Grad Students

M.S. Degree Program

labOur Master’s program offers a streamlined educational experience that bolsters knowledge and professional skills in chemical engineering. Students work under the guidance of our world-renowned faculty, learning about a range of fields while receiving targeted guidance in a specialty area.

We offer the following M.S. degree programs:

Research Track

  • Thesis and non-thesis programs
  • Transcriptable data science degree option

Data Science Track

  • Capstone project requirement
  • Streamlined program intended for industry career preparation

M.S. students enroll in the same courses as our Ph.D. students. The program covers basic subjects important to all chemical engineers, including thermodynamics, transport phenomena, kinetics and applied mathematics, along with coursework tailored to student interest.

All students in the research track conduct innovative, original research in faculty-run labs. All students in the data science track complete a capstone project and specialized coursework at the intersection of data science and chemical engineering.

The Master's degree typically requires one to two years to complete, depending on the intensity of study and whether a thesis is produced. The data science track can be completed in 10 months (one academic year plus the summer A term).

We welcome students with undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering, as well as in other related STEM fields such as chemistry, mechanical engineering, and materials science and engineering. Students entering with a degree other than a BS ChemE, however, may require additional coursework, thereby adding time to the degree.

Program Options and Requirements

Course and degree requirements

  • Complete 39 credits of coursework for the research track, 36 credits for the data science track

  • Complete at least 18 graded credits of graduate-level coursework in classes numbered 500 - 599

  • Complete at least 6 credits of independent study for those on the non-thesis track, and 9 credits of independent study for those who wish to apply for the thesis track

  • Achieve at least a 3.0 GPA

For a full account of the requirements, please refer to the MS handbook, pp. 27-28

Research Track

Non-thesis Option

This option is intended for students who wish to hone their research skills but acquire an advanced degree on a fast timeline. Non-thesis M.S. students complete an independent project —experimental or theoretical — under faculty supervision. The project scope is more limited than that of a thesis so that it can be completed in two or three quarters. The student must submit either a final written report or a draft of an article suitable for publication. The student must also give a final oral presentation to the supervising faculty member and obtain approval of this and the written element.

Thesis Option

All students begin on the non-thesis track. Those who wish to complete a thesis must petition for permission at the end of their first year. Completing a thesis is highly recommended for students who wish to apply to Ph.D. programs either in chemical engineering or related fields. Once approved, additional requirements are as follows:

  • Complete at least 12 thesis credits
  • Write a thesis to the satisfaction of the primary adviser and submit the thesis to the Graduate School
  • Successfully defend the thesis before the student's primary adviser and one or two other faculty members


Data Science Track

Launched in 2019, this track offers students applied data science instruction and project experience in the context of chemical engineering and molecular science. Students in the data science track receive a rigorous graduate-level education in key areas of chemical engineering, while also gaining experience in Python scientific programming and cloud computing, statistics and machine learning, and computational molecular science. This program is intended as a streamlined practical education for students interested in a career in industry, rather than in a path to a Ph.D. program.

Capstone Requirement

The team-based capstone project comprises 7 of the 36 total credit hours* for the DS track. It is intended to cement skills and help build a data science portfolio. Students are assigned to project teams at the end of Winter quarter, and the capstone projects run through Spring quarter (4 CR of capstone) and Summer A term (3 CR of capstone). Each capstone project addresses a specific data science challenge of an external industry partner, nonprofit, national lab, or UW faculty research team. Student teams may also work with faculty or external partners to develop their own capstone projects (subject to approval of the ChemE graduate committee).

* Students with STEM degrees other than ChemE are welcome and encouraged to apply to the data science track but may be required to take courses for one additional quarter.

Cost of Study

See the UW's Office of Planning & Budgeting website for more information. Use the Graduate Tuition Dashboard to display the current tuition and fees for the M.S. in Chemical Engineering. Please note that Master’s students are all self-supporting. We cannot offer TA or RA appointments to M.S. students. For information on financial aid, please visit the Student Financial Aid website.