Prepare for leadership positions in industry, academia and government.

A UMass Lowell chemical engineering student working on equipment

UMass Lowell's Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program offers two options: Chemical Engineering Option and Energy Engineering Option (Nuclear Engineering Concentration). 

Designed to prepare engineers for leadership positions in industry, academia and government, the program includes advanced graduate coursework in engineering and allied subjects and research culminating in a doctoral dissertation.

  • The applicant is required to have at least a B.S. degree in engineering or science. A student may apply and transfer up to 24 credit hours of graduate course work toward the doctoral degree. 

  • A total of 63 credit hours of graduate level courses are required for the doctoral degree. The general degree requirements follow:

    1. Forty two (42) approved credit hours of graduate level engineering courses including the core requirements. 
    2. A two course sequence in advanced mathematics (with approval of the graduate coordinator).  
    3. Twenty-one (21) credit hours for the dissertation. 
    4. Students must enroll in at least two semesters of graduate seminar. 
    5. The student is required to be in full time residence at the University for at least one year. 
    6. The student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.250 in order to graduate. 

    Exceptions may be made for students whose Master’s Degree is in a discipline other than engineering. Students may register for no more than six credit hours of research in preparing a formal dissertation proposal. This proposal and the student’s ability to perform research must be orally defended before the student’s doctoral committee and other interested parties. This constitutes their candidacy examination. Upon passing this examination and completing all course requirements, the student becomes a candidate for the doctoral degree and may register for additional research credit with the advisor’s approval.

    1. The student is permitted two attempts at passing the qualifying examination which is administered on a declared schedule. Students who fail the qualifying examination the first time must retake the exam at its next scheduled offering. Students failing the doctoral exam twice will automatically be dismissed from the doctoral program. Those who do not take the examination at the prescribed time may lose all their financial support, if any, and may be dismissed from the doctoral program.
    2. The written portion will be a closed book examination and will be administered during two consecutive days. The first day will focus on Basic Mathematics and Engineering and will cover 5 topics: Mathematics, Material and Energy Balances, Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics. The second day will focus on a specialty area selected by the student. For the Chemical Engineering Option the specialty areas are Chemical Processing, Materials and Biotechnology/Bioprocessing. Each of the specialty areas will cover 5 topics. For the Chemical Processing area, the topics will be Transport Phenomena, Thermodynamics (Chemical and Phase Equilibria), Separation Processes, Reactor Design and Kinetics, and Process Dynamics and Control. For the Materials area, the topics will be General Materials (including Colloids, Nanomaterials and Polymers), Ceramic Materials, Electronic Materials Processing and Characterization, Electron Microscopy (SEM and TEM), and Atomic Force Microscopy and X-Ray Diffraction. For the Biotechnology/ Bioprocessing area, the topics will be Fermentation, Cell Culture, Separation Processes, Analytical Techniques, Biocatalysis and Kinetics. For the Energy Engineering Option (Nuclear Engineering Concentration) the topics will be Nuclear Physics, Reactor Physics, Reactor Engineering and Safety, Reactor Dynamics and Control, and Nuclear Fuel Cycle Issues. The examination is evaluated by the Graduate Examination Committee which determines whether or not a student shall be eligible to take the oral part.
    3. Students who pass the written part of the qualifying examination must take the oral part of the examination within six weeks of notification of results of the written exam. For the oral examination a research proposal must be prepared in the NSF format and then presented to an examining committee. The topic for the proposal must be in an area unrelated to the thesis dissertation. The oral examination may also focus on topics unrelated to the research proposal.
  • Dissertation

    The research work for the dissertation shall be conducted under the supervision of a departmental faculty advisor and a committee of two others. The student must defend and submit an acceptable proposal for the dissertation prior to beginning the research work.

    Core Requirements

    The core requirements will consist of two courses in advanced mathematics, two courses in thermal/fluid processes and one course in solid mechanics.

    Elective Requirements

    A total of 27 credits of elective courses must be taken. For the Chemical Engineering Option, the courses will be from either the processing, materials or biotechnology/bioprocessing area. For the Nuclear Concentration in the Energy Option, the courses will be from the nuclear area.

    For the latest requirements, course descriptions and more please consult the UMass Lowell online Graduate Catalog.

Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Physics with and Option in Energy Engineering

A program offering a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Applied Physics with an Option in Energy Engineering is offered jointly by the Department of Physics and the Energy Engineering program. For further information about this program, including the latest requirements, course descriptions and more please consult the UMass Lowell online Graduate Catalog.

Scholarship Opportunity

U.S. Department of Energy DOE Scholars Program at the Advanced Research Projects Agency.