PhD, Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Zahra Ghassemi & Laura Simpson, CENG PhD '19, working in the lab. Photo courtesy of Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.
Zahra Ghassemi & Laura Simpson, CENG PhD ’19, working in the lab. Photo courtesy of Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.



The Ph.D. degree is geared towards successfully mastering a body of skills and knowledge in preparation for a career as an independent scholar. This degree is recommended for those who expect to engage in a professional career in research, teaching, or technical work of an advanced nature.

The Ph.D. degree is awarded only upon sufficient evidence of high attainment in scholarship and the ability to engage in independent research in the field of chemical engineering.

The basic components to earn the Ph.D. degree are:

  • Completion 21 credits of graduate coursework, including core curriculum
  • Successful completion of written qualifying report and oral presentation
  • Successful preparation and oral defense of a written dissertation proposal
  • Minimum of 18 credit-hours of doctoral dissertation research (ENCH 899)
  • Public oral defense and submission of written doctoral dissertation

Required Prior Coursework

The following courses are required, with a grade of B or above, for those applying to the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering graduate programs are:

Applicants should ensure their coursework covers the topics for the prerequistie courses.

Students pursuing a CENG PhD are not required to have an undergraduate degree in an engineering discipline. All applicants, no matter what undergraduate degree one has completed, must have earned a B or better in key prerequisite courses.


Students seeking a Ph.D. are also required to pass a written qualifying examination.  The PhD candidate must take at least 18 hours of doctoral dissertation research (ENCH 899) and produce a dissertation that demonstrates a significant contribution to the state-of-the-art in the topic selected. The Ph.D. dissertation committee is required to include at least one external member. There is a residency requirement for Ph.D. students and a qualifying exam and dissertation proposal defense are required for candidacy to the Ph.D. program.

Faculty Research Areas Include:

  • 3-D Tissue Engineering
  • Automated Reasoning
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Biochemical Engineering
  • Biocompatibility
  • Biocomplexity
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Bioprocess Engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Catalysis
  • Cellular Engineering
  • Cellular Response to Dynamic Environments
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chromatographic Separations
  • Development of in vitro Models of Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Drug delivery
  • Fermentation
  • Fluorescence-Based Sensors and Instrumentation
  • Machine Learning
  • Mechanisms and New Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Microbial Cell Wall Synthesis
  • Microbial Responses to Real-Life Environments
  • Modeling Biological Systems
  • Molecular Simulations of Adsorption
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Neural Tissue Engineering
  • Nanofabrication and characterization
  • Nanomedicine
  • Oxygen Toxicity
  • Protein and Substrate Interactions
  • Protein Purification
  • Protemics and Genomics
  • Quantum Chemistry
  • Regulatory/GMP Issues
  • Solute and Microbial transport
  • Systems Biology
  • Upstream Bioprocessing


The completion of a minimum of 21 credit-hours of graduate courses beyond the bachelor’s degree. The core curriculum includes 12 credits of coursework. Courses taken to fulfill the requirements of the program must be approved in advance by the Chemical Engineering graduate program director and by the student’s advisor, if one has been selected. Appropriate courses taken while earning the M.S. degree from the program may be used to partially fulfill this requirement. Course descriptions are found in the UMBC Course Catalog. A grade point average of 3.0 in all courses must be maintained to remain in good standing with the Graduate School.

CENG Core Curriculum

These four courses must be completed before a PhD student advances to candidacy.

  • ENCH 610 Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
  • ENCH 620 Methods of Engineering Analysis
  • ENCH 630 Transport Phenomena
  • ENCH 640 Advanced Chemical Reaction Kinetics


Learn More

Admission requirements and procedures correspond to the requirements set forth by the UMBC Graduate School. Information on our Fee Free Application available here.