PhD in ChE or MSE Admissions

Admission Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in our graduate program. All materials are submitted electronically through the Application for Admission. Admission decisions are communicated to applicants using this system. Please note that in general we admit graduate students for fall semester only. Only under unusual circumstances will students be allowed to begin their studies at another time during the academic year. 

CEMS seeks students who are academically well prepared for graduate-level coursework, have demonstrated potential for excellence in independent research, and will contribute to our collaborative community. Excellent performance in undergraduate coursework is necessary but typically not sufficient for admission. Particular attention is paid to evidence of success in undergraduate research experiences or student's potential for scientific research and to letters of recommendation from faculty research supervisors or others who can comment on research experience and/or their research potential. Successful applications often also include one or more letters from faculty members or employers who can offer other evidence of relevant intellectual and personal qualities beyond the information provided by the applicant's undergraduate transcript. A master's degree is not a prerequisite for admission for a doctoral degree.

Graduate admission decisions are made exclusively by a committee of faculty from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.

A decision for admission notice will be emailed to you once your application is carefully reviewed by the department’s admission committee and your transcripts and any credentials (test reports, diploma copies, etc.) are authenticated by University officials. You can expect a decision from Chemical Engineering and Materials Science by early January through mid-April. 

Deadline for Fall Semester: December 15 is the application deadline for applicants who wish to be considered for admission with financial support for the fall semester. Late applications will be considered. However, offers will only be made to exceptional applicants, if space is available. We do not admit for spring except under extenuating circumstances, if space is available. 

Applicants receiving an offer of admission will also receive from the Graduate School Admissions Office a request to complete an Enrollment Form. If you choose to accept we appreciate a notification by email as well to NOTE: CEMS does NOT accept applications for full-time Master's degree. If it is your intention to apply for a part-time Master’s, while employed in local industry, please contact Michelle May before formally applying. Please include your transcript(s) and CV.

Related Links:

Application Requirements (for CEMS)

All application materials should be submitted directly to the Application for admission by the December 15 deadline. We cannot review your application until all of the required materials listed below are submitted successfully. Application fee information can be found on the Graduate School website. Students who may need help with the application fee can request a waiver by writing to Michelle May. Waiver requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please include a copy of your CV and transcript when requesting a waiver.

A bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, materials science, metallurgy, ceramics, polymer engineering, chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, biological engineering, biomedical engineering, or related disciplines is required. Admission is very competitive. Most applicants accepted into the program have grade-point averages well above the Graduate School minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is no longer required. Applications are evaluated on the basis of previous academic record, letters of recommendation, and your statement of purpose of the Graduate School Application for Admission. The M.S. degree is not a prerequisite for the Ph.D. degree.

It is important that applicants communicate how they are prepared to succeed in their respective program. Thus, an applicant with a background in chemistry would need to demonstrate mathematical and engineering competency, which could be achieved in a multitude of ways including coursework and research experience.

Required Information:
  • Application for Admission
  • Transcripts (as indicated in the admissions application instructions)
  • Personal Statement - Communicate your preparation for advanced study in your chosen field, including relevant coursework, research, internships, or other experiences. Outline your immediate educational and long-range career objectives in relation to your chosen field. Please include your top three research areas, the names of particular faculty members with whom you wish to study, and explain why you want to study with that person(s). Length is ideally ≤2 pages.
  • Resume or CV
  • Diversity Statement - All applicants should provide a statement (up to 1 page) that communicates how the challenges you have faced, skills you have built, or lessons you have learned will provide you a unique ability to contribute to the University of Minnesota’s scholarly community.
  • Writing Sample - Not required
  • Research Statement - Not required (see Personal Statement above).
  • Recommendation Letters - We require three recommendation letters.   Acceptable recommendations will come from current or former professors who can assess your potential for graduate work. A letter from an employer is also acceptable, provided they can also assess your potential for graduate work.  If you are currently in a graduate program, one letter must be from your research advisor. Letters can be submitted after you have entered the recommender's names even if your application has not been formally submitted.
  • English Language Proficiency  The University of Minnesota policy requires international and domestic applicants whose first language is not English to provide proof of English language proficiency as a condition of admission.  You can upload copies of your scores, however, if you accept admission you will be required to have your official score report to us before you can receive the I-20 for your visa.   CEMS follows the minimum requirements for the ELP on TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB.   If you think you may be exempt from submitting the TOEFL please refer to the information under Coursework at this link:  English Language Proficiency   

Financial Support

All full-time doctoral students in good academic standing receive complete financial support in the form of an assistantship or fellowship. These are 50% appointments and receive a stipend, full tuition waiver, and a health insurance package for which you will be charged a minimal fee. Support is guaranteed for as long as you remain in good academic standing with the department and university and are making satisfactory progress towards completing your degree requirements. 

Graduate Assistantship - The stipend for students being offered an Assistantship from the department has not yet been set for 2024. The current base stipend is $35,000/yr.

Benefits - Tuition, health and dental insurance are provided to students admitted with a 50% assistantship from the department. Support continues as long as satisfactory progress is maintained. Eligible students may elect to purchase dependent health and dental care. 

Fellowship Opportunities - Fellowship opportunities are available for students who are entering or in their first year of graduate studies and are citizens or permanent residents of the United States. We augment the fellowship stipends of students who hold a fellowship from most sources outside the University. The amount of the augmentation varies and should be discussed with the Director of Graduate Studies as soon as you know about the fellowship award. 

Fellowship programs include the National Science Foundation, National Defense Science and Engineering, Department of Energy, and NSF Circularity Impact. The Graduate School has put together an excellent list of other funding opportunities.