Chemical Engineering Graduate Schools & Programs

Jan 27, 2019

Chemical engineering schools offer different programs in this field that prepare graduates for a variety of professional and academic opportunities. Here, you can learn more about what sets these program apart, the common coursework requirements and admissions standards.

Students who would like to enroll in a graduate program in chemical engineering have a few different program options to choose from. In order to determine which program suits their interests and goals, students will likely need to familiarize themselves with how these programs are different from one another, as well as some general information about the various chemical engineering degrees available.

Information About Graduate Programs in Chemical Engineering

The Master of Science (MSCHE) in Chemical Engineering is a degree program that is widely offered at universities around the country and is generally designed for students who are interested in pursuing research, as these programs typically require that students complete a master's thesis or continue their studies by enrolling directly into a Ph.D. program in Chemical Engineering, which is another graduate program option.

On the other hand, both the Professional Master of Science Program (PMP) and Master of Chemical Engineering (MCHE) degrees are less research-oriented, as these programs are comprised of coursework alone, may require the completion of a final project, and are typically geared towards students who seek further specialized skills development and job placement upon completion of the program, rather than further study. Many of these programs also allow students the opportunity to specialize their studies within chemical engineering by pursuing a concentration area.

Regardless of the program that students select, course offerings among these programs are generally quite similar. Five courses that are commonly found in the required or elective curriculum of these programs are highlighted below.

Transport Phenomena

A course in transport phenomena is a common part of the curriculum of graduate programs in chemical engineering and generally is structured with the assumption that students already have background on calculus, differential equations, and fluid mechanics. This course builds on topics like heat and mass transfer, nonequilibrium dynamics, and other advanced topics in different transport processes. Additionally, students will focus on how various transport processes differ and will study these processes from a chemical and biological standpoint.

Advanced Thermodynamics

An advanced course in thermodynamics will also likely be required and may be specifically taught from a chemical engineering perspective. In this course, students will learn about the properties of real fluids and mixtures, chemical equilibrium, surface energy, and intermolecular interactions. In addition, the course will cover the laws of thermodynamics from both a statistical and classical perspective.

Bioprocess Engineering

Students may also be required to take a course that is focused on bioprocessing from an engineering perspective. Some topics that may be covered in this course include various types of bioprocessing technologies, bioseparation, enzyme kinetics, and transport phenomena. Additionally, the course may include a discussion on contemporary topics in the bioprocessing field and the government regulations and initiatives that apply to it.

Pharmaceutical Engineering

A course in pharmaceutical engineering will require that students apply their knowledge of various chemical engineering concepts, like transport phenomena, to the world of pharmaceuticals. Beyond discussing the chemical reactions and actual science of pharmaceutical engineering, students in a course like this will likely also learn about the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. This may include discussions on the regulatory processes that apply to pharmaceuticals, economic and environmental issues in the industry, and new technology in the field.

Mathematical Methods for Engineers

Because of the frequent use of advanced mathematics in chemical engineering, students are also generally required to take a course that covers mathematical methods in engineering. This course will instruct students in how to perform various mathematical equations and solve problems in algebra and statistics. It will also focus on how these skills and methods can specifically be applied to problems in chemical engineering, like determining heat and mass transfer or separation processes.

Admission Requirements for Graduate Programs in Chemical Engineering

Generally, applicants to graduate programs in chemical engineering are expected to possess the equivalent of a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering or in a related engineering or mathematical field in order to be prepared for graduate coursework. However, some programs may accept applicants without such degrees if they have taken enough relevant prerequisite coursework or may accept them conditionally based on their agreement to complete certain courses before beginning the graduate curriculum. Some of these courses include organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and mathematics as well as engineering subjects. When applying to these programs, students will generally need to submit undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, GRE exam results, a personal statement, and a resume or CV.

To summarize, there are a variety of graduate degree options for students interested in chemical engineering. While these degrees may be different in structure, coursework among these programs is similar and prepares students for future success in their careers or in academia.

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