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Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering


The Ph.D. in chemical engineering is designed for exceptional students who want to pursue advanced careers in research, teaching or industry. Students gain significant research experience, and they have the opportunity to work closely with our nationally recognized faculty.

Departmental research strengths include the following:

  • Renewable energy
  • Polymer science and engineering
  • Catalysis
  • Molecular modeling
  • Biofuels

Students in the Ph.D. program develop expertise on a topic within chemical engineering and conduct original research that contributes to knowledge in the field.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in chemical engineering has three main requirements:

  1. Coursework. You can view core coursework requirements in the Course Catalog. Elective courses will be worked out with your dissertation committee.
  2. Candidacy examination. This exam is intended to evaluate your overall knowledge of chemical engineering as well as expertise in your areas of focus. The exam has both an oral and written component.
  3. Dissertation. You must write and defend an original, research-based dissertation that contributes to scientific knowledge in your field.

Ph.D. students will develop an individualized program of study with their advisory committee. The program of study describes the specific courses, research and related activities you will take to meet your degree requirements. We recommended that you develop a program of study as soon as possible upon arriving at the university.

Advisory committee

When you start your program, you may be assigned a temporary advisor. However, you should select a general research area, full advisory committee and major advisor sometime during the first semester, if you are entering the Ph.D. program having already completed a master's degree. If you do not have a master's degree when you start the program, you may take additional time to settle on your advisory committee.

Advisory or examining committees consist of at least five members of the graduate faculty: three from your area of specialization, and two from a department outside chemical and materials engineering. The committee is very important in guiding your progress toward an advanced degree, and high priority should be placed in forming the committee during the first semester. You are free to change advisors or committee members at any time.

Admissions and Application Information

For more information

Please direct any further questions to Graduate Program Director Alan Fuchs at

To apply for the Ph.D. in chemical engineering, students must have an appropriate bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an accredited college and have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75 or at least 3.0 in the last two years.

Applicants to the program should apply through The Graduate School website. Every applicant needs to provide the following:

  • Official GRE scores, sent directly to the graduate school
  • TOEFL scores, for non-native English speakers
  • At least two reference letters
  • Statement of purpose

Financial support

Applicants to the Ph.D. program will be considered for available funding. Ph.D. students are eligible for both research assistantships and teaching assistantships. Research assistantships are given by individual faculty members, while teaching assistantships are state-funded and are awarded by the department.

Housing Options

The University offers on-campus housing for graduate students. Visit the graduate housing website to learn more about living at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact Chemical and Materials Engineering

Phone (775) 784-6771
Fax (775) 327-5059
Address University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557

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