Doctor of Philosophy Program

The PhD program is designed to prepare each student to take an active part in the development and growth of the field of chemical engineering at all levels in industry and various research organizations, e.g. national laboratories, or in research and teaching in a university. To qualify for the PhD program, a student must demonstrate competence in graduate course work and demonstrate the capability to do independent research. This process is called the PhD Qualifying Procedure and is described in detail in section 3. Most students who qualify are eligible to proceed directly to the PhD program without writing an MS thesis. Beginning with the third semester, each student, as part of the degree requirement, occasionally assists in the instructional activities of the department. The current periodicity is one semester every other year. Advanced students may have the opportunity to participate directly in the planning and presentation of undergraduate courses that are related to their thesis work.

As described in greater detail in sections 6 and 8, each student selects a major professor and an advisory committee to assist him/her in planning a program of course work and thesis research. Thirty hours of graduate course work (including those for the MS) are required for the PhD degree. The thesis research should be original work that contributes significantly to new knowledge. Major research work is preceded by a preliminary examination, discussed in section 4, at which the student presents to the advisory committee a plan for research and demonstrates proficiency in the theory and experimental methods needed for its completion. Once a student passes this hurdle, he/she is said to have been admitted into candidacy. The final PhD examination is the defense of the written thesis. The appendix gives rubrics for the oral qualifier, preliminary exam and final exam the student’s committee will use to judge the performance of the student and to give feedback.