For prospective students who are also full-time employees in companies, the possibility of earning a chemistry PhD degree while maintaining the same employment status is a very unusual and exciting one. We have designed a graduate program that allows the attainment of a PhD under special circumstances through a collaborative arrangement between a sponsoring company and Northeastern University.

The Industry Entry PhD program is targeted for students who normally will already have an approved MS degree and multiple years of employment in a chemical-related industry. Employed students who do not yet have the MS degree would ordinarily complete first the MS degree through our part-time program. In the Industry Entry PhD program, the student’s company sponsors the student’s tuition for the duration of study. The company also provides a thesis committee member from the company as one of the research mentors, and ordinarily also provides some of the financial support for the thesis research project, as well as making available some of the employee’s time for research either at the company or on campus. In essence, a collaborative research project is developed that involves joint supervision by a Northeastern professor and an industry-based supervisor. The arrangement will include execution of legal agreements, including intellectual property rights and intent to disseminate research results.

Students in the Industry Entry PhD program complete all of the usual requirements for the PhD degree. These include: completion of two additional courses (normally Research Skills and Ethics, plus one other); passing the cumulative exam series; satisfying seminar requirements, including presentation of seminars and attendance at seminars and colloquia; making regular satisfactory progress on a PhD research project, as judged by the thesis committee; and successful completion and defense of a PhD thesis. A maximum of five years is allowed for the completion of degree requirements after the establishment of doctoral degree candidacy, according to University regulations.

Prospective students interested in pursuing the PhD through this unique program are urged to contact Prof. Sunny Zhou at 617.373.4818 or for preliminary discussions.

Review the Curriculum and Graduation Requirements here