The Doctor of Philosophy program is designed to prepare each student to take an active part in the development and growth of the field of chemical engineering at all levels in industry and research organizations or in research and teaching in a university. To qualify for the Ph.D. program, a student must demonstrate competence in graduate course work and pass a written qualifying examination. Most students who qualify are eligible to proceed directly to the Ph.D. program without writing an M.S. thesis. Beginning with the second or third semester, each student, as part of the degree requirement occasionally assists in the instructional activities of the department. The current periodicity is one semester every other year. Advanced students have the opportunity to participate directly in the planning and presentation of undergraduate courses that are related to their thesis work. In addition, those considering the possibility of an academic career may elect to serve as a classroom instructor during the later phases of Ph.D. study.
Each student selects a major professor and an advisory committee to assist him or her in planning a program of course work and thesis research. Thirty hours of graduate course work (including those for the M.S.) are required for the Ph.D. degree. The thesis research should be original work that contributes significantly to new knowledge. Major research work is preceded by an oral preliminary examination, at which the student presents to the advisory committee a plan for research and demonstrates proficiency in the theory and experimental methods needed for its completion. The final Ph.D. examination is defense of the thesis.
Purdue University is an accredited member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.