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CBE PhD Degree Program Descriptions

Ph.D Descriptions

Fifty-seven (57) semester hours are required for the PhD degree in ChE as follows:

  1. Twelve (12) semester hours of ChE core courses
  2. Twenty-one (21) semester hours of approved electives
  3. Twenty-four (24) semester hours of ECH 6980r, Dissertation
  4. Successful completion of ECH 8965r, Doctoral Qualifying Exam (0) (P/F grade only)
  5. Successful defense of an oral and written dissertation - ECH 8985, Dissertation Defense (0) (P/F grade only)
  6. Registration and attendance at all departmental seminars - ECH 5935, ChE Seminar (0)

No courses with a grade below "C" will be counted toward fulfillment of degree requirements. No more than one course with a grade of "C" will be counted toward fulfillment of degree requirements.

Required Chemical Engineering Core Graduate Courses (twelve [12] semester hours):

  • ECH 5052 - Research Methods in Chemical Engineering (3)
  • ECH 5126 - Advanced Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics I (3)
  • ECH 5261 - Advanced Transport Phenomena I (3)
  • ECH 5840 - Advanced Chemical Engineering Mathematics I (3)
  • ECH 8965r - Doctoral Preliminary Exam (0) (P/F grade only)
  • ECH 8985 - Dissertation Defense (0) (P/F grade only)

Chemical Engineering Electives (twenty-one [21] semester hours):

  • Students should consulate major professor to determine the elective courses offered by the department. Additional elective courses may be found in the University Graduate Bulletin.

Dissertation Hours (twenty-four [24] semester hours):

  • ECH 6980r - Dissertation (1-9) (S/U grade only)

Degree Requirements

The PhD degree will be awarded to a doctoral candidate upon successful completion of the following requirements:

  1. Passage of the ChE PhD qualifying examination (ECH 8965) within two (2) consecutive exam attempts (see PhD Qualifying Examination Requirements below for more details); successful completion will result in formal admission to PhD candidacy;
  2. Selection of a research topic and major professor(s);
  3. Formation of a supervisory committee in consultation with the major professor(s);
  4. Submission and defense of a prospectus on the dissertation topic to the supervisory committee;
  5. Completion of thirty-three (33) semester hours of advanced coursework (including twelve [12] semester hours of core graduate coursework);
  6. Completion of at least twenty-four (24) semester hours of dissertation research;
  7. One semester teaching assistantship in the undergraduate laboratory;
  8. Presentation of a research topic at one local, regional, national or international professional meeting;
  9. Submission or publication of scholarly articles based on original dissertation research in peer-reviewed journals;
  10. Satisfaction of the University residency requirement; and
  11. Presentation and defense of an original dissertation (ECH 8985, Dissertation Defense).

All paperwork associated with the above requirements (see forms) must be submitted in a timely fashion to the Departmental office with appropriate signatures for review by the Graduate Committee and its Chair.

All ChE graduate students are required to attend the Program for Instructional Excellence (PIE) Workshop to prepare for teaching assistant (TA) duties. This requirement is mandatory regardless of the student's classification as a teaching assistant or research assistant. In addition, all students are required to take safety training courses as necessary.

Students with a master's degree in ChE from the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering may, with approval of the graduate committee and major professor, take nine (9) additional approved semester hours beyond the thesis-type master's course requirements to satisfy the thirty-three (33) semester hour requirement for the PhD. All other requirements must be fulfilled as stated above.

Students with master's degrees in ChE from other institutions will be given a specific course plan by the departmental graduate committee. A maximum of thirty (30) semester hours may be assigned to remedy any deficiencies in the student's background. Transfer credit from another institution is limited to six (6) semester hours towards the PhD degree and only with departmental approval.

Fifty-seven (57) semester hours are required for the PhD degree in BME as follows:

  1. Twelve (12) semester hours of BME core courses
  2. Twenty-one (21) semester hours of approved electives
  3. Twenty-four (24) semester hours of BME 6980r, Dissertation
  4. Successful completion of BME 8965r, Doctoral Qualifying Exam (0) (P/F grade only)
  5. Successful defense of an oral and written dissertation - BME 8985, Dissertation Defense (0) (P/F grade only)
  6. Registration and attendance at all departmental seminars - BME 5935, ChE Seminar (0)

No courses with a grade below "C" will be counted toward fulfillment of degree requirements. No more than one course with a grade of "C" will be counted toward fulfillment of degree requirements.

Required Biomedical Engineering Core Graduate Courses (twelve [12] semester hours):

  • ECH 5261 - Advanced Transport Phenomena I (3)
  • ECH 5052 - Research Methods in Chemical Engineering (3)
  • ECH 5840 - Advanced Chemical Engineering Mathematics I (3)
  • XXX XXXX - Approved Course in Physiology or Cell Biology (3)
An approved course in Physiology or Cell Biology is required for completion of the graduate BME degree. Approved courses include: PCB 5746 - Mammalian Physiology I; PCB 5747 - Mammalian Physiology II; PCB 5796 - Sensory Physiology; PCB 5835 - Neurophysiology; PCB 5137 - Advanced Cell Biology; PCB 5525 - Molecular Biology; PCB 5845 - Cell and Molecular Neuroscience; and BCH 5405 - Molecular Biology. Additional courses may satisfy the physiology/biology requirement but require petition to the Graduate committee for approval as a core substitute.
  • BME 8965r - Doctoral Qualifying Exam (0) (P/F grade only)
  • BME 8985 - Dissertation Defense (0) (P/F grade only)

Biomedical Engineering Electives (twenty-one [21] semester hours):

Students should consulate major professor to determine the elective courses offered by the department. Additional elective courses may be found in the University Graduate Bulletin.

Dissertation Hours (twenty-four [24] semester hours):

  • BME 6980r - Dissertation (1-9) (S/U grade only)

Degree Requirements

The following requirements for the PhD degree in biomedical engineering must be met:

  1. Passage of the BME PhD qualifying examination (BME 8965) within two (2) consecutive exam attempts (see PhD Qualifying Examination Requirements below for more details); successful completion will result in formal admission to PhD candidacy;
  2. Selection of a research topic and major professor;
  3. Formation of a supervisory committee in consultation with the major professor(s);
  4. Submission and defense of a prospectus on the dissertation topic to the supervisory committee;
  5. Completion of a minimum of thirty-three (33) semester hours of advanced coursework in biomedical engineering and related disciplines;
  6. Completion of at least twenty-four (24) semester hours of dissertation research;
  7. Assistance in the teaching of at least one undergraduate laboratory course;
  8. Presentation of a research topic at a local, regional, national or international professional meeting;
  9. Submission or publication of scholarly articles based on original dissertation research in peer-reviewed journals;
  10. Satisfaction of University residency requirements; and
  11. Presentation and defense of an original dissertation (ECH 8985, Dissertation Defense).

All paperwork associated with the above requirements (see forms) must be submitted in a timely fashion to the Departmental office with appropriate signatures for review by the Graduate Committee and its Chair.

All BME graduate students are required to attend the Program for Instructional Excellence (PIE) Workshop to prepare for teaching assistant (TA) duties. This requirement is mandatory regardless of the student's classification as a teaching assistant or research assistant. In addition, all students are required to take safety training courses as necessary.

Students with a master's degree in BME or ChE from the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering may, with approval of the graduate committee and major professor, take nine (9) additional approved semester hours beyond the thesis-type master's course requirements to satisfy the thirty-three (33) semester hour requirement for the PhD. All other requirements must be fulfilled as stated above.

Students with master's degrees in BME or ChE from other institutions will be given a specific course plan by the departmental graduate committee. A maximum of thirty (30) semester hours may be assigned to remedy any deficiencies in the student's background. Transfer credit from another institution is limited to six (6) semester hours towards the PhD degree and only with departmental approval.

Purpose and Format - Successful PhD candidates will have a sound background in engineering, as well as the creativity and judgment necessary to conduct independent research. The purpose of the Qualifying Examination is to assess these qualities with an emphasis on evaluating the student's potential to conduct an original course of study and investigation. The Qualifying Examination tests the student's ability (1) to define, describe and examine critically relevant literature; (2) to think creatively and to apply basic chemical/biomedical engineering concepts; (3) to communicate in a scholarly and rigorous manner the progress and results of research; and (4) to conduct productive, rigorous and creative scientific investigations.

This exam will be based on the student's ability to evaluate a fundamental research article from the literature of chemical engineering. Specifically, the student will be asked to:

  • Identify the problems addressed in the paper;
  • Formulate a critical appraisal of the authors' contributions to the problem and the significance of the work;
  • Critically evaluate the technical soundness of the approach used and results obtained;
  • Summarize and critique advances in the field since the publication of the assigned article;
  • Propose in concrete terms research work that might be done to extend and (if necessary) improve upon the study discussed in the article; and
  • Comment on the incorporation of the article's findings into the potential course of dissertation work of the student.

The Graduate Qualifying Examination Committee, which will be comprised of at least three faculty members, will assign a fundamental article from the literature of chemical or biomedical engineering. Three weeks following the assignment of the chosen research article, the student will be required to submit a written report on the exam problem as well as any additional commentaries or simulations deemed critical by the student. This report will be distributed to all members of the Qualify Examination Committee for review. Committee members will submit comments and questions back to the prospective PhD candidate within 5 business days. This review will identify (a) aspects of the written report that require additional attention or (b) critical research points that will need to be addressed in the oral presentation.

After the submission of the report and the return of the committee's review, the student will give an oral presentation to the Qualifying Examination Committee. The oral presentation will be approximately one hour in length. The student will give a 40-minute presentation open to the public, followed by a 20-minute question and answer session. The oral presentation should address the exam criteria, as well as any issues raised by the committee's review of the submitted written report. Additionally, the student is permitted to submit any supplementary information to augment the written report. An edited written report should have been submitted by this time.

Following the oral presentation, the Qualifying Examination Committee will evaluate the student's performance in closed session. Three outcomes are possible: pass, provisional pass, or fail. An affirmative majority vote from the faculty is required for the student to pass the examination. A unanimous vote for a provisional pass will require the student to satisfy additional requirements deemed necessary by the Qualification Examination Committee, such as (but not limited to) the successful completion of specific coursework or the completion of a M.S. degree prior to granting full PhD candidacy. A pass or provision pass of the Qualifying Examination will permit the student to begin or continue research work contributing to the student's dissertation. If neither a pass nor provisional pass vote is reached, the student will have failed the Qualifying Examination. At the discretion of the Qualifying Examination Committee, the student may have one further opportunity to retake the examination. This re-examination will be scheduled at the discretion of the Graduate Committee, and may require the student to retake the exam in a subsequent semester. Failure of the Qualifying Exam on two occasions will eliminate the student from consideration for PhD candidacy.

Upon successful completion of the comprehensive exam, the student is admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D.

All prospective PhD candidates must enroll in the appropriate Doctoral Qualifying Exam course (either BME 8965r or ECH 8965r) for the semester that they intend to take the qualifying examination.