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Graduate Degree Requirements

All Chemical Engineering course descriptions can be found in the Michigan Engineering Course Guide and Bulletin

Master’s degree students usually finish the program in 1-2 years or three terms. PhD degree students usually finish in 4-6 years.


1. BS degree in chemical engineering (or equivalent*).
2. ChE graduate credits: 21 or more hours.
3. Total graduate credits: 30 (including electives).

*Students with non-ChE degrees may have to take remedial undergraduate courses.

Must include:

  • Research Survey – ChE 595
  • Fluid Flow -ChE 527
  • Reactor Analysis – ChE 528
  • Heat and Mass Transport – ChE 542
  • Statistical Thermodynamics – ChE 538
  • Math for Chemical Engineers – ChE 505

Note: PhD students must take all of these core chemical engineering courses, along with a minimum of 3 cognate credits (PDF), with a grade of B- or better before the final term of candidacy.

ChE core, required courses (ChE 505, ChE 527, ChE 528, ChE 538, ChE 542) taken previously at another institution can be waived pending application and approval of the course exemption request. Note for waived courses: credit hours toward the degree are not waived.  If six hours of core courses are waived, the student is responsible for replacing those hours with other courses so that the number of hours required for the degree is met (MSE=30; PhD=36).

First Year Schedule (sample)

Schedule sample for first-year students with a BS degree in chemical engineering.

Fall Term

  • ChE 505 (Math)
  • ChE 538 (Thermo)
  • ChE 527 (Fluids)
  • Elective
  • ChE 595 (Research Orientation)
  • ChE 601 (ChE Seminar)
  • ChE 696 (Mentor Seminar)

Winter Term

  • ChE 528 (Reaction Eng.)
  • ChE 542 (Transport)
  • Elective (Optional if an elective course was taken in the fall term)
  • ChE 695 (Research, 6 credits)
  • ChE 601 (ChE Seminar)
  • ChE 696 (Mentor Seminar)

May include:
Up to 6 credit hours of research (ChE 695).

May not include:
Courses taken as Visit/Audit.
More than 2 credits from non-ChE seminar courses
PhD students cannot count ChE 601 (Department Seminar).
Master’s degree students can count up to 2 credit hours of ChE 601 for the degree.

3. Cognate graduate credits: 3–9 hours (at least 3 technical credit hours outside ChE).
4. Total credits: 30 hours.
5. Grade point average required: 3.00 (B or better).

It is the student’s responsibility to apply for the MSE degree before the deadline. An embedded Master’s degree is optional and typically earned after the PhD student’s 4th term in the program.

Notes for MSE Program:

  • The MSE program requires the same coursework as listed above but courses may be spread out over three terms instead of two terms.
  • There is no thesis option for the Master’s degree; however, students can earn credit toward the degree through research projects with ChE faculty.
  • The transition from the Master’s program to the PhD program requires a new Rackham application (and is a rare occurrence).
  • Masters degree students may opt out of ChE 595 upon approval from ChE graduate program chair.

PhD Candidacy Requirements (Rackham)

  • Complete at least 18 hours of graded graduate coursework on the Ann Arbor campus.
  • Complete at least 3 credit hours of cognate coursework with grade of B- or better.
  • Pass the Doctoral Candidacy Exam.
  • Complete training in responsible conduct of research and scholarship (4 CoE workshops).


  • Candidacy registration must always include 8 hours of ChE 995. Students whose advisors are not ChE or ChE-affiliated faculty should register in the department where their advisor is based.
  • MSE requirements (above) or MS degree in chemical engineering (or equivalent) from another institution.
  • At least two additional ChE or related cognate courses (PDF).
  • List of cognate courses (PDF)
  • A total of 36 graduate course hours (including 30 from the MSE requirements).
  • These hours cannot include credits for ChE 601 (Department Seminar), ChE 990 (pre-candidacy research) or more than 6 hours of research (ChE 695).
  • The successful completion of  College of Engineering Responsible Conduct of Research & Scholarship/RCRS training (prior to candidacy).
  • Passage of the Doctoral Candidacy Examination (DCE).
  • Passage of the Thesis Proposal Examination.
  • Serving as a graduate student instructor at least once. Normally, this requirement is met after the student achieves candidacy status.
  • Making an oral presentation at a national or international meeting.
  • Publishing at least one first-author, peer-reviewed research article prior to the PhD dissertation defense.
  • Writing and defending PhD dissertation.

Chemical Engineering Courses

The Course Guide and Bulletin is your source for all Chemical Engineering course information.
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