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It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all Graduate School and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy are met. Questions regarding the Graduate School requirements should be directed to the Graduate School. Questions about departmental requirements may be directed to the Department Chair or Director of Graduate Studies.

The requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy include: Graduate School Requirements applicable to all graduate students, additional Graduate School Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, and additional requirements of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. The requirements are summarized below:

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is granted only upon sufficient evidence of high attainment in scholarship and the ability to engage in independent research. It is not awarded for the completion of course and seminar requirements no matter how successfully completed.

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Enginering's overall expectations for all students enrolled in its graduate program are that they will:

  • make significant scholarly contributions to the field of chemical and biomolecular engineering, which is primarily measured by publications in peer-reviewed journals; and
  • demonstrate an ability to communicate research findings to an audience of their peers in the field of chemical and biomolecular engineering, which is primarily measured by presentations at conferences.

These publications and presentations must be documented on the final page(s) of each student's written proposal, thesis or dissertation. For details, see Ph.D. Dissertation and Defense, below.

The equivalent of three years of full-time graduate study and research is the minimum required. Of the three years, the equivalent of at least one year must be spent at the University of Maryland. On a part-time basis, the time needed will be increased correspondingly. All work at other institutions offered in partial fulfillment of the requirements for any doctoral degree must be submitted, with the recommendation of the Department concerned, to the Graduate School for approval at the time of application for admission to candidacy. Official transcripts of the work must be filed in the Graduate School.

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering requires a minimum of 45 semester hours of course work beyond the B.S. degree. A minimum of 27 credit hours of courses, other than thesis research, numbered 600 or above and approved by the Department are required.

In certain circumstances, up to two 400 level undergraduate courses can be applied toward this requirement. These courses must be pre-approved by the Graduate Director. To exercise this option, the student and his/her advisor must jointly petition the Department Chair/Graduate Director in advance for a special exemption. Appropriate courses taken while earning the M.S. degree from the Department may be used to partially fulfill this requirement.

Graduate courses with an EMPM designation cannot be used to satisfy the minimum 30 hours without prior permission of the Graduate Director.

A maximum of 7 semester hours of Special Problems (ENCH 648) may be used in fulfilling the 45 semester hours. Please see the lists of approved undergraduate and graduate-level courses for course options.

The Graduate School requires students to maintain a 3.0 GPA in all courses for credit since enrollment. The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering further requires that students attain at least a 3.0 GPA in the four required graduate core courses–ENCH 610, 620, 630 and 640–where this GPA is computed using the letter+/- system. This GPA is computed by the following numerical equivalents:

3 2/3
3 1/3
2 2/3
2 1/3

Therefore, receiving the grades of B, B, B-, and B- in the four core courses would not be sufficient to receive a graduate degree from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

A minimum of 18 credit hours of Ph.D. Research is required. Students may register for ENCH898 (Pre-Candidacy Research), prior to being admitted to candidacy, and for ENCH899 (Doctoral Dissertation Research: Chemical Engineering) after they advance to candidacy. Out of the 18 credits, at least 12 have to be ENCH899, as required by the Graduate School. The remaining 6 may be either ENCH899 or ENCH898.

Courses taken to fulfill the requirements of the Department must be approved in advance by the Department Chair/Graduate Director, and, when a major advisor has been selected, by the major advisor. Download the Ph.D. Course Requirement Advising Form (.docx) for a sample plan.

All graduate students (full and part-time, on and off campus) are expected to attend all research seminars, i.e., those not specifically directed to 1st year students. Students that fail to regularly attend research seminars will receive a notice from the director of graduate studies; extreme cases can be considered insufficient progress towards degree. Exceptions to this requirement will be made on a case-by-case basis by the graduate program committee; such exceptions include off-campus students that demonstrate regular participation in an on-campus seminar series that takes place at a more convenient time, or an off-campus technical seminar series. Students granted this exception should turn in a list of seminars attended to the director of graduate students before the end of each spring and fall semester.

A candidate may request that up to 12 semester hours of appropriate graduate course work taken at other accredited institutions prior to matriculation in the Graduate School or afterwards may be applied towards the Ph.D. degree. Prior approval is required if the transfer work is to be taken after admission to the Department. The courses must have been taken within the time limits for completing the degree. The Chair of the Department or the Graduate Director must agree that the specific courses are appropriate to and acceptable in the student program, and a grade of B or better must have been earned in such courses. The student is responsible for providing an official transcript and related materials of any transfer work to the Chair/Graduate Director of the Department and the Graduate School.

The grades on transfer work do not affect the grade point average of the work taken at the University of Maryland (i.e., a grade of A from another institution cannot balance a C in a course taken at College Park).

All Ph.D. graduate students are required to serve as Teaching Assistants for two semesters. Please see the TA policy for more information.

During the first semester of residence, the Graduate Director normally serves as advisor. During this period, students are involved in three monthly lab rotations to begin to learn about research in faculty labs. The choice of lab rotations is based on student preference fill out in the Rotation Selection Form. After rotations and meeting with at least three other faculty, student turn in their advisor selection form with ranked preferences. The permanent advisor is assigned normally before the beginning of the second semester.

All students in the Ph.D. program must take the Research Aptitude Examination (RAE). Typically, students entering in the Fall semester will take the RAE during the Winter Break of their first year. For details see: Ph.D. Research Aptitude Exam.

Students who successfully pass the Research Aptitude Examination must take the Ph.D. Proposal exam within 18 months of passing the Research Aptitude Examination and they must pass the Ph.D. Proposal exam within 24 months of passing the Research Aptitude Examination. For details, see: Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal.

Upon successful completion of the Proposal exam, the student is eligible for advancement to candidacy. It is the responsibility of the student to submit his/her application for admission to candidacy when all the requirements for candidacy have been fulfilled. Applications for admission to candidacy are made in duplicate by the student and submitted to the Academic Coordinator of the department for further action and transmission to the Graduate School. Application forms may be obtained at the University of Maryland Graduate School website.

There are mandatory fees for all Ph.D. students who have advanced to candidacy. Visit the Office of the Bursar for more information.

Students must complete the entire program for the degree, including the dissertation and final examination, within four years after admission to candidacy, or nine years after admission to the doctoral program, whichever is greater. If a student fails to meet all degree requirements, the program may recommend, and the Graduate School may grant, a one year extension to complete the remainder of the doctoral requirements. After this one year period, admission to the program terminates. A student may apply for readmission to the program. The program may recommend advancement to candidacy following program prerequisites as specified by the program and approved by the Graduate School. For doctoral students, a readmission to doctoral candidacy shall be for a period of four years, unless otherwise specified by the program.

All students are required to have at least one publication before their defense. Details of the requirement and form can be found on this page.