Information about the PhD programme at CQT

1. Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)
2. Qualifying Exam 1- Comprehensive Exam
3. Qualifying Exam 2- Oral Presentation
4. Coursework requirements
5. Candidacy
6. Leave Applications
7. Submitting Claims
8. Insurance/Medical Scheme for students
9. Some important points regarding Thesis preparation
10. CQT PhD Contacts
11. Links to all downloadable forms and guidelines

1. Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)

For each student, there is a TAC. The TAC monitors the student's progress and, jointly with the Academic Committee, takes the necessary measures if a problem should arise.

Shortly after a student's arrival, preferrably within the first month, her/his TAC should be set up. The composition of the TAC is this:
- A Principal Investigator (PI), different from the supervisor, as the Chairperson.
- The supervisor, who must be a PI at CQT.
- A representative of the NUS department of the student's major, who is not CQT staff.
In addition to these compulsory members, there can be others. In particular, if there is a co-supervisor, she/he should be included in the TAC.

You can download the form for nominating the TAC here: http://cqtphd.quantumlah.org/TACform.pdf

Roles of TAC
The TAC is responsible for helping to monitor the student’s progress, and for contributing to the online progress report that is submitted by the main supervisor via the CQT Wikipage in January / February and July / August of each academic year. The submission of the online report is mandatory. Should the supervisor not complete his/her report within the stipulated deadline, the stipends of their students may then be withheld by the University.

2. Qualifying Exam 1- Comprehensive Exam

The Comprehensive Exam has the character of a delayed entrance exam; its objective is to establish that the student has the necessary background for the coursework and the intended research. Each student must take the Comprehensive Exam within six months after arriving at CQT; if the student fails the Comprehensive Exam, she/he gets a second chance within three months. The student can sit for the respective departmental Comprehensive Exam, in which case the departmental pass/fail criteria apply, or the student's TAC can set an individual exam. The syllabus and format of the individual exam are flexible (written exam, oral exam, or a combination of both) and can deviate from the departmental syllabus or format. For any deviation from the department syllabus, TAC would need to seek approval from the Academic Committee chair. The TAC chair would then inform the student and cqtphd@nus.edu.sg of the format and syllabus covered before the exam. After completion of the individual Comprehensive Exam, the TAC submits a report and a pass/fail recommendation. If the student fails, (s)he is given a second chance within three months.

Passing the Comprehensive Exam is a pre-condition for the Oral Presentation.

3. Qualifying Exam 2- Oral Presentation

In the Oral Presentation, the student presents her/his research project to the TAC for approval. The TAC will approve if they resolve that
– the project has enough substance for a PhD thesis, and
– the student has the background and skills necessary to conduct the project.

Each student must clear the Oral Presentation within twelve months after arriving at CQT; if the student fails on the first attempt, she/he gets a second chance within six months.

A successful Oral Presentation completes the Qualifying Exam, and then the scholarship is revised to the full monthly amount.

4. Coursework requirements

In addition to PC5228 Quantum Information and Computation and QT5198 Graduate Seminar in Quantum Information, which are compulsory for all and account for 8MC, each student needs to collect another 16MC, the equivalent of four full modules. Of these, two must be at the 5000 or 6000 level in the department of the student's major, the remaining two can be from that department as well (no approval necessary), or from other departments (some modules pre-approved, others need approval). A minimum CAP of 3.8 must be achieved. The CAP is calculated from the five best modules with a letter grade, or relatively fewer if the student has modules exempted. (see below).

The Academic Committee can grant permission to take one or two modules outside the department of the student's major at the 3000 or 4000 level. As a rule, the first lower-level module will be permitted upon the supervisor's request; permission for a second lower-level module, however, will be given only in exceptional cases.

Students who have taken similar graduate-level modules elsewhere before arriving at CQT, or have taken 5000-level modules as undergraduates at NUS, may get up to three such modules exempted. A request for an exemption must document the case by submitting, at least, the following:
- the published syllabus of the module,
- a statement by the lecturer (usually by email) about the material actually covered,
- a statement of the lecturer that the student in question took the module successfully.

An exempted module counts toward the MC, but does not enter the calculation of the CAP.

5. Candidacy

The initial period of candidacy and scholarship is four years. It can be extended to a fifth year upon the supervisor’s request. Extension of the candidacy beyond five years is only possible under rare exceptional circumstances, and such an extension would require approval from the Board of Graduate Studies, NUS.

For successful completion of the programme, the student must
- meet Coursework requirements;
- pass the Qualifying Examinations;
- have her/his PhD thesis accepted and pass the oral defence.

The prevailing requirements for continuation of candidature shall apply. For continuation of the PhD candidature, the student’s TAC must recommend continuation, and the student’s CAP should not fall below 3.3 for 2 consecutive semesters; or CAP should not fall below 3.8 for 3 consecutive semesters. A student who does not meet the requirements will have his/her candidature terminated. An appropriate warning will be issued when the CAP is below 3.8.

6. Leave Applications

Holiday Leave
Students can send an email to the supervisor and cc cqtphd@nus.edu.sg to request for holiday leave approval.
  • A research scholar is eligible for paid holiday leave of 21 working days per calendar year for the duration of the research scholarship.
  • Depending on the start date and end date of the research scholarship, the leave entitlement for the year will be pro-rated accordingly.
  • Holiday leave excludes Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. There is no half-day leave application.
  • Holiday leave must be earned in that calendar year before it can be taken. Unconsumed leave in any one year will not be carried forward to the next year.
  • When the research scholarship is terminated, the leave entitlement will be pro-rated according to the termination date. If excess leave had been taken, the scholarship stipend will be deducted accordingly. Holiday leave not utilized prior to the scholarship termination date will lapse and there will be no payment of stipend in lieu thereof.
Academic and Conference Leave
Students can send an email to the supervisor and cc cqtphd@nus.edu.sg to request for conference leave indicating the conference title, date, venue and funding required for the trip.

7. Submitting Claims

CQT PhD Allowance Claims
- For one-off allowance of up to S$1,500 towards airfare for travel to Singapore;
- one-off allowance of S$1,000 towards the purchase of a computer; and
- allowance for books and software of up to S$1,000 for the period of candidature;

Students can pass the official receipts of the purchase to the CQT PhD Administrator at CQT Admin Office S15-03-18. They will arrange the reimbursement.

CQT PhD Travel Allowance
Each student has an academic travel allowance of up to S$10,000 for the period of candidature, subject to approval. Students should send an email to their supervisor and cc cqtphd@nus.edu.sg to request approval for the academic travel request and travel support indicating the conference title, period and if (Airfare, Train tickets, Accommodation, Registration fees) are required. For flight purchase, CQT would need to purchase from NUS appointed travel agent- PriceBreaker or get a quotation from them. Staff/student can only purchase flights directly from airline website if PriceBreaker quotation is higher. Students can contact the CQT PhD administrator for assistance to purchase air-tickets.

CQT PhD Student Subsistence Guidelines: http://cqtphd.nus.edu.sg/subguideline.pdf

8. Insurance/Medical Scheme for students

All students on CQT PhD scholarship are also on the NUS graduate student insurance/medical scheme (paid for the students by CQT). NUS University Health Centre (UHC) rates are already subsidised rates so there will be no further reimbursement.
Details of the medical scheme and how to go about the claims for other clinics/specialists are below.

More details of the insurance/medical scheme can be found at http://www.nus.edu.sg/uhc/services/billing-insurance/insurance-matters.html ( click on Full-Time Graduate & Non-Graduating Students (Local & International)
Students can have look at the coverage of the NUS graduate student insurance/medical scheme and consider if they would like to purchase their own personal health insurance to have more coverage.
Some insurance companies listed for references: AXA, Great Eastern, Aviva.

Travel Insurance
We strongly recommend student to purchase travel insurance if he/she plans for vacation leave during academic trip. As the insurance coverage only covers the academic leave period and not during vacation. Read more here: http://www.nus.edu.sg/finance/TravelInsurance.html

9. Some important points regarding Thesis preparation and Thesis assessment

To download all forms and full details regarding Thesis preparation and submission procedure:
When the thesis is being finalized for submission, the TAC will nominate 3 internal and 3 external examiners, usually on the initiative of the main supervisor. The supervisor, or another member of the TAC, will contact the nominated examiners to ensure that they are ready to examine the thesis if selected. Among others, the following criteria apply to acceptable examiners:
– They must be internationally-recognized scientists in the field identified by the usual criteria (research output, citations, etc).
– They must not be related to the student or the supervisor in any way; in particular this excludes all family members, co-authors, the supervisor's former PhD students, and the supervisor's supervisor. BGS also prefers not to choose examiners who received their higher degree from the same department as the supervisor.

A member of the TAC can be nominated if she/he was not actively involved in the supervision of the student.

You can download the form with instructions for nominating the examiners here

The Academic Committee will select the actual three examiners of the thesis, including at least one CQT PI and one external examiner. The Academic Committee can choose additional examiners (to ensure expertise on all parts of the thesis, for example). The Academic Committee will inform the TAC the list of selected examiners.

After the thesis is submitted, the examiners will be asked to assess it and submit their reports within two months. Each report consist of a confidential part (with the examiner's name and general recommendation) and an report.

The assessment forms are Thesis Assessment Form and Thesis Assessment Form
Note that the examiners are asked to rate the thesis as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor – but there is no actually grade for thesis, other than pass/fail.

Following a positive assessment by the examiners, the Oral Defense of the thesis will be scheduled as early as possible. The Defense is chaired by the chairperson of the TAC or, if unavailable, by a nominee of the Academic Committee. Usually, the examiners who assessed the thesis will also conduct the examination during the Defense. The student will receive copies of the anonymous reports before the Defense.

The Defense begins with a public 40 minutes talk by the student about her/his PhD project, which is followed by a nonpublic examination. The student's supervisor can attend the examination as a silent observer.

The Defense concludes with a pass/fail judgment by the examiners and recommendations for amendments of the thesis.

A sample exam report form for the Oral Defense.

10. Acceptance Record

You may refer to the page: http://www.nus.edu.sg/registrar/administrative-policies/acceptance-record.html for the acceptance record you accepted at the point of admission to NUS. It includes points on NUS Student Data Protection Policy, NUS Code of Student Conduct, NUS Acceptable Use Policy for IT Resources, NUS Intellectual Property Policy, NUS Do-Not-Call Policy and NUS Student Confidentiality Agreement.

11. CQT PhD Contacts

CQT PhD Administrators
Lim Siew Hoon @ +65 65168550 or Evon Tan @ +65 65167019 or Chan Chui Theng @ +65 65168457
Email: cqtphd@nus.edu.sg | Office: S15-03-05

CQT PhD Academic Committee
Englert Berthold-Georg, CQT PI | Email: cqtebg@nus.edu.sg (Chairperson)
Christian Kurtsiefer, CQT PI | Email: christian_kurtsiefer@nus.edu.sg
Rahul Jain, CQT PI | Email: rahul@comp.nus.edu.sg
Valerio Scarani, CQT PI | Email: physv@nus.edu.sg
Lu Yixin, Faculty of Science | Email: scilyx@nus.edu.sg
Gong Jiangbin, Dept of Physics | Email: phygj@nus.edu.sg

CQT Students' Welfare and Wellness
Life for PhD students can be challenging and exciting.
If you have any suggestions or issues regarding student welfare and wellness or you simply wish to speak to someone, you may contact our students' welfare officers: Kuldip or Chui Theng.