grad-chemicalengineering

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering does not consider applications for a terminal M.S. degree; the department admits only to the Ph.D. program. The M.S. degree can be awarded post admission for work completed leading to the Ph.D. degree. The M.S. degree is not a prerequisite for the Ph.D. degree.


Graduate study in the department may be directed toward the master of science or the doctor of philosophy in chemical engineering. The graduate courses are planned to train outstanding students for advanced work in research and development.

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has a tradition of excellence dating back to 1905. For a century, the program has consistently ranked as one of the best in the world. The department offers research opportunities in both traditional and emerging areas of research in chemical and biological engineering. These areas include energy-related science and technology, soft and hard materials science and engineering, systems engineering and optimization, catalysis, process control and design, nanotechnology, biotechnology, biomedical engineering, complex fluids, colloid and interfacial phenomena, atomic, molecular, and multiscale modeling, polymers (synthesis and processing), micro- and nano-electronics, environmental engineering and sustainability, reactor design, and atomic-scale design of surface reactivity. These areas of research are advanced by leveraging tools from the fields of applied mathematics, statistical mechanics, kinetics and catalysis, thermodynamics, and transport phenomena.

Research in the department is highly interdisciplinary, capitalizing on programs of national prominence such as the NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), the nation's largest NIH-funded biotechnology training program, and the Computation and Informatics in Biology and Medicine training program. Interdisciplinary research opportunities are also available through the Materials Science Program, the Center for Nanotechnology, and the Rheology Research Center. Researchers in the department have access to state-of-the-art facilities for research, including facilities for nanofabrication and the life sciences.

Graduate students in the department are encouraged to participate in international research experiences, industry internships, and entrepreneurial activities.

For interests and activities of faculty members, along with a list of selected publications for each, see the department's faculty directory.

This master’s program is offered for work leading to the Ph.D. Students may not apply directly for the master’s, and should instead see the admissions information for the Ph.D.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources

Financial support for qualified graduate students is available in the form of research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowships.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-guide/).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Professional group of courses: Grades of B or better are required.

Elective group of courses: In general, grades of B or better are required for credit in this group, but grades of BC or C in non-CBE courses will be counted if balanced credit for credit by grades of A or AB in other courses from this group.
Assessments and Examinations An M.S. candidate must successfully complete an oral examination before a departmental examining committee of the advisor(s) plus two other CBE faculty members. The candidate may defend an M.S. thesis or an independent study project report.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

To qualify for the M.S. degree, student must complete a minimum of 30 graduate-level credits (300 and above), divided into two groups:

  1. Professional group: minimum of 12 credits of chemical engineering courses. At least 6 credits must be numbered 700–899 (excluding research).
  2. Elective group: minimum of 12 credits of graduate courses. At least 6 of these credits shall be in departments other than CBE and shall be chosen for their relevance to chemical and biological engineering.

Up to 6 credits will be allowed for chemical and biological engineering courses numbered between 300 and 499 in groups I and II combined, provided equivalent courses were not previously taken by the student.

The independent study project will comprise a minimum of 3 credits of supervised CBE 790 Master's Research or Thesis and may involve a lab project, theoretical work, or a critical review of an advanced engineering topic.

An M.S. candidate must successfully complete an oral examination before a departmental examining committee.

When a candidate presents a thesis, no fewer than 5 nor more than 8 credits of research (CBE 790) may be counted toward the 30-credit-total requirement. When a thesis is not presented, a maximum of 6 credits of research may be counted toward the total.

Special M.S. Degree

Students who enter the program without a B.S. in chemical engineering must take the following courses, unless equivalent credits can be offered from their undergraduate studies:

CBE/​B M E  320 Introductory Transport Phenomena4
CBE 326 Momentum and Heat Transfer Operations3
CBE 426 Mass Transfer Operations3
CBE 430 Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design3
CBE 440 Chemical Engineering Materials3
CBE 450 Process Design3
or CBE 470 Process Dynamics and Control
Departmental M.S. degree requirements (described above), must also be satisfied, except that eight credits rather than 12 credits will be required in the elective group. Upon matriculation, students should request approval of their proposed academic program by department faculty.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count graduate coursework from other institutions toward the Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement and the Minimum Graduate coursework (50%) Requirement. No credits from other institutions can be counted toward the Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

A total of 7 undergraduate credits from the UW–Madison undergraduate degree may be counted toward coursework requirements. If those credits are numbered 300 or above, they may be counted toward the Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement. If those credits are numbered 700 or above, they may be counted toward the Minimum Graduate coursework (50%) Requirement. No credits can be counted toward the Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 15 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student toward the Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement, and the Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement and the Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Probation

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

The thesis examining committee comprises the advisor(s) plus two other CBE faculty members. The candidate may defend an M.S. thesis or an independent study project report.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Other

Admitted students are offered research assistantships to support the pursuit of dissertation or degree research in chemical engineering. The stipend, after tuition and fees, is guaranteed for the duration of a student's graduate studies provided satisfactory progress is made toward their degree. Support for students receiving external funding or other program opportunities are reviewed case by case. Although students can be awarded M.S. degrees, there is no direct admission to the M.S. program.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

1. Demonstrate a strong understanding of mathematical, scientific, and engineering principles in the field.

2. Demonstrate an ability to formulate, analyze, and solve advanced engineering problems.

3. Demonstrate creative, independent problem solving skills.

4. Apply the latest scientific and technological advancements, advanced techniques, and modern engineering tools to these problems.

5. Recognize and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct.

Faculty: Professors Abbott, Dumesic, Graham, Huber, Klingenberg, Kuech, Lynn, Maravelias (Assistant Chair),  Mavrikakis (Chair), Murphy, Palecek, Pfleger, Rawlings, Root, Shusta, Yin; Associate Professors Reed and Swaney; Assistant Professors Van Lehn, and Zavala.

For interests and activities of faculty members, along with a list of selected publications for each, see the department's faculty directory.