Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering

The Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering degree is designed to prepare graduates for a wide range of professional opportunities in manufacturing, design, research, or in development. Special emphasis is given to the relationship between applied chemical science and its applications in modern chemical, nano, and biotechnology. Our program produces broad-based graduates who are prepared for interdisciplinary careers in many fields and who have a solid foundation in chemical engineering research and development methodology. 


Degree Requirements


The Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering requires 84 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree. A prior master’s degree may be transferred for up to 30 credits without specific course descriptions. The remaining 54 credits must include at least: 

  • 5 core courses (15 credits) 

  • PRV 961 (3 credits): Stevens signature doctoral course

  • CHE 690 (a minimum 30 credits): Research in Chemical Engineering for doctoral dissertation


A time limit of six years is set for completion of the doctoral program. 


Research Seminars


Ph.D. students are required to attend research seminars. Students failing to meet this requirement may be put on probation at the discretion of the faculty.


Qualifying Exam 


Two qualifying exams: The written qualifying exam is a written examination on a syllabus consisting of four core subject matters. Students can choose four subjects out of the five core courses. The goal is to test the students’ fundamental knowledge in chemical engineering to perform advanced research. The exam needs to be completed by the end of the 2nd semester in the program. Students who maintain GPA higher than 3.7 in their core courses can be waived from this exam. Students who pass the written exam are eligible for the oral qualifying exam. The oral qualifying exam is an oral examination on a syllabus consisting of research papers and projects, prepared jointly by the student and a committee including the advisor and two tenure-track faculty members. The goal is to establish scholarship in an area of research. The exam needs to be completed by the end of the 4th semester in the program. It consists of a presentation, followed by open-door questions from the audience and a closed-door examination from the committee. The committee can pass, fail, or request re-examination (either written or oral). A minimum of 3.5 GPA must be satisfied in order to take the oral exam. 


Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits of CHE 960, Research in Chemical Engineering. The dissertation must demonstrate the student’s mastery of the associated topic area, it must exhibit sound research methodology and it must make a unique and substantial contribution to an area of research.

Thesis Proposal

By the end of their fourth semester, students must write and present a thesis proposal, where they lay out an intended course of research for their dissertation. The proposal should contain an explanation of the problem and why it is important, a sketch of the proposed solution, and background information that serves to indicate that the problem is unsolved and what prior or related approaches to this or similar problems have already been investigated.

Dissertation Defense

The final Ph.D. dissertation is usually defended at the end of the fourth year of full-time study.


The faculty reserve the right to make exceptions to any of the rules and procedures described above in order to promote and preserve the health of the doctoral program and to ensure each student’s prompt and effective progress through the program.