Grad Students

M.S. Degree Program

labThe University of Washington is the largest university in the northwestern United States and has been the top-ranking U.S. public university in terms of federal research funding for the past decade. Our Chemical Engineering M.S. program has grown substantially in the past several years and starting in 2019 we will offer two tracks for our M.S. students: research track and data science track.

The Master's degree usually requires one to two years to complete. The research track length depends upon whether the student elects to write a thesis or not and depends on the intensity of study. The data science track is designed to be completed in 10 months (1 academic year and summer A term). The M.S. degree places more emphasis on course work than the Ph.D. degree. However, all M.S. students in the research track will participate in faculty-run research groups where they engage in innovative, original research. In comparison, all M.S. students in the data science track will participate in a capstone project and specialized coursework at the intersection of data science and chemical engineering. 

Students choose the M.S. program in order to take advantage of a streamlined educational experience that bolsters students' knowledge and credentials in the field of Chemical Engineering under the guidance of our nationally and internationally recognized faculty. Faculty interests are broad, so students become familiar with a variety of areas while receiving targeted guidance in a specialty.


What attracts students to the UW Chemical Engineering M.S. program?

M.S. students deepen their knowledge of chemical engineering and gain professional skills with our faculty members in a collaborative environment that is informal, friendly and intellectually vigorous. This allows students with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (or a closely related field) to improve their prospects of obtaining a higher-level position in a professional setting. The program covers basic subjects important to all chemical engineers such as thermodynamics, transport phenomena, kinetics and applied mathematics. In addition, students gain specialized skills in a specific area through targeted coursework and participation in their research groups or through a specially designed data science training program.

Students who choose the M.S. program receive a quality education in an efficient manner. M.S. students enroll in the same courses as our Ph.D. students, but can complete their degrees in as few as three four quarters with a non-thesis option. The program is located in Seattle, Washington, one of the most technologically and scientifically innovative cities in the U.S. In addition to its professional opportunities, Seattle is also a vibrant city in close proximity to beautiful natural scenery.

Key elements of the data science track
Our new data science track (starting in 2019) offers students with a background in chemical engineering or a related field to receive applied data science instruction in the context of chemical engineering and molecular science. Students in the data science track will still receive a rigorous graduate level education in key areas of chemical engineering.
Our data science curriculum provides targeted coursework within the ChemE program in Python scientific programming and cloud computing, statistics and machine learning, and computational molecular science. M.S. students on the data science track will complete a team-based capstone project to cement their skills and help build a data science portfolio.

Cost of Study
Tuition and fee information can be found at the UW's Office of Planning & Budgeting website. Select each of the following to display the current MS Chemical Engineering Tuition and Fees: Academic Year, Quarter, Campus (Seattle), Tuition Category (Master of Chemical Engineering), and Residency. Please note that M.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.


Program Requirements and Timeline

The M.S. program requirements are tailored to enhance students' mastery of core and specialized areas of chemical engineering through a combination of coursework and research projects.

Course and degree requirements for all students, track options and thesis and non-thesis:
- Complete 39 credits of coursework
- Complete at least 18 graded credits of graduate-level coursework in classes numbered 500 - 599
- Complete at least 6 credits of independent study (600 credits) 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

Research Track Thesis Requirement:
All students begin on a non-thesis track. Those who wish to complete a thesis must petition for permission at the end of the first year. When a student is approved for a thesis, additional requirements are as follows:

- Complete at least 12 thesis credits (700 credits)
- Write a thesis to the satisfaction of the primary advisor and submit the thesis to the graduate school
- Successfully defend the thesis before the student's primary advisor and one to two other faculty members

Research Track Non-Thesis Project Requirement:
Non-thesis M.S. students will complete an independent project under faculty supervision. This can be either experimental or theoretical. The scope is more limited than a thesis, and should be feasible for completion within 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 give a final oral presentation to the supervising faculty member and obtain approval of this and the written element.

Data Science Track: Capstone Requirement:
The capstone project comprises 7/39 of the total credit hours for the DS track M.S. degree.  Students are assigned to capstone 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). Capstone projects may be from external industry partners, non profits, national labs, or UW faculty research teams with specific data science challenges. Student teams may also work with faculty or external partners to develop their own capstone projects (subject to approval by the ChemE graduate committee).   

Please note that the above is only a summary of the degree requirements. For a full account of the requirements, please refer to the MS handbook, pp. 27-28