Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Ph.D. degree requires a student to reach a critical understanding of the basic scientific and engineering principles underlying their field of interest. In addition, the student must demonstrate the ability to conduct independently an intensive research project and document their results in the form of refereed publications, presentations, and a final thesis dissertation. Specifically, candidates for the Ph.D. degree must:

  • Complete a minimum of 48 credit hours of approved course work; (For students already possessing a M.S. or equivalent degree in chemical engineering, the requirement can be reduced to 24 credit hours.)
  • Pass a qualifying examination;
  • Present an acceptable dissertation prospectus to a dissertation committee;
  • Make an original contribution to the field of chemical engineering in the form of a dissertation suitable for publication; and
  • Defend the dissertation during a public presentation.

The Ph.D. degree requires 48 hours of approved graduate course work plus a thesis. These courses must include three core graduate chemical engineering courses:

  1. Advanced Reactor Design;
  2. Either Transport Phenomena I or Transport Phenomena II;
  3. Either Thermodynamics and Properties of Matter, or Applied Statistical Mechanics.

Ph.D. candidates are also allowed 21 independent study credits toward the 48 credit requirement. Ph.D. candidates who transfer M.S. credits will be allowed 9 independent study credits toward the 48 credit requirement. A maximum of 24 graduate credits may be transferred toward the Ph.D.

Frequently, students without an undergraduate chemical engineering degree will enroll in the graduate program. To ensure that all students are familiar with the fundamental principles required of chemical engineers, students entering the graduate program with a bachelor's degree in an area other than chemical engineering will be required to take four undergraduate courses—Unit Operations I, II and III, and one of either Reactor Design, Process Control or Process Design. On the recommendation of the Graduate Committee, these requirements can be modified based on each student's specific background. These undergraduate courses do not count toward the total graduate-level credit requirement for the advanced degree. Graduate students may take these courses out of sequence and/or concurrently in order to expedite completion of this requirement.

Completing the Ph.D. requirements normally requires four to five years of full-time study beyond the B.S. degree. Students already possessing an M.S. degree in chemical engineering typically require one year less time. Financial aid is given to all full time graduate students working towards the Doctoral degree.

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