MS in Chemical Engineering

A collage of graduate students and University buildings.

The master of science degree in chemical engineering gives students the choice of two options:

  • Plan A: Thesis Option (30 Credit Hours)
  • Plan B: Coursework Option (32 Credit Hours)

The curriculum is designed to develop fundamental knowledge in the chemical engineering core areas (thermodynamics, transport and kinetics), while research opportunities are available in advanced materials, catalysis and electrocatalysis, batteries, biological and medical systems, computational fluid dynamics, functional interfaces, optical materials and theory, simulations and artificial intelligence through faculty-run research groups.

Successful completion of an MS degree in chemical engineering typically leads to high-level professional positions or continuing on to a PhD degree. Recent graduates from the MS program currently hold positions places like Northrop Grumman, St. Gobain, IBM, ExxonMobil, 3M, and Stanford University.

Degree RequirementsThesis Options

Plan A: Thesis Option (30 Credit Hours)

Students pursuing the thesis-based MS degree must earn 30 credit hours, with at least 18 credit hours from graduate level coursework and 6 – 12 credit hours from research. Students who choose this option must also satisfactorily complete their master’s thesis and pass an oral defense. Most students complete the Plan A program in two years.

Plan B: Coursework Option (32 Credit Hours)

Students who pursue the coursework-based MS degree must earn a minimum of 32 graduate credit hours.

Up to 6 credit hours can be from research (optional). Students who choose this option are required to pass an oral exit exam. Most students complete the Plan B program in a year and a half.

Core Curriculum

All students in the MS program must complete the following four core courses, comprising 16 credits:

  • CHE 400: Applied Boundary Value Problems (fall)
  • CHE 441: Advanced Transport Phenomena (fall)
  • CHE 461: Advanced Kinetics and Reactor Design (spring)
  • CHE 485: Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (spring)

For more information on the specific program requirements, please see our graduate handbook. For an up-to-date list of currently offered graduate courses and electives see our graduate courses page.

Teaching Requirement

All students in the MS program, regardless of the source of their financial support, are required to assist in teaching one chemical engineering course. Teaching experience is considered an integral component of graduate training.

Optional Clusters

The MS in chemical engineering program also offers the following concentration areas to students who seek to get a more in-depth knowledge in a particular area of chemical engineering:

After finishing a cluster, students will be issued a certificate of completion by the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.


For first-year MS students, academic advisors are assigned by the Graduate Student Committee. If a student decides to choose the research-based Plan A program, the selected research advisor becomes the academic advisor. Students in the Plan A program should select a research advisor by the end of their first fall semester.

How to Apply

For information about applying for admission and for financial aid please visit the applying page. Students should hold a BS in chemical engineering or a closely related field. Applicants can be eligible for up to a 50 percent tuition waiver through the Dean’s Office.