<liWhiting School of Engineering

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Graduate Programs
Graduate Programs

Graduate Programs: Degree Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy

The Ph.D. degree is awarded for original research performed under the guidance of a thesis advisor. The formal requirements for this degree are:

  1. Successful completion of six graduate-level courses including the four required core courses.
  2. Successful completion of the Preliminary Research Exam during the student’s first year.
  3. Successfully serve as a teaching assistant for at least two required undergraduate courses.
  4. Completion of an original research project, documented in a dissertation that is defended by the candidate in a public presentation.
  5. Successful completion of the Graduate Board Oral Exam.


Student must successfully complete six graduate-level courses including the four required core courses listed below: 

Students are strongly encouraged to take the four required courses in the first fall semester. However, students who do not have an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering or a closely related field may need additional course and should discuss an appropriate course plan with the Director of the Graduate Program.

The remaining two engineering or science courses are chosen with the help of the student’s advisor to design a curriculum appropriate for the student's research interest. These two courses cannot include seminars, independent study, graduate research or special studies.

Each of the six courses must be passed with a letter grade of B- or higher. In addition, the student must maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better. If the student’s GPA falls below 3.0, the student must re-take one or more of the courses and earn a higher grade, upon which the prior grade in those course are not counted towards the GPA. If a student receives a grade of C+ or lower in a required core course, the student will be allowed to re-take the course once to achieve a grade of B- or higher. Failure to receive a B- or better the second time will be cause for dismissal from the program. Receipt of grades of C+ or lower in two or more required courses will ordinarily be cause for dismissal from the program without the opportunity to re-take those courses.

In addition,

Further details on the preliminary research examination and Ph.D. thesis and Graduate Board Oral Exam can be found in the graduate handbook.

Master of Science in Engineering

Note: the requirements for the MSE degree changed August 2010. Because the new requirements are less restrictive, all current and incoming MSE students must fulfill the new requirements listed below. The major change is that there is no longer a requirement that MSE students complete any particular course (i.e. core PhD courses are no longer required courses for MSE students).

Students have two options in pursuing an M.S.E. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

1. Master’s of Science in Engineering (requiring an essay)

2. Master’s of Science in Engineering (coursework only)

Additional requirements for MSE students with an undergraduate degree in a different discipline

Students who received their undergraduate degree in a discipline other than Chemical Engineering must demonstrate proficiency in the core Chemical Engineering subjects of Transport Phenomena, Kinetics, and Thermodynamics to fulfill their MSE degree. Such proficiency may be necessary in order to have the necessary background for graduate course in the ChemBE department. Proficiency must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Methods to demonstrate proficiency include:

ChemBE policy on double counting courses for BS and MSE degrees: Students pursuing both their undergraduate and masters degrees in ChemBE at JHU should be aware of the departments rules on double counting courses. Up to two courses can be counted for both degrees. For classes offered at both the 400- and 600-level, students MUST take the course at the 600-level to apply the course to their masters degree. Thus, the ChemBE graduate program’s policy on double-counting courses is stricter than the WSE policy found here: http://engineering.jhu.edu/graduate-double-counting/ .

Recommended courses

Completion of two of the four core course of the PhD program is recommended (but not required) for MSE students. The four core PhD courses are:

MSE Essay Presentation

The MSE essay presentation is similar to the PhD thesis defense. Students, in conjunction with their advisor, will assemble a two-person committee to read and evaluate the essay. One member of the committee will be the student’s advisor and the other will be chosen from among the ChemBE faculty. The essay should be provided to the readers at least two weeks prior to the presentation date. It will then be presented at an open seminar, which will be publicized to the department.

Students should contact the Academic Program Coordinator at least four weeks prior to the proposed essay presentation to ensure that all necessary information is exchanged. International students should contact OISSS at least eight weeks in advance of defense date to ensure that their visa status and application for their EAD card and Optional Practical Training is in place.


.Nano and Micro Technology

.Cell and Molecular Biotechnology

.Interfacial Phenomena

.Computational Biology and Functional Genomics

.Molecular Thermodynamics

.Drug Delivery, Biomaterials, and Tissue Engineering