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Chemical Engineering Graduate Schools in California

Jan 05, 2019

California is home to a variety of master's and doctoral degree programs in chemical engineering that usually provide various research opportunities. Learn about graduation and admission requirements here.

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Several graduate schools in various cities of California, including Los Angeles and Berkeley, provide programs in chemical engineering. These programs vary in their coursework and graduation requirements by school and degree level. Compare and contrast a few of the available schools and their programs below.

Schools in California with Graduate Programs in Chemical Engineering

University of California-Berkeley

The University of California-Berkeley offers a Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Chemical Engineering. The MS program requires 24 semester units and a comprehensive exam and can be completed in 2 semesters. The PhD program usually takes about 5.5 years to complete and requires a dissertation, an oral preliminary exam and an oral qualifying exam. Doctoral students also spend at least 1 year as a teaching assistant to gain teaching experience.

California State University-Long Beach

Currently, California State University-Long Beach has an interdisciplinary MS in Engineering that allows students to focus in an environmental area that includes coursework from chemical and civil engineering, but starting in the fall of 2019, the university will have its own MS specifically in Chemical Engineering. The current MS in Engineering program has a thesis or comprehensive exam option and offers evening classes for working professionals. Students in either option must complete 30 units and maintain a 3.0 GPA. Students in the program who wish to focus in chemical engineering may take courses in topics like methods in chemical engineering, environmental pollution, green engineering, chemical process control or chemical engineering thermodynamics.

California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology in Pasadena provides a PhD in Chemical Engineering program that can be completed in about 5 years. Students must complete a qualifying and candidacy exam, as well as a thesis and defense. Students must also select a subject minor and maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the program. Teaching assistantships are available and some of the required courses include topics in thermodynamics, chemical rate processes and reaction engineering.

Stanford University

Stanford University in Stanford offers an MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering, as well as graduate certificates in biotechnology and energy engineering and technologies that are completely online. The MS program is also available on-campus or online and does not require a thesis. The PhD program requires at least 135 units of coursework, a candidacy exam, a dissertation and a 3.0 or higher GPA throughout the program. Doctoral students must also teach at least 2 chemical engineering courses and present a research poster during their 3rd year.

University of Southern California

Los Angeles' University of Southern California has an MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering. Students in the MS program must maintain a 3.0 GPA and complete at least 28 units of coursework, including electives and seminars. Electives for the MS program allow students to further specialize in various, closely-related areas of engineering, such as bioengineering, engineering design or environmental engineering. The PhD program requires a dissertation and provides 20 different labs within the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science for potential research opportunities.

Common Entrance Requirements

Students applying to chemical engineering graduate programs in California must hold at least a bachelor's degree, which usually needs to be in mathematics, engineering or a hard science. Some programs may have a minimum GPA requirement of at least a 2.7 and most programs require the GRE. Students may need to provide evidence of undergraduate research experience and/or have prior coursework in areas like chemistry, calculus and physics. Most of these programs require letters of recommendation, but some may also ask for a personal statement and resume with the application as well.

Students in California can most commonly pursue an MS or PhD in Chemical Engineering from several different schools throughout the state. Most doctoral programs require a dissertation, while some master's programs require a thesis and some do not.

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