Graduating M.S. Students
A Schedule and Checklist of Things to be Accomplished Prior to Graduation

    There are many things that must be completed before you can graduate with your hard-earned master's degree. Some of these are concerned with laboratory work, and some involve paperwork, mainly for the Graduate School; all are important and none can be ignored.

Laboratory Work

    During your time here, you doubtless prepared many compounds - some known, some unknown.  To claim that you've made a known compound, you need only compare its analytical data (m.p./b.p., IR, NMR) with those reported in the literature by researchers who previously made it.

    For unknown compounds, you must purify a small amount to what is called "analytical purity", meaning that it is pure enough to pass combustion analysis, where the experimentally determined percentage of C, H, and N must agree with the theoretical values within +/-0.4%.  It usually takes two weeks to obtain this information from the lab we send the sample to for this analysis (usually UIUC).  DO NOT try to ignore this requirement, or I won't sign your thesis!*

    Also, you must acquire publication-quality IR and NMR spectra, meaning that there are no impurities, and the NMR spectrum has been integrated and these values exactly match the compound.

    All preparative procedures that worked well for you, and thus will be in your thesis, must be written in the style of ACS journals, including the analytical profile.  See any ACS journal - particularly J. Org. Chem., Org. Lett. (supplementary information), or Org. Biol. Chem. -  for many examples.

    Your lab bench must be completely organized and cleaned.  Any compounds you made that may be useful to the next researcher to take over your project (or work in rhe same general area) should be stored in the smallest vials possible and labeled using our usual labeling protocol.  DO NOT save any chemicals that are grossly impure, smelly, or (especially) unidentified.  Also, do not ignore this requirement, or I won't sign your thesis.*

Schedule of Events Leading to Graduation

    So, you have a target date on which you would like to have everything finished, so you can move on to Ph.D. school, or a job, or whatever is in your future!  The first thing you need to do is get a copy of the Graduate School's Thesis Manual.  This useful document contains an outline fo everything you must do from an administrative standpoint, and includes a checklist and the thesis signature page. 

    As far as the group and Departmental requirements, here is an approximate schedule of things that must happen first, and the lead time each event needs:

Thesis Seminar and Final Oral Defense
3-4 days
often occurring on the same day, these should happen several days prior to your leaving, since you will have corrections to make, thesis copying to do, and delivery of the copies to the library to take care of.
Delivery of Thesis to Committee
2 wks occasionally, you may be able to talk the Committee into having less time to review the thesis, but don't count on it
Delivery of Final Thesis Draft to THB
2.5 wks I won't need much time here, assuming that you've made the changes I requested in earlier drafts
Delivery of First Draft of Thesis to THB
3.5 wks this time is somewhat flexible, especially if you've given me sections of the thesis beforehand (a very good idea)
Cessation of All Laboratory Work
4 wks should actually occur around a month prior to leaving, but most students find themselves doing last-minute experiments, re-running experiments that they didn't document sufficiently the first time through, etc.
Application for Graduation
mid- June
Check the Daily Eastern News or the Graduate School for the deadline.
* The time before the  student wishes to leave EIU

* I feel I have to state this emphatically only because more than one student has tried to leave without having attended to these very important items, and I find that this is a very effective means of persuading this type of student not to yield to their  less-than-noble temptations. ;-)