Chemical Engineering Grad Program Guidelines

The UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering offers MS and PhD degrees in chemical engineering.

Below you will find information on the following:
· Admissions
· Plan of Study
· MS Tracks/Coursework
· PhD Requirements
· Research Focus Areas

For information on environmental engineering, please visit environmental engineering grad programs.


Research Expertise Ranging from Water Reuse to Cancer Detection

With its internationally recognized faculty and diverse programs, the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering is large enough to cover major academic and research areas yet small enough for individual attention.

Chemical engineering researchers at the University of Arizona are creating biodiesels using algae from wastewater; finding new ways to remove, dispose of and encapsulate hazardous waste; tracking aerosols in our atmosphere and particulates in our water; and using nanotechnology to advance semiconductor manufacturing, drug delivery, cancer detection and solar energy.


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Chemical Engineering PhD and MS Degrees

Whether you aim to work in academia, industry or the private sector or to create your own company, UA chemical engineering has the people and resources to get you there.

Research Focus Areas

  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Semiconductor and Thin Film Materials Manufacturing
  • Biotechnology

See more on UA chemical engineering research.

Research Focus Areas


Please apply to the chemical engineering graduate program online through the UA Graduate College.

Remember to submit the following with your application:

  • Copy of transcripts for all previous academic work
  • Official GRE test scores, with a minimum writing score of 7
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • For international applicants, minimum TOEFL score of 550 paper based or 79 Internet based or IELTS composite score of 7, with no subject area below a 6

Please note: University code is 4832; chemical engineering code is 1001. Be sure your name on tests and your application match.

Mail original transcripts to

Chemical and Environmental Engineering
University of Arizona
1133 E. James E. Rogers Way
PO Box 210011
Tucson, Arizona 85721-0011


Important Deadlines

  • Domestic students must submit online applications by March 1 for fall admission and June 30 for spring admission.
  • International students must submit online applications for fall by January 31 and for spring by June 30 of the previous year.
Important Dates and Deadlines

Plan of Study

During the second semester, each graduate student must file with the UA Graduate College a Plan of Study approved by the advisor and Graduate Student Committee chair. The plan identifies graduate coursework to be transferred from other institutions, already completed at UA, and remaining to be completed.



MS Tracks/Coursework

Compulsory Coursework

  • Total units – 30
  • Advanced Engineering Analysis (CHEE 502)
  • Advanced Chemical Engineering Transport Phenomena (CHEE 505)
  • Advanced Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics (CHEE 506)
  • Advanced Chemical Reaction Engineering (CHEE 530)

Thesis Option

Students develop a research project leading to the MS thesis, which must be defended successfully before a thesis committee. Requirements in addition to the core courses are as follows:

  • 12 units of elective courses in chemical engineering or related fields
  • One unit of seminar (CHEE 696A)
  • Five units of MS thesis (CHEE 910)

Non-Thesis Option

Students participate in either a one-semester research project or a one-semester industrial internship. Requirements in addition to the core courses are as follows:

  • 15 units of elective courses in chemical engineering or related fields
  • Three units of CHEE 909 (Master’s Report – research) or three units of CHEE 594 (Practicum – internship)


Accelerated MS Criteria

The Accelerated Master’s Program, or AMP, is available only to UA chemical engineering undergraduates who wish to complete their BS and MS chemical engineering degrees in a total of five years.


  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3
  • Minimum of 75 units of undergraduate coursework, at least 12 in UA chemical engineering
  • Undergraduate research experience preferred but not required


  • Submit online application to the Graduate College in early January of junior year.
  • Register during senior, or fourth, year to take a combination of undergraduate and graduate courses, which will count as electives for the BS degree and as core or elective courses for the MS.
  • Focus on graduate coursework and thesis or project in the fifth and final year.


  • The AMP can be either thesis or non-thesis and follows the same requirements as the regular MS program.
  • Admitted students select an advisor to guide research or development work toward completion of a thesis or master’s report.
  • ChEE 400 level courses convened with 500 level courses can be taken as electives toward the bachelor’s and master’s degrees provided the 500 version is taken. Exceptions are CHEE 420/520 and 477R/577R. These are required undergraduate courses, and the 400 version must be taken.

For detailed information on admissions, degree and course requirements, tuition policies, and scholarship and fellowship criteria, please see UA AMP Academic Policies and Admission Requirements.


PhD Requirements

Compulsory Coursework

  • Total Units – 36
  • Advanced Engineering Analysis (CHEE 502)
  • Advanced Chemical Engineering Transport Phenomena (CHEE 505)
  • Advanced Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics (CHEE 506)
  • Chemical Reaction Engineering (CHEE 530)
  • Minor – nine to 12 units

BS to PhD

  • 20 units of electives
  • Four units of departmental seminar (CHEE 696A)

MS to PhD

  • 12 units transferrable from master’s in chemical engineering

Qualifying Exam

The PhD Qualifying Examination is given over two days in January, and data is used by the department to decide whether a student should continue in the PhD program or terminate with an MS. Subjects evaluated – all at the undergraduate level – on the written test are as follows:

  • Transport phenomena
  • Thermodynamics
  • Reaction engineering
  • Applied mathematics

Students must have a research advisor and be in regular standing to take the exam. Students with a BS in chemical engineering must take the exam the first time it is offered; those with a non-chemical engineering BS have until January of the second academic year.

Comprehensive Examination
The written and oral portions of the Comprehensive Examination must take place at least three months prior to the Final Oral Examination, or defense of dissertation. Passing the comprehensive exam – which tests knowledge of the major and minor across the general fields of study and within the areas of specialization – is required for admission to candidacy for a PhD. The dissertation committee and at least one UA faculty member from the chosen minor committee evaluate the exam. In addition to the required chemical engineering faculty and minor members, committee members from other programs and institutions may be included as a courtesy or as adjunct appointments.

Written Portion
The written portion of the Comprehensive Examination is typically 10 to 20 pages and contains a thorough literature analysis, methodology of research, and proposed timeline. It should be done in conjunction with the advisor during the third year in residence and submitted to all members of the evaluation committee at least one week before the oral portion of the examination.

Oral Portion
The oral portion, which follows the written examination, is mainly based on coursework to ensure that the candidate has a thorough grasp of major and minor subject areas. Discussion of proposed dissertation research may be included. The examining committee must attest that the student has demonstrated the professional level of knowledge expected of a junior academic colleague.

PhD students must have two publications either accepted, in press, or published in peer-reviewed, indexed journals. Copies of the publications must be submitted to the department chair, along with the Publication Compliance Form, available in the department’s office, before the Final Oral Examination is scheduled. In exceptional circumstances, a successful submission of a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal may be counted as one of the required publications.

Dissertation/Final Oral Examination
On completion of the dissertation and approval of the research by the committee, the candidate submits to a Final Oral Defense Examination, which focuses on the dissertation but can include general questioning related to the fields of study within the scope of the dissertation. Committee members representing the minor program must be invited to the dissertation defense, but their participation is optional. 

contact Michelle Wik  •  520.621.1897  • email