Information about the PhD programme at CQT

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, preferably within three months, his/her TAC should be set up. The composition of the TAC is this:
- A Principal Investigator (PI) at CQT, different from the thesis advisor, as the Chairperson.
- The thesis advisor, who must be a PI at CQT
- A representative of the NUS department of the student's major. 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 thesis advisor via the CQT Wikipage in January / February and July / August of each academic year. The submission of the online report is mandatory. Should the thesis advisor 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 8units, each student needs to collect another 16units, the equivalent of four full courses . 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 courses pre-approved, others need approval). A minimum GPA of 3.8 must be achieved. The GPA is calculated from the five best courses with a letter grade, or relatively fewer if the student has courses exempted. (see below).

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

In addition to the above 6 courses, students have to read another compulsory course NG5001 (Academic Communication for Graduate Researchers). Students are recommended to register and read the course NG5001 by end of the first year of the PhD programme and encouraged to complete the course no later than the end of their second year. Details on NG5001 is available at https://nusgs.nus.edu.sg/ng5001-academic-communication-for-graduate-researchers-info/
Coursework requirements for CQT PhD students from cohort AY2022/2023 will be updated to 28 units with this additional course NG5001.

In addition to the above 6 courses, students have to read another 2 compulsory course:-
- NG5001 (Academic Communication for Graduate Researchers, 4 units). Students are recommended to register and read the course NG5001 by end of the first year of the PhD programme and encouraged to complete the course no later than the end of their second year. Details on NG5001 is available at https://nusgs.nus.edu.sg/ng5001-academic-communication-for-graduate-researchers-info/
- NG5002 (Research Ethics for Graduate Researchers, 2 units). It is a 6-week, fully online course.
Coursework requirements for CQT PhD students from cohort AY2024/2025 will be updated to 30 units with this additional course NG5002.

Students who have taken similar graduate-level courses elsewhere before arriving at CQT, or have taken 5000-level courses as undergraduates at NUS, may get up to three such courses exempted. A request for an exemption must document the case by submitting, at least, the following:
- the published syllabus of the course,
- 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 course successfully.

An exempted course counts toward the units, but does not enter the calculation of the GPA.

5. Candidacy

The initial period of candidacy and scholarship is four years. It can be extended to a fifth year upon the thesis advisor’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 his/her 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 GPA should not fall below 3.3 for 2 consecutive semesters; or GPA 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 GPA is below 3.8.

6. Leave Applications

Holiday Leave
Students are required to send an email to the thesis advisor 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.
  • 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 are required to send an email to the thesis advisor and cc cqtphd@nus.edu.sgto request for conference leave indicating the conference title, date, venue, funding required and funding source (eg. Student travel allowances, PIs' core grants or others) for the trip. If student’s CQT PhD travel allowances is not sufficient to cover the trip’s expenses, to include the request to cover the balance expenses from PI’s core or other grants in the academic leave request.
For flight bookings, student can only purchase flights directly from airline website or other online travel agencies (eg. Expedia) if FCM Travel's quotation is higher. Students can email cqtphd@nus.edu.sg for assistance to book flights.

7. Submitting Claims

Each student has a research allowance of S$12,000 for academic travel, a one-off expense towards a computer (including computer peripherals/online conference accessories) and purchase of books and software during the period of candidature, subject to prior approval of all expenses.

Academic Travel Claims
Students are required to send an email to their thesis advisor and cc cqtphd@nus.edu.sg to request approval for the academic travel request and travel support indicating the conference title, period, funding required(eg. Airfare, Train tickets, Accommodation, Registration fees) and funding source (eg. Student travel allowances, PIs' core grants or others) for the trip. If student's CQT PhD travel allowances is not sufficient to cover the trip's expenses, to include the request to cover the balance expenses from PI's core or other grants in the academic leave request. Academic leave request has to be approved prior to travel.

After the academic trip, students have to email cqt_finance@nus.edu.sg the pdf copy of the compiled Request for Payment (RFP) form, all receipts and supporting documents. Please keep the original copies until the reimbursement has been made. All the non A4 size receipts should be pasted on A4 size paper(s). To clearly state the purpose of the expenses next to all receipts; eg. transportation from Airport to hotel, conference name, etc.

Other Claims
- one-off allowance of up to S$1,500 towards airfare for travel to Singapore (for international student);
- other claims such as poster printing, lab supplies etc;

RFP template can be found in this link, and user guide for student claims can be found at this link.

*Note: For part-time students (eg. RAs who are also staff), your reimbursement should be done by RFP Not Concur. Do indicate you are a part-time student when you submit for any reimbursements in the form.

Student can email cqt_finance@nus.edu.sg.

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 https://nus.edu.sg/uhc/billing-insurance/student-insurance ( click on Full-Time Graduate & Non-Graduating Students (Local & International)
Students can have a 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.

Travel Insurance
We strongly recommend students 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: https://myportal.nus.edu.sg/studentportal/student-insurance/all/

9. Some important points regarding Thesis preparation and Thesis assessment

When the thesis is being finalized for submission, the thesis advisor will nominate 3 internal and 2 external examiners(if necessary). The thesis advisor 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 external 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 thesis advisor in any way; in particular this excludes all family members, co-authors, the thesis advisor's former PhD students, and the thesis advisor’s supervisor. BGS also prefers not to choose examiners who received their higher degree from the same department as the thesis advisor.

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

The Academic Committee will select the actual two examiners for the thesis examination and 1 external examiner (subject to the approval of the NUS Graduate School).

After the thesis is submitted, the examiners will be asked to assess it and submit their reports within 7 weeks. Detailed comments on the thesis from the examiners will be forwarded to the student and thesis advisor.

Following a positive assessment by the examiners, the Oral Defence will be conducted (2-3 weeks after the deadline to submit exam reports, subject to the availability of the examiners). The Defence 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 Defence.

The Defence begins with a public 45 minutes talk by the student about his/her PhD project, which is followed by a non-public examination. The student's thesis advisor can attend the examination during the 45 minutes talk.

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

Some notes on submission of thesis:

  • The submission of thesis for examination will be done online via a workflow in the Education Records System (myEduRec). Navigation Path: Academics > Graduate Research > Upload Abstract/Submit Thesis)
  • More information on Thesis Examination and User Guides are available at the >NUSGS Student Portal

10. Acceptance Record

You may refer to the page: https://www.nus.edu.sg/registrar/administrative-policies-procedures/graduate/acceptance-record 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, NUS Student Confidentiality Agreement and NUS Software Terms of Use.

11. CQT PhD Contacts

CQT PhD Administrators
Lim Siew Hoon @ +65 65168550 or Chan Chui Theng @ +65 65168457 or Rinawati Binte Rahmat @+65 66013362
Email: cqtphd@nus.edu.sg | Office: S15-03-05

CQT PhD Academic Committee
Rahul Jain, CQT PI | Email: dcsrahul@nus.edu.sg (Chairperson)
Ariando, Dept of Physics | Email: phyarian@nus.edu.sg
Dagomir Kaszlikowski, CQT PI | Email: phykd@nus.edu.sg
Divesh Aggarwal, CQT PI | Email: dcsdiva@nus.edu.sg
Travis Nicholson, CQT PI | Email: nicholson@nus.edu.sg
Zhao Yu, Faculty of Science | Email: zhaoyu@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:Divesh or Jenny or Valerio or Yvonne.