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Frequently Asked Questions about the Chemical Engineering Ph.D. Program

Chemical Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions about the Chemical Engineering Ph.D. Program

Updated on January 7, 2018

1. What makes the Department of Chemical Engineering at CCNY different from other programs?
The Department of Chemical Engineering at The City College of New York is an intimate community.  Our faculty student ratio is 1:3.  The City College of New York is one of 14 senior colleges that comprise the City University of New York.  It is located on the upper west side of Manhattan, a diverse community.   The Towers, our first residence hall, provides accommodations for our students.
Our program is highly competitive.  In addition, there is the Energy Institute, which is concerned with global warming and energy supply shortages, and the Benjamin Levich Institute for Physico-Chemical Hydrodynamics with research projects including rheology and non-Newtonian, granular flows.
2. Does the Department offer online courses or degrees?
3. How do I apply to the graduate program?
You must complete an online application and provide the requested supporting documents.  All students must provide an official transcript from each college or university attended, letters of recommendation, a personal statement and a resume. The Chemical Engineering Dept reviews all applications and makes the decision to accept a student based on several factors.
4. Are GRE scores and TOEFL required?
The GRE's are required.  The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam is generally required for international students.
5. What is the average GPA score for the students who are admitted in your department?
Accepted students generally have a GPA score above 3.0.
6. When is the deadline date?
For Fall admission, you need to apply to the program by December 31st.  Applications received after the deadline of December 31st will be considered on an as received basis.

7. I have been admitted to the program.  Can I defer my starting date?
Yes, although you may lose your financial aid.
8. What happens if I do not receive my I-20 visa on time?
If a student is not issued or does not receive an I-20 by the start of registration, they can postpone their acceptance to the following semester.  There is a possibility that they will lose their financial aid.

9. Can a student apply directly to a specific field of study or professor?
Please, note that the Chemical Engineering Ph.D. committee makes the decisions regarding graduate applications and that students are admitted to the Chemical Engineering Department rather than to a particular field of study or professor's group.

10. Does the Department offer a degree in polymers?
Although, the Chemical Engineering Dept. has several projects involving polymers, it does not offer a degree in polymer science.

11. What is the total number of courses required for degree completion?
Ph.D. students need to obtain 60 credits of which at least 48 credits must to be course credits.  The remaining 12 credits can be obtained through doctoral research.  Students are required to register for 15 credits during the first semester.

12. Where do I register?
New incoming students will register in person after their first advising session with the Ph.D. advisor, Nick Cromie.  In the following semesters they can register online, but students are advised to meet with the advisor at least once every semester (typically at the time of registration).

13. Can I transfer graduate credits from another institution to the Ph.D. program at CCNY?
Yes, provided there exists an equivalent course here at CCNY and you obtained at least a B or higher grade in the course.  The school allows a maximum of 30 transfer credits.  We do accept credits from foreign universities.  The Chemical Engineering department evaluates transfer credit requests and determines if the course from another graduate program is equivalent in effort, depth, and scope to a course offered here at CCNY.  Transfer request forms are available at the office of the Dean for Graduate Studies.  Transfer request can only be evaluated once the student has been accepted and has enrolled as a matriculated graduate student in the ChE department.

14. Can I take classes outside of CCNY?
You may take classes at any CUNY college by obtaining an e-permit and paying tuition here at CCNY.  To take classes at any other university in NYC, you should register there as a non-matriculated student, take the course and pay their tuition and then transfer the course credits to CCNY.  This request has to be filed with the Dean of Graduate studies.  We advise that you first consult with the Ph.D. advisor to make sure those credits are likely to be transferable.

15. Can I take a class for which I do not have the right prerequisite?
No.  The purpose of prerequisites in graduate classes is to give the student some guidance on the required background to perform well in class.

16. What is considered a full-time semester for a Ph.D. student?
Students should register for 4 courses (12 credits) and the 3-credit Introduction to Research Fundamentals course during their first semester. 

17. Can I work and study part time?
We have had cases, but it is discouraged.

18. How do I register?
The Student must meet, prior to the start of each semester, with the Ph.D. advisor to discuss the courses they want to take and obtain approval (signature on the registration form). 

19. What is expected of successful PhD students?
Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 and are required to attend the Chemical Engineering and Levich Institute seminars.  Students are expected to pass the first qualifying exam, which is held during the winter break of their 1st year.  They must pass this exam to continue with their studies.  Those who do not pass are given an opportunity to re-take the exam at the end of the spring semester.
20. What is the attendance policy for the seminars?
Attendance of the Chemical Engineering seminar is mandatory.           
21. Do you have campus visits?
Yes, we encourage students to visit our campus, and meet our faculty and current graduate students.  Contact the department to set up a time for a visit.

22. Where can I get more information?
Most information can be found on our web site, Chemical Engineering
If you have questions related to deadlines, forms and procedures your best bet is to direct yourself to one of the following office:

Admission's Office
Wille Administration Building
Room A-101
(212) 650-6977
Registrar's Office
Wille Administration Building
Room A-102
(212) 650-7850
However, a new student should meet with the Ph.D. advisor and then register at Dean Walser's office, Steinman Hall, Room ST-152, (212) 650-8030

Graduation issues:
Dean Walser's Office
Room ST-152
(212) 650-8030

Visa issues:
International Students Services
North Academic Center
Room NA 1/107
(212) 650-8106

Financial Aid:
Financial Aid Office
Wille Administration Building
Room  A 104
(212) 650-5819

The following link is to the City College of New York FAQ which can  
answer any additional questions you may have: City College of New York FAQ

For further questions specific to the ChE-Ph.D. Program, please contact