Master's in Chemical Engineering

Master of Science
Main Campus - Melbourne
Major Code: 8033 Degree Awarded: Master of Science
Age Restriction: N Admission status: graduate
Delivery Mode/s: classroom only Location/s: main campus
Admission Materials: 3 letters of recommendation, résumé, objectives, GRE

The objective of the master of science program is to study the basic principles of chemical engineering in greater depth, including transport phenomena, thermodynamics, reactor design and process control. Electives in other areas to broaden the student's exposure are also required. The program's emphasis is research and the writing of a thesis on a current problem. The results of the thesis must be publishable in a technical journal. A nonthesis option is also offered, which requires the completion of a special project in lieu of a thesis. Students are advised to see members of the faculty to determine compatibility of interests before selecting a research area. Program policies are available in the program office.

Admission Requirements

The applicant must have a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering or its equivalent. Applicants with degrees in other fields of engineering, or in science or mathematics, are ordinarily required to take preparatory undergraduate courses before starting the master of science program. These courses are established by the faculty advisor and the department head when the student obtains admission to the program.

Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation from academic references, a statement of purpose addressing reasons for graduate study in chemical engineering, a current résumé, undergraduate transcripts and recent GRE scores.

General admission requirements and the application process are presented in the Academic Overview section.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Chemical Engineering requires satisfactory completion of 30 credit hours, including six credit hours of thesis research for the thesis option and at least three credit hours of a faculty-supervised graduate project for the nonthesis option, as shown below. Required courses include the zero-credit Chemical Engineering Seminar (CHE 5100) that all graduate students are required to register for and attend every semester. The elective credits may be satisfied by taking chemical engineering graduate courses or other courses approved by the graduate advisor. The thesis option requires completion and successful defense of a thesis, while the nonthesis option requires a passing score on the final program examination based on both a written report and an oral presentation on the graduate project before the student's faculty committee. A thesis or graduate project proposal must be approved in advance by the faculty committee.


Prior to the completion of nine credit hours of graduate study each student establishes an appropriate program of study with the guidance of a graduate committee, subject to final approval by the department head.

Thesis Option
  • CHE 5100 Chemical Engineering Seminar
    Credit Hours: 0
    Weekly seminar topics on chemical engineering research and practice. Presentations are made by students, faculty and visitors.
  • CHE 5101 Transport Phenomena 1
    Credit Hours: 3
    Fundamental principles of momentum, heat and mass transfer, and their application to chemical systems. Includes derivation and analysis of the Navier-Stokes equations, energy equations and equations for mass transport; flows at small Reynolds number and Stokes Law; the method of matched asymptotic expansions; and boundary-layer theory. Also includes turbulence and multiphase phenomena.
  • CHE 5110 Equilibrium Thermodynamics
    Credit Hours: 3
    Advanced topics in phase and chemical equilibria; relationships between equilibrium properties and molecular-based theories of solutions; and fugacity coefficients, activity coefficients, phase composition.
  • CHE 5120 Process Control
    Credit Hours: 3
    Analysis, design, stability and sensitivity; and optimization and transient response of staged, continuous and batch operations. Emphasizes common mathematical and physical foundations, and automatic control systems.
  • CHE 5150 Chemical Reactor Design
    Credit Hours: 3
    Design of nonideal reactors; unsteady-state operation and stability analysis; multiphase reactors; and heat, mass and momentum transfer in reacting systems.
    Graduate standing in chemical engineering or prerequisite course
  • CHE 5999 Thesis
    Credit Hours: 3
    Individual research under the direction of a member of the graduate faculty on a selected topic. Six hours of thesis are required for the master's degree.
  • Electives Credit Hours: 12
Nonthesis Option

In the nonthesis option, the six credit hours of Thesis ( CHE 5999) are replaced by three credit hours of Graduate Project in Chemical Engineering (CHE 5998) and three credit hours of an approved elective, which may be CHE 5998.

Areas of Specialization

The student may select electives and the thesis or graduate project topic to provide an emphasis in any of the following areas including environmental engineering; materials synthesis, processing and characterization; transport and separation processes; computer-aided modeling, processing and control; or hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology

Hydrogen technology is the application of engineering principles to the analysis, design and development of hydrogen-based systems, components and vehicles. Hydrogen has the potential of providing a clean, renewable alternate to fossil fuels, satisfying a critical need of the United States and world energy sectors and economies. The current focus on hydrogen as an alternative fuel has brought increased attention to the fuel cell, the electrochemical device of choice for recovering and using the energy carried by the gas. This in turn has generated a renewed interest in electrochemical engineering, the branch of engineering dealing with the analysis of electrochemical phenomena and their application in devices and processes such as batteries, fuel cells, sensors, electrodeposition, corrosion and chemical synthesis and separation. This specialization provides students with a strong background in hydrogen technology including an in-depth study of the fuel cell and electrochemical engineering principles, thus preparing them to serve the challenging demands of a growing hydrogen economy.

The minimum requirements include those outlined above and 12 credit hours (four courses) as outlined below:

Required Courses
  • CHE 5240 Electrochemical Engineering
    Credit Hours: 3
    Overviews basic electrochemistry. Investigates the application of fundamental principles of thermodynamics, kinetics and transport to electrochemical systems and their integration with current/potential distributions to solve complex electrochemical engineering problems. Discusses current and potential future electrochemical applications.
    Instructor approval
  • CHE 5250 Hydrogen Technology
    Credit Hours: 3
    Presents the fundamental knowledge of hydrogen and the current and potential future development of hydrogen science and technology. Investigates the use of hydrogen as a fuel, and its properties, methods of production and storage. Discusses hydrogen technology applications.
  • MAE 5330 Principles of Fuel Cells
    Credit Hours: 3
    Presents the fundamentals of fuel cell technology including basic operating principles, thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, charge and mass transport and modeling, emphasizing hydrogen fuel cells. Discusses types of fuel cells, fuel cell stacks, thermal management, fuel delivery and power management.
    Prerequisite courses or equivalent
One course from the following:
  • CHE 5230 Separation Processes
    Credit Hours: 3
    Analysis of mass transfer in binary and multicomponent systems. Mathematical modeling of adsorption, extraction, reverse osmosis and other selected processes.
  • CHE 5567 Nanotechnology
    Credit Hours: 3
    Understanding and development of materials synthesis-structure-function relationships, emphasizing bulk and surface analytical techniques, catalyst synthesis methods, nanoporous materials, nanoparticles, nanocomposites, carbon nanotubes, nanowires, molecular self-assembly and molecular recognition, biologically inspired materials and nanomedicine.
    Graduate standing or prerequisite course