May 20, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin 
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Chemical Engineering, Ph.D.

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Requirements for admission to the Graduate School, including English proficiency, may be found in the Admission  section of this Bulletin. In addition, applicants to the Ph.D. program in chemical engineering must meet the following requirements:

  • a baccalaureate or master’s degree in chemical engineering or a closely related field from an accredited institution;
  • a 3.5 minimum overall grade point average in an ABET-accredited chemical engineering program; and
  • approval of the Graduate Program Advisor and the Dean of the Graduate School.

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.

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

Graduate Seminar Requirement

All graduate chemical engineering students must also enroll in ES 7010  each semester of full-time enrollment, in addition to any other courses chosen with the graduate program advisor.

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.

Preliminary Research Examination

The Ph.D. preliminary research examination comprises of a written proposal and oral presentation of the proposed research and includes a literature review and a 6-12 month research plan. At a minimum, the student should clearly identify the problem, provide a literature review to support the novelty of the proposed work, describe the methods that will be used to complete the work, and provide a timeline for their research completion. The student should work with the Dissertation Committee to schedule a date for the oral presentation and submit a written proposal to the committee members at least two (2) weeks prior to the presentation date. The student should complete the preliminary examination by the end of the third semester and no later than the end of the fourth semester of matriculation in the Ph.D. program.

In order to graduate in a timely manner, it is recommended that doctoral students follow the following timeline guidelines:

  • Ph.D. Preliminary Research Examination: 3rd/4th semester
  • Ph.D. Proposal Defense: 4th/5th semester
  • Ph.D. Defense: at conclusion of research, usually after 4 or 5 years


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 ProQuest and published in Dissertation Abstracts. The dissertation is graded Satisfactory (S) or Unsatsifactory (U).

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.

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