATT 600 & TATT 605 (x 2 semesters)
  • Six chemistry courses (or equivalent course release based on transfer coursework) with a minimum G.P.A. of 2.7


Scholars should enter candidacy as soon as all requirements have been completed. Scholars must reach candidacy by September 15 of their fourth year. Scholars who do not meet this deadline will be placed on academic probation, will not be eligible for PDS funds, and may forfeit financial support. These sanctions will be lifted when the scholar enters candidacy.

How to Apply

Scholars enter candidacy by submitting the application to enter candidacy, available on the LGS website. Chemistry will confirm that all program requirements have been met and LGS will confirm that remaining requirements have been met. Scholars are considered “in candidacy” when the Dean has approved the application to enter candidacy.


The dissertation is the culmination of a scholar’s Emory training. And after it’s over, most new PhDs throw a party! Many of the degree requirements must be completed well ahead of the actual defense, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the procedures well in advance.

The Laney Graduate School sets the requirements for the completion of the graduate degree. Scholars should familiarize themselves with these requirements. The Graduate Program Coordinator is available to assist scholars in navigating the degree completion procedures but it is the responsibility of the scholar to complete and submit all required documents.

Chemistry-Specific Degree Completion Guidelines

  • The dissertation must be submitted to the scholar’s entire committee at least seven days in advance of the scheduled defense.
  • The date, time, and location of the defense must be publicly advertised at least seven days in advance of the defense.
  • All committee members must be present at the defense.

Completion Guidelines

If a scholar has not completed the degree at the end of the seventh year, the program may grant a one-year extension. The program must submit notice of this extension to the Dean, no later than August 1 of the seventh year (before the eighth year). The notice must contain a completion timeline signed by both the scholar and the dissertation committee chair or co-chairs. Scholars who enroll for this extension year will be responsible for some tuition.

If a scholar has not completed the degree at the end of the eighth year, the scholar may continue work for at most one additional academic year and only with approval from the Dean. To obtain approval, the program must submit a request to the Dean no later than August 1 of the eighth year (before the ninth year). The request must:

  • outline the reasons the scholar has not completed
  • consider whether the scholar needs to repeat any part of the qualifications for candidacy or obtain approval of a new dissertation prospectus
  • present a detailed completion timeline signed by both the scholar and the dissertation committee chair or co-chairs. Scholars who enroll for this extension year will be responsible for some tuition.


We want all scholars to succeed. If you are concerned about falling into probationary status, be sure to communicate with the Graduate Program Coordinator and your research advisor to determine your best path forward.

Causes of Probationary Status

Scholars whose work causes them to fall into probationary status will receive notification from Laney Graduate School. Scholars who receive a semester or Cumulative G.P.A. of < 2.7 will fall into probationary status. In addition, scholars will receive a “U” grade for the following courses (thus falling in to probationary status) when they fail to meet a program requirement:

  • CHEM 504 for failure to complete rotations or join a group.
  • CHEM 798 for failure to complete the Second Year Qualifying Exam (failure to successfully re-test by the end of the summer term will result in termination from the program).
  • TATT 605 for unsatisfactory TA performance.
  • CHEM 599 (pre-candidacy) or CHEM 799 (post-candidacy) for insufficient research progress.
  • CHEM 599 (pre-candidacy) or CHEM 799 (post-candidacy) for failure to meet a milestone requirement or submit an annual report.

Scholars in probationary status are not eligible for merit awards or LGS Professional Development Support (PDS) funds.

Review Process

All scholars will be reviewed at the end of each semester by the faculty. Scholars who fall into probationary status due to a negative review will be informed of their status in writing by the Laney Graduate School. Consequences of a negative review may include:

  • Withdrawal of financial support
  • Repetition of research, coursework, and/or examinations
  • Termination from the program

Appeal of Probationary Status

Scholars in probationary status may petition for one additional semester to improve their record by following the departmental appeal process.

  1. Write a letter to the Graduate Committee detailing any extenuating circumstances that contributed to the probationary status and requesting a one semester extension.
  2. Ask the research advisor to submit a letter of support, including a plan for ongoing financial support.

The Graduate Committee will review appeals and make recommendations. Scholars may petition for a maximum of two semester-long extensions.


Scholars whose appeal is not approved will be recommended for termination from the program by no later than the end of their second semester on probation.


Students that have a grievance related to some aspect of their treatment in the chemistry graduate program should address a comprehensive written account of the grievance to the Director of Graduate Studies. The Graduate Committee will consider the grievance on the basis of the written complaint. The student will also be afforded the opportunity to present their case to the committee in person. As part of the decision-making process, the Graduate Committee may consider other sources, including, but not limited to, the research advisor and the Graduate Program Coordinator. The Graduate Committee will then inform the student of their response to the grievance.

If it is impossible to resolve the grievance within the Graduate Committee or within the broader framework of the Department of Chemistry administrative structure, the Director of Graduate Studies will forward the grievance to the Associate Dean of the Laney Graduate School. From this point forward, the grievance will be handled according to the procedures outlined in the Laney Graduate School handbook. If the issue is with the Director of Graduate studies, the scholar should go directly to the Associate Dean of the Laney Graduate School or the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement.

The grievance process is primarily appropriate for academic complaints, broadly defined, related to coursework, exams, milestone requirements, laboratory environment and training, etc. While the graduate program takes the perspective that all aspects of a scholar’s Emory experience may impact their academic work, there are certain instances where it is most appropriate or even required that a student reach out to a particular office to officially pursue a concern, complaint, or resource. Scholars should familiarize themselves with the resource list in the next section of the handbook for assistance in determining the appropriate office for handling a non-academic concern. If a scholar cannot determine where to bring a complaint or grievance, they are encouraged to contact any member of the graduate program team or, if the issue cannot be comfortably discussed within this structure, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs of the Laney Graduate School or the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement.


Emory University offers a number of resources to scholars enrolled in academic programs. You are encouraged to familiarize yourself with these resources by reading your email, exploring university websites, visiting university offices in person, and beyond.

The following list should not be considered exhaustive. It is provided as a resource to help you begin the process of learning what resources the university has to offer.

Please review the department website at to ensure you are familiar with chemistry-specific resources. Each member of staff has a short description next to their name describing key responsibilities in the People directory. In addition, the faculty diversity and safety liaison and the directors of academic programming will be identified in the People directory.

Within the graduate program structure, you are encouraged to consider the DGS, Graduate Program Coordinator, and Communications and Outreach coordinator as a resource team. Most academic process questions and signature requests will be addressed by the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Office of Equity and Inclusion (link)

  • University Title IX
  • Discrimination and harassment management
  • Affirmative action plans and implementation
  • Educational programming
  • Best practices for searches and hires
  • Access and disability services

Office of Respect (link)

  • Sexual violence awareness and prevention
  • Victim support (Note: Scholars who have been victimized are encouraged to contact the Office of Respect for assistance prior to OEI if they can safely do so. If scholars are engaged in an active Title IX investigation, the Office of Respect can only play a limited role.)

University Ombuds Office (link)

  • Problems, conflicts, or concerns from students affiliated with any academic division of Emory University. Problems, conflicts, and concerns can be academic or non-academic in nature.
  • Confidential discussion except where reporting is required by law, such as in cases of sexual assault of misconduct or when, in the judgement of the Ombudsperson, there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.

Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHSO)

  • Safety concerns, questions, and complaints
  • Anonymous reports: Emory Trust Line

Laney Graduate School (LGS)

  • Scholars may consult the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs or the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement for academic and non-academic concerns, and/or if it is not clear which resource would be appropriate.


Email Policy

Email is the primary medium for official communication between scholars, faculty, and staff in the Department of Chemistry at Emory University. Official Department of Chemistry communications will be sent to your address. Time sensitive communications will be sent to your email with the expectation that they will be reviewed within 24 hours or less.

Department Calendar

Events of interest in the department, including weekly seminars, are posted on the Trumba calendar that appears on the front page of Scholars are encouraged to subscribe to this calendar. Events are also posted throughout the department and announced via email. 

Communicating “Open Door” Events

For any event that is open to the public (including the dissertation), it is the scholar’s responsibility to advertise the time and place of the event by submitting the event to the calendar via the form on the department website. Events must be advertised at least one week in advance. An unadvertised defense, report, or other event may be considered incomplete.