PhD in Chemical Engineering
The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering offers a graduate program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in chemical engineering. The doctorate is a research degree emphasizing extensive and original approaches to problem solving.
Incoming students are assigned a temporary advisor to help plan their programs until they are matched with a major professor. The matching of students and major professors takes place early in the first semester of study based on the mutual wishes and best interests of students and professors.
Students with a strong background in chemical engineering or related disciplines and a serious interest in research are encouraged to apply for admission to our graduate program. Applications for Fall (September) admission must be received by noon (CDT) on December 15. (early submission is encouraged.) Spring (January) applications must be received by October 15. Historically most students start in the Fall, seldom is admission offered for Spring semester. Applicants for admission are formally admitted by the Graduate School upon recommendation from the department.
Specific questions not answered on these pages or the FAQ-CBE section may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate Handbook of Academic Policies and Procedures (2019-2020)
Here are the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering’s Graduate Handbook of Academic Policies Procedures 2019-2020. The Graduate Handbook is a resource for the requirements of our graduate program.
Requirements For Admission
- A bachelor’s degree with a strong background in chemical engineering from an approved (ABET accredited) institution. International applicants must have a degree comparable to an approved U.S. bachelor’s degree.
- A minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (4.0 scale) on the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately 2 years of work). A GPA of 3.25 is required of students with majors other than chemical engineering. Most applicants accepted into the program have a GPA well above 3.5.
- Completed on-line Graduate School application form. It is extremely important that you check your MyUW portal as frequently as possible. Here you will find an application check list, as well as any communication from the Graduate School. You can access your checklist and application updates through the MyUW portal (http://my.wisc.edu). You will first need to activate your NetID by visiting the NetID Account Activation site at https://www.mynetid.wisc.edu/activate. You will need to enter your 10 digit UW-Madison campus ID number and your date of birth to complete the NetID activation process. Your campus ID number was provided in the confirmation email when you originally applied. It is the 10-digit number starting with 90.
- Application fee of $75.00 U.S. It is non-refundable and can be paid by credit card (Master Card or Visa), Debit/ATM. Non U.S. citizens will be charged a $6.00 international document processing fee. Both fees will be processed during the submission of your application.
- Submit official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test scores sent by ETS (institution code: 1846,). The Subject test is not required. Average scores of students admitted last year were: Verbal – 158, Quantitative – 166, Analytical – 4.0.
- An unofficial transcript from each undergraduate and graduate program (if applicable) attended. International applicants must provide academic records and official certificates and degrees in the original language accompanied by official English translations. Once admission is offered, applicants must send official copies of the transcripts and documents issued by the school with the official seal/stamp and official signatures submitted in sealed envelopes or sent directly from the college or university. Full admission is contingent upon receipt of these materials.
- Recommendation letters submitted with your electronic application by three persons who are familiar with you and your work.
- Official TOEFL scores for applicants whose native language is not English. Scores must be provided from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The TOEFL is preferred. Minimum required TOEFL scores are 92 (internet-based test, IBT), or 580 (paper based test). The average TOEFL score for students admitted last year was 106 (IBT). Applicants who have completed a minimum of two full-time semesters of graded course work, exclusive of ESL courses, in a U.S. college or university where English is the only language of instruction at the undergraduate level, not more than 5 years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment, are exempt from the TOEFL requirement. For more on the TOEFL, see Graduate School Admission Requirements and scroll down to English proficiency.
- A Statement of purpose which should be 2–3 pages in length, single spaced using an 11-point font.
- Your resume/CV.
Graduate students generally receive their financial assistance in the form of research assistantships, teaching assistantships and/or fellowships. Because of the national and international reputation of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the type of training available in our department, some students are able to arrange support from their governments, industrial employers or foundations. Students admitted to the graduate program are guaranteed financial support from the department in the form of a research assistantship. This support will continue as long as the student maintains satisfactory progress toward their degree. All students are required to participate in undergraduate teaching during part of their time here. Teaching assistantships provide valuable experience to students wishing to pursue academic careers or polish their communication skills.
The department is grateful for generous financial support from many sources to assist first year research funding. Support at this critical stage assists the department in the recruitment and retention of top students to the graduate program. In addition to many individual contributors, industrial supporters of the graduate program include these corporations:
- Air Products Foundation
- CITGO Petroleum Corporation
- Dow Chemical Company Foundation
- Procter & Gamble
- Union Pacific Corporation
Outstanding U.S. students are encouraged to apply for national fellowships such as the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Hertz Foundation Fellowship, National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program, U.S. DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship, and Ford Foundation Predoctoral Diversity Fellowship.
Graduate Program Office
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1415 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1607
Frequently Asked Questions and Related Links
- Submit all materials electronically via the online application here: https://apply.grad.wisc.edu/. After you submit your application, all application updates and status changes are reported through your MyUW portal at http://my.wisc.edu. It is extremely important that you check your MyUW portal as frequently as possible. Here you will find an application check list, as well as any communication from the Graduate School and the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department. You will first need to activate your NetID by visiting the NetID Account Activation site at https://www.mynetid.wisc.edu/activate. You will need to enter your 10 digit UW-Madison campus ID number and your date of birth to complete the NetID activation process. Your campus ID number was provided in the confirmation email when you originally applied. It is the 10-digit number starting with 9. (Please also see the Requirement for Admission section above).A complete application includes:
- On-line Graduate School application form
- Application fee – $75
- $6 international document processing fee for international students
- Statement of purpose, an unofficial transcript (in English for international students), and resume
- 3 letters of recommendation
- Official GRE General test scores sent by ETS
- Official TOEFL scores for international students
Applicants for admission are formally admitted by the Graduate School upon recommendation from the department.
The Chemical & Biological Engineering department must receive all application materials by noon (CDT) on December 15 for those who wish to be considered for fall admission. Materials received after the deadline may not be considered.
The deadline for spring semester admission is October 15. Historically, the vast majority of students enter the program in the fall. Seldom is admission offered for spring semester.
The Chemical & Biological Engineering department does not consider applications for a terminal M.S. degree. This is a PhD program only. Also, students are not required to earn an M.S. degree before beginning the PhD.
Individual professors do not admit students into the department. Admission is recommended by a faculty committee. Many potential applicants ask about their chances of being admitted to our graduate program. We are always looking for well-qualified students, but it is also true that admission to our graduate program is very competitive. Students who are admitted normally rank at the top of their undergraduate classes and have significant prior research experience.
All information regarding the status of your application can be found on your My UW application account.
You are welcome to take a campus tour through Campus & Visitor Relations https://info.wisc.edu/campus-tours/ however the department cannot accommodate applicants who wish to visit prior to being formally admitted. Once admitted, candidates who are currently within the US may be invited to attend one of the Visit Wisconsin CBE weekends held in February or March. Invitations are included in the admission packet. The Visit Wisconsin CBE weekends include individual meetings with faculty, time with current graduate students, tours of lab facilities, and UW-Madison.
Students admitted to the graduate program are guaranteed financial support from the department in the form of research assistantships and teaching assistantships. Support will continue as long as the student maintains satisfactory progress toward their degree.
Individual professors do not admit students into the department. Admission is recommended by a faculty committee. Once matriculated into the department, all students are given time to meet and discuss research goals with all faculty members in order to find a suitable thesis advisor and match with an open position. As such, student – professor matches are not made in advance in order to allow the student the best opportunity to meet and learn of the faculty member’s interest.
Once matriculated into the department, there is a matching process for selecting research groups that occurs during September and October. Students meet with all faculty members in order to find a suitable thesis advisor and match with an open position.
Admission to the graduate program in chemical engineering is very competitive. While we do consider students with different majors, previous coursework in core chemical engineering classes (thermodynamics, transport phenomena, reaction engineering and kinetics) will be considered a plus.
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In this downloadable PDF are the department’s
Academic Policies Procedures