Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Graduate Study

For admission information, see Graduate Programs Admission on page 27.

For additional information regarding the BS, MS, and PhD in Chemical Engineering, refer to the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department brochure.

The following introductory information is based on 2021-22 program requirements for UCLA graduate degrees. Complete program requirements are available at Program Requirements for UCLA Graduate Degrees. Students are subject to the detailed degree requirements as published in program requirements for the year in which they enter the program.

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering offers Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in Chemical Engineering.

Chemical Engineering MS

Areas of Study

The semiconductor manufacturing specialization requires that students have advanced knowledge, assessed in a comprehensive examination, of processing semiconductor devices on the nanoscale.

Course Requirements

The requirements for the MS degree are a thesis, nine courses (36 units), and a minimum 3.0 grade-point average in the graduate courses. Chemical Engineering 200, 210, and 220 are required. Two other courses must be taken from regular offerings in the department, while two Chemical Engineering 598 courses involving work on the thesis may also be selected. The remaining two courses may be taken from those offered by the department or any other field in life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, or engineering. At least 24 units must be in letter-graded 200-level courses.

All MS degree candidates are required to enroll in Chemical Engineering 299 during each term in residence.

Undergraduate Courses. No lower-division courses may be applied toward graduate degrees. In addition, the following upper-division courses are not applicable toward graduate degrees: Chemical Engineering 102A, 199, Civil and Environmental Engineering 108, 199, Computer Science M152A, 152B, 199, Electrical and Computer Engineering 100, 101A, 102, 110L, M116L, 133A, 199, Materials Science and Engineering 110, 120, 130, 131, 131L, 132, 150, 160, 161L, 199, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 102, 103, 105A, 105D, 199.

Semiconductor Manufacturing Specialization

Students are required to complete 10 courses (44 units) with a minimum 3.0 grade-point average overall and in the graduate courses. A minimum of five 200-series courses (20 units) are required, including Chemical Engineering 270 and 270R. Students also are required to take courses 104C, 104CL, Electrical and Computer Engineering 123A, and Materials Science and Engineering 121. In addition, two departmental elective courses and two electrical and computer engineering or materials science and engineering electives must be selected, with a minimum of two at the 200 level. Approved elective courses include Chemical Engineering CM214, C218, C219, 223, C240, Electrical and Computer Engineering 221A, 221B, 223, 224, Materials Science and Engineering 210, 223.

Students in the specialization who have been undergraduates at or graduates of UCLA and who have already taken some of the required courses may substitute electives for those courses. However, courses taken by students not enrolled in the specialization may not be applied toward the 10-course requirement for the degree. A program of study that encompasses the course requirements must be submitted to the research adviser for approval before the end of the first term in residence and to the departmental Student Affairs Office for approval by Graduate Division before the end of the second term in residence.

Field Experience. Students are required to take Chemical Engineering 270R (directed research course) in the field, working at an industrial semiconductor fabrication facility. The proposed research must be approved by the graduate adviser for semiconductor manufacturing and the industrial sponsor of the research.

Comprehensive Examination Plan

The comprehensive examination plan is only for students in the semiconductor manufacturing specialization.

Students take Chemical Engineering 597A to prepare for the comprehensive examination, which tests for knowledge of the engineering principles of semiconductor manufacturing. In case of failure, the examination may be repeated once within one term with the consent of the graduate adviser. A second failure leads to a recommendation to the Graduate Division for termination of graduate study.

Thesis Plan

The thesis plan is for all MS degree students who are not in the semiconductor manufacturing specialization. Students must complete a thesis and should consult the research adviser for details. Students nominate a three-member thesis committee that must meet University requirements and be approved by the Graduate Division.

Chemical Engineering PhD

Major Fields or Subdisciplines

Consult the department.

Course Requirements

All PhD students are required to take six letter graded, 200-level courses (24 units). They can select three chemical engineering core courses from 200, 210, 220, CM245, and a graduate engineering mathematics course. Two additional courses must be taken from those offered by the department. The final course can be selected from offerings in life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, or engineering. Students are encouraged to take more courses in their field of specialization. The minor field courses should be selected in consultation with the research adviser. A minimum 3.33 grade-point average in graduate courses is required. A program of study to fulfill the course requirements must be submitted for approval to the departmental Student Affairs Office no later than one term after successful completion of the preliminary oral examination.

All PhD students are required to enroll in Chemical Engineering 299 during each term in residence.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass University written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Under Senate regulations the University Oral Qualifying Examination is open only to students and appointed members of their doctoral committees.

In addition to University requirements, some graduate programs have other precandidacy examination requirements. What follows are the requirements for this doctoral program.

All PhD students are required to pass the preliminary written examination (PWE) to demonstrate proficiency in at least three of the five core areas as follows.

Students must select the transport phenomena core area and either the thermodynamics core area or reaction engineering core area or both. If they select only one of thermodynamics or reaction engineering, they must also select either the biomolecular engineering or engineering mathematics core area. The PWE is offered at the end of winter quarter of each academic year and is graded by a faculty committee. Students must take the PWE in their first year. If they fail the PWE on the first attempt, they can retake it for a second time the following spring quarter. Students who fail both attempts are not allowed to continue in the PhD program.

After completion of the required courses for the degree and passing of the PWE, students must pass the written and oral qualifying examinations. These examinations focus on the dissertation research and are conducted by a doctoral committee consisting of at least four faculty members nominated by the department in accordance with University regulations. Three members, including the chair, are inside members and must hold faculty appointments in the department. The outside member must be a UCLA faculty member in another department. Students are required to have a minimum 3.33 grade-point average in graduate coursework to be eligible to take these examinations.

The written qualifying examination consists of a dissertation research proposal that provides a clear description of the problem(s) considered, a literature review of the current state of the art, and a detailed explanation of the research plan that is to be followed to solve the problem(s). Students normally submit their dissertation research proposals to their doctoral committees before the end of winter quarter of the second year in academic residence.

The University Oral Qualifying Examination consists of an oral defense of the dissertation research proposal and is administered by the doctoral committee. The written research proposal must be submitted to the committee at least two weeks prior to the oral examination to allow the members sufficient time to evaluate the work.