A minimum GPA of 3.50 in major courses, 3.50 in all engineering courses, and 3.50 overall at the time the student applies to enter the departmental undergraduate research track.
The student should apply to enter the departmental undergraduate research track and choose the members of the thesis committee as early as possible but in all cases at least one year before submitting and defending the thesis. The thesis committee will consist of a thesis advisor, who must be a tenure-track faculty member in chemical engineering, and two other tenure-track or research faculty members in chemical engineering or in any other department.
By the end of the semester in which the student is admitted into the research track, a short description of the research must be agreed upon by the thesis committee and the student, and filed in the college office. Projects involving research and/or design are acceptable. The design projects or research projects for ECHE 465, 466, 567, or other courses are not acceptable as the thesis. The student must also choose three credit hours of engineering or technical elective courses related to the thesis topic. The course(s) must be approved by the thesis committee and completed by the student at least one semester before the thesis is submitted and defended.
Before submitting and defending the thesis, the student must have completed three credit hours of ECHE 499 Special Problems under the thesis advisor, preferably one credit hour per semester. During the semester in which the thesis is submitted and defended the student must also complete three credit hours of ECHE 497 Thesis Preparation, one credit hour under each of the three members of the thesis committee. At least two months before submitting and defending the thesis, the student must present a progress report to the thesis committee orally and in writing.
By the end of his/her last semester, the student must have presented the research at a national meeting of a professional society (such as AIChE, ACS, ECS, etc.), at Discovery Day at USC, or at a comparable venue. The student must also submit a written thesis describing the research and defend it orally before the thesis committee. The defense must be announced at least one week in advance and be open to the general public.
Students who successfully fulfill all of these requirements with a GPA of at least 3.50 in the three hours of ECHE 497 , 3.50 in all major courses, 3.50 in all engineering courses, and 3.50 overall, will be awarded their degree with “Distinction in Chemical Engineering” upon graduation.