The Ph.D. program is designed to enlarge the body of knowledge of the student and, more importantly, to discover and develop talent for original, productive, and creative work in chemical and biomolecular engineering.
Breadth of knowledge and professional training are achieved through advanced course work. A total of 18 units of letter-graded courses must be taken during residence in the graduate program. A minimum of 9 units must be obtained from the five core chemical engineering courses in the areas of mathematics, thermodynamics, reaction engineering, and transport phenomena. Additional units must be obtained from graduate level or upper division elective courses so that the total number of units taken is 18. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue additional courses of specific relevance to their thesis research and to explore other areas of technical, professional, or personal interest. In addition students are required to take the ChE 375 Pedagogy course and department colloquium.
To develop the creative talents of the student, a paramount emphasis in the Ph.D. program is placed on intensive research. Starting the second semester students will work on a project with one or more members of the faculty serving as their advisor.
Two departmental examinations are required in the course of the degree. The first, an oral preliminary examination, is held at the beginning of the second semester to ensure adequate knowledge of fundamental graduate and undergraduate course material. The results of this examination, performance in course work, and a statement from the students' research director are used by a committee of the faculty to evaluate the students' progress toward the Ph.D.
The second examination, the oral qualifying examination taken at the beginning of the fifth semester in residence, consists of a written technical manuscript and a formal presentation of students' research to a committee, including review of the most relevant literature, research accomplishments to date, and a future plan. After passing the examinations students advance to candidacy and will spend most of their time on their dissertation research projects.
The department requires that each doctoral candidate assist in the instructional program of the department as a teaching assistant for two semesters. The faculty regard teaching experience as highly valuable for all graduate students, especially those who plan to teach as a career.
Completion of the Ph.D. occurs with students presenting the results of their dissertation research at the department colloquium and filing the dissertation with graduate division. Time for completion of the degree is on average 5.5 years.