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PhD Overview

ChemE Students

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Our Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is open to all applicants who have completed a bachelor’s degree or will have completed one before matriculating as a graduate student at Stanford. 

A degree in chemical engineering is not required but applicants should be familiar with key concepts and their applications. This typically means applicants have degrees in other science and engineering disciplines such as bioengineering, biology, chemistry, materials science, mathematics, mechanical engineering and physics. We are looking for coursework or other experiences demonstrating use of higher-level mathematics (e.g. linear algebra, partial differential equations) and recommend completion of core chemical engineering courses (e.g. fluid mechanics, heat and mass transport phenomena, chemical reaction kinetics, thermodynamics). An MS degree is not a prerequisite for admission to our PhD program or for PhD degree conferral.

IMPORTANT for successful PhD applicants seriously considering Stanford: Admitted PhD applicants will be invited to participate in our Chemical Engineering Graduate Research Symposium. This is our "visit weekend," and those seriously considering Stanford for their doctoral work should reserve March 7-10, 2019, for their Stanford visit.

Each department conferring graduate degrees establishes its own application deadlines. An applicant may apply to only one degree program at Stanford University, meaning the applicant must decide on one department and one degree program and may have only one active application. All components of an application to the Department of Chemical Engineering must be received by the department no later than the appropriate due date. Applications for the 2018-2019 PhD program will be available in mid-September of 2018.

DEADLINE for all components of a PhD application must be recieved by the department no later than: Saturday, December 1, 2018.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars: the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program develops a community of future global leaders to address complex challenges through collaboration and innovation. This year, the program will award up to 75 high-achieving students with full funding to pursue a graduate education at Stanford, including full-time master's and PhD's in Chemical Engineering. To be considered, you must apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars by September 12, 2018, and separately apply to the Chemical Engineering department by November 14, 2018. 

IMPORTANT for PhD applicants: Refer to the Admissions Requirements Section regarding the Statement of Purpose and complete your research outline in addition to 2-3 pages of text for your Statement of Purpose. The grad admissions website is expected to open to new applications in October 2018.

All applicants must make an official application, using the university's online forms and procedures, and following the directions from the Office of the Registrar, Graduate Admissions. Visit the Grad Admissions site for more information about our graduate admissions process at Stanford University and to apply for graduate admission. 

Our admissions committee carefully considers all completed applications to Chemical Engineering's PhD program or MS program.  Decisions are based on the student’s academic record and experiences, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose and test scores. Applicants are informed of their acceptance into a degree program during our winter quarter. While most applicants to our advanced degree programs have traditional chemical engineering backgrounds, we do accept applications from students in other related fields: chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering, biology and so forth. If your bachelor's degree is in another field, do you have sufficient background knowledge in the key engineering concepts required of an undergraduate majoring in chemical engineering and thus would thrive in an advanced degree chemical engineering program? Those with non-traditional backgrounds should expect, if admitted, to spend some additional time acquiring the background necessary to complete a graduate degree in chemical engineering.  For reference, the requirements for a Stanford BS in chemical engineering can be found in the Handbook for Undergraduate Engineering Programs.

A departmental committee, comprising chemical engineering faculty members, makes all decisions regarding admission to our advanced degree programs. Decisions by are based on thorough evaluations of all aspects of completed applications, which are considered within the context of the program pool. Hence, final decisions are not made on a rolling basis, but rather when the pool is complete, on the deadline date.

Individual Chemical Engineering faculty members do not admit applicants directly to their research groups. Please do not send individual faculty members or staff informal documents and appeals for informal evaluations and/or admission to a research group. We are unable to provide informal recommendations / evaluations on the basis of partial information such as a CV, test scores or a transcript. Inquiries and materials sent to individual professors may or may not be redirected to administrative staff. We encourage potential applicants to consider discussing their issues with faculty recommenders who know them well and could give better, individualized academic advice.