Chemistry Intranet

Guidelines for Preparing for the Preliminary Oral Examination

I. Written Document

The document should convincingly show that the student has a firm understanding of (1) the area of study including the fundamental concepts, key research questions, and important literature; (2) what the student has accomplished in the project, why the work was done, and how the results are interpreted, and; (3) what future work should be performed to complete the project. It is suggested that a good balance among literature, completed work, and future research plans would entail roughly equal weighting, that is, approximately 1/3 of the paper dedicated to each of these areas. It is recognized, however, that individual situations may dictate organizational structure that differs from that suggested here. A concise paper can be as short as 15 pages including abstract, figures, tables, and references. However, the length of the documents should be dictated more by the first statement above than any pre-set page count.

The format of the document shall adhere to the following specifications: single-spaced text in 12-point Times New Roman font with 1” margins on top, bottom, and sides. The organization of the document should be along the following lines: 1) abstract, 2) background and literature review, 3) specific research objectives, 4) description of completed work, 5) future research plans, 6) bibliography, and 7) figures and tables (if not imbedded in text).

II. Oral Presentation

The oral presentation will typically be 45-50 minutes in length. The three major components of the presentation are a critical review of pertinent literature, a description of completed research, and a presentation and discussion of future research plans. Roughly equal weighting of these three components would be reasonable, although individual situations may dictate otherwise.

Last revised January 14, 2009