Montana State University

College of Engineering

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173820
Bozeman, MT 59717-3820

Tel: (406) 994-2272
Fax: (406) 994-6665
Location: 212 Roberts Hall

Dean and Director:

Brett Gunnink


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Ph.D. in Engineering

Chemical Engineering Option

Are you interested in a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering - labs working on biofuels and fuel cells

PhD Program Research Areas in Chemical Engineering



Imaging & Simulation


College-wide Program Requirements

The College of Engineering (COE) offers a Ph.D. in Engineering with options that include Chemical Engineering. The COE has general program requirements that apply to all students who pursue a Ph.D. in Engineering, regardless of which option they choose.

Program-specific Degree Requirements for the Chemical Engineering Option

The advanced math and numerical methods classes are specified:

EGEN 505 Advanced Engineering Analysis 3 credits
EGEN 506 Numerical Solutions to Engineering problems 3 credits

Requirements include the following:

CHM 503 Thermodynamics 3 credits
ECHM 533 Transport Phenomena 3 credits
ECHM 510 Reaction Engineering and Reaction Modeling 3 credits

These requirements leave the remaining credits to be established by the student and the major professor in consultation with the graduate committee.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifier will be a written examination on undergraduate Chemical Engineering including: mass and energy balances, thermodynamics, separations (mass transfer), heat (energy) transfer, fluids, transport phenomena and chemical reaction engineering. The exam will be 1 hour per topic area question in an open book, open notes format and students will choose 4 subjects which they will solve
the problems for, from the 7 problems provided. Each question will be graded by the faculty member that submitted the question. Students will not be given the test back in order to protect the questions from dissemination. The results will be analyzed by a committee composed of all faculty and a grade of Pass (P), Fail (F) or Remediate (R) given each candidate. In cases where remediation in certain topic areas is required, the Ph.D. advisor will develop a problem solving based plan with the Ph.D. candidate to prepare for a retest on the identified topic areas. The retest must occur prior to the next fall semester and will be overseen by the Ph.D. advisor. The qualifying exam must be
completed within two semesters of matriculation into the Ph.D. program. Failure to take the exam in that time period may result in suspension of Ph.D. candidate status, including stipend. The exam will be administered on the second Tuesday in February of the Spring semester to all students required to take the exam in a year.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive exam is required of all Ph.D. candidates, and will be composed of a written NSF-style proposal associated with the
research topic for the Ph.D. The proposal should include significant preliminary data on the research to date and the research proposed to complete the Ph.D. The exam will be administered by the student’s Ph.D. advisor and graduate committee. The proposal will be in the NSF format, in compliance with the current year’s grant proposal guidelines (gpg) at A written exam on graduate level thermodynamics, transport phenomena, mathematical methods, and kinetics and reactor engineering will be required of graduate
students who have a GPA in graduate coursework of less than 3.5. A public oral seminar of 40 minutes plus 10 minutes of public questions, on the research to date and proposed research to complete the Ph.D., will be given by the Ph.D. candidate. This will be followed
by a closed-session oral examination of 45-90 minutes by the student’s Ph.D. committee on the research and graduate level understanding of Chemical and Biological Engineering principles and any topics relevant to the research including fundamentals of other
disciplines drawn on in the research.