The graduate programs in chemical engineering prepare men and women for advanced careers in the chemical, energy, environmental, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries as well as for careers in university teaching. Graduate study, which may lead to the Master of Science, Master of Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, requires course work extending the fundamentals of chemical reactions, mass transfer, mathematics, thermodynamics and transport processes. Additional courses taken can include applied surface chemistry, biochemical engineering, polymer chemistry and engineering and process control and dynamics. The department also offers advanced graduate courses in selected areas. Study is encouraged in related disciplines such as applied mathematics, chemistry, materials science, mechanical engineering, systems engineering, environmental sciences, and life sciences.
The department’s research areas cover industrial, pharmaceutical, and medical biotechnology; computer and molecular simulation; electrochemical engineering; environmental engineering; heterogenous catalysis and reaction engineering; nanostructured materials, biomaterials, and interfacial phenomena; separations technology; and thermodynamic properties and phase equilibria. Collaborative research currently involves faculty in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, and Materials Science and Engineering, as well as in the School of Medicine. Students entering the graduate program are invited to discuss research projects with all faculty.
The chemical engineering research laboratories are located in the Chemical Engineering Building Wilsdorf Hall, and in a renovated wing of Thornton Hall. Laboratories are grouped by specialty, but are open to all graduate students in order to encourage cooperation and the exchange of ideas and experiences among students. The University and the department provide extensive computing facilities in support of education and research.
In addition to the standard full-time programs designed for students entering with chemical engineering degrees, individualized programs can be developed for persons with prior degrees in other disciplines, such as chemistry, physics, or in engineering fields other than chemical engineering.
The Master of Engineering degree can be obtained through part-time, off-grounds study of graduate courses offered in the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP).
Qualified doctoral students are admitted to doctoral study after completing the basic courses, passing the preliminary examination, beginning research and passing the research examination—usually within 12 months of entrance. Doctoral candidates in chemical engineering serve as teaching assistants for at least one semester. Doctoral dissertations are proposed in a proposal examination and defended in a final examination.