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University of Massachusetts Lowell

Lowell , Massachusetts ,United States

Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering

The doctoral degree is designed to prepare engineers for leadership positions in industry, academia and government. The program includes advanced graduate course work in engineering and allied subjects and research culminating in a doctoral dissertation.

Campus Information


UMass Lowell is located in historic mill city of Lowell, Mass., 45-minutes north of Boston, at the intersections of Routes 495, 93 and 3. The birthplace of Jack Kerouac and the Industrial Revolution, Lowell's history echoes all around you. Former mill buildings and cobblestone streets now add charm to a bustling downtown, steps away from the UMass Lowell campus, which boasts a thriving arts scene, a population rich in cultural diversity, and a flair for festivals.


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Application Processing Time in Days: 30

Minimum English Language Requirements

English Level Description IELTS (1.0 -9.0) TOEFL IBT (0-120) TOEFL CBT (0-300) PTE (10-90)
Expert 9 120 297-300 86-90
Very Good 8.5 115-119 280-293 83-86
Very Good 8 110-114 270-280 79-83
Good 7.5 102-109 253-267 73-79
Good 7 94-101 240-253 65-73
Competent 6.5 79-93 213-233 58-65
Competent 6 60-78 170-210 50-58
Modest 5.5 46-59 133-210 43-50
Modest 5 35-45 107-133 36-43
Limited 4 32-34 97-103 30-36
Extremely Limited < 4 < 31 < 93 < 30

PSW Opportunity

3 Years of PSW

Admission Requirement / Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for admission into the Ph.D. program, applicants are expected to be graduates of an accredited U.S. college or university or an approved foreign equivalent institution and have earned grade point averages of 3.0 or better in all prior undergraduate and graduate studies.

All applicants must also submit a full Graduate Application, including an official GMAT or GRE score taken within the last five years, official undergraduate and graduate academic transcripts from all previously attended institutions, application form, statement of purpose, application fee, resume, and three letters of recommendation.

Qualifying Examination

  • The student is permitted two attempts at passing the qualifying examination which is administered on a declared schedule. Students who fail the qualifying examination the first time must retake the exam at its next scheduled offering. Students failing the doctoral exam twice will automatically be dismissed from the doctoral program. Those who do not take the examination at the prescribed time may lose all their financial support, if any, and may be dismissed from the doctoral program.
  • The written portion will be a closed book examination and will be administered during two consecutive days. The first day will focus on Basic Mathematics and Engineering and will cover 5 topics: Mathematics, Material and Energy Balances, Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics. The second day will focus on a specialty area selected by the student. For the Chemical Engineering Option the specialty areas are Chemical Processing, Materials and Biotechnology/Bioprocessing. Each of the specialty areas will cover 5 topics. For the Chemical Processing area, the topics will be Transport Phenomena, Thermodynamics (Chemical and Phase Equilibria), Separation Processes, Reactor Design and Kinetics, and Process Dynamics and Control. For the Materials area, the topics will be General Materials (including Colloids, Nanomaterials and Polymers), Ceramic Materials, Electronic Materials Processing and Characterization, Electron Microscopy (SEM and TEM), and Atomic Force Microscopy and X-Ray Diffraction. For the Biotechnology/ Bioprocessing area, the topics will be Fermentation, Cell Culture, Separation Processes, Analytical Techniques, Biocatalysis and Kinetics. For the Energy Engineering Option (Nuclear Engineering Concentration) the topics will be Nuclear Physics, Reactor Physics, Reactor Engineering and Safety, Reactor Dynamics and Control, and Nuclear Fuel Cycle Issues. The examination is evaluated by the Graduate Examination Committee which determines whether or not a student shall be eligible to take the oral part.
  • Students who pass the written part of the qualifying examination must take the oral part of the examination within six weeks of notification of results of the written exam. For the oral examination a research proposal must be prepared in the NSF format and then presented to an examining committee. The topic for the proposal must be in an area unrelated to the thesis dissertation. The oral examination may also focus on topics unrelated to the research proposal.