Admission the Ph.D. program in the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials is competitive and based on a review of application packages. The School does allow admission to the Ph.D. program for students holding a B.S. degree. Admission of students seeking to substitute previous graduate coursework or master's degrees from other institutions will be considered on an individual basis.
Continuation in the Ph.D. program requires (1) obtaining a minimum GPA of 3.0 on the 26 hours of core courses; (2) obtaining a minimum GPA of 3.5 in at least 30 hours of graduate courses taken at Southern Miss including the core courses and research; and (3) passing all three sections of the written comprehensive examination. Failure to meet these criteria may result in the student seeking a M.S. degree or dismissal from the program. See the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials graduate handbook for details.
Additional requirements for the Ph.D. degree dealing with residency, the research tools, the committee, the dissertation, the dissertation defense, application for candidacy, and graduation are described in the front of this Bulletin.
Specific details of the admission and program requirements are outlined in a separate handbook provided by the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials.
Minimum course requirements for the doctorate are fifty-eight (58) semester hours of coursework beyond the bachelor's degree. Fifty-four (54) semester hours are required beyond a master's degree in polymer science or a related area. Doctoral students must take all core courses (PSC 701 , PSC 702 , PSC 703 , PSC 710 , PSC 711 , PSC 712 , PSC 720 , PSC 721 , PSC 730 , PSC 745 ) as well as two 800-level courses that are offered. Graduate students must register for one hour of PSC 789 - Polymer Science Seminar each semester that they are in residence. A 3.0 GPA is required for graduation. Students must take a minimum of 9 hours of PSC 898 - Dissertation and 1 hour the semester they defend the dissertation.
Responsible Conduct of Research Training
All faculty holding Regular or Associate graduate faculty status, must complete RCR training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments. All graduate students must complete the RCR training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments the first semester there are enrolled in graduate school. The RCR policy and training information are found on the Graduate School web page – www.usm.edu/graduateschool. Contact the Dean of the Graduate School if you have any questions regarding the policy of training information.
See department chair for specific requirements. (School Handbook)
Students must meet the residency requirements specified in this Bulletin.
The written comprehensive examination serves as the qualifying examination for the Ph.D. program, and is given twice a year at the end of the fall and spring terms. This three-part examination covers the areas of organic, physical, and practical polymer science.
A student who fails any part of the examination must retake and pass that part at the end of the fall term. Only one additional attempt is allowed.
Within nine (9) months of completing the written comprehensive examination, a written dissertation prospectus that includes an annotated bibliography must be approved by the student's committee. The prospectus summarizes the student's work accomplished to date and gives an outline of research objectives for the dissertation project.
Independent Proposal Presentation and Oral Defense
Within 18 months of completing the comprehensive examination, the student must submit an independently conceived and developed written proposal dealing with an original proposition unrelated to his or her dissertation research. This proposal is then presented orally and defended before the faculty. Oral evaluation of the student's general knowledge of polymer science is carried out concomitant with his or her defense of the proposal.
Continuous Enrollment Requirement: Students must meet the requirement specified in the front section of this Bulletin.