Graduate Degree Options

Our department offers M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Engineering, and a PhD degree in Chemical & Petroleum Engineering.
Tugba, Alejndra, and Dave working in the Shiflett Lab

Tugba Turnaoglu, Alejndra Rocha, and Dave Minnick working in the Shiflett Lab

five graduate students at the 2019 AICHE conference

Graduate students at the 2019 AICHE conference

Doctoral Candiate Di Chai presenting his awarding-winner poster at SPE conference

Doctoral Candiate Di Chai presenting his awarding-winner poster at SPE conference

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MS)

A total of 30 credit hours are required for the Master's of Chemical Engineering degree, which includes: 3 credit hours of seminar, 6 credit hours of research, and 21 credit hours of coursework, including five core courses and two elective courses. A thesis is required for an M.S. in Chemical Engineering. To maintain Good Academic Standing, students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better at all times and make progress in their personal research once a research advisor is assigned.

ChE Graduate Core Courses (15 hours)

  •     C&PE 701 Methods of Chemical and Petroleum Calculations  
  •     C&PE 721 Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics    
  •     C&PE 722 Kinetics and Catalysis
  • ​    C&PE 731 Convective Heat and Momentum Transfer
  •     C&PE 732 Advanced Transport Phenomena II

Electives (6 hours)

Research (9 hours)

  •     C&PE 800 Seminar
  •     C&PE 803 Research  

Thesis composition

Final Oral Examination

Students who do not have a Chemical Engineering B.S. degree when entering the Master's program are required to take prerequisite courses in Chemical and Petroleum engineering as well as Geology where applicable. Those courses include​:

C&PE 511 : Momentum Transfer
C&PE 512 : Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
C&PE 524 : Kinetics and Reactor Design
C&PE 525: Heat and Mass Transport

Depending on a student's academic background and proposed plan of study, additional undergraduate prerequisite courses may be required. Up to three credit hours of the undergraduate prerequisite courses (numbered 500 or above) may be counted as elected hours in the M.S. degree program.

Once enrolled, each student, with the help of graduate advisor and the student research director, shall, before the end of the first semester of M.S. study, submit a plan of study to the Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Study.

Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering (MS)

The Master's of Science in Petroleum engineering requires 21 hours of course work, including four core courses and three elective courses, plus 9 total hours of research hours earned with the combinations of 3 hours of seminar and 6 hours of research. A minimum of 30 credit hours are required in total for the MS degree. To maintain Good Academic Standing, a GPA of 3.0 must be maintained at all times and progress must be made in research once a research advisor is assigned. The student, upon completion of the written thesis, takes a final oral examination that may cover both course work and the thesis topic. A thesis is required for an M.S. in Petroleum Engineering.

PE Graduate Core Courses (12 hours)

  • C&PE 701 Methods of Chemical and Petroleum Calculations
  • C&PE 771 Advanced Reservoir Engineering
  • C&PE 790 Introduction to Flow through Porous Media
  • C&PE 795 Enhanced Petroleum Recovery

Electives (9 hours)

Research (9 hours)

  •     C&PE 800 Seminar (3)
  •     C&PE 803 Research (6)

Thesis Composition 

Final Oral Examination

Students who do not have a Chemical or Petroleum Engineering B.S. degree are required to take prerequisite courses in Chemical and Petroleum engineering as well as Geology where applicable. Those courses include:

C&PE 511 : Momentum Transfer
C&PE 525 : Heat & Mass Transfer
C&PE 527 : Reservoir Engineering II
C&PE 618 : Waterflooding
A geology course such as Geol 535 : Petroleum and Subsurface Geology, is also recommended

Depending on a student's academic background and proposed plan of study, additional undergraduate prerequisite courses may be required. Up to three credit hours of the undergraduate prerequisite courses (numbered 500 or above) may be counted as elected hours in the M.S. degree program.

Once enrolled, each student, with the help of graduate advisor and the student research director, shall, before the end of the first semester of M.S. study, submit a plan of study to the Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Study.

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical & Petroleum Engineering (PhD)

Chemical Engineering:

Has grown out of a combination of chemistry and engineering associated with industrial processes. Today, it comprises knowledge used in processes that change the physical state or composition of materials. Chemical engineers hold key roles in the design, development, production, and purification of materials that are considered essential to human life and well-being, such as food products, fuels and lubricants, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, synthetic fibers, microelectronic components, and plastics. Chemical engineers are involved in reducing the use of energy to make these products in safe and sustainable ways. They are responsible for minimizing environmental effects of chemical production on the environment.

Petroleum engineering:

Is concerned with the drilling, recovery, production, and distribution of petroleum and natural gas. Petroleum engineers use knowledge of fluid and rock properties in subsurface environments with methods of producing oil and gas safely and economically. At KU, the focus is on reservoir engineering, improving production from oil and gas reservoirs. Reservoir engineers use geological detection with computerized mathematical analysis to produce these valuable raw materials. Through such techniques, petroleum engineers continue to extract oil and gas from reservoirs that were considered uneconomical only a few years ago. Petroleum engineering is uniquely challenging in that the raw product must be recovered far from physical observation.

The PhD program requires the completion of 45 credit hours beyond a Master's degree. Required are 15 hours of course work and 30 hours of research work including: 3 graduate level elective courses within our department, two graduate level 'outside electives' (courses related to the doctoral research project which are taken in other departments at KU), and 30 research hours (which includes: 1 hour of C&PE 800 graduate seminar for each enrolled semester, all research hours taken with the student's faculty/research advisor, and courses taken in preparation for the comprehensive examination.

Students who have not previously earned a MS or ME degree but demonstrated outstanding academic preparation during their undergraduate careers can be considered for the Direct PhD program which requires a minimum of 60 total credit hours (Chart Below) and will required them to pass a preliminary exam of research before becoming a PhD aspirant. To maintain Good Academic Standing, all graduate students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better at all times and make progress in their personal research once a research advisor is assigned.

The full course plan includes 60 total credit hours as follows:

30 credit hours of coursework
  • C&PE Core Courses (5 courses/15 hrs for Chem E focus or 4 courses/12 hrs for Petro E focus)
    Chem E core courses include C&PE 701, 721, 731, 722, 732
    Pet E core courses include C&PE 701, 771, 790, and 795

  • C&PE Inside Electives (3 courses/9 hrs for ChemE focus or 4 courses/12 hrs for Petro E focus)

  • Outside Electives (700+ level/ 2 courses = 6 hrs)

30 credit hours of research courses*
  • C&PE 800 - Graduate Seminar (and/or C&PE 802 CEBC Colloquium)
  • C&PE 902 - Preparation for the Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination (optional)
  • C&PE 904 - Research (MS research C&PE 803 hours will count toward Ph.D. research hours)

*Note: there are additional courses which may count toward the total number of research hours

Note for students applying after completing a MS degree:

Students who have already earned a MS or ME before starting the doctoral program may qualify to have these course requirements reduced by 15 credit hours; however, which specific courses are waived or reduced will be decided on a case-by-case basis and will depend on academic achievements and courses taken during the related Master's degree program.

Students attending the NAM26 conference in Chicago

Students attending the NAM26 conference in Chicago in 2019

2019 Outstanding GTA award winners

2019 Outstanding GTA award winners - Aishik Chakraborty and Sebastian Huayamares Moreno

Group picture of voluneers at the GEA 5K in 2019

Group picture of voluneers at the GEA 5K in 2019