Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Chemical and Petroleum Graduate Programs

Degree Programs

Degrees Offered

The Master of Science in Chemical Engineering, the Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering, and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees are offered by the Department.

Specialization

Within the chemical engineering curriculum , the student may specialize in transport phenomena, kinetics and catalysis, reactor engineering, control, thermodynamics and phase behavior, solids processing, petroleum reservoir engineering, bioengineering, polymer, multiphase processes, surface phenomena, coal and environmental processes.

Department Labs

Department laboratory facilities include a multiphase laboratory, catalysis laboratory, solids processing laboratory, thermodynamics laboratory, and bioengineering laboratory. Special equipment includes a solid state NMR, image analysis, thermal analysis, high-pressure equilibrium view cells, DNA sequencing apparatus, specialized rheometers, gas chromatography, and mass and atomic adsorption spectrometers.

Select a graduate degree program below to learn more about requirements and courses:

Overview


This program has a two-fold objective: to develop a broad but fundamentally sound background in basic subjects in chemical engineering, and to provide the opportunity for in-depth study in a specific area of research interest. The first aim is met by completing a sequence of required and elective courses. These include courses in the core areas of transport phenomena, thermodynamics, kinetics, and engineering math, as well as elective courses focusing on specific research areas.

The second aim of this program is accomplished by the MS thesis. This thesis has the same emphasis on original, independent research as the PhD thesis, but it is smaller in scope. The research culminates in an oral defense of the written thesis.

Degree Requirements


A total of 24 course credits, six MS thesis credits, and the successful completion of the oral defense of the MS thesis are the minimum requirements for the Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. In addition to the course requirements listed below, each full-time MS student is required to register for ChE 2980 - Research Methodology
each term.

ChemE MS Degree Requirements
Course Number
Title # of credits
CHE 2301 Fundamental Transport Process 1 4 credits
ChE 2101 Fundamentals of Thermodynamics 3 credits
ChE 2201 Fundamentals of Reaction Processes 3 credits
ChE 2410 ChE Math Course 3 credits
ChE 2982 Issues in Chemical Engineering: Research, Teaching, and Safety 2 credits
ChE 2XXX Chemical Engineering Elective (Graduate Level) 3 credits
XX 2/3XXX Elective (Graduate Level) 3 credits
XX 2/3XXX Elective (Graduate Level) 3 credits
ChE 2999 MS Thesis 6 credits
    Total 30 credits

 
XX = Engineering, Science or Math

Research, Teaching and Safety


Issues in Research and Teaching: All thesis-option MS students are required to register for a two-credit course ( ChE 2982 ) on teaching, research, and safety issues in the fall term of the first year.

Graduate Seminar


All full-time students must attend graduate seminars during the fall and spring terms and are required to register for ChE 3001 - Graduate Seminar.

MS Research Methodology


In addition to the courses listed above, all students are required to register for the 1-credit course ChE 2980 -MS Research Methodology each term following the student's initial term of enrollment until graduation. Students in this course are evaluated on their performance in the research laboratory. (Not for first term students. Registration in this course is mandatory after students have been assigned a research advisor.)

MS final examination (Defense)


A final review ( oral defense ) of the thesis must be conducted by the thesis committee in order to determine the acceptability of the thesis. The committee consists of the student's major advisor and two other members of the department faculty.

Requirements

The candidate for the degree of non-thesis (Professional) or thesis Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering must demonstrate proficiency in petroleum engineering by passing the following:

Mandatory Courses:

PETE 2160 Petroleum Reservoir Engineering (3 cr.)
PETE 2201 Recovery of Oil by Waterflooding (3 cr.)
PETE 2204 Enhanced Oil Recovery Processes (3 cr.)
PETE 2205 Petroleum Production Engineering (3 cr.)
PETE 2207 Petroleum and Natural Gas Processing (3 cr.)
PETE 2208 Petroleum Drilling and Well Completion Design (3 cr.)
PETE/CEE 2209 Hydraulic Fracturing Mechanics & Applications (3 cr.)
ChE 2410 Mathematical Methods in Chemical Engineering (3 cr.)

Students should also choose two (2) other courses from the accepted electives list in order to fulfill the 30 credits required for the MS degree.

Accepted Electives:
• GEOL 2110 Plate Tectonics (3 credits)
• GEOL 2151 Groundwater Geology (4 credits)
• GEOL 2449 GIS, GPS, and Computer Methods (3 credits)
• GEOL 2640 Advanced Geohazards and Risk Management (3 credits)
ME 2055 Computer Aided Analysis in Transport Phenomena (3 credits)
ME 2060 Numerical Methods (3 credits)
CEE 2501 Environmental Engineering Chemistry (3 credits)
CEE 2502 Physical-Chemical Principles in Environmental Engineering (3 credits)
CEE 2717 Components, Properties & Design of Portland Cement Concrete (3 credits)
CEE 2800 Engineering Geology (3 credits)
CEE 3501 Environmental Engineering Processes-1 (3 credits)
CEE 3502 Environmental Engineering Processes-2 (3 credits)
CEE 3805 Rock Mechanics (3 credits)
ENGR 2632 Sustainable Development in Mining: Economics, Society, and Environment (3 credits)
ENGR 2633 Mineral Industry Risk Management (3 credits)
ENGR 2634 Environmental Controls in Mining (3 credits)
ENGR 2637 Strata Control Engineering (3 credits)
ENGR 2638 Mining Health and Safety (3 credits)
ENGR 2639 Mine Evaluation and Management (3 credits)
PETE 2910 Special Projects (3 credits)


Other Required Courses:

Students without a BS degree in engineering must take either the on-line "bridging courses" offered in January (1st class) and May (2nd class) by Michigan State University (See here for details about the bridging courses, CHE 804 and 805 ) or the ChE 0100 (sophomore-level) "Foundations of Chemical Engineering" class offered during the Fall Term. Neither of these classes can serve as an elective nor core course substitute in the MS PetE required classes.

Recommended Schedules :

Two-term non-thesis option (for students who enter the MS program with an undergraduate degree in petroleum engineering)
Fall Spring
ChE 2410 PetE 2208
PetE 2160 PetE 2205
PetE 2207 PetE 2204
PetE 2201 PetE 2209
Elective Elective

 

Three-term non-thesis option
Fall 1 Spring 1 Fall 2
ChE 2410 PetE 2205 PetE 2207
PetE 2160 PetE 2204 Elective
PetE 2201 PetE 2208 Elective
  PetE 2209  

 

Five-term thesis option
Fall 1 Spring 1 Summer 1 Fall 2 Spring 2
ChE 2410 PetE 2205 Research PetE 2207 PetE 2209
PetE 2160 PetE 2204   Research  
PetE 2201 PetE 2208      


Additional requirements for Five-term MS thesis option

Seminar
All full-time thesis-option students must attend graduate seminars during the fall and spring terms and register for ChE 3001 , Graduate Seminar.

PETE 2980 Research Methodology
In addition to the courses listed above, all thesis-option students are required to register for the 1-credit course PETE 2980 -MS Research Methodology course each term following the assignment of the student's research thesis advisor. Students in this course are evaluated on their performance in the research laboratory. (Registration in this course is mandatory after students have been assigned a research advisor.)

PETE 2999 MS Thesis Research

A minimum of six (6) MS thesis research credits are required for the Five-term MS thesis option.

PETE 2982 Issues in Research
All thesis-option students must also take PETE 2982 - Issues in Research.

MS final examination (Defense)
A final review ( oral defense ) of the thesis must be conducted by the thesis committee in order to determine the acceptability of the thesis. The committee consists of the student's major advisor and two other members of the faculty.

The dual-degree program between chemical and petroleum engineering is offered to broaden the technical capabilities of students so that they can address problems in both disciplines. Both thesis or non-thesis options are possible and the total time required to complete the dual degree is less than that required for two separate MS degrees.  

 
Dual Master's Degree Requirements - Thesis Option


The thesis option dual-degree program between chemical and petroleum engineering requires a minimum of 42 course credits, 6 ChE or PetE thesis research credits and the successful defense of the written thesis.

The required chemical engineering courses are:
CHE 2101 , 2201 , 2982 , and ChE 2410 and ChE 2301

And the required petroleum engineering courses are:
PETE 2160 , 2201 , 2204 , 2205 , 2207 , 2208 , and one GEOL or CEE course from accepted electives list below.

The remaining six course credits may be taken from graduate offerings in engineering or geology in order to fulfill the 42 course credits required for the thesis option dual MS degree.

A minimum of six MS thesis research (ChE or PetE) credits are required in addition to the 42 course credit requirement.

 

Dual Master's Degree Requirements - Non-Thesis Option


The non-thesis dual-degree program between chemical and petroleum engineering requires a minimum of 48 course credits with fundamental courses in both areas as described below. 

The required chemical engineering courses are:
CHE 2101 , 2201 , 2410 , ChE 2301 , ChE (or PetE) 2910 - Special Project, and ChE 2xxx/3xxx - Elective

And the required petroleum engineering courses are:
PETE 2160 , 2201 , 2204 , 2205 , 2207 , 2208 , and one course from accepted electives list below.

The remaining nine course credits may be taken from graduate offerings in engineering or geology in order to fulfill the 48 course credits required for the non-thesis dual MS degree. 

 

Accepted Electives:


GEOL 2110 Plate Tectonics (3 cr.)
GEOL 2151 Groundwater Geology (4 cr.)
GEOL 2449 GIS, GPS, and Computer Methods (3 cr.)
GEOL 2640 Advanced Geohazards and Risk Management (3 cr.)
ME 2055 Computer Aided Analysis in Transport Phenomena (3 cr.)
ME 2060 Numerical Methods (3 cr.)
CEE 2501 Environmental Engineering Chemistry (3 cr.)
CEE 2502 Physical-Chemical Principles in Environmental Engineering (3 cr.)
CEE 2717 Components, Properties & Design of Portland Cement Concrete (3 cr.)
CEE 2800 Engineering Geology (3 cr.)
CEE 3501 Environmental Engineering Processes-1 (3 cr.)
CEE 3502 Environmental Engineering Processes-2 (3 cr.)
CEE 3805 Rock Mechanics (3 cr.)
ENGR 2632 Sustainable Development in Mining: Economics, Society, and Environment (3 cr.)
ENGR 2633 Mineral Industry Risk Management (3 cr.)
ENGR 2634 Environmental Controls in Mining (3 cr.)
ENGR 2637 Strata Control Engineering (3 cr.)
ENGR 2638 Mining Health and Safety (3 cr.)
ENGR 2639 Mine Evaluation and Management (3 cr.)

 

Graduate Seminar


All full-time students must attend graduate seminars during the fall and spring terms and register for ChE 3001 Graduate Seminar.

MS Research Methodology


In addition to the courses listed above, all thesis-option students are required to register for the 1-credit course CHE 2980 : MS Research Methodology each term until graduation. Students in this course are evaluated on their performance in the research laboratory.

MS final examination ( Defense)


A final review ( oral defense ) of the thesis must be conducted by the thesis committee in order to determine the acceptability of the thesis. The committee consists of the student's major advisor and two other members of the faculty.

Overview

The program consists of 31 course credit hours and a thesis is not required. It differs from the regular MS program in three important respects.

1. Course work replaces the MS thesis requirement and the seminar requirement.

2. The student completes a 3-credit special project course, ChE 2910 , during their last term in the program. This course could be satisfied, for example, by a project with a faculty member, or a project based on their professional work for which a faculty member agrees to serve as advisor. Submission of a term paper, which is completed under the advisement of a member of the faculty, is required.

Requirements

A minimum of 31 credit hours of course work is required. These must include the five core courses and elective courses listed below.
Course Number Title # of credits
CHE 2301 Fundamental Transport 4 credits
ChE 2101 Fundamentals of Thermodynamics 3 credits
ChE 2201 Fundamentals of Reaction Processes 3 credits
ChE 2410 ChE Math Course 3 credits
ChE 2910 Special Project 3 credits
ChE 2XXX Chemical Engineering Elective (Graduate Level) 3 credits
YY 2/3XXX Engineering Elective (Graduate Level) 3 credits
YY 2/3XXX Engineering Elective (Graduate Level) 3 credits
XX 2/3XXX Elective (Graduate Level) 3 credits
XX 2/3XXX Elective (Graduate Level 3 credits
    Total 31 credits

 

XX = Engineering, Science or Math

YY= Any Engineering, including ChE/PetE

Students who wish to enter this program should first apply for admission to graduate study in chemical engineering. 

 

 

PhD Process

Overview


The aim of the doctoral program is to develop individuals for careers in academic and industrial research. The program is flexible. Its primary emphasis is on innovative and distinctive research on the cutting edge of engineering science.

Students wishing to pursue the PhD degree should have an outstanding academic background and a desire and ability to carry out original research. PhD students here are given independence and responsibility. They are not only encouraged but are expected to develop research ideas, which they propose and defend. They work closely with their research advisors and often participate in a research group attacking relevant engineering problems.

Students are admitted to candidacy for the PhD after successfully completing the oral preliminary examination (taken at the end of the first year of graduate study), and the PhD comprehensive examination and proposal conference. The latter is also an oral examination covering chemical engineering at the PhD level and is based upon a written dissertation proposal.

To supplement their research, students take advanced courses in areas related to their research work. Candidates for the PhD achieve a high level of proficiency through this advanced coursework and individual study in their research area and related areas.

PhD students here are also encouraged to publish and to present their work. Many students are supported on trips to national meetings to present their papers. For example, last year our students presented papers at meetings of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society, the North American Catalysis Society, and the Biomedical Engineering Society.

Students having excellent undergraduate credentials in chemical engineering, chemistry, or physics may be admitted directly into the PhD program.

It is possible for students who have a bachelor of science degree in a related science discipline to obtain a master of science or doctor of philosophy degree in chemical engineering provided they meet certain academic requirements.

First - The student must have a quality point average in excess of 3.4 before being admitted on a provisional basis as a graduate student in Chemical Engineering.

Second - The student must take two bridging courses, CHE 804 and 805 , offered as Internet-based courses through Michigan State University before the fall term of their first semester in graduate school. The student must receive at least a B grade in each of these courses. See here for details about CHE 804 and 805 .

Third - The standard requirements for the degree are met.

Frequently Asked Questions:
• Where can I take the bridging courses? The CHE 804 and 805 courses are web-based and can be taken at any location.
• When should I take the courses? You must take the courses beginning in the spring ( ChE 804 ) and summer ( ChE 805 ). You must complete both courses before your first semester in the formal graduate program at the University of Pittsburgh.
• Who pays for these courses? The student is typically expected to cover the cost of the courses. Outstanding candidates can apply for a stipend to pay for the tuition.