PHD PROGRAM

Application FAQs

Have a question about the PhD program and application process? We hope you find your answer below:

Can I apply directly to a Ph.D. program, or must I apply for the master's degree first?

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering admits applicants seeking the Ph.D. degree regardless of whether or not they hold a master’s degree. The only difference will be in the coursework that will be required upon matriculation once accepted to the Ph.D. program.

Can I apply for either spring or fall admission?

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering admits graduate students for matriculation in the fall semester only. The deadline for receiving your completed application is December 31 of the previous calendar year to which you wish to enter the program.

When should I begin the application process?

You should begin your application process as early as possible. The online application typically becomes available the first week in September for the next fall academic year start. To make sure scores are available when admission decisions are normally made, you should take the required GRE and, if applicable, the TOEFL test(s) at least a few months before the December 31 deadline.

I may have some documents sent to Rice before I submit the application forms. What will happen to them?

All documents must be submitted online through the application. Do not send application materials or documents through the mail.

Note: Materials submitted in support of an application are not released for other purposes and cannot be returned to the applicant.

If I do not have all the required documents quite ready and the December 31st deadline is approaching, what should I do?

Meeting the December 31st deadline is of paramount importance. In order to be considered for admission, you must submit all application materials through the online application by the deadline. Late applications cannot be accepted.

What happens if my recommendations are received after the December 31 deadline? Will this delay the review process?

The admissions committee will take into consideration the timing for application submission and receiving recommendations. If during the review process there are missing recommendation responses your recommenders will be contacted directly to provide an assessment. Applicants will be able to send their recommendation requests before finalizing and submitting their application. Directions to send are included in the graduate application. Applicants will receive a confirmation email when a recommendation has been submitted.

Is there a GRE requirement for admission?
The CHBE department no longer requires applicants to submit GRE scores for its PhD or Master’s graduate programs.
What is the minimum TOEFL/IELTS/DUOLINGO score? How can I get a waiver?

Rice University requires all applicants who are foreign nationals or whose native language is not English to take either the TOEFL or IELTS test and score at least 90 on the iBT TOEFL or at least 600 on the paper-based TOEFL. The IELTS minimum score is 7. The minimum Duolingo score of 115 is required. Note: Rice accepts only the best composite TOEFL scores; myBest scores are not accepted. A waiver may be given to prospective students who received or will receive a degree from a university in which English is the official language of communication. For those candidates presenting a letter from their university regarding English language instruction the waiver is not applied automatically. Departments must request approval from our Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Department before an offer of admission can be made.

When do I need to submit my official TOEFL/IELTS score?

Your official score must be sent to Rice if an offer of admission is made and accepted.

When will my TOEFL/IELTS scores be verified as official?

Test scores are sent electronically directly to the University and uploaded on a weekly basis. Received scores will automatically associate with your online application.

What is the minimum GPA?

Rice University's established minimum GPA is 3.0 out of 4.0. Our top candidates have demonstrated excellence in their performance in the undergraduate programs they have completed. Typically this means very high GPAs from former undergraduate and, when applicable, graduate institutions.

How do I find out if you've received all my application materials?

Once you've submitted your application online, you will be sent an e-mail confirming receipt of the application. You will be contacted directly if any additional information is needed.

How do I find out my application status?

Due to the volume of applications we receive each year, we are not able to provide a status update beyond the message that you received when you submitted your application. We will not tell you the status of your application over the phone or via e-mail.

When are admission decisions made and how will I find out if I'm admitted?

Once an admission decision has been made you will be notified by email to check your online application for our decision. Please make a note of your application log-in to enable you to view. All applicants will be notified by April 15.

What if I have other questions?

Applicants may obtain departmental information with regard to the graduate program by contacting about Graduate Admissions.