Requirements & Courses


The PhD candidate in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University must:

  • Satisfactorily complete 24 semester hours of advanced course work including both general and specialized topics.  Subject to departmental approval, the number of required core courses can be reduced for students already having an MS degree in chemical engineering.  Students must provide documentation that their Master's coursework is substantially equivalent to Rice
  • Prepare and present a thesis proposal
  • Complete a publishable thesis presenting research that is an original and significant contribution to the field of chemical engineering
  • Pass a public oral examination in defense of the thesis
  • Fulfill a residency requirement
  • Complete a teaching assignment (see below)

The PhD degree normally requires approximately 4-5 years of study to complete the requirements. For complete information about PhD Program outcomes, requirements and policies, visit General Announcements.

Language Requirement

There are no foreign language requirements for an advanced degree in chemical and biomolecular engineering.


Teaching is a graduate degree requirement at Rice University. All PhD students are expected to assist a faculty member on a teaching assignment for up to four semesters. The teaching assignment usually entails five hours per week and involves supervising work in the undergraduate laboratory, tutoring, or grading papers.

Teaching experience not only aids in fortifying previously learned material but plays a vital role in solidifying concepts and clarifying ideas in the graduate student's own mind. It aids in the ability to communicate ideas and philosophies so important in the career of a Ph.D. chemical engineer. Students planning to pursue an academic career may request more involved teaching assignments.


The first year of the thesis degree program is flexible and allows the entering student time to develop a sound basis in advanced areas of chemical engineering and to investigate fully the research interests of the faculty.

Much of the formal course work leading to the PhD degree is completed during the first year. The department requires PhD students to fulfill their course requirements by taking particular core graduate courses as listed:

  • Thermodynamics (CHBE 611)
  • Mathematics (CHBE 692)
  • Transport (CHBE 501, 602)
  • Kinetics (CHBE 590)

These courses help prepare students for both research and the oral qualifying examinations. Course selections are based on the student's individual preferences and his or her previous educational background.

Selecting Your Advisor

Students are admitted to the PhD program in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering — not to the research groups of individual faculty. Learn more about selecting your PhD advisor.