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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

  1. The M.S. Degree is not a prerequisite for the Ph.D.

  2. A minimum number of 24 credits in the 500-level (excluding 590 and department seminar) courses in Chemical Engineering and in related fields of science and engineering, including 3 Chemical Engineering core courses and at least 6 additional credits of 500-series Chemical Engineering courses . With the approval of the student's thesis adviser, 3 credits of either ChE 596 or a 400-level course in related fields of science and engineering may be counted towards this requirement. All courses outside Chemical Engineering must be approved by the student's advisor. Each of the courses counting towards the required 24 credits must be passed with a grade of B- or better.
  3. Core courses that must be taken are: Ch E 524 (3), Ch E 535 (3), and Ch E 544 (3). Note: Ch E 524, Ch E 535, and Ch E 544 must be taken prior to scheduling the Ph.D. Candidacy Exam. Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.33 in these courses and a grade of B or higher in each of these core courses to be eligible to take the candidacy exam. Students who do not meet this requirement are required to take the MS Preliminary Exam, and are able to petition the faculty for entrance into the Ph.D. program as described elsewhere. Exceptions to the requirement for these courses to precede candidacy exam will be considered, especially for students from non-Chemical Engineering undergraduate programs.
  4. Graduate Student Colloquium - Ph.D. students are required to register for Ch E 590 in their first Fall Semester. Students must register for CHE 590 during one spring semester, and are encouraged to do so in their second Spring Semester. In addition, students are required to present at the Department Research Symposium, typically during their 4th year.
  5. Students must register for research every semester, following their first, until the completion of degree requirements. Ch E 600 (610) is used until completion of the Comprehensive Exam. Ch E 601 (611) is used after the Comprehensive Exam has been completed.

    Students should register for a total of 9 credits during every semester following their first semester, using CHE 600 or CHE 601 to raise the total to 9. Students should register for the course with their research advisor as the instructor.
  6. Participation in Chemical Engineering Departmental Seminar (no credit) is required each semester a student is in residence. Students should register for the seminar course (typically with a CHE 597 designation) every semester until they pass the comprehensive exam.
  7. No courses outside of the Chemical Engineering Department are required by the department; however, the doctoral Committee may specify up to 9 credits of non-Chemical Engineering courses.
  8. Students transferring to Penn State with a MS degree from another institution may transfer up to 12 credits of course work if so evaluated by the Graduate Program Coordinator with consultation from the Graduate Admissions Committee.

    These students must complete at least 12 credits of 500 level courses at Penn State (excluding the seminar and ChE 590 requirement) of which at least 6 credits must be in the Ch E 500 series. In addition, they must satisfy the course requirements described under (3), either by transfer of courses or by taking the Penn State courses.
  9. Completion of all 400, 500, and 600 level credits with a grade point average of 3.00.
  10. Completion of a minimum of 1 Teaching Assistantship.

Course Resources

Penn State CH E graduate course descriptions (White Book)

Updated on 07/22/14

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