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Other Requirements

Areas of importance:

GPA Evaluations Presentation Publication Defense

Maintain a GPA of 3.0 

We look at two different GPAs.  

  1. The first is the overall GPA for the program of study courses.
  2. The second is the GPA for courses taken, except 697R, from the program of study.

Semester/Term Evaluations

Departments must evaluate each graduate student’s progress at least twice during an academic year (September through August) per Graduate Studies requirements. The department requires that we evaluate each student after Fall, Winter, and Summer semester/term.

Ratings are as follows - (1) Satisfactory, (2) Marginal, or (3) Unsatisfactory.

In order to receive a satisfactory rating, a student must:

  • Have a 3.0 overall GPA on program of study courses
  • Have a 3.0 program GPA excluding Chem 697R
  • Have passed all proficiency exam requirements
  • Have satisfactory TA/RA assignments feedback
  • Have been productive in lab research 

There may be other areas that the faculty advisory chair reviews. Each student should discuss their advisor or committee requirements that may be beyond those mentioned above.

Students making marginal or unsatisfactory progress are informed via their faculty advisor and/or the Graduate Program Administrator. The student will be asked to meet with the Graduate Program Administrator to go over:

  1. What they need to do to make satisfactory progress.
  2. When each task needs to be completed.
  3. Which faculty member(s) they should contact for more information or support.
  4. What will happen if these tasks are not finished by the set deadline.

NOTE: If a student receives a marginal rating in one semester and is not making satisfactory progress in the next semester, the student must be rated as making unsatisfactory progress. In other words, a student may not be rated as making marginal progress in two sequential semesters. Failing to correct marginal progress is unsatisfactory.

If a student receives a marginal and an unsatisfactory or two unsatisfactory ratings in succession, the university will terminate the student’s program.

Presentation requirement

Beginning the second year, students must present their work, in an official setting, at least once per year either at the BYU Student Research Conference or at an external conference (oral or poster presentation).

Publication requirement

PhD students must have at least one first-author paper submitted to a peer-reviewed journal prior to the defense of their dissertation.

It is important to note that a student’s committee may require that the first-author paper not only be submitted but accepted. In addition, a faculty advisory chair and/or committee may require multiple first-authored papers as part of the student’s graduation requirements.

While additional papers are strongly encouraged, each student is responsible to communicate with their advisor and committee regarding their specific publication requirements.

Unless instructed otherwise by their committee, MS students do not have a publication requirement.

Dissertation, Thesis, & Defense

Information on the thesis or dissertation document:

A written thesis (MS) or dissertation (PhD) is required for graduation. The thesis or dissertation should include an introductory chapter and several chapters describing the student’s work. A dissertation/thesis template can be found here.

Graduate Studies does have a few template requirements. Please check the link: and click on the formatting square.

Information on scheduling and the presentation:

Graduate Studies has transitioned to a more online approach (less paperwork). The system can be found at

Scheduling the defense

  • The student must have applied for graduation before submitting their thesis or dissertation for review to the Graduate Program Administrator
  • Committee members MUST be given at least one week to read the proposed final thesis or dissertation document before officially scheduling the defense online through the gradprogress system
  • Once the committee has read the document, they will approve, through the gradprogress system, that the student is ready to schedule the defense
  • The defense is scheduled and approved through the gradprogress system by the Graduate Program Administrator


  • The students will give a 45-60 minute presentation on their thesis or dissertation followed by a question and answer session with their committee 

After the defense

  • If the student has minor changes and received a pass, the committee will approve the thesis or dissertation at which the student completes the changes and proceeds to the ETD process
  • If the student passed with qualifications, the committee members MUST receive the revised dissertation or thesis prior to being asked to officially change the defense outcome to a pass in the gradprogress system. Once approved, the student will proceed to the ETD process
  • If the student is given a recess, the student will need to address all concerns and resubmit a new document and reschedule the defense
  • If the student receives a fail, they will be released from the program

ETD process

A dissertation or thesis is a work which presents the author’s research and findings to fulfill graduation requirements for a doctorate or master’s degree. Electronic versions of theses and dissertations are called ETDs. With the graduate student and committee approval, these documents can be available to anyone browsing the internet.

Once the thesis or dissertation has gone through the final revision, the student will need to upload their pdf onto the gradprogress systems ETD section and fill out the publication details. Once all information is uploaded, the final approval processes will be initiated. The document will need to be approved by 1) graduate studies, 2) the department office, 3) the dean’s office, and finally 4) the graduate office. Once the student has received all four approvals, they will need to have one printed copy made of their thesis or dissertation at The cost for the printing is the responsibility of the student.