What classes do I need to take? How many?

  • Each PhD student needs to take 30 credits of coursework and 15 credits of GRAD 6950 (Doctoral Dissertation Research).
  • Master’s students pursuing the thesis option need to take 21 credits or coursework and 9 credits of GRAD 5950 (Master’s Thesis Research).
  • If you are a PhD student with a master’s degree, the requirement reduces to 15 credits from classes and 15 credits from research.
  • Typically, you will take the three core classes your first semester – CHEG 5301 (Thermodynamics), CHEG 5315 (Transfer Operations), and CHEG 5321 (Kinetics).
  • After your first semester, you will take 1 to 2 elective courses per semester based on your research and/or interests. These can be from outside of the department.
  • In addition,  you can take up to 9 credits of CHEG 5399 (Independent Study) to fulfill the coursework requirement.
  • You are required to take at least 6 credits (class or research) per semester to be considered a full-time student.

What’s the procedure for choosing an adviser?

  • At the beginning of your first semester, you will start meeting with professors to get an idea about what projects are available.
  • By the end of September, you will submit an Advisor Selection Form where you list your top three advisors and projects.
  • Normally, you will be notified in early October of your advisor.

What are the required exams that I have to pass to get my PhD?

  • There are three exams to complete your PhD (Qualifying, General, Final Defense).
  • The Qualifying Exam is taken after your first semester. It is an oral exam based on a research paper assigned to you to test your understanding. Your performance during the exam (knowledge, presentation skills, and Q&A) along with your performance in the core courses are considered in your evaluation by a randomly selected faculty committee.
  • The General Exam is taken, normally around your fifth semester, when you have progressed sufficiently in your research. It is an oral exam based on your written thesis proposal (10+ pages) aimed at providing critiques and direction on your proposed work for your Final Defense. This presentation is to a faculty committee of your own choice who will also participate in your Final Defense.
  • The Final Defense is taken when you have completed the proposed research in your written thesis proposal. It is an oral exam to your faculty committee defending your research, followed by the submission of your dissertation (100+ pages).

How long does it take to finish my PhD?

  • It varies based on the nature of your research as well as your prior background and experience.
  • It can take anywhere between 3 and 6 years.
  • On average, most students in our department graduate within 5 years.

 How many semesters do I need to TA for?

  • Typically, a student needs to TA for at least 2 semesters.
  • The responsibility includes holding office hours, grading homework and exams, preparing class materials, proctoring exams, and giving discussion lectures.
  • If your PI runs out of funding, you may need to TA for more semesters.

How many papers do I need to publish to graduate?

  • Again, it depends on the nature of your research.
  • Typically, a student graduates with an average of three first author journal publications.

What happens if I don’t want to finish my PhD?

  • We hope all of our PhD students stay to complete their degree.
  • However, you have the option to exit the program and obtain a master’s degree if you have met the respective requirements.

If I start as a master’s student, can I transition into the PhD program? Will it take me longer?

  • Yes!
  • You will need to submit a new application to the PhD program.
  • If you stay with your master’s research advisor, you will resume as a third-year PhD student.
  • If you switch advisors, you likely will need to start over since your graduation is dependent on your research progress, but it’s on a case by case basis.
  • Either case, you will have to take the required exams and meet the class requirement for the PhD program.


What are some fun things to do around UConn?

  • You can find clubs or student groups to join by visiting UConntact. You can join both graduate and undergraduate organizations based on your interests.
  • Secondly, if you are looking for sports-related activities you should check out the new UConn Recreation Center. Some options include UConn Outdoors, Intramural Sports, and Bodywise.
  • Moreover, there are outreach opportunities if you are interested in community engagement with UConn Community Outreach.
  • If you are an international student, the UConn International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) offers many great events throughout the school year.
  • In addition, UConn is close to many neighboring cities such as Hartford (30 mins), Boston (1.5 hours), and NYC (2.5 hours) which have other exciting things to offer.

Are there any good restaurants or places to visit near UConn?

  • Storrs Center is a great place to enjoy some traditional American and ethnic food. If you are tired of foods at the Student Union, you are more than likely to find the food you like at Storrs Center or nearby. The biggest grocery store near UConn is also located in Storrs Center.
  • There are also many decent bars near UConn campus, including: Ted’s Bar, Huskies Tavern, Huskies Bar, and Nathan Hale Inn (True Blue Tavern).
  • And of course there is the crowd favorite, award winning UConn Dairy Bar, an ice cream parlor serving freshly made ice cream from the UConn.


How can I find housing?

  • As a grad student, you can choose to live on-campus or off-campus.
  • For example, Northwood Apartments on-campus housing might be a good option for incoming international students who don’t have a method of transportation.
  • If you want to look for roommates (recommended to reduce costs), the off-campus housing website has a roommate match option.
  • Posting to the UConn groups on Facebook is also a good way of finding roommates.


What’s the weather like at UConn?

  • The weather at UConn follows the typical New England weather. Summer is nice and Winter can be cold. Snow season typically starts around mid-December and ends early-March. Spring and fall are usually very nice. In fact, Connecticut is one of the best places to see fall foliage.

How much vacation time is allowed per year?

  • All national holidays are guaranteed off.
  • Vacation time is flexible depending on your advisor and research progress. However, according to the UConn Graduate Employee Union, there is a minimum of 3 days off per semester
  • For additional vacation time, you must have a discussion with your PI.
  • Also, some graduate students who don’t have funding during the summertime return home or find internships elsewhere.

What about means of transportation?

  • UConn offers an extensive bus system that links almost everywhere on campus. It also offers express bus options to some regional campuses.
  • If you live off-campus, a vehicle might be necessary and you will need a valid parking pass to park at UConn parking lots or garages. They offer discounted parking permit for GA/TA.
  • For international students who want to obtain a driver’s license, please visit the CT DMV.

Where do most PhD students go after they graduate from UConn?

  • It depends on your career goals, whether it’s in industry or academia.
  • The majority of UConn graduates go to industry.
  • However, a few PhD students seek faculty positions and move on to obtain post-doctoral positions at other institutions.