Skip to main content

Annual Progress Reviews (APR)

All Graduate Students:

Students who fail to fulfill the following requirements need to repair the problem by the next review (in ~ six months) or may have their graduate student status terminated by the department:

  • passing proficiency exams
  • maintaining a cumulative program coursework GPA of 3.0 (not counting research)
  • earning satisfactory ratings at annual and semi-annual progress reviews

At the annual review, if a graduate student receives a rating of "marginal" or "unsatisfactory" (instead of "satisfactory"), Graduate Studies expects another formal review to take place during the following semester rather than a whole year later. If such a rating is given, the committee chair outlines on the annual progress review form what is expected in order to raise the rating before the next review. This prompt review provides continued close supervision for a student who is having difficulty, helps the student maintain a good understanding of the requirement for improvement, and provides an opportunity for timely correction of the sub-standard performance.

The final defense on a student's dissertation or thesis will count for the annual review in the student's last year of their program.

APR Requirements Based on Year


BYU Graduate Studies and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry require an annual evaluation of each graduate student's progress in the program. This formal progress review is an oral presentation given to members of your graduate committee and other designated faculty in which you should summarize your status in the graduate program. Your committee/evaluating committee is asked to determine if your performance during the past year has been satisfactory, marginal, or unsatisfactory. Graduating students will defend their thesis or dissertation in lieu of an annual review.

Course work, research, TA performance, and other requirements of your graduate program are reviewed. Students must have an evaluation before the start of the second year of their program. The student’s area faculty and faculty advisory chair determine the procedure and scheduling of progress reviews within the area.

1st Year :
Annual progress reviews for first-year grad students are held in August and are not part of the Current Topics course. Schedules will be sent to students and also posted on the website here closer to the scheduled date.

Each first-year student, in consultation with his or her faculty advisory chair, must prepare a 2-3 page project summary of research conducted during the first year. At least one week before the scheduled annual review, the student submits a copy of the summary to each member of his or her faculty advisory committee. There is no public presentation, meaning no outside visitors, only the committee and student will be in attendance. The student should prepare to present on the 2-3 page project (5-10 minutes).

Each committee is different and each student will need to consult with their faculty advisory chair on specific expectations beyond the 2-3 page project summary for the review. These instructions are a beginning guideline and other tasks may be added based on the faculty advisory chair.

The faculty advisor will bring to the meeting the annual progress review form provided by the graduate program administrator. In addition, the student's progress in proficiency exams, first and second semester grades, and first and second semester TA assignments and performance will be reviewed after the presentation. The summary and evaluation must be completed by the end of the first year in residence.


2nd, 4th and beyond until thesis or dissertation defense:
Each year the student is in the program, beginning in the second year, he or she will:

  • give a 15-20 minute oral presentation outlining what was done that year and what will be done in the coming year. 
  • write a one-page review of their accomplishments since their last review.
  • give a one-page review to their committee one week before the presentation.

The presentation for 2nd and 4th-year students will be given in conjunction with the Current Topics course. The audience is comprised of the student committee members as well as other members of the student’s Current Topics section. The faculty advisor will bring to the meeting the annual progress review form, progress report, and TA reviews, if applicable, provided by the Graduate Program Administrator. The student will bring a copy of the accomplishment summary. Immediately following the class, the student’s committee meets with the student individually to provide feedback and direction.

At the annual review, if a graduate student receives a rating of "marginal" or "unsatisfactory" (instead of "satisfactory"), Graduate Studies expects another formal review to take place during the following semester rather than a whole year later. If such a rating is given, the committee advisor outlines on the annual progress review form what is expected in order to raise the rating before the next review. This prompt review helps the student maintain a good understanding of the requirement for improvement, and provides opportunity for timely correction of the substandard performance.

The final oral presentation/defense will count for the annual review in the student's last year of their program.


3rd-Year Research Proposal - (also known as Degree Qualifying Exam):
PhD students write and orally present a research proposal on the topic of their graduate research that outlines their anticipated research project. The proposal is drafted as part of Chem 694, typically taken during the Winter semester of the second year. Students develop and polish the proposal immediately following the class during the summer between their second and third years. The final written proposal should:

  • be well written, single-spaced, 7-10 pages, excluding references.
  • be distributed to his or her committee at least two weeks before the oral presentation.
  • be in the format of an NSF or NIH grant proposal (or that of another large funding agency as deemed appropriate by the student’s committee).
  • contain a one-page project summary and project description with specific aims, expected significance, background, research description, plan of work, and references.
  • have at least one aim of the proposal originating from the student.

The student will give a 40-minute oral presentation on their proposal in the Fall of their third year. This serves as a candidacy exam.

With approval from their committee, students may take the Chem 694 class in winter of their first year, develop and polish the proposal during the summer between their first and second years, and present the proposal during the Fall of their second year.

Chemistry & Biochemistry