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University of Rochester

Department of Chemical Engineering

Rochester, NY


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Graduate Studies in Chemical Engineering

The University of Rochester Chemical Engineering graduate program trains students for dynamic professional careers in a variety of specialties.

The program specializes in the application of materials science to areas of clean energy, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, and graduate students commonly are involved in research of groundbreaking innovations in concepts such as solar cell technology, fuel cells, or biofuels.

The department, along with the University of Rochester, is closely connected with the vibrant technology industry of Rochester, New York, and many research endeavors involve collaboration with major corporations and companies in the area, which include Xerox, and Kodak.

University of Rochester a Technological Leader

The University of Rochester enjoys a reputation as a world leader in technological innovation. The Laboratory for Laser Energetics' 60-beam OMEGA laser is the world's most powerful fusion laser, and faculty and alumni make up nearly a quarter of scientists on the board advising NASA on the development of the James Webb Space Telescope, which will replace the Hubble Space Telescope in 2011.

The university also has produced numerous Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as Guggenheim Fellows.

Graduate Degree Programs Span Variety of Chemical Engineering Areas

The Chemical Engineering graduate program at the University of Rochester offers three unique degrees: a Master of Science (M.S.) in Chemical Engineering; an M.S. in Alternative Energy; and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Chemical Engineering. 

In the M.S. programs, students have the option of obtaining their degree solely through coursework or through a combination of coursework and the successful defense of a thesis based on independent research.

Well-Funded Research Focuses on Disciplines

The Chemical Engineering Department's research efforts receive generous support from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Energy, as well as from numerous private industries. 

The research efforts take on challenges related to biological, chemical, and physical properties of the environment, materials, energy, and biotechnology, and they emphasize four pivotal research cluster areas: advanced materials, biotechnology, interfaces, electrochemistry and theory and simulation.

Advanced Materials Research Focus

Advanced Materials are urgently needed to accelerate progress in emerging areas such as photonics, green process engineering, renewable energy, aerospace, tissue engineering and biomedicine. The intersection between engineering and materials science offers fertile ground for technological breakthroughs and is a hallmark of Chemical Engineering at the University of Rochester. Researchers skillfully apply thermodynamics and transport principles to design and achieve new materials with unprecedented end-properties. Innovations have included glassy liquid crystals, vapor deposited polymer films, electrically responsive liquid crystal flakes, hydroxyapatite thin films for bone healing, and self-stretching polymers. Faculty and students have access to quality laboratory facilities, computational resources and characterization tools.

Active Faculty / Research Areas:

M. Anthamatten: Shape-memory polymers, nanoparticle assembly; ion-conductive polymers, membranes for gas separation

S.H. Chen: Robust organic materials for laser applications; geometric surfactants; spontaneous ordering and self-assembly of nanoparticles

A.M. Müller: Nanoparticle electrocatalysts, pulsed-laser in liquids synthesis of nanomaterials conversion of carbon dioxide to fuels

M. Porosoff:COReduction; Heterogeneous Catalysis; Catalyst Structure-Property Relationships; CChemistry; Upgrading Light Alkanes

A. Shestopalov: Multicomponent anisotropic colloids

D. Wu: Smart tissue scaffolds for bone marrow and lymph node tissue engineering and regenerative medicine

M.Z. Yates: Thin films, membranes, coatings, small particles, crystallization, and microencapsulation

Biotechnology Research Focus

Biotechnology is crucial for advancing human health, achieving sustainable bioenergy resources, and establishing bio-inspired functional materials. Chemical engineering principles serve as the key for better understanding of the biological outcomes. Faculties at the department are well equipped for advancing this field, with strong expertise in biofuels, systems biology, genomics, biochemical engineering, advanced materials design, process control and characterization techniques. Their interdisciplinary research in biotechnology has establish synergistic collaboration with researchers and faculties from various department (e.g. Biomedical Engineering, UR Medical Center, Chemistry, Laboratory for Laser Energetics) and institutions (e.g. Rochester Institute of Technology, Cornell University, Waseda University (Japan)). 

Active Faculty / Research Areas:

D. Wu: Biofuels; Systems Biology; Genomics; Transcriptional Network; Biochemical Engineering; Fermentation; Biocatalysis; Bone Marrow Engineering; Lymphoid Tissue Engineering; Molecular Biology

Functional Interfaces Research Focus

Material interfaces play a crucial role in such fundamental phenomena as adhesion, friction, separation, light scattering, and heterogeneous molecular interactions. Therefore, a wide-ranging control over the interfacial material properties would catalyze implementation of a vast range of innovations spanning multiple disciplines such as sensing and recognition, heterogeneous catalysis, polymer science, material separation and filtration, nano-scale manufacturing, molecular electronics and others. Chemical engineers at the University of Rochester advance fundamental molecular engineering at interfaces, especially as applied to novel molecular and thin-film coating, nano-scale fabrication, processing of soft materials, and interfacial molecular interactions and transport. The Chemical Engineering department and the University of Rochester provide researchers with access to a broad range of deposition and characterization equipment, and to excellent computational tools.

Active Faculty / Research Area:

A. Shestopalov: Monomolecular interfaces, nano-scale contact patterning, electronic properties of monomolecular films

A. White: Modeling and design of self-assembling peptide biomaterials, reconstruction of molecular models of interfaces by combining multiple sources of experimental data

M. Yates: Electrolytic surface coatings and electrochemical surface modification

Electrochemistry Research Focus

Electrochemistry is a rich scientific discipline that integrates chemistry, thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, and transport phenomena, i.e. the core competencies of chemical engineers. Electrochemical systems are critical in applications spanning from biomedical devices to materials synthesis to sustainable energy production and storage. Chemical Engineering is the only department at the University of Rochester that offers extensive expertise and training of students in this vital field. Research groups study and utilize electrochemistry in pursuit of thin film electrodeposition, energy production via fuel cells, energy storage in solid-state and liquid-based lithium batteries, and controlled gene-injection into living cells.

Active Faculty / Research Area

J. Jorne: Hydrogen fuel cells, lithium ion battery modeling

W. Tenhaeff: Solid-state lithium metal batteries, solid electrolytes, electropolymerization, corrosion inhibition

M. Yates: Electrodepostion of hydroxyapatite

Theory and Simulation Research Focus

Robust theory and simulation is a core part of interdisciplinary research, especially in chemical engineering, as we develop complex new materials, study increasingly complex biochemical systems and model sophisticated electrochemical systems. Theory and simulation provide the tools to develop detailed molecular-level understanding, offer predictions for complex systems, and enable rationale design of molecules and materials. Recent trends in areas like data-science and machine learning are creating new directions for chemical engineering theory and simulation, leading to new advances and new funding directions. For example, the material genome initiative at NIST and NSF and the computational data-science enabled crosscutting program at NSF are funding opportunities specifically focused on theory and simulation research that use data-science. The department has expertise in molecular dynamics, network theory, ab ignition quantum dynamic, electrochemical finite element modeling and empirical data-driven models. Their work utilized the state-of-the-art computational resources provided through the university's Center for Integrated Research Computing. The department also has fostered the development of a university wide center for simulation, bringing together faculties in other departments focused specifically on molecular simulation. The department's excellence in computational tools is emphasized in their undergraduate education as well, with a core class covering computational methods, computational statistics, and a significant use of computation in their upper-level courses.

Active Faculty / Research Areas

A. White: Modeling peptide self-assembly; molecular modeling methods development; ab initio quantum molecular dynamics of water

E. Chimowitz: Monte Carlo Algorithm Development for Optimal Network Structures for Integrated Power Supply and Vehicle Transport/Logistical Applications

Financial Aid Includes Tuition Waivers

Tuition scholarships up to 50 percent of registered credit hours are awarded typically to M.S. students in Chemical Engineering require all students to perform teaching in return for the tuition scholarship. 

Doctoral students typically receive a full tuition scholarship, in addition to a stipend. In their first year of study, the stipend is in the form of a grant, and in subsequent years, all students are expected to perform teaching and research in return for the stipend.

University of Rochester Balances Science, Arts, Recreation

In addition to its technological offerings, the University of Rochester supports a vibrant environment, with the Eastman School of Music's Eastman Wind Ensemble, for example, representing a pioneering force in the symphonic band movement, and the Memorial Art Gallery featuring one of the most balanced collections of American Art outside of New York City. 

The surrounding city of Rochester, New York, offers a thriving cultural urban center close to the Finger Lakes region, where recreational opportunities including hiking, skiing, and boating abound. 

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Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Science (MS)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 13
Doctoral Degrees 3

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? No
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? No
Terminal master's degree available? Yes

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Master's Degrees Entrance Exam GRE
Comp Exam Required
Thesis Alternate accepted
Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE
Comp Exam Required
Thesis Required
Qualifying exam


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline January 15th January 15th No

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Master's Degree Exam GRE
Master's Degree Requirements Curriculum vitae, personal and research statement, three letters of recommendation, official transcript
Doctoral Degree Exam GRE
Doctoral Degree Requirements Curriculum vitae, personal and research statement, three letters of recommendation, official transcript

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Recommended TOEFL IBT score: 90
IELTS: Recommended IELTS Paper score: 7

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Application deadlines for financial awards April 15
Types of financial support available Fellowships
Teaching Assistantships
Health Care Benefits
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 4.35%
Black or African American 2.17%
White or Caucasian 19%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2.17%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 0%
Unknown 6.52%


Male (73%)
Female (26%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 11
Part-time - 0
Male (10)
Female (1)


Focus of faculty research: Advanced materials, biotechnology, electrochemistry, theory and simulation, functional interfaces
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year:

Location & Contact

Address 4510 Wegmans Hall, PO 270166
Rochester, NY  14627
United States
Contact Mitch Anthamatten
Department Chair
Phone: 585-273-5526

University of Rochester