Why Transition to Chemical Engineering?

ChBE, like chemistry, is a very diverse field with research in areas ranging from energy to nanoparticles to biomedical applications. As chemical engineers, our focus is using fundamentals to understand and solve real world problems. In ChBE, chemistry students can apply their fundamental background in chemistry to designing new products, improving of existing products, and/or improving manufacturing of chemicals, biochemicals or materials. 

Hurdle for Chemistry B.S. Grads

It is not uncommon for undergraduate chemistry majors to transition to a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. However, this requires additional fundamental knowledge not typically taught in the undergraduate chemistry curriculum. Therefore, students are required to complete undergraduate ChBE courses to obtain the background needed to successfully undertake graduate coursework in chemical engineering alongside students with undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering.

Benefits of UMD's Summer Transition Program

This transition program offers the ability for a paid transition (tuition+benefits) during the summer before starting as a Ph.D. student in chemical engineering. Required undergraduate coursework in chemical engineering can be fulfilled during the summer, which prepares the student for the rigors of graduate course work in chemical engineering.

Summer Coursework

Students will take 3-4 courses spread over two summer sessions depending on the student’s background. If the student has not taken differential equations, this requirement will be fulfilled during the summer. Introduction to Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Fluid Mechanics and Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics will also be taken during the summer.

Fresh Start in Fall Semester

Ultimately, this transition program serves as a catalyst for chemistry B.S. graduates to begin their Ph.D. studies in ChBE at UMD. More time can be spent as a graduate student taking electives and doing dissertation research that would otherwise be filled by catch-up coursework.


Applications to this program must be completed through UMD’s Graduate School and submitted online. Each year 1-2 applications will be choosen for this competitive, funded transition program for those applying to the Ph.D. program in the fall semester. The deadline for applications is January 15 and an email should be sent to chbegrad@umd.edu stating interest in this program. See the graduate admission page and gradschool.umd.edu for more information on our department and UMD’s graduate school