Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering

The objectives of the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program are to provide students with an opportunity to reach a critical understanding of scientific and engineering principles underlying their fields of interest and to cultivate their ability to apply these principles creatively through advanced methods of analysis, research, and synthesis. The Ph.D. is awarded primarily on the basis of research.


Applicants must have a baccalaureate or master's degree in chemical engineering or a closely related field from an accredited institution. Admission for Ph.D. work requires approval of the graduate program advisor and the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, and

  • Either a 3.5 minimum overall grade point average in an ABET-accredited chemical engineering program, or
  • A minimum combined (verbal plus quantitative) score of 1100 on the GRE exam with a minimum score of 700 on the Quantitative portion.

The number of candidates in this program is limited. Applicants should designate their major fields of interest. Admission may be denied to maintain a balance of students in various interest fields.

Applicants are selected for admission on or about February 1 and October 1.

Applicants from non-English speaking countries who have not received a degree from a U.S. university must satisfy English proficiency requirements (minimum TOEFL score of 80 on internet-based exam; 213 on the computer-based test or 550 on the paper exam). Applicants from non-English speaking countries may submit a minimum score of 6.0 on the IELTS exam in place of a TOEFL score.

It is a Graduate School requirement that international students must have a four-year baccalaureate degree (first class or division if that system is used) or an advanced degree.

There are industrially- and privately-sponsored additional fellowships available for exceptional students.

Complete an on-line application and obtain information about graduate admissions now!

Ph.D. Degree Requirements 

Curriculum Requirements

The Ph.D. program requires at least 72 approved credit hours of graduate credit above the baccalaureate level, generally distributed in the following manner:

Minimum Total hours

Research and Dissertation (minimum, may include master’s thesis) 23
A core chemical engineering curriculum of ChE 7003, 7023, 7033, and 7043) 12
6000-level or 7000-level mathematics (minimum) 6
Other Coursework (minimum) 18

Maximum hours outside of ChE 12

  • Maximum of 12 hours at 6000 level (not including the minimum mathematics requirements)
  • Maximum of 6 hours of independent study

These requirements are not variable except under special circumstances and with permission of the student's Advisory Committee and the Graduate Dean.

Other Requirements

Language and Residence

There is no foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering. At least two consecutive semesters in residence at The University of Tulsa as a full-time student are required. For teaching fellows and research assistants, four consecutive semesters of eight or nine hours per term are required.

Transfer Credits

Students will normally not be allowed to transfer any graduate credits for the M.S. degree. Students with an M.S. degree may apply 30 credit hours to the Ph.D. program (including 21 credit hours of course work and 9 hours of thesis work).

Advisory Committee

Students in the Ph.D. program will be advised initially by the graduate program advisor. The student must select a research area and a research advisor or co-advisors by the end of the second semester after enrollment in the program. The student, after consultation with the advisor or co-advisors, recommends the other members of the advisory committee to the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies by the end of the third semester of enrollment. The advisory committee must have at least four graduate faculty members, consisting of at least two members from the department of chemical engineering and one member from outside the department of chemical engineering. One member of the advisory committee may be a qualified expert in the research area from outside the university. At least half the total committee must be full time chemical engineering graduate faculty members at the University of Tulsa. The advisory committee approves the dissertation and administers the final dissertation oral examination.

Qualifying Examination

Prospective Ph.D. students must take the written qualifying exam at the end of their second semester of enrollment. This exam is based on the core curriculum of chemical engineering and mathematics. Students are strongly encouraged to have completed the core curriculum at this time. The examination will be given normally in December and May. This exam can be retaken only once.

Dissertation Proposal

After passing the qualifying examination, Ph.D. students submit and defend a research proposal on their intended dissertation topic before the end of the semester following the qualifying examination. The proposal is presented orally before the advisory committee in a forum open to any students or faculty who wish to attend.


A student in the Ph.D. program cannot apply for candidacy until the qualifying examination has been passed.


Each Ph.D. candidate must write a dissertation on the results of his or her research. The dissertation must demonstrate the candidate's abilities in independent investigation in the area of interest and must contribute to some field of science or engineering technology.

The dissertation must follow the Graduate School's recommended procedures for submission to the student's advisory committee, and before it is finally typed or reproduced it must be presented to the full advisory committee for examination and review.

The dissertation shall be presented orally before the advisory committee in a forum open to any students or faculty who wish to attend. The dissertation must be microfilmed and published in Dissertation Abstracts. The dissertation is graded on a pass-fail basis.

Final Oral Examination

Each candidate must pass a final oral examination before the advisory committee. The examination will consist of a defense of the dissertation, the general field of the dissertation, and other parts of the program which may be chosen by the committee.

The advisory committee recommends the candidate to the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies for the Ph.D. degree upon successful completion of the final oral examination and acceptance of the dissertation. Passing grades must be obtained in all the dissertation hours to fulfill degree requirements.

Student Profile

Christina Bishop
Christina BishopPhD Student, Chemical Engineering, 2012
“The TU community offers you a lot more than a great education." »