Chemical Engineering PhD: Online and Campus-Based Programs

A Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering program can prepare you for a research career in the manufacturing, biotechnology or pharmaceutical industries. Read on to learn more about these graduate programs, including prerequisites and common classes. See what your career prospects are after graduation. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Can I Earn a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering Online?

Ph.D. programs in chemical engineering aren't generally available in a fully online format. Programs usually necessitate working closely with on-campus faculty on research projects. However, schools might allow you to complete some of the program coursework through distance means.

Online Availability Programs are generally not available online, though some coursework can be completed online
Admission Requirements Bachelor's degree in a related field at least, some programs may require a master's degree; GRE scores; letters of recommendation; letter of intent
Common Courses Heat transfer, thermodynamics, operations research, reaction kinetics, process engineering
Job Outlook (2016-2026)8% growth (chemical engineers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do I Need to Apply?

You'll typically need a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering or a related field, such as materials science, in order to apply for a Ph.D. program; some universities might allow you to enroll if you have a bachelor's degree in another field so long as you complete additional stipulated courses prior to taking the required graduate coursework. However, other universities may expect you to have a master's degree in the field prior to admission or provide you advanced standing if you do. Additional requirements usually include GRE scores, letters of recommendation and an entrance essay or letter of intent.

What Will I Learn?

In a Ph.D. program, you'll be expected to complete written and oral examinations in addition to a dissertation that addresses an unanswered issue in the field of chemical engineering. Some programs may allow you to specialize in areas such as, for instance, biotechnology or waste minimization. Coursework in a Ph.D. program often includes:

  • Heat transfer
  • Thermodynamics
  • Process engineering
  • Operations research
  • Reaction kinetics

What Is the Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of chemical engineers is expected to grow by eight percent between 2016 and 2026 ( As of May 2018, the median annual salary for a chemical engineer is $104,910. Employment growth has been projected in the areas of biotechnology and nanotechnology research.

Once you earn a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, you can lead production, product development and research teams that design new chemical processes or applications. The skills you acquire in a doctoral program can be applied in a variety of fields, including healthcare, manufacturing, energy, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. You might work in government, industrial or academic labs.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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