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CHEMICAL ENGINEERING Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Master’s Degrees:

M.Eng., M.S.

Doctoral Degrees:

Ph.D.

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

30 credits

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

51 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

16 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

32 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed in CBE courses numbered 600 or higher, which CBE identifies as graduate level.

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

Half of degree coursework (26 credits out of 51 total credits) must be completed in CBE courses numbered 600 or higher, which CBE identifies as graduate level.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count graduate coursework from other institutions toward the Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement and the Minimum Graduate coursework (50%) Requirement. No credits from other institutions can be counted toward the Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

A total of 7 undergraduate credits from the UW–Madison undergraduate degree may be counted toward coursework requirements. If those credits are numbered 300 or above, they may be counted toward the Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement. If those credits are numbered 700 or above, they may be counted toward the Minimum Graduate coursework (50%) Requirement. No credits can be counted toward the Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

With program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between Special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count up to 15 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student toward the Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement, and the Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement. With program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between Special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count up to 15 credits of courses numbered 700 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student toward the Minimum Graduate coursework (50%) Requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count graduate coursework from other institutions toward the Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement and the Minimum Graduate coursework (50%) Requirement. No credits from other institutions can be counted toward the Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

A total of 7 undergraduate credits from the UW–Madison undergraduate degree may be counted toward coursework requirements. If those credits are numbered 300 or above, they may be counted toward the Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement. If those credits are numbered 700 or above, they may be counted toward the Minimum Graduate coursework (50%) Requirement. No credits can be counted toward the Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

With program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between Special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count up to 15 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison special student toward the Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement, and the Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement. With program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between Special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count up to 15 credits of courses numbered 700 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student toward the Minimum Graduate coursework (50%) Requirement. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits

Program-Specific Courses Required

To qualify for M.S. degree, student must complete a minimum of 30 graduate-level credits (300 and above), divided into two groups:

I. Professional group: minimum of 12 credits of chemical engineering courses. At least 6 credits must be numbered 700–899 (excluding research).

II. Elective group: minimum of 12 credits of graduate courses. At least 6 of these credits shall be in departments other than CBE and shall be chosen for their relevance to chemical and biological engineering.

Up to 6 credits will be allowed for chemical and biological engineering courses numbered between 300 and 499 in groups I and II combined, provided equivalent courses were not previously taken by the student.

The independent study project will comprise a minimum of 3 credits of supervised CBE 790 and may involve a lab project, theoretical work, or a critical review of an advanced engineering topic.

An M.S. candidate must successfully complete an oral examination before a departmental examining committee.

When a candidate presents a thesis, no fewer than 5 nor more than 8 credits of research (CBE 790) may be counted toward the 30-credit-total requirement. When a thesis is not presented, a maximum of 6 credits of research may be counted toward the total.

Program-Specific Courses Required

Students must complete at least six semester courses (totaling at least 18 credits) in the CBE department. At least four of the six CBE courses shall be selected from these core graduate courses:

CBE 620 Intermediate Transport Phenomena
CBE 660 Intermediate Problems in Chemical Engineering
CBE 710 Advanced Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
CBE 735 Kinetics and Catalysis
CBE 562 Biological Engineering: Molecules, Cells and Systems

At least two of the core graduate courses must be taken in the first semester of residence in the graduate program, and at least four core graduate courses must be completed with grades of B or better by the end of the second semester of residence. Students are expected to take a total of four courses in their first semester of residence.

The requirement of four core CBE graduate courses shall not be met by substitution of other courses. Students matriculating with an M.S. degree from another university may, with department approval, use up to two courses from their M.S. work toward the requirement of six CBE graduate courses.

Students taking advanced courses outside the department in excess of minor requirements may, with department approval, use up to two of these courses toward the requirement of six CBE graduate courses. Seminar courses may not be used to satisfy CBE course requirements.

Elective course requirement: Students must complete at least one course totaling at least three credits. A B average is required. Pass/fail or audit courses may not be used for the elective course requirement. Courses used to satisfy the minor program may not be used for the elective course requirement. Advisor approval is required and secured through submission of the Ph.D. Elective Course Approval Form. Elective courses can be foreign language courses.

Teaching assistantship: Each student in the Ph.D. program is required to serve as a teaching assistant (TA) for two semesters. Under normal circumstances, each student should serve as a TA one semester of their second year and one semester of their third year. Requests for alternate arrangements, partial or full waiver of the requirement, should be submitted in writing to the graduate credentials committee.

Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements

Students must complete minor requirements, elective course requirements, and a teaching assistant requirement.

In addition to studies in chemical and biological engineering, the Ph.D. candidate is required to undertake a program of coursework in a field other than chemical and biological engineering. This requirement may be satisfied by a departmental minor (option A) or a distributed minor (option B).

The minor, whether Option A or B, is designed to represent a coherent body of work, and should not be simply an after-the-fact ratification of a number of courses taken outside the major department. To ensure coherence, the student must consult with his or her advisor. The Ph.D. Minor Agreement Form should be submitted for approval at an early date, before the student is halfway through the proposed course sequence.

Minor Option A

For Minor Option A, the student is required to complete at least 9 graduate credits in a single department. The program of coursework must be approved by the minor department. Departments may have specific course requirements for their minor and may require more than the 9-credit minimum. The student must meet the requirements of the minor department for satisfactory completion of the minor.

Minor Option B

If the needs of the student would best be served by preparation not available as a departmental minor, the department may permit the student and the advisor to develop a special program in lieu of a departmental minor. To meet the requirements of this Minor Option B, the student must complete at least 9 graduate credits in two or more departments outside the major, in related courses selected for their relevance to the student’s particular area of concentration. The proposed program of coursework must be approved by the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

GPA of 3.0 or better is required.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

GPA of 3.0 or better is required.

Other Grade Requirements

Professional group: Grades of B or better are required.

Elective group: In general, grades of B or better are required for credit in this group, but grades of BC or C in non-CBE courses will be counted if balanced credit for credit by grades of A or AB in other courses from this group.

Other Grade Requirements

At least two of the core courses must be taken in the first semester of residence in the graduate program, and at least four core graduate courses must be completed with grades of B or better by the end of the second semester of residence. Students are expected to take a total of four courses in their first semester of residence. A student who receives one grade of BC or lower in a core course remains in the Ph.D. program, but must earn grades of B or better in the other four courses.

To qualify for the Ph.D. program, a graduate student’s GPA in four core CBE courses and grade on the prelim exam must sum to 6.0 or higher.

Probation Policy

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School. 

Probation Policy

A student who receives more than one grade of BC or lower in core graduate courses will be placed in the M.S. program. Upon completion of the M.S. program, the student may petition the full faculty for readmission to the Ph.D. program.

A student who does not receive an aggregate score of 6.0 or higher in the qualifying process is placed in the M.S. program. Upon completion of the M.S. program, the student may petition the full faculty to be readmitted to the Ph.D. program.

Students placed in the M.S. program are expected to finish the M.S. program within five semesters of admission into the Ph.D. program.

Advisor / Committee

The thesis examining committee comprises the advisor(s) plus two other CBE faculty members. The candidate may defend an M.S. thesis or an independent study project report.

Advisor / Committee

All students are required to conduct a fourth year research progress meeting with their thesis committee after passing the preliminary examination.

In consultation with the major professor, the student chooses an examination committee of five faculty members, including at least one, but not more than two, from outside the department. It is anticipated that three members of the prelim exam committee (the advisor and two faculty members in the same general research area) will serve on the final oral examination committee.

Assessments and Examinations

An M.S. candidate must successfully complete an oral examination before a departmental examining committee of the advisor(s) plus two other CBE faculty members. The candidate may defend an M.S. thesis or an independent study project report.

Assessments and Examinations

A Ph.D. candidate who has met the grade requirements must complete a preliminary exam consisting of a written report and oral examination.

During the fall semester of the fourth year of the program, candidates will participate in a mandatory research progress meeting with their thesis committee.

The Ph.D. candidate defends a written thesis in a final oral examination.

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Time Constraints

The Graduate School requires that the final oral examination for the Ph.D. must be taken within five years of passing the preliminary exam or the student will be required to take another preliminary exam.

The CBE department expects students to complete their Ph.D. degree in within five years. Any student unable to defend his or her thesis in this period must petition the faculty for an extension by July 1 of the fifth year, specifying reasons for the request and length of requested extension.

Language Requirements

No language requirements.

Language Requirements

No language requirements.