Frequently Asked Questions about PhD Program

How can I learn more about the research laboratories and facilities at Purdue?

Take a virtual tour of Purdue Chemical Engineering research laboratories on YouTube. If you are planning an in person visit, please contact us and we can arrange building and lab tours!

What is the current stipend for PhD students?

The current stipend is $31,000 per year.  The cost of living in the Greater Lafayette area is very reasonable and our graduate students are able to live quite comfortably on this stipend.  This link contains more information:

What are the TA requirements/opportunities in the program?

All graduate students are expected to be a Teaching Assistant for two semesters during their time in the School of Chemical Engineering.  There are opportunities for additional teaching responsibilities and experiences, if desired.

What is the standard time to graduation?

Students entering the PhD program with an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering usually take four to five years to complete the degree requirements. Those who arrive with an M.S. in chemical engineering should be able to complete the PhD program in four years.  

How many PhD students are in the program?

We usually have between 130 and 150 students in the Ph.D. program.

Do I need to contact faculty to get into the program?

No. All applications to our PhD program are reviewed by a department-wide Ph.D. admissions committee.  Admitted PhD students will then go through our faculty advisor selection process during their first semester on campus.  After the completion of that process, each student will be formally assigned to a faculty advisor (or co-advisors) and to a specific research project.

What are the course requirements?

A PhD degree in chemical engineering requires a minimum of ten (10) three-credit graded courses (30 credits of coursework total) and a minimum of 60 credits of ChE 699 (Ph.D. Research).  All students are required to take four “core” courses during their first year in the program. They are required to take our department seminar (CHE 690—a non-credit course) every semester. They are also required to sign up for the appropriate level of research: either CHE 698 (M.S. Research) or CHE 699 (Ph.D. Research).

The four required first-year “core” courses are the following:

• ChE 610 (Advanced Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics)

• ChE 620 (Advanced Transport Phenomena I)

• ChE 630 (Applied Mathematics for Chemical Engineers) OR ChE 697 (Statistical Methods in ChE)

• ChE 660 (Chemical Reaction Engineering)

ChE 610, 620, 630, and 697 (Statistical Methods) are offered every fall semester and ChE 660 is offered every spring semester.

How do I apply, and what are the program requirements?

Please follow this link for application information and program requirements: 

What are the requirements on writing the statement of purpose (SOP) document.?

There are no strict length requirements on the SOP, although we recommend that you write a statement that is approximately two pages (or 1000 words).  In the SOP, please provide your perspective on why you want to pursue your PhD, how your past experiences have prepared and motivated you for graduate research, and why Purdue is the right school for graduate career.

What resources are available for securing future employment upon graduation?

Our department has many employers that visit to recruit our Ph.D. students. There are campus-wide recruiting events including the Industrial Roundtable ( and ChE-specific recruiting events including the GSO symposium ( Additional campus resources can be found at the Center for Career Opportunities (CCO):

What mental health resources are available at Purdue?

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a team of multi-culturally sensitive professionals delivering comprehensive psychological services to the students of Purdue University. CAPS has a strong commitment to meeting the needs of diverse people. 

What things are there to do in West Lafayette/Lafayette?

There are lots of leisure activities to do in the surrounding community.  Please see the following links for more information:

The ChE Graduate Student Organization (GSO) also plans many social events: