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Chemical and Petroleum Engineering - Graduate Studies

Our deparment offers M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, and a PhD degree in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. The M.S. program requires 21 hours of courses, including five core courses and two elective courses. A total of 30 hours are required for the degree which includes 3 hours of seminar and 6 hours of research.

The M.S. Program:

For the M.S. degree with thesis option, a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate course work and research is required. This includes six credit hours of research work. The student, upon completion of the thesis, takes a final oral examination that may cover both course work and the thesis topic. For the non-thesis option M.S. in chemical engineering, a minimum of 33 credit hours of course work is required. This includes a written report of three-hour special project. A thesis is required for an M.S. in Petroleum Engineering.

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:

For the Chemical Engineering M.S. Degree:

For the Petroleum Engineering M.S Degree:


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.

A variety of research projects are available for C&PE graduate students. Many under the Tertiary Oil Recovery Project and The Center For Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis, both major state funded research program at the University of Kansas. The TORP website contains descriptions of current and previous research projects, as does the CEBC website. In addition to these research centers, individual facutly research interests are listed below (for detailed information, visit the facutly member's webpage):


The PhD Program

The PhD program requires completion of 45 credit hours beyond the M.S. degree. Required are 18 hours of course work beyond the M.S. requirements, including 3 doctoral level courses in our department, two graduate courses related to the doctoral research project which may be taken in other departments at KU and preparation for the comprehensive examination. . Doctoral students are required to pass comprehensive examinations based on MS core courses or granted exemption based on grades received in MS core courses before becoming a PhD aspirant. PhD aspirants become PhD candidates after completing the comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination is scheduled after the majority of the course work is completed. The median time to degree for our Ph.D. graduates in the period FY 2004 - FY 2006 is 5.1 years

Admission to the Program:

Admission to the Ph.D. program normally occurs after a student has completed an M.S. degree program. In rare cases, a student may be admitted to the Ph.D. program without having completed an M.S. degree. Such admission normally will be granted only if the applicant has clearly demonstrated exceptional performance in an undergraduate program and in any graduate work completed. Students who are admitted to the Ph.D. degree program and who do not complete an M.S. degree in chemical or petroleum engineering are required to take the M.S. degree core courses (15 credit hours) over and above the course work herein specified for the Ph.D. degree.

Qualification as a Ph.D. Aspirant

The performance of all persons admitted to the program shall be evaluated by the Graduate Standards Committee at the end of the student's first semester in the program. The measures of performance used in the evaluation are the student graduate grade-point average and performance in any assigned research or teaching assistance duties. At that time, the Committee shall make a recommendation about the student's status to the department faculty. Once the student has been designated as a Ph.D. aspirant, an advisory committee monitors his or her progress.

Ph.D. Advisory Committee

A three-member advisory committee is formed for each student once the student has been designated a Ph.D. aspirant. The student research director will normally serve as the committee chair. The committee works with the aspirant to develop an appropriate overall plan of study and monitors the student's progress for the rest of the Ph.D. program.

Comprehensive Examination

The aspirant may undertake the comprehensive examination after completion of a majority of the course work for the Ph.D. and all of the Department, School, and Graduate School requirements prerequisite to this examination, including the FLORS requirement. The examination consists of two parts: a written proposal for research and an oral examination that is based on, but not limited to, the research proposal. For the research proposal, the student will be assigned a topic of current interest to the chemical and/or petroleum engineering profession. The oral examination will be based on the research proposal, but may also cover areas peripheral to the proposal. Upon receipt of a grade of "honors" or "satisfactory" on the comprehensive examination, the aspirant is admitted to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination

The doctoral dissertation, based on independent research conducted by the candidate, constitutes the final phase of the doctoral work and must be completed within the time constraints prescribed by the Graduate School. Upon acceptance of the dissertation by the advisory committee, the candidate defends the dissertation in a final oral examination. Typical completion time is four and one-half years beyond the B.S. degree.