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The PhD requires ninety six hours beyond a baccalaureate degree or sixty four hours beyond a master’s degree. These totals include a significant amount of credit for research (CHEN 691). The specific course requirements imposed by the Department of Chemical Engineering are that a PhD student must complete a minimum of 29 hours of formal course work beyond the baccalaureate degree. These formal courses are
classified into two categories: required courses and electives.

The following are the required 17 hours of courses that all PhD students must complete:

  • CHEN 604: Chemical Engineering Process Analysis (3)
  • CHEN 623: Applications of Thermodynamics to Chemical Engineering (3)
  • CHEN 624: Chemical Engineering Kinetics and Reactor Design (3)
  • CHEN 629: Transport Phenomena (3)
  • CHEN 601: Chemical Engineering Laboratory Safety and Health (1)
  • CHEN 681: Seminar (2)
  • CHEN 695: Graduate Mentoring Seminar I
  • CHEN 696: Graduate Mentoring Seminar II

Total Credits: 17 "core" credits

The remaining 12 credit hours of formal course work (typically four, three-credit courses) are subject to the following restrictions:

  • The electives must be formal graduate-level courses and should be approved by the Graduate Advisor. Only technical (science or engineering) courses can satisfy these requirements. In special cases, up to three credit hours of advanced undergraduate level courses may be included.
  • At least three hours of credit must be for courses taken outside the Department of Chemical Engineering.
  • Graduate courses completed at other institutions and passed with a grade of B or better may be used towards satisfying the departmental electives. With approval of the Graduate Advisor, up to nine credit hours may be transferred from other institutions. These courses cannot have been used towards another degree.
  • Graduate courses cannot be retaken for credit.

The remainder of the credit hours (usually 67 hours) will be CHEN 691: Research. Students who enter the PhD program with a BS must spend a minimum of two academic years in resident study. Students who enter the PhD program with a master's degree must spend a minimum of one academic year (2 adjacent terms) in residen study. To satisfy the continuous residence requirement, the student must complete a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester or 6 credit hours for a 10-week summer semester.

Steps for Completing a PhD Degree in Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University

  1. Select a research advisor by the end of the student’s first term at Texas A&M. A “term” is a semester or a full summer.
  2. File the degree plan by the end of the first calendar year (three terms) at Texas A&M. This step is necessary to continue receiving financial aid beyond three terms at Texas A&M.
  3. Complete the Proficiency exam satisfactorily.
  4. Complete the Research Proposal, pass the Preliminary Exam, and submit the Research Proposal to the Office of Graduate Studies, by the end of the sixth semester in residency. If the student fails to meet these time limits, he/she must request permission from the Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering to continue receiving financial aid.
  5. Students must satisfy the Department presentation criterion by participating in the Departmental Symposia; second year students present in the summer symposium (generally in May), and fourth year students present in the winter symposium (generally in January).
  6. Finish the dissertation, pass the final oral examination, and meet the Departmental Publication Criterion (details appear later in this Handbook). File the dissertation and follow the check-out procedure.

Departmental Doctoral Proficiency Examination

The purpose of the Chemical Engineering Doctoral Proficiency Examination is to determine the student's qualifications for a PhD degree, determined on the basis of the student to demonstrate competency in a common body of knowledge.

Doctoral Proficiency Examination Format

The proficiency exam will consist of an oral exam and written abstract. As part of this exam, they will choose a paper and critique it for 15 min, followed by open-ended questions on the paper/topic and chemical engineering fundamentals for 15 min. Students will be randomly assigned a paper. The papers will be on core chemical engineering subjects and will be selected from Journals such as AIChE Journal, IECR Research, J Heat Transfer, Soft Matter, Journal of Fluids, J Applied Physics, etc. Students will not have the option of returning it to the pile and picking a different paper. Students will select their paper before the holidays start in December and will have ~ 6 weeks to prepare for the exam.

A committee of 3 faculty members will administer the exam. Multiple exam committees will be formed and exams will be held in parallel throughout the day. Students will submit their written abstract a week prior to the scheduled exam and will be provided to the appropriate committee. The committee will discuss and assign each student a Pass/Fail grade. A majority of “Pass” among the committee members is required.

Doctoral Proficiency Examination Timing

The proficiency exams will be administered once every year in January. All PhD students are expected to take the exam after their first fall semester in residency. If necessary, a second round of exams will be held later in the Spring semester.

Process for Students Who Do Not Pass the Proficiency Examination

Students who fail the proficiency exam must retake and pass the exam in the same semester. Students who fail the proficiency exam in two consecutive sittings will transfer to the Master of Science or Engineering program. These students will be given the option of reentering the PhD program after successful completion of a Master degree and based on the recommendation of the MS thesis committee.

Departmental Publication Criterion

As a means to encourage and foster scholarship, the department has implemented the following minimum Publication Criterion for PhD students: At the time of the thesis defense two papers should be accepted/in press/in print.