10 Best Chemical Engineering Ph.D. Programs

Chemical engineering is a great but rewarding career path providing great compensation and interesting work. Being a chemical engineer is important and an enormous challenge.

However, if you choose the right school for this course, then most of the stress will be curtailed. Therefore, we offer you the best chemical engineering schools that will enhance your career as a prominent chemical engineer.

The discipline, chemical engineering was developed from “industrial chemistry” in the late 19th century. Before the Industrial Revolution (18th century), industrial chemicals and other consumer products such as soap were largely produced through batch processing. 

However, this article seeks to give an overview of the chemical engineer profession and the best educational paths available.

Also, it will explain what students can expect from each best chemical engineering PhD school and, more importantly, it’s cost, job outlook, salary, and all requirements on the best chemical engineering PhD Programs. So, relax and read through.

History Of Chemical Engineering

As stated above, the discipline, chemical engineering was developed from “industrial chemistry” in the late 19th century.

Before the Industrial Revolution (18th century), industrial chemicals and other consumer products such as soap were largely produced through batch processing.

However, batch processing is labor-intensive as individuals had to mix a specific quantity of ingredients in a vessel, heat, cool, or pressurize the mixture for a proposed length of time.

The product may then be separated, purified, and tested to achieve a saleable product. Batch processes are still conducted today on higher-value products, such as pharmaceutical intermediates, and formed products such as perfumes and paints, or in food manufactures such as pure maple syrups, where a profit can still be made despite batch methods being slower and inefficient in terms of labor and equipment usage.

Due to the application of Chemical Engineering techniques during manufacturing process development, larger volume chemicals are now produced through a continuous “assembly line” chemical processes.

The Industrial Revolution was when a variation from batch to more constant processing began to occur.

What is Chemical Engineering?

Chemical engineering is a branch of engineering which uses the principles of chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, and economics to efficiently use, produce, design, transport, and transform energy and materials.

The work of a chemical engineer can range from the utilization of nanotechnology and nanomaterials in the laboratory to large-scale industrial processes that transform chemicals, raw materials, living cells, microorganisms, and energy into valuable forms and products.

What kind of Ph.D. In Chemical Engineering Should You Get?

Doctor of Philosophy or the Doctor of Science are the two most common degrees for this field you may come across.

What are the differences? While in other countries, one may be slightly higher than the other, in the United States, both degrees are virtually identical and at the top of the field.

Although some schools may offer both degrees with minor differences in requirements, they differ only in name.

Other than Chemical Engineering, similar degrees may be Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Physics, or a basic Engineering Ph.D. with specializations.

Students will take specific electives for degrees with specializations to earn that emphasis. Classes may overlap among all the degrees, but differences may be present in the curriculum, so it is vital to be sure that the coursework and research goals match your future career goals.

How Much do People With a Ph.D. In Chemical Engineering Make?

At least six figures are assured for an Advanced Chemical Engineers – It might interest you to know that chemical engineers make some of the highest salaries out of all engineering fields.

According to PayScale, those with a PhD in chemical engineering can earn about $105,000 on average. They point out that men makeup about 85% of the industry and earn much more than women. And years of experience increase wages over time.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, regardless of grade or position, chemical engineers earn an average salary of $104,910, or roughly $50.44 an hour.

Although those with an advanced degree in the field generally earn more on average, those with a bachelor’s level at a basic level and with years of experience also have high-profit potentials.

It is estimated that the increase in jobs available to chemical engineers will increase by eight percent from 2016 to 2026.

What Can You Do With a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering?

A Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering prepares one for academia and direct industry jobs. Many choose to become scholars and produce academic research for scholarly articles.

Although technically in research, others may not produce writing but will still contribute to top-level projects. Due to the fact that this degree combines hard to research and laboratory skills, there is no single career path for graduates.

Below are some common job titles for Chemical Engineering Ph.D. holders:

  • Pharmaceutical Engineer
  • Professor
  • Project Scientist
  • Reaction Engineer
  • Product Review Engineer

What are the Requirements for a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering?

Applicants with a similar Bachelor’s or Master’s degree will be accepted into the program.

In general, several students may apply for the Chemical Engineering Ph.D. program directly after completing their undergraduate degree due to the time it takes.

Students can generally expect to take four or five years to earn a Ph.D. Students should submit their transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal essays, and test scores for the Graduate Record Exam.

Various coursework will be required throughout the program, along with research that will make up a large part of the curriculum. 

While internships and practices are not necessarily required, many students will work to gain experience alongside faculty and other leading professionals in the industry.

Students will be expected to help teach at least at the start of the PhD program. This helps them obtain support from the school that covers basic needs and tuition. Finally, a PhD candidate must submit a doctoral thesis which the faculty approves.

What is the Best Chemical Engineering PhD Programs In 2023?

Do you wish to study chemical engineering but confused about which school to enroll in? Well, here is a hack for you. I have carefully compiled a list of the best chemical engineering schools for Ph.D. programs in 2023.

In each ranking, you’ll see the yearly tuition and our College Choice Score, computed based on each school’s reputation, the department’s reputation, and the school’s return on investment.

Importantly, we’ve extracted a list of schools that offer the best cost, reputation, and effectiveness in the job market. So, if you’re looking for a school in which to study chemical engineering PhD program, our list will guide you properly to avoid regret.

Here is a list of the best Chemical Engineering PhD Programs In 2023:

  • Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT)
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University Of Georgia
  • Columbia University
  • University Of Wisconsin
  • University At Buffalo
  • New York University
  • Northeastern University
  • University Of Iowa
  • University Of Utah

1. Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also known as MIT, is one of the most prestigious institutions for those who enter science, technology, engineering, or math. 

With the country and the world’s No . 1 Chemical Engineering University, MIT is certainly the place to get your advanced diploma in this field.

Beyond excellent research, the school boasts a committed faculty and talented students. MIT hopes to advance knowledge in the STEM fields in the 21st century and beyond.

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2. Carnegie Mellon University

The University of Carnegie Mellon is a prestigious private university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The school takes its name from Andrew Carnegie, an innovative entrepreneur who in the 19th century was prominent in creating the world’s largest steel company.

Before acquiring university, CMU was a technical school primarily offering science programs. Its present-day name comes from its 1967 merger with the Mellon Institute. It is ranked No. 25 Best National University by the U.S. News & World Report.

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3. University Of Georgia

Were you aware that Georgia was the first state in the nation to charter a state-sponsored university? That school was none other than Georgia University, which was established in 1801.

Today UGA is composed of 17 colleges offering its Ph.D. program in Chemical Engineering through the College of Engineering. UGA has many points of pride – aside from being the state’s largest higher learning institution, it continues to be rated as one of the nation’s best value colleges.

Kiplinger Magazine ranked UGA No. 12 nationally in 2018 with the lowest debt and the best value.

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4. Columbia University

Located in the bustling city of New York, Columbia University is a prominent private research institution that is highly regarded internationally.

Students studying here get all the benefits of living in a metropolis while still getting the graduate experience. Columbia was established in 1754 under a charter by King George II in England.

It is the oldest university in the state of New York. In 2019, the U.S. News & World Report ranked Columbia No. 3 on their list of Best Universities in the Country and No. 6 on their list of Best Value Schools.

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5. University Of Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin – Madison is a public land-grant university with over 150 years of history. With annual research expenditures reaching over $1.2 billion, UW is ranked No. 6 on Best Research in 2017.

The university is most commonly known for the fact that it discovered vitamins in the 1910s. Currently, about 2,800 professional students are enrolled, with over 1,400 doctorate degrees awarded in the 2017-2018 school year.

The University Of Wisconsin is also one of the best chemical engineering PhD school.

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6. University At Buffalo

Known as the Bulls, the University of Buffalo is an active college campus in New York. As a flagship institution in the state university system, Buffalo offers premier research facilities, meaningful on-campus organizations, and global partnerships.

Several of Buffalo’s engineering programs are notable for award-winning faculty and initiatives.

About 160 graduate students are currently enrolled throughout its Chemical and Biological Engineering degrees. Buffalo is the No. 1 public university within the state and among the No. 40 nationwide.

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7. New York University

What makes New York University such a desirable school? NYU is known for its competitive programs, global relationships, and prominent faculty.

Today it is one of the largest private universities in the nation. It is also one of the best-ranking schools. NYU’s Chemical Engineering program is housed in the Tandon School of Engineering, a nationally ranked school by the U.S. News & World Report. 

The school was founded in 1854 and has had a solid impact on the state’s engineering research and education programs.

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8. Northeastern University

Northeastern University is a top 50 institution in the U.S., with its main campus in Boston. News & commentary from around the world. Northeastern research funding rose by 229% between 2006 and 2018. This increase is due to its dedicated faculty, staff, and neighboring community.

“Experiential learning” is essential to Northeastern’s academics, whether through research, internships, or global learning. Its advanced Chemical Engineering program is no different and offers students many opportunities to grow in the field.

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9. University Of Iowa

Get to know the state’s premier public research university at the University of Iowa. It is not only the oldest institute of higher education within the state but also one that holds many nationally-ranked graduate programs.

Over 32,000 students are enrolled, with almost 9,000 graduate and professional students. The U.S. News & World Report ranks Iowa No. 38 among its Best Public Universities ranking.

The Chemical and Biochemical Engineering department program students can expect a personalized learning experience with dedicated faculty.

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10. University Of Utah

Known for its athletic teams nicknamed the Utes, named after the Native American tribe, the University of Utah is a prominent research institution located in Salt Lake City.

The U was established in 1850 and has a total enrollment of over 31,000. Students attending this school benefit from living in a city with a rich history.

In fact, the university boasts local partnerships particularly in sustainability issues. In 2019, the U.S. News & World Report ranked The U’s Engineering School among the nation’s top 100.

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FAQs- Best Chemical Engineering PhD Programs In 2023

Is getting a PhD in chemical engineering worth it?

Advanced chemical engineers can easily make at least six figures – in fact, chemical engineers make some of the highest salaries out of all engineering fields.

According to PayScale, those with a PhD in chemical engineering can make about $105,000 on average.

How hard is a chemical engineering PhD?

Yes, a PhD in Chemical Engineering is complex, beginning with the admissions process. You must have some educational background in many schools, particularly in science, physics, and math.

What is a PhD in chemical engineering?

Doctorate or PhD in Chemical Engineering is a research-based doctoral program ranging from 3 to 5 years. This course involves advanced study of concepts, including Compounds and Complexes, Reaction Engineering, and Process Optimization.


Chemical engineering is a fascinating and gratifying career path that provides excellent pay and interesting works.

However, it is very difficult to become a chemical engineer. You must meet the right educational criteria, obtain some experience and commit yourself to a job search.

Therefore, if you’re considering a chemical engineering career, we’ve assembled a list of the best chemical engineering Ph.D. programs in 2023 to assist in your search.



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