Feb 24, 2024  
2017-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences: Health and Environmental Chemistry

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Department of Chemistry
260 Mathematics and Science Center   (map)
(248) 370-2320 • Fax (248) 370-2321

Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences
Program Committee members:

Bradley J. Roth, Professor of Physics
Xiangqun Zeng, Professor of Chemistry

Xiangqun Zeng, Professor of Chemistry
231 Mathematics and Science Center
(248) 370-2881

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Graduate Catalog Addendum  


Program description

The College of Arts and Sciences offers a doctoral degree in biomedical sciences with a specialization in health and environmental chemistry which is centered in the Department of Chemistry. The program requires a strong academic background in the natural sciences. Graduates will complete a unified program of formal coursework, as well as independent dissertation research, and will possess the theoretical background and practical skills necessary for successful contribution to the solution of environmental and health-related chemical problems. Scientists who graduate with this specialization will be capable of applying state-of-the-art methods to the determination, quantification and management of a wide variety of naturally occurring and synthetic chemical substances and the related chemical processes. No other doctoral program in Michigan focuses on these particular areas of chemistry, yet the contributions of highly trained doctoral-level scientists are essential to the resolution of major problems facing the nation in these areas.

Admission terms and application deadlines

Students are admitted to the Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical fall semester only. Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in Graduate Admissions by the semester deadlines listed below.

All applicants to this program are admitted for the fall semester only. The application deadlines are:

  • February 15 (early), April 15 (regular) and July 15 (late) for fall semester
  • International applicants: May 1 for fall semester

Application requirements

To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all Graduate Application Requirements and additional department requirements by the published application deadlines:

  2. Additional department application requirements
  • Additional Recommendation for Graduate Admission form
    In addition to the two Recommendation for Graduate Admission forms listed above, a third recommendation form is required by the program.
  • Applicants must have earned bachelor’s degree in a natural science, mathematics or other discipline relevant to health and environmental chemistry.
  • Proficiency at the undergraduate level in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, and two additional areas (inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, cell biology or physiology). Students who are not proficient may need to take additional coursework. Applicants with undergraduate prerequisite course deficiencies in these areas must complete the preparatory course work before being eligible for admission to the graduate program.
  • Applicants should have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • Although the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required, the general or subject GRE may enhance the applicant’s likelihood for acceptance into the program. Applicants may arrange for their official GRE scores to be submitted to Oakland University; the institution code for Oakland University is 1497.

Admission review and assessment

Admission to graduate school at Oakland University is selective. In making admission recommendations to Oakland University Graduate School, each department assesses the potential of applicants for success in the program by examining their undergraduate records, goal statement, letters of recommendation, prerequisite courses and any other admission requirements established by the academic department.

Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Program Committee

The program committee, appointed by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, consists of one faculty member from the two biomedical sciences specialization areas* as well as the coordinator of graduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, who serves as chair of the program committee. The program committee advises the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences on admission of students, selection of student committees, proposals for changes in degree requirements and approval of doctoral dissertations.

* Health and Environmental Chemistry and Medical Physics

Biomedical Sciences doctoral program specialization committees

Two specialization committees, appointed by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences on recommendations from the chairs of the chemistry and physics departments, are responsible for preliminary screening of applications for admission, preliminary approval of dissertation committees, approval of course selections by each student, certification of fulfillment of proficiency requirements by each student, administration and grading of preliminary examinations for each student, and proposal of any modifications in degree requirements for students in that specialization. Each specialization committee appoints specific faculty members to advise each incoming student selecting that specialization until the student’s dissertation committee is established.

Transfer credits

Accepted applicants who have previously earned a master’s degree from Oakland University or another regionally accredited university may request to apply up to 32 credits toward their doctoral degree. This petition must be approved by the Specialization in Health and Environmental Chemistry Committee and Oakland University Graduate School. Any credits transferred from an institution other than Oakland University must be graduate level credits with a grade of 3.0 or above in each course, and be approved by the Specialization in Health and Environmental Chemistry Committee and Oakland University Graduate School.

Proficiency of entering students

Each student entering the program must demonstrate proficiency in specific areas of coursework. Upon entering the program the student must consult with the appropriate specialization adviser who will plan a program of coursework to eliminate any deficiencies in the student’s preparation.

Degree requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy in biomedical sciences: health and environmental chemistry degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of 80 credits in an approved program of study.

Course requirements

a. Core requirements (16 credits)

Analytical chemistry course (3 credits)

Students must select one course from the following: 

Biochemistry course (3 credits)

Students must select one course from the following: 

Toxicology course (3 credits)

Environmental science course (3 credits)

Doctoral seminar (2 credits)

Ethics (2 credits)

b. Advanced coursework related to dissertation area (9 credits)

Satisfactory academic progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a certificate or degree. Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress for all financial aid recipients each semester.

Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state and university aid. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional details.

Good academic standing

All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their graduate program. To be in good academic standing, a graduate student must make satisfactory progress toward fulfilling degree requirements, including the completion of critical degree milestones as set forth by the academic program. The student must also maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of 3.0.

Good academic standing is a requirement for:

  • Holding a Graduate Assistantship
  • Receiving a fellowship or scholarship
  • Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
  • Going on a leave of absence
  • Obtaining a graduate certificate or degree from Oakland University.

Additionally, graduate students must meet all department academic standards which may be more stringent than the minimum set forth by the University.

Graduate students who are not in good academic standing for any reason are subject to probation and/or dismissal from further graduate study.

Related program information

Plan of study

All accepted applicants, in consultation with their assigned faculty program adviser, must develop a plan of study that details specific courses the students will use to satisfy their degree program requirements. The plan of study must be approved by the faculty program adviser and submitted to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.

Dissertation committee

A dissertation committee consisting of at least three members, one of whom serves as dissertation adviser, will be chosen by the specialization committee and the student in question. The student’s dissertation adviser will be chairperson of the committee. The committee is charged with the guidance of the student in course selection, review of dissertation proposals before initiation of a project, and approval of the completed dissertation.

Research and dissertation

An integral and major component of the program is the successful completion of original research using state-of-the-art experimental or theoretical methods to study a problem of current interest. Students shall, in consultation with their adviser, prepare a dissertation proposal outlining the problem to be studied, a survey of the appropriate literature, a description of the appropriate techniques, and an outline of the experiments to be performed. The student shall, at the request of the dissertation committee, orally defend the proposal or elaborate on the methods for data collection and analysis. Approval of the proposal by the committee is required prior to commencing research. The project shall be deemed ready for preparation of dissertation at such time as the student’s committee agrees that the student has completed the project and that the student is an expert in the use of specific methods required by the project. At that time, the student shall prepare a doctoral dissertation for submission to the committee and shall defend the dissertation in a public oral examination conducted by the committee and attended by the specialization committee. Acceptance of the dissertation by Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning requires favorable recommendations by the dissertation and specialization committee. All dissertations must conform to university standards (see Thesis and Dissertation ).


All students are required to fulfill a residency requirement for this program. Although students may complete some of the program on a part-time basis, continuous full-time enrollment is highly preferred. The minimal residency requirement shall be full-time residency (12 credits per semester) for at least three consecutive full semesters with at least two of these devoted primarily to the student’s research project.

Continuous enrollment

The continuous enrollment policy for doctoral students requires continuous registration of graduate students for at least 1 credit each semester in the academic year to maintain an active graduate student status. This includes semesters in which the comprehensive, preliminary or qualifying examination is taken, defense, and each subsequent term (fall and winter) until the degree requirements are met and the dissertation is submitted to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.

Some agency and graduate assistantship eligibility may have course-load requirements that exceed the minimum registration requirements of the Continuous Enrollment Policy (e.g., Veterans Affairs, Immigration and Naturalization for international students, and federal financial aid programs). Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to register for the appropriate number of credits that are required for funding eligibility and/or compliance as outlined by specific agency regulations under which they are governed.

Time limits

The maximum time limit for completing a Ph.D. degree is no more than 10 years from the term of the first course enrollment in the doctoral program. The Time Limit for Completing a Ph.D. Degree policy requires a student to achieve candidacy within six years from the first course enrollment in the doctoral program. After being advanced to candidacy, a student is expected to complete the remaining degree requirements within four years (including the dissertation defense).



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