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Graduate FAQ

grad-faqQ. How can I apply for graduate work in your department?

A. Details are provided on our Apply page. Briefly, you need to submit an application for admission to the Graduate School along with a fee (check application for current fee), official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended and three letters of recommendation from faculty members (preferably) or other persons who can discuss your potential for graduate work in chemical engineering. You also need to submit GRE Aptitude test scores. If you are not a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., you will need to submit a TOEFL score. Official copies of these documents are required for admission. However, photocopies can be used for the initial review process. A “statement of academic goals and research interests” is included with the application, and is beneficial to the admissions committee in reaching its decision. Publications in peer reviewed journals are viewed favorably by the admission committee and submission of reprints is encouraged.

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Q. What’s the difference between the two graduate programs in your department?

A. We have two very different graduate programs in our department:
— Chemical & Biochemical Engineering (CENG)
— Environmental Engineering & Water Resources (ENEN)
These two programs arose from the two original departments that merged to form our current department. Research in the CENG program is focused on biochemical and biomedical engineering while reseach in the ENEN program is focused on water resources. Details related to each program can be found in the graduate student handbook.

Q. I cannot afford to pay the application fee now. Can I defer the fee until I am admitted?

A. We have a fee-free application process for students meeting certain criteria. Details are provided on our Apply page. If students do not meet these criteria, the application fee cannot be deferred or waived. It is the policy of the Graduate School that the fee be received along with all other required documents before that application is evaluated.

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Q. I have a non-chemical engineering undergraduate degree. What do I need in order to work toward an advanced degree in chemical engineering?

A. It will almost certainly be necessary for you to take a number of undergraduate engineering courses in addition to the courses required for the M.S. or Ph.D. degrees. Chemistry and physics majors will need approximately four additional undergraduate courses. Mathematics and biology majors will typically need more than four additional courses. However, each case is handled individually. Below is more detailed information:

You need to take undergraduate classes that will prepare you for our graduate core curriculum. Our graduate core curriculum consists of:

  • ENCH 610 Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
  • ENCH 630 Transport Phenomena
  • ENCH 640 Advanced Chemical Reaction Kinetics
  • CHEM 437 Comprehensive Biochemistry I (only a requirement for the PhD)
  • MATH 404G Introduction to Partial Differential Equations: Graduate Section
To Prepare for ENCH 610 you need to take ENCH 300 (Thermodynamics)
  • Prerequisites : MATH 251 (Multivariable Calculus) & CHEM 351 (Organic Chemistry).
  • Note: we will permit the student to take these prerequisites at the same time as ENCH 300 (co-requisites).
To Prepare for ENCH 630 you need to take ENCH 425 (Transport I: Fluids) & ENCH 427 (Transport II: Heat & Mass)
  • Prerequisites: MATH 225 (Differential Equations).
  • Note: Depending on the student, we may permit the student to take these prerequisites at the same time as ENCH 425 (co-requisites).
  • Note: Depending on the student, we may permit student to take ENCH 630 at the same time they are taking or auditing ENCH 427.
To Prepare for ENCH 640 you need: ENCH 440 (Kinetics)
  • Prerequisites : ENCH 300 (Thermodynamics), ENCH 425 (Transport I: Fluids).
To Take MATH 404 you need these prerequisites:
  • MATH 251 (Multivariable Calculus).
  • MATH 225 (Differential Equations).
Graduate Non-Degree Status: 

Students can take the undergrad classes above as a “Non-Degree Seeking Student.” UMBC allows up to 6 of these credits to eventually count toward a degree.  Graduate Non-Degree students pay graduate rates for their classes regardless of the level of the actual class.  Typically students take classes as a non-degree-seeker for the following reasons:

  • Student has been away from school for a while and wants to make connections for the purpose of receiving letters of reference.
  • Student graduated quite a while ago and wants to try graduate work.
  • Student may not have the best GPA but wants to show they can do well in graduate work.
  • Fun facts about graduate non-degree students: up to six credits of work taken while a non-degree student can be applied towards their degree program if they apply and are accepted as a degree student.
  • The graduate school reviews non-degree applications and will admit anyone who applies with a GPA of 3.0 or better when they received their BS degree.  If the student has below a 3.0 they will ask the department review their file before admitting to graduate classes.

Q. I have a non-environmental engineering undergraduate degree. What do I need in order to work toward an advanced degree in environmental engineering?

A. Prerequisites for Environmental Engineering graduate study include Organic Chemistry, Physics, Differential Equations, and Calculus.

Q. What is the basis for admissions decisions?

A. The Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering’s graduate admission committee makes a determination of an applicant’s qualification for admission. This is based on the evaluation of your undergraduate (and/or graduate) record, GRE scores, personal statement and letters of recommendation. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required, but there is no set GRE requirement. Each candidate is evaluated individually by a department faculty committee that has the authority to make admission recommendations to the Graduate School. The TOEFL is required for international applicants.

Q. What is the application deadline for admission?

A. The application deadline is January 1.

Q. I would like to do part-time work for a graduate degree. Can this be done?

A. Part-time programs are possible; however, the department does not regularly offer evening or weekend courses. Graduate courses are scheduled throughout the day. Financial aid is normally not available for part-time students.

Q. Will you consider my application before my final semester transcripts are mailed?

A. Students in their final semester of work toward a bachelor’s or master’s degree may be offered admission pending the filing of supplementary official transcripts showing the award of the degree.

Q. Is it necessary to submit a separate application for financial aid?

A. No. Upon acceptance to the Graduate School an application will be sent to you from the financial aid office.

Q. How much financial aid is available?

A. PhD students admitted to the department are paid a competitive stipend which is approximately the same as stipends paid in chemical engineering departments at other major research universities in this country. Financial aid is only rarely provided for MS students.

Q. What are the tuition charges and additional fees?

A. Current tuition and fee information can be found on the Student Business Services website.

Q. What housing accommodations are available to me?

A. On-campus housing is available in the form of shared four-bedroom apartments, although most graduate students choose to live off campus.

 Learn about more housing options here.