In order to enter the PhD program, a student must have completed a MS
degree or have bypassed the MS degree and passed the PhD preliminary
oral examination. A grade point average of 3.5/4.0 or greater at the MS
level is required for admission. Especially well-prepared students who
have passed the PhD Qualifier exam may, with the permission of their
advisor, elect to bypass the MS degree in order to directly pursue a PhD
This eliminates the required completion of the MS thesis. All MS-level
course work is still required.
At the end of the first year as a graduate student in the
department, the student wishing to continue into the PhD program must
take the Doctoral Qualifying Examination. Failure to take this examination at this time will forfeit one of the two opportunities to pass this examination.
A student's course series will be designed by the student and his
thesis advisor, approved by the PhD committee and the Graduate
Coordinator. This sequence should include courses in the student's
research area as well as courses not related to his research area.
Forty-two credits beyond the MS degree are required and must include the
PhD students are required to fulfill a two-term teaching obligation beyond the MS teaching
obligation during their course of study. No course registration is
Full-time PhD students are required to register for ChE 3980 each term until graduation.
All full-time students must attend graduate seminar during the fall and spring terms and register for ChE 3001–Graduate Seminar.
A dissertation topic must be selected after passing the PhD
qualifying examination. This is done by submitting a formal request in
writing to the departmental Graduate Faculty for appointment of a
faculty adviser or advisers, if there are more than one. Preliminary
work can be done on the dissertation by registering for ChE 3990. After
being admitted to PhD candidacy, the student should concentrate on the
dissertation, registering for ChE 3999. Eighteen credits of these two
courses are required with at least 12 of these 18 being in ChE 3999.
Most students complete more than the 18 credits of these courses.
In the fourth semester following passing the PhD Qualifier or
receiving the M.S., whichever is later, but generally by the end of the
student's seventh semester, the student is required to form a committee
and defend a research proposal
on his/her PhD research topic. The selection of committee members and
the completion of the Admission to PhD Candidacy form must be submitted
to the Graduate Coordinator a minimum of two weeks prior to the date of
the research proposal defense.
The composition of this committee consists of the PhD research
advisor, at least 2 other faculty members from the Chemical and
Petroleum Engineering Department, and at least one faculty member from
another department in the University of Pittsburgh or from an
appropriate graduate program at another academic institution. The
committee may also include additional members external to Pitt.
The majority of the committee, including the major advisor, must
be full or adjunct members of the Graduate Faculty The student should
discuss with the advisor who would be best to be on this committee based
on their expertise since this committee usually serves as the PhD
dissertation committee. The research advisor serves as the committee
This is an oral examination
based upon a written dissertation proposal. If this examination is
passed, a doctoral committee will be officially approved. This exam
should be taken at least 18 months before completion of the
A final review (defense)
of the dissertation must be conducted by the dissertation committee in
order to determine the acceptability of the dissertation.