Graduate Student FAQ

  • What graduate degrees are offered by the department?

    At the graduate level, the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering offers an MS in Chemical Engineering and a PhD in Chemical Engineering. A minimum total of 45 and 90 credits are required to satisfy the MS and PhD degrees, respectively.

  • How do I apply?

    If you are interested in applying to the Chemical and Biological Engineering graduate program, you can visit Drexel University Graduate Admissions and apply online. Material must be uploaded through the application website, not by email.

    NOTE: Application fees are waived for CBE PhD and MS applicants. When you submit your application, you will be asked to pay an application fee. Please ignore this request. If you cannot proceed without paying, please contact the Graduate Admissions Director for a waiver. Unfortunately we cannot refund students who have already paid the fee.

  • When do you accept applications for Fall and Spring?

    Like most PhD ChE programs in the US, Drexel admits students only in the Fall term. Because we are on the quarter system, Fall starts in late September. Applications are due in early January. There are occasional cases in which students can be admitted off-cycle, but these are very rare.

  • Where do you list open PhD and MS positions?

    We don't. Students are admitted by the Admissions Committee, which makes all decisions. When PhD students arrive in Fall, they have 1-2 months to interview with faculty and learn about available projects before submitting their ranked choices for projects. In this time, they are supported by teaching fellowships. The matching process typically takes place in early November. After joining a lab, students are supported on faculty grants. MS students are generally not supported by faculty grants or teaching fellowships.

  • Do I need to find a research advisor who will sponsor me?

    Not before you apply. PhD students are admitted as a pool, then match to projects in early November. If you are only interested in one faculty's research, you may consider contacting that professor to see if they plan to hire. MS students can also complete research as an independent study.

  • I'm interested in applying, but only if I can work with Professor ___. How do I make sure that happens?

    The department cannot guarantee upon admission that you will work with any particular professor. Matching involves many complicated factors as well as the preferences of students. You can maximize your chances of getting what you want by clearly communicating your goals and strengths clearly to the involved parties.

  • My GPA/GRE score is ____, is that high enough for admission?

    We do not have minimum GPA/GRE scores. Research experience and other factors are also very important. We cannot advise you on your chances of admission before you apply.

  • Do I need an MS to apply for PhD?

    No. Many students come directly from BS programs. If you have a MS, you can transfer credit for certain classes, depending on the program.

  • What should my personal statement include and how long should it be?

    Your personal statement needs to convince the admissions committee that you are motivated and qualified to complete a PhD. Many students do not spend enough time on the second part. Explain why you are interested in research, but also give evidence that you will be successful. It is most helpful if you use the personal statement to give narrative details that cannot be summarized in your CV.

    If you are currently enrolled in a domestic graduate program, please also explain in your statement why you are leaving that program. If you have been in contact with a Drexel faculty member before application, please include those details. Your personal statement should be 1-2 pages total.

  • Can I be admitted as a graduate student if I do not have an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering?

    A student can be admitted to the Department at the Master’s level even if the undergraduate degree is not in chemical engineering. However, the student is required to take a selected number of our undergraduate courses prior to taking our graduate courses. More information can be found in the MS Program description.

  • Can students choose an area of specialization?

    Students can choose an area of specialization through at least 15 credits of graduate technical elective courses. Examples of areas of specialization include biological engineering, computational engineering, engineering management, energy, environment & sustainability, and polymers. Students have the flexibility to choose technical elective courses that suit their interests and support their future career paths.

  • I am currently a graduate student at another university. Can I transfer course credits to Drexel?

    Course credits can be transferred to Drexel up to a certain limit and provided there are equivalent Drexel courses. At least 30 of the 45 credits of the MS program must be taken at Drexel. At least 75 of the 90 credits of the PhD program must be taken at Drexel if the student enters with a baccalaureate degree. Students with a master’s degree in the PhD program must take at least 45 credits. Credit transfers must be approved by the Department graduate program advisor. Student must meet with the advisor and submit an official transcript of courses to be transferred as well as corresponding course syllabi. All transfer courses must have a grade of B or better.

  • For MS students, is a thesis required?

    MS students have the option to pursue either a thesis or non-thesis track. For the thesis option, 9 credits of CHE 898 Master’s Thesis must be taken. A written thesis and an oral defense are required. For the non-thesis option, research can still be pursued through CHE I799 Independent Study Research. However, at least 9 credits of technical electives must not be CHE I799.

  • Where do I report my GRE/TOEFL/IELTS scores?

    Exam scores must be sent to Drexel directly from ETS. You do not need to specify the program or degree when you request your scores from the ETS website. Unofficial scores can be reported for initial review. Please be aware that using unofficial score reports may delay application processing.

  • How do I report my transcripts? Can I upload an unofficial transcript instead of requesting an official transcript?

    Transcripts must be requested to be sent directly from the undergraduate university to Drexel. Drexel University cannot admit students for graduate study without an official transcript received directly from the student’s undergraduate university. Students from Iran can upload an unofficial PDF transcript for initial application review. Please be aware that using an unofficial transcript may delay application processing. The student will then be admitted on condition of receiving the official transcript. Any falsification of transcripts is considered grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.

  • What if some of my supporting documents such as transcripts, test scores, recommendation letters do not arrive before the deadline?

    We understand that some supporting documents may arrive late. However, the applicant’s CV, statement of purpose, and list of recommendation letters must be submitted by the deadline. Please be aware that using unofficial transcripts, test score reports, or other materials may delay application processing.