About the Program
The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering was initially established at Colorado School of Mines in 1952. From its inception, the department has focused on education and basic and applied research aimed at problems of national interest. The graduate and research program in chemical engineering at Mines is extremely diverse and features programs in renewable energy, materials science, transport processes, theoretical and applied thermodynamics, computational methods and atomistic simulation.
At Mines, we believe that an important component of the graduate program is the personal relationship that develops between the faculty and students pursuing advanced degrees; hence, we strive to maintain a high-quality research and graduate education program. The department currently has 19 tenure-track faculty and approximately 60 full-time graduate students. This student-to-faculty ratio facilitates the development of strong mentoring and peer relationships that we believe is one of the strengths of our department.
CBE Graduate Program FAQs
How long does it take to complete a graduate degree in CBE?
Masters: The master of science without thesis can be completed in as little as one academic year. Some students elect to spread the courses over 3 – 4 semesters. The master of science with thesis typically takes 4 semesters, though time to completion will vary depending on whether research credits are taken over the summer.
What financial support is available for graduate students?
Master’s degree students (both thesis and non-thesis) are typically admitted without departmental support. It is possible for students to enter unfunded and to later secure department support if funded research projects have available openings. In recent years we have had several thesis master’s students funded through research assistantships. Master’s students are also eligible to hired into hourly positions on campus (e.g., serving as a grader for an undergraduate course). Unfortunately, we cannot provide any projections as to the likelihood of master’s degree students obtaining assistantship or hourly wage funding, as availability depends on many factors. Please see the financial aid website for additional aid options.
Do I need aN undergraduate degree in chemical engineering to apply?
Generally speaking, it is more difficult to be accepted to the Ph.D. without a degree in chemical engineering or related field. However, we have admitted successful candidates with degrees in other disciplines who were able to show in their applications the necessary foundation to succeed in rigorous graduate chemical engineering core courses. Enrollment in graduate coursework assumes candidates will have a strong background in chemistry, math, physics, and engineering equivalent to that required for the B.S. degree in chemical engineering at Colorado School of Mines.
We welcome applications to the M.S. non-thesis program from strong students from outside fields, such as chemistry. Admitted students who have not completed foundational coursework in chemical engineering may be required to take prerequisite courses prior to enrollment in graduate courses. Because each candidate comes with a different background, there is not one pre-set path for students without a chemical engineering degree. Instead, each admitted student will have an individualized consultation and transcript evaluation to determine the specific courses they will take. Schedules will be designed to allow the students to complete the master’s degree in 3-5 semesters. Please see the Mines graduate course catalog for a list of prerequisite undergraduate courses that may be required.
Do I need a minimum GRE score or GPA to be accepted? What does the admissions committee look for in applications?
When reviewing applications, we consider the overall GPA, major GPA (and performance in core chemical engineering and math courses), GRE, and letters of recommendation for evidence of potential to succeed in rigorous graduate courses. For the Ph.D., we additionally seek evidence of research potential through your previous research or work experience as documented in your resume, personal statement, letters of recommendation, or previous publications. We additionally will be looking for students with a diversity of research interests that are a fit for the strengths and contours of research being currently conducted in the department.
Due to time constraints, we are unfortunately unable to advance review documents or give students any individualized assessments of their prospects for admission.
*On a standardized 4.0 scale, as typically found at most U.S. universities. The admissions committee understands and will take into account that some domestic and many international universities have different standardized scales. The committee will read and review transcripts for each applicant taking into consideration the grading metrics for the university attended. For this reason it is critical that you include your transcript’s key (which explains the university’s grading system), even if providing unofficial transcripts.
What are the departmental application requirements?
*The GRE is waived for current CSM undergraduate students applying to the B.S./M.S. program.
Do I need to secure an advisor prior to starting the program?
Master’s with thesis students should plan to meet with faculty over the first two semesters and are required to secure an advisor during the second semester if they wish to stay on track for a 2 year degree.
What courses will I take?
Do I need to have obtained a master’s degree to apply to the Ph.D. in chemical engineering?
Can I transfer previous graduate coursework in chemical engineering or a related area?
Do your graduates get jobs?
– Oil and Gas: ConocoPhillips, Exxon, Haliburton
– Chemical: Pall, Dow, DuPont, Cargill
– Biotech: NovoNordisk, Cerus, Horiba
– Semiconductor: Intel, Motorola, Sun
– Beer: Mountain Toad, New Terrain, Coors
– National Laboratories: NREL, ORNL, LLNL
– Academia: Kansas State, Carnegie Mellon, University of Colorado, Stanford, Oregon Health & Sciences University
What are the research strengths of the department?
What is your application deadline? Can I start in summer or spring semester?
For guaranteed full consideration, apply by December 15th for the Ph.D. and M.S. programs and be sure to follow up with your references to ensure your letters are submitted on the 15th or shortly thereafter, as review of applications begins relatively swiftly.
The B.S./M.S. program application deadline is June 1. Current Mines undergraduate students who applying for the B.S./M.S. program and wishing to take graduate courses during their senior year should apply by this deadline.
How long should my statement of purpose (aka personal statement/statement of goals) be?
Do you accept part-time students?
Can I be admitted in one degree and switch to another?
We have also had M.S. students who convert to Ph.D. students—this requires submitting a new application to the Office of Graduate Studies. M.S. students may apply for the Ph.D. program at any time. M.S. students who also completed their undergraduate degree at Mines are encouraged to seek guidance from the CBE graduate affairs committee prior to application to the Ph.D.
Students who wish to move to a degree program in a different department at Mines will need to work with that department and will need to submit a new application through the Office of Graduate Studies.
May I visit campus to learn more?
If you are in the area and would like to visit campus prior to being admitted, please contact the student services administrator for an appointment and we will do our best to accommodate you. We typically cannot guarantee meetings with specific faculty members, due to hectic teaching, research, and travel schedules.
Where can current students learn more about program requirements and policies?
Additionally, all CBE graduate students should have access to the CBE Graduate Student Guide Canvas site. If you need access to the site, you have a department-specific question that isn’t answered or is unclear on the site, or you just aren’t sure where to go with your question, please don’t hesitate to visit student service administrator in Alderson Hall 261 for assistance.