Frequently Asked Questions


Below is a list of frequently asked questions that we receive from our students. If you still have questions after reading this page, feel free to contact Liz Coleman at elizabethm@ku.edu or Betsy Carlson at betsy.carlson@ku.edu, and they will help you find an answer. 

The Chemistry Graduate Student Organization is a very important part of the Chemistry department at KU and we encourage students to get involved. The GSO has many roles including planning graduate student events and fundraising efforts to benefit chemistry graduate students. The GSO also works closely with the graduate academic advisor to make graduate students aware of opportunities and resources for them on campus.

The GSO can be found on Facebook. The following description comes from their 'About' section on Facebook and gives further insight:

'The mission of ChemGSO is to (1) Facilitate communication between graduate students and the Chemistry Department, (2) Promote professional development for chemistry graduate students, and (3) Build social ties within the department while advocating for science within our community. All chemistry graduate students are encouraged to attend our monthly meetings and events during which we discuss issues important to graduate students, brainstorm new programs and policies to suggest to the department, and plan upcoming events. If you have an anonymous concern you'd like ChemGSO to be aware of, please let us know using this form.'

This is a list of the current GSO officers:

Kelci Schilly - President

Zeke Piskulich - Vice-President

Galina Bulgakova - Treasurer

Chelsea Comadoll - Secretary

Joshua Sanders - Event/Program Coordinator

The purpose of the RAC is to give additional support and resources to our students both for their research and professional goals. RACs are required to meet a minimum of once an academic year to discuss the student’s progress, but you are welcome (and encouraged) to schedule more than one meeting throughout the year. We have specifically kept the guidelines for these meetings vague because we hope that each person can tailor their RAC to their needs. To request a guideline for discussions that may be useful in providing a structured and productive meeting, please email Administrative Assistant Betsy Carlson at betsy.carlson@ku.edu. This form will help to give you an idea of possible meeting formats and questions to discuss with your commitee.

If you have any additional questions about your Research Advisory Committee you can contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Jon Tunge, or the Graduate Academic Advisor, Avery Meadows.

You are expected to be enrolled full time each semester, but the definition of full time varies depending on your appointments. Most, if not all, chemistry graduate students will have a GTA or GRA position.

Students with a GTA or GRA appointment must be enrolled in 6 credits hours for fall and spring and 3 credit hours in the summer. 

Students with external fellowships are typically expected to enroll in 9 credit hours for fall and spring and 6 credit hours in the summer.

Students that have passed their oral comprehensive exam must complete 18 post-comp hours after which time they can petition to reduce to 1 hour a semester.

If you're still unsure how many credits to enroll in, please email the graduate academic advisor Avery Meadows at aimeadows@ku.edu to set up an appointment or to ask for clarification.

For more information on full-time enrollment please see the university policy.

It is expected that you will sit for your oral comps sometime during your third year of study at KU. At the beginning of your third year you should meet with your research advisor to discuss when you will be ready to take the exam and what you are expected to do beforehand. The following is the general process for all divisions besides Analytical.

You should work with your advisor to come up with a research proposal and possible committee members and then you should contact the graduate academic advisor Avery Meadows via email at aimeadows@ku.edu as soon as possible with a list of your committee members and a 1-2 week window in which you would like to take the exam. The graduate academic advisor will ensure that your committee members comply with the graduate studies policy and then send out a scheduling poll to find the date and time of the exam. Once the date and time have been agreed upon the graduate academic advisor will reserve a room for the exam. Avery will also be in charge of submitting the necessary paperwork to ensure that your exam is official in the eyes of the university so it is especially important that she be given advance notice of your exam and that she should be involved in the scheduling process.All of the above must be completed no later than 2 weeks in advance of the exam date in order to assure approval.

For the Analytical Division you are expected to give a seminar talk on your research before you can schedule your exam. Contact Cady Bush via email at cbush@ku.edu for exam scheduling and she will work to provide you with your committee members and a room reservation.

Graduate students are eligible for Yellow permits, which gives you access to any yellow lot, or a garage permit. If you are added to a wait-list, it typically takes 1 year of being on the waitlist before you are granted a garage permit.

If you have any yellow pass you can also park in Park and Ride, if you work on both campuses and purchase a main campus pass, KU parking has agreed to add west campus parking to your permit.

It is expected that you will defend your dissertation during your 5th year of study at KU. If you do not feel you are ready after discussing with your research advisor you will need to submit a petition to extend departmental support. Please reach out to the academic advisor for more information on the petition process.

You should speak with your research advisor about any division requirements that may be necessary before you can defend. Once you know your committee members and a general timeline of when you would like to defend, please provide this information to Avery Meadows, the graduate academic advisor. She will follow up to ensure that your committee adheres to graduate policy and the schedule the date and time of the exam. Once the date and time have been confirmed she will reserve a room for the defense. You should plan on having your dissertation to the committee AT LEAST 3 weeks in advance of the exam date (4 weeks for analytical students) because it is required that at least 3 of your committee members must email the graduate academic advisor confirming that the dissertation is in "final defensible form" no later that 2 weeks before the exam date. This would give your committee one week to read through the dissertation, although some committee members may prefer more time.

It is best that you apply for graduation in Enroll & Pay once the exam has been scheduled. If you do not pass you can always rescind the application, but it is much harder to apply for graduation after the deadline.

To view a checklist of everything that must be completed before the doctoral degree can be awarded, please see the College Office of Graduate Affairs website. As always, you may contact the graduate academic advisor if you have any further questions: 

The deadline for all of your materials varies each year, but it is always towards the very end of the semester.

The following are requirements for both oral exam and final defense committees:

  • There must be at least 5 members on the committee.
  • The majority of these members must be tenured/tenure track.
  • One member must be from outside of the chemistry department. This person will serve as the Graduate Studies Representative to "assure the appropriate standard of fairness, professionalism, judgment, and skill are applied throughout the examination process for the benefit of the institution and in the best interest of the student". The GSR must have no previous collaboration with the student nor their research advisor.
  • At least 3 of the 5 members must be from the chemistry department.

KU employees are paid on a bi-monthly basis. More information about payroll and tax information can be found on the payroll website. 

Click on the button that says 'Calendar' to see the current year's pay schedule. There will be gaps in pay for GTA positions based on when you finish spring semester and start in summer. The last day of GTA appointments is always noted on this calendar for the academic year, and you should be able to figure out when your first summer pay check will arrive, based on the dates given and when classes start. The graduate academic advisor will also be sending emails about pay gaps as a reminder.

Official transcripts can be ordered through the Office of the University Registrar's website

Enrollment Certification can also be ordered through the Office of the University Registrar's website

You also have access to download an advising report using the myKU Advising Tool. The advising report lists the courses you took each semester and the grade you received but it is not considered an official report. This might be useful if you need this information but an official transcript isn't required. 

You should update your information on Enroll & Pay and with HR.

International Students should also use iHawk to update their information.

Legal Services for Students has a very helpful webpage with tax info for both domestic and international students, as well as several tax workshops during the spring semester. Tax help and workshops are free for KU students.

Student Accounts Receivable also has some information available on their website, but mainly concerning 1098-T forms. 

2019 - 2020 Committee Representative 

Alumni Committee - Ty Balduf

Graduate Affairs Committee - Leah Pfeifer

GROW Committee - Hayley Blockinger

Safety Committee - Shrikant Londhe

Seminar Committee - Pubudu Wimalasiri

Who can I talk to if....

The Graduate Academic Advisor, Avery Meadows (aimeadows@ku.edu) can answer most of your basic questions about payroll issues. If she is unable to help with a specific inquiry she will direct you to a specific person in HR to contact. You can always reach out to KU HR directly for questions regarding payroll, if you'd prefer.

Jessica Newman (j893n638@ku.edu) is responsible for handling most student travel to and from locations. Jessica is in charge of most travel arrangements and reimbursements. You will need to fill out a travel form and have your plans approved by your PI before you start the process.

You have a number of options. ChemGSO is happy to answer any questions you might have. Avery Meadows (aimeadows@ku.edu), the graduate academic advisor, can answer questions about deadlines, graduation requirements, and graduate policy in general. She's also good at connecting you with other resources if she doesn't know the answer herself. Your PI can often point you towards an appropriate resource as well.

ChemGSO also can put you in contact with proper KU or Chemistry staff member to give you an answer to your question.

If you need to reserve a classroom you should contact Elizabeth Coleman (elizabethm@ku.edu). If you need to reserve a conference room you can contact Avery Meadows (aimeadows@ku.edu)

When you make a reservation you will need to know an approximate number of people that will attend, the room you are thinking of, and any technology requirements you might have. Please try to make reservations a week in advance if possible to avoid any last minute conflicts.

John Clune (clune@ku.edu) and Jason Johnson (jason.johnson@ku.edu) are the Chemistry IT personnel and can handle most problems, in the laboratory or on work computers. If it is a problem with the Center for Research Computing High-Performance Cluster, reach out to crchelp@ku.edu

Safety is incredibly important. The first point of contact is your group and your PI. If they are not able to remedy your concern or your concern is about another lab you should reach out to the Building Facilities Manager, Laurie White (lauriewhite@ku.edu). Laurie is also the Chair of the ISB Safety Committee and has information on every lab and teaching space in the building. You can also reach out to the GSO or the Graduate Student Representative on the Safety Committee to have your concern brought anonymously to the department.

This can be a tricky situation and to some extent is a judgement call on your part based on the nature of the issue and your relationship with your PI. If you can, the best route is to be honest with your PI about your feelings on the matter and see if you two can come to a resoution between yourselves. Jon Tunge (tunge@ku.edu), the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs, is the next person you should speak with about any conflicts. He can act as a mediator between you and your PI. Alternatively, you can reach out to ChemGSO anonymously to talk about the problem and avenues that you could take. A last recourse for a serious dispute with your PI is to change groups. If you want to pursue this option, please reach out to the Graduate Academic Advisor, Avery Meadows (aimeadows@ku.edu) for more information on how to start this process.

This can also be a tricky situation to find yourself in, especially if the other graduate student is in your group. The first step should be to reach out to the graduate student in question, if you feel comfortable doing so. Should that not work, the next step would be to speak with your PI about the situation. Alternatively, ChemGSO can speak with you about the problem and anonymously try to connect you with appropriate resources. Jon Tunge (tunge@ku.edu), the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs, is also available to mediate serious disputes between graduate students.

This is a serious accusation and should be treated as such. If you truly think that someone has commited research misconduct you should reach out to KU’s research integrity officer (RIO) by following the contact information at the University of Kansas Office of Research's Research Integrity Hotline webpage. Susan MacNally (sumac@ku.edu) is the director of Research Integrity at KU. Comments can both be made anonymously and non-anonymously; however, it should be noted that there is a chance either way that the person being accused will figure out who made the complaint. That being said, any form of retaliation from the accused, the department, or the university is both against university policy as well as KS state law. You can find more information about research integrity at the Office of Research Integrity's website

The Chemistry Department prints posters for all Chemistry faculty, postdocs, and students with Chemistry funding sources. The cost for a poster printed on glossy photo paper is $20. Any student or lab group wishing to print a poster should use our online webform to make the request. Please be sure to have approval from your PI before submitting the request, since you will need to get the grant number from your PI for the form.