May 16, 2021  
2018-2019 Graduate Bulletin 
2018-2019 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Chemical Engineering, Ph.D.

Return to the Russell School of Chemical Engineering 


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 the Graduate School, and a 3.5 minimum overall grade point average in an ABET-accredited chemical engineering program. Successful Ph.D. applicants typically have GRE sub-scores greater than 150 for Verbal Reasoning and 155 for Quantitative Reasoning.

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 85 on the internet-based exam, or 563 on the paper exam). Applicants from non-English speaking countries may submit a minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS exam in place of a TOEFL score.

Curriculum Requirements

The Ph.D. in chemical engineering requires 72 credit hours including a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework.

Research and Dissertation (23 hours)

Students who have completed a master’s thesis may receive up to 9 hours of credit for thesis research in place of dissertation research.

Other Coursework Requirements

  • Maximum of 12 hours outside of chemical engineering
  • Maximum of 12 hours at 6000 level, not including the minimum mathematics requirement
  • Maximum of 6 hours of independent study
  • Minimum of 6 hours of mathematics

These requirements are mandatory except under special circumstances and with permission of the student’s Advisory Committee and the Dean of the Graduate School.

Total: 72 hours

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 nine credit hours per term are required.

Transfer Credits

Students who have earned Master of Science degrees will normally not be allowed to transfer any graduate credits from those degrees; however, students may receive credit for 30 hours toward the Ph.D. program including 21 credit hours of coursework and 9 hours of thesis work following approval by the Graduate Program Advisor and the Graduate School.

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 the Graduate School 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 Russell School of Chemical Engineering and one member from outside the Russell School 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 and the dissertation proposal defended.


Each Ph.D. candidate must write a dissertation on the results of his or her research. The dissertation must demonstrate the candidate’s abilities for 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 archived by UMI 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 the Graduate School 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.