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Graduate Program

Graduate Program

The Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Faculty is committed to providing the best possible educational experience for all of our students as preparation for a successful career. Thus students need to acquire broad, long half-life understanding of the fundamental tenets of chemical engineering, which is provided in the core courses, specialized knowledge of great depth, provided in elective courses and the ability to define, attack and resolve original problems, which is the outcome of thesis research. There is close interaction between students and faculty on all of these elements of our graduate program.

Additional Information Requests

If you wish to request additional information concerning admission into our department or any other information, please feel free to e-mail us at cbe@nd.edu.

Applications for the Fall semester are due by January 1.

Considering a Notre Dame PhD? Complete our prospective student interest form HERE.


Program Info

Message from the Director of Graduate Studies 

Welcome to the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Notre Dame! The mission of our graduate program is to provide a world-class doctoral education in the fields of chemical, biological, and biomedical engineering. Graduate students in our department receive individualized attention, which prepares them for careers in academia, government, and industry. Our advanced-level coursework is highly flexible and tailored to each student based on student and advisor consultations.

Our department is comprised of more than 90 graduate students and 21 faculty members, and we provide opportunities for students to connect through weekly research seminars, an annual graduate student symposium, and graduate student events. Our highly acclaimed faculty have research programs in areas including renewable energy, cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, molecular simulations, reaction kinetics/catalysis, water purification, complex fluids, microfluidics, process synthesis and optimization, polymer synthesis and characterization, materials design, and ion transport/interfacial phenomena. These cutting-edge, multidisciplinary research areas provide many opportunities for intradepartmental collaboration and additional possibilities of being co-advised. 

I invite you to explore the web pages describing the research going on here in our department. Please contact us at if you have any questions about the program or the application process.

Jason Hicks, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Degree Requirements, Program Guide (PDF download)

Course information

Facilities and Centers

CBE Graduate Student Organization


2019-2020 Research Flyers (interactive PDF)

Bioengineering and Diagnostics

Energy and Sustainability

Polymers and Soft Materials

Molecular Simulation and Data Science


Life at ND



Stipends are paid twice-monthly on the 15th and last day of the month.

Our students receive full tuition scholarships, a $51,000 annual value.

Full-time CBE PhD students have 100% of their health insurance premiums paid.

CNN Money cost of living comparison calculator

Health Insurance

University Health Services

Aetna student health insurance plan website


On Campus Graduate Housing

Office of Housing

Fischer, O'Hara-Grace Residences, operated by the Bradley Company

Off Campus Housing

Health & Wellness


Offering athletic facilities, classes, club & intermural sports, family programs, aquatics, personal training, and outdoor adventures.

University Health Services

    • Walk-in Clinic and on-campus appointments, inpatient observation
    • Immunizations & injections
    • On-campus pharmacy, x-ray, laboratory, physical therapy

McDonald Center for Student Well-being

Supporting students well-being and finding balance in the seven dimensions of wellness; social, spiritual, emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, and physical.

Spiritual Life at Notre Dame

Things to do

Where to go, What to do: find.nd.edu

Arts & Culture

DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center is an inclusive, second-city destination for the region's premier Visiting Artist Series in addition to hosting film festivals and regular movie screenings and live performances; theater, dance, and music.

Downtown South Bend

Signature events include First Fridays, Wine Walks, River Lights, Art Beat, and more.

Sports & Leisure

Activities and getaways in the area and on campus

Notre Dame Athletics

As an eligible Notre Dame student, you have the opportunity to purchase Football season tickets as well as Ice Hockey and Men's Basketball and Women's Basketball reduced price.

Current students also get FREE access to regular season home Volleyball, Soccer, Baseball, Softball, and Lacrosse games. Just show your valid student ID at the entrance. A limited number of FREE tickets may be available to students for Post-season home games.

Clubs and Organizations

Student Activities Office

CBE students participate in a wide range of clubs and professional organizations including cultural interest, language, religious/spiritual, musical, and athletics groups.

Professional organizations related to CBE that our students participate in:


There is a large Notre Dame community of graduate students who have families. The University is comited to fostering a family-friendly environment for its graduate students, one that makes it possible for student to successfully balance parenting responsibilities with academic pursuits.

All of the above topics and more can be found on the Graduate Student Life ,Life at ND site.


Applying to CBE at Notre Dame

The Department's doctoral program offers financially attractive research assistantships, which include a generous stipend, full tuition waiver, and a full health insurance premium subsidy. 

All graduate applications are submitted online through the Graduate School's Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions. Click here to start your application today.

The Program

The Department of Chemical Engineering offers a PhD in Chemical Engineering where you can conduct research in any of the key areas of chemical engineering: 

Bioengineering and Diagnostics Engineering
Energy and Sustainability
Molecular Simulation and Data Science
Polymers and Soft Matter

Interested the PhD in Bioengineering? Check out the BME.ND.EDU for more information. It is administered separately from the CBE Department. Once admitted by the BME program, students will decide which track to pursue and be placed in the appropriate department.


Your application must be submitted with all required materials by the deadline. All submitted applications will be reviewed.

Fall application deadline: January 1

Application Fee

The application fee is automatically waived for all US citizens and permanent residents. Non-US citizens who are enrolled in a degree program or have received a degree from a US institution should contact cbe@nd.edu after you start your application and upload transcripts but before you submit the online application to arrange for a possible fee waiver. 

Frequently Asked Questions

See a list of admissions FAQs here on the Admissions FAQ page.

What you need to complete the application: complete the application questionnaire, GRE scores, 3 letters of recommendation, college transcripts, resume or CV, and a personal statement.

The Graduate School admissions FAQ page has answers general questions about the online application process and technical help, test scores, and preparing your application.


The Graduate School

All applications to the Department go through the Graduate School. Check out their admissions page for more info about graduate academics at Notre Dame and the application process.



For Current Students

CBE Guide to Graduate Studies (PDF Download)

  • This is the program handbook for the Chemical Engineering PhD and MS programs.

Academic Code of the Graduate School

Graduate Bulletin

Google Team Drive for CBE Graduate Students (must be logged in to InsideND)

*New* Graduate Student Self Evaluation (.docx), Graduate Student Self Evaluation (Google Doc, must be logged in to InsideND)

Access through Google Team Drive: right click file>select "make copy", doc now appears in your MyDrive.


CBE Graduate Student Organization

Facilities and Centers

Graduate Career Services

FedEx Shipment required information


Defenses and Graduation

Graduate School


  • Under Construction

Travel & Expense Report Help

For International Students

  • Under Construction

Course Information

CBE 60443 Separation Processes

This course demonstrates the application of the principles of phase equilibria, transport processes, and chemical kinetics to the design and characterization of stagewise and continuous separation processes.

CBE 60445 Chemical Reaction Engineering

The basic concepts of chemical rate processes are applied to the theory of the design and operation of the various types of commercial reactors for both noncatalytic and catalytic reactions.

CBE 60457 Polymer Science & Engineering

This course is an intermediate level introduction to the fundamental chemistry and physics of polymer materials.

CBE 60466 Colloid & Interfacial Systems

This course is an intermediate level introduction to the fundamental physical chemistry and physics of colloid and interfacial science.

CBE 60522 Optical Spectroscopy

Principles and applications of spectroscopic measurements and instrumentation. Atomic and molecular absorption, emission, fluorescence, and scattering, emphasizing physical interpretation of experimental data.

CBE 60535 Electrochemical Energy

This course offers a comprehensive look at the electrochemical nature of energy conversion and storage in fuel cells and batteries, the engineering requirements that must be fulfilled for their efficient operation and the technology of their construction.

CBE 60542 Math Methods Engineering I

Rigorous development of tools of mathematical analysis and application of methods to solve engineering problems. Topics include matrices, linear and nonlinear ordinary differential equations, special functions, and modeling.

CBE 60544 Transport Phenomena I

Differential balance equations that govern transport processes are derived and used to solve problems that demonstrate the physical insight necessary to apply these equations to original situations. The emphasis in this course is on fluid mechanics.

CBE 60546 Advanced Chemical Reaction Engineering

Analyses and mathematical modeling of chemical reactors with emphasis on heterogeneous reaction systems.

CBE 60547 Computational Chemistry

This course introduces the basis of modern approaches to computing the thermodynamics and kinetics of gas-phase, condensed-phase, and surface chemical reactions from first principles.

CBE 60553 Advanced Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics

This course is focused on an advanced treatment of thermodynamic concepts.

CBE 60561 Structure of Solids

This class seeks to provide students with an understanding of the structure of solids, primarily as found in metals, alloys, and ceramics applied in technological applications.

CBE 60579 Intro- Cellular/ Tissue Engineering

The first half will cover principles of cell and developmental biology that guide current approaches in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.The second half covers techniques involved in cultivating cells for applications in recombinant protein production as well as the design of bioartificial organs and regenerative therapeutics.

CBE 60667 Mass Transfer Membrane Systems

This course covers a variety of mass transfer mechanisms and the theories developed to describe them (e.g., diffusion-solubility, hindered flow through pores, and facilitated transport).

Degree Requirements

photochemically reduced graphene oxide for conductivity enhancementThe Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering requires that applicants for admission have a B.S. in Chemical Engineering or a related field from a program meeting ABET requirements. During the first two semesters in residence, a student entering with a chemical engineering degree will take courses distributed among main areas of chemical engineering science, 2 credit hours of graduate seminar, with additional hours of thesis research. At the end of the first year, the student presents written and oral reports based on the thesis research. These reports, together with performance in course work and teaching assistant duties, constitute the Comprehensive Evaluation and permit the student to continue working towards the student's degree objective.

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering

The Master's of Science degree, with thesis, requires 15 credit hours of graduate course work (5 courses) with a minimum 3.0 grade point average, and 15 credit hours of thesis research and graduate seminar. The results of the research are presented as a Master's thesis and defended in a final oral defense. Full-time students with a background in chemical engineering ordinarily complete these requirements in 16 to 24 months.

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering

The Ph.D. degree requires 24 credit hours of graduate course work (8 courses) with a minimum 3.25 grade point average, and 36 hours of thesis research and graduate seminar. Students entering with a M.S. degree, earned within five years of admission and from a recognized graduate institution, may transfer up to 24 credit hours provided that the transferred credits satisfy departmental guidelines for course work distribution and grade point average. A maximum of 12 hours can be applied towards the 24-hour coursework requirement.

The student is admitted to Ph.D. Degree Candidacy after passing the Ph.D. Oral Candidacy Examination. This examination, ordinarily completed during the fifth semester in residence, consists of a written and oral presentation of thesis research to a faculty committee.

After reaching Ph.D. Candidacy, the student devotes essentially all efforts to completing his or her thesis research. The results of the research are presented as a Ph.D. dissertation and orally defended before a faculty committee. In recent years, students with an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering have completed the Ph.D. degree requirements in 5 years.

There is no foreign language requirement for either the M.S. or Ph.D. degree.

Graduate Career Services

With the everyday demands of a Notre Dame graduate degree, it’s easy to lose sight of the big-picture future. That’s where Graduate Career Services can make a difference.

Graduate Career resources are focused on graduate student success —helping you to be the best prepared in order to obtain strong career outcomes after your time at Notre Dame.  Whether you wish to remain in academics following your degree or explore options in business, government or nonprofit, Graduate Career Services can help. 

Discussing your career aspirations with a Graduate Career Consultant enables you to:

  • Explore career options and establish a plan
  • Develop your career skills and capabilities
  • Build your professional presence
  • Network and engage with employers and alumni
  • Learn to navigate the job search process

Graduate Career Consultants endeavor to engage, develop and empower students in pursuit of their career and professional development goals as the next generation of global innovators, educators and leaders. 

Learn more about Graduate Career Services

Profile Images

Gaurav Arya
Gaurav Arya
Serafim Kallidasis
Serafim Kallidasis
Yannis Kaznessis
Yiannis Kaznessis
Jason Keith
Jason Keith
Michael King
Michael King
Dimitry Kopelevich
Dmitry Kopelevich
Adrienne Minerick
Adrienne Minerick
Jayne Wu
Jayne Wu
Leslie Yeo
Leslie Yeo

Graduate Alumni Profiles | Gaurav Arya

Gaurav Arya

Gaurav Arya '03

Advisor: Hsueh-Chia Chang and Edward J. Maginn
Thesis Title: Molecular Simulation of Transport in Nanoporous Materials
Undergraduate School: IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India
PostDoc: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Prof. Athanassios Panagiotopoulos' group, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544; Assistant Research Scientist in Prof. Tamar Schlick's group, Department of Chemistry and Courant Insititute of Mathematical Sciences, New York Univeristy, NY 10003.

Current Position

Assistant Professor, University of California, San Diego


I am investigating the role of histone tails and their modifications in the folding of chromatin and its subsequent transcription state using brownian dynamics simulations and free energy calculations.

My Notre Dame experience was truly great, both on the professional and personal fronts. As far as the university is concerned, I think Notre Dame posseses an outstanding academic enviroment with exceptional facilities and great minds. Notre Dame is also an excellent place to live in and be part of. Its campus is clearly the most beautiful I have seen to date, the graduate housing is also possibly the best in the country, the people are very friendly, and, who can forget Notre Dame football (GO IRISH !!).

Notre Dame chemical engineering department has top-notch faculties who give equal importance to research and teaching, which is hard to find in top departments nowadays. The professors are a friendly bunch who always maintain an "open door" policy for students. As a graduate student in this department, I worked with Chia Chang and Ed Maginn on several interesting and challenging problems in the area of transport through nanoporous materials. They were truly great scientist, mentors and friends, whom I still approach for professional advice.

View All Graduate/PostDoc Alumni Profiles

Graduate Alumni Profiles | Serafim Kallidasis

Serafim Kallidasis

Serafim Kallidasis '94

Advisor: Chia Chang
Thesis Title: Self-similar interfacial and wetting dynamics
PostDoc: 1994-1995, School of Mathematics, University of Bristol, UK

Current Position

Professor in fluid mechanics, Dept of Chem Engineering, Imperial College London UK. Research interests: interfacial fluid mechanics, pattern formation driven by coupled hydrodynamic and reaction-diffusion instabilities, mathematical biology.


Despite a number of PhD offers from other US institutions including Urbana, Carnegie Mellon and Purdue I decided to pursue my PhD with ND. And there are several reasons for that. At the time I was primarily interested in nonlinear dynamics and dynamical systems applicable to chemical engineering problems especially fluid dynamics. Very few graduate engineering schools in the US covered this subject. In fact, after moving from Greece to the US I quickly realized that despite its relatively small size, the ChemE dept at ND covered a wide variety of subjects in chemical engineering science and its associated fields. This trend has continued since then. The ND faculty has some of the leading figures in their respective fields working at the forefront of problems that cross the boundaries of many disciplines. The high level of complementarities within the faculty along with the large number of powerful tools covering theoretical methods, computational/numerical techniques and experimental instrumentation as well as the broad spectrum of extertise available is necessary to address the challenging scientific issues facing modern chemical engineering. Further, this expertise combined with the friendly research atmosphere at ND together with its exciting and multidisciplinary enviroment, encourages new PhD students to perform at their best.

Within Chia Chang's group in particular I found myself interacting with a good number of very able young researchers from all the over the world each with their own particular mix of skills and research ambitions. We worked both as individuals and as a group. And this was a special group dynamics: through extensive discussions that would some times last for hours on end and continuous interaction we were fully aware of the nature of research problems of the other group members and we would try to benefit from each other's knowledge/expertise and input. As a consequence our work was at the forefront of its field. That was a unique research environment which I will always miss.

View All Graduate/PostDoc Alumni Profiles

Graduate Alumni Profiles | Yiannis Kaznessis

Yiannis Kaznessis

Yiannis Kaznessis '99

Advisor: Dr. Davide A. Hill and Dr. Edward J. Maginn
Thesis Title: Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Macromolecules: Comparison with Dielectric Spectroscopy Experiments.
Graduate School: University of Notre Dame
PostDoc: Pfizer Global Research and Development and the University of Michigan

Current Position

University of Minnesota, where he is the Director of the Bioinformatics Summer Institute and faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and Digital Technology Center.


"My experience at the University of Notre Dame was a particularly rewarding one. The environment is one of scholastic excellence and the campus is still the most beautiful one I have seen in the States. The University is rich in traditions that quickly become meaningful even to a foreigner. Scientific rigor guides the work of researchers at ND and the Department offers a wide spectrum of research opportunities in cutting edge technological fields.

Working with Davide Hill and Edward Maginn, I was provided with the guided freedom and the necessary resources to not only find the answers to specific scientific questions but also to explore my own preferences in means and methods of research. Although I started as an experimentalist I quickly discovered that I preferred sitting in front of a computer developing theories and models. My advisors allowed me to switch and for the last eight years I have indeed only sat in front of blue screens.

Using Brownian dynamics simulations, I investigated the behavior of polymer chains with their one end confined on a flat surface. Besides polymer science, statistical mechanics and computer simulations I learned how to parallelize algorithms for running in hundreds of computers at the same time. For some time I was able to run on more that 500 online computers available throughout the campus. This was 1997 and I am sure that running on computers without the consent of the user sitting in front of the screen is not an agreeable practice anymore.

Because of the skills I developed at ND I was hired for a joint postdoctoral appointment at Pfizer Global Research and Development and the University of Michigan. There I learned how to model biological molecules and systems of interest in the pharmaceutical industry. Protein-protein, protein-DNA and protein-membrane interactions are still the focus of my group at the University of Minnesota, but now we run our simulations on computers at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications without bothering anybody on campus. I also direct the University of Minnesota Bioinformatics Summer Institute in an effort to expose undergraduate engineers to computational bioengineering."

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Graduate Alumni Profiles | Jason Keith

Jason Keith

Jason Keith '00

Advisor: Chia Chang and Dave Leighton
Thesis Title: Novel Reactor Designs for Pollution Reduction Utilizing Enhanced Transient Thermal Dispersion
Undergraduate School: The University of Akron

Current Position

Associate Professor at Michigan Technological University (MTU) in Houghton, MI 49931


At ND I worked with Profs. Chang and Leighton on the stability of reverse-flow reactors and light-off of automobile catalytic converters. I have extended this work at MTU to study diesel particulate trap regeneration and applications in chemical process safety.

The background in analytical and numerical modeling I recieved at ND has allowed me to diversify into new research areas. I have worked on mass transfer in drug patches (with former ND PhD grad Dan Zarraga at 3M) and on thermal and electrical conductivity in carbon / polymer composites (funded by DOE and
NSF) for fuel cell applications.

An undergraduate research-based curriculum alternative energy

I am currently working with the Keweenaw Research Center (part of MTU) on the design of a hybrid military transport (funded by ARL). I supervise a group of 30 undergraduate research students in a company-based setting to study alternative power sources for the vehicle and work on the vehicle design and fabrication.


"I came to ND looking for the training to get a faculty job and I was not dissappointed! During my final year I had three academic job offers and two industrial ones.

I was given a lot of academic freedom even while in graduate school. I was allowed to develop my teaching interests by working closely with Prof. Joan Brennecke as a "Super TA" for thermodynamics. If I could teach thermo I knew I could teach anything! My performance in this class allowed me to work on the development of a new (at the time) freshmen engineering curriculum with Profs. Jay Brockman (computer engineering) and Tom Fuja (electrical engineering). I feel this experience was the "wild card" in getting my academic job offers.

While at ND I really learned how to think, how to write, and how to study a specific problem in enormous detail. However, by studying my dissertation problem I was able to train myself to learn new things. This has allowed me to diversify into other areas, and easily collaborate with other faculty in my department. I can point to my training at ND as the key point of "intellectual explosion" in my life.

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Graduate Alumni Profiles | Michael King

Michael King

Michael King '99

Advisor: Dr. David T. Leighton
Thesis Title: Topics in Fluid Mechanics: T On the Stability of Stratified Flows. TT Droplet-Droplet and Particle-Plane Interactions Near Contact.
Undergraduate School: B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester
Graduate School: University of Notre Dame
PostDoc: University of Pennsylvania

Current Position

Mike joined the faculty of biomedical engineering at the Univ. of Rochester in early 2002, and holds secondary appointments in Chemical Engineering and Biophysics. He is a 2003 Whitaker Investigator and in 2004 received the prestigious James D. Watson Investigator Award from the State of New York.


"Working for Profs. Leighton and McCready, I was able to work on an interesting range of problems in fluid mechanics. I learned to construct mathematical models from first principles and devise experiments that isolate key mechanisms and test the theories. The CHEG faculty is a smart and collegial bunch, and there is a great deal of camaraderie among the graduate students. Overall, I received a solid fundamental education that has served me well as I moved from my thesis research into new interdisciplinary fields."

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Graduate Alumni Profiles | Dmitry Kopelevich

Dmitry Kopelevich

Dmitry Kopelevich '02

 Advisor: Hsueh-Chia Chang
 Thesis Title: Development of stochastic models for molecular transport in nanoscale materials
 Undergraduate School: Kuban State University

Current Position

Assistant Professsor, Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida.


Working with Dr. H.-C. Chang at Notre Dame gave me a chance to explore a wide range of problems including nonlinear pattern formation in fluids, molecular modeling of diffusion in nanoporous materials, and sedimentation of suspension. The variety of projects has prepared me to conduct independent research in different areas. In addition, my teaching experience at Notre Dame was invaluable in preparing me for my faculty career. Overall, my graduate work at ND was a great experience and prepared me well for the postdoctoral position at Princeton and the independent faculty career at the University of Florida.

View All Graduate/PostDoc Alumni Profiles

Graduate Alumni Profiles | Adrienne Minerick

Adrienne Minerick

Adrienne Minerick '03

Advisor: Hsueh-Chia Chang
Thesis Title: Medical Diagnostic Microfluidics and Physiological Blood Flow Dynamics
Undergraduate School: B.S. Michigan Technological University

Current Position

Assistant Professor in the Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering and in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Director of the Medical micro-Device Engineering Research Laboratory (M.D. - ERL) Mississippi State University.


My graduate experience at Notre Dame was unparalleled. The philosophy was very much work hard / play hard; I got to work next to some great individuals and made friends (now colleagues) that will last a lifetime. The campus community is friendly with a long history; the resources and traditions are at the level one would see at an institution three times its size.

Mentors / Professors: "Many notable mentors and professors provided advice during my career at ND. Hsueh-Chia Chang is an exceptionally talented researcher who continuously challenges his students. The training I received under his direction prepared me well. The nature of my research was collaborative; I had the honor of working with Agnes Ostafin and Kenneth Olson who patiently mentored me as I learned terminology and techniques in their respective biological fields. As an aspiring professor, I was also given the opportunity to be a Graduate Instructor under Joan Brennecke, who provided a solid foundation from which I built when I began teaching on my own.

My initial research project examined the cardiovascular response of trout using frequency response analysis. Besides learning programming and numerical methods, I became proficient with many time series analysis techniques including the Fourier and Hilbert Transforms. Upon completion of the first phase of the project, I was given the opportunity to influence the future direction of the research. I chose to move toward the microscale and examined red blood cell motion in a 20 micron capillary microdevice. Optimization of the system led to using nonlinear AC fields (dielectrophoresis) to characterize suspensions of red blood cells. In Chia Chang's group, I learned the theoretical as well as the experimental. The close collaboration between professors from different departments gave me the unique opportunity to learn in a truly multidisciplinary environment.

As time has passed, the laundry list of notable accomplishments and prestigious appointments by my friends (now colleagues) has grown ever longer. I've come to realize that I trained next to exceptionally talented individuals and exactly how valuable the training was at Notre Dame. During a recent conversation with another ND graduate turned professor (Nyree McDonald), she mentioned that many of us failed to appreciate what a phenomenal community we had. It was sure a challenge, but a challenge that constructively built solid expertise and character.

In short, the culture in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Notre Dame is that of superior academics and professors who facilitate research opportunities and thus their student's ultimate chance for success. Each of the mentors mentioned above played key roles in developing skills that earned me a tenure- track faculty position at Mississippi State University.

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Graduate Alumni Profiles | Jayne Wu

Jayne Wu

Jayne Wu '04

Advisor: Hsueh-Chia Chang
Undergraduate School: B.Eng. in Applied Physics (1993) Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, P.R. China
Graduate School: Ph.D. in Solid-State Physics (1999), Shanghai Institute of Microsystems and Information Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (2004) University of Notre Dame
PostDoc: University of Notre Dame

Current Position

Assistant professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, since 2004.


From 2003 to 2004, I worked as a post-doc researcher with Prof. H.-Chia Chang.  That was one of the most rewarding years in my career.  My research focused on AC electrokinetics for bio-micro-fluidic chips, which is an emerging field that only a few have ventured into.  Chia has shown great vision leading his group into this research area, and I was able to write a successful NSF Career proposal based on my work there.  I often feel fortunate that I joined his group and had been exposed to Chia’s work ethic, his enthusiasm about science, and his insights as a technical leader. 

Certainly I am not the only life that Chia has touched.  His dedication to research was rather infectious as I witnessed.  His group made exciting progress in a short time and generated many innovative techniques, and has been keeping that pace.  I was also impressed by the synergy among the group members to work together and capitalize on each individual’s strength and specialty.  

Needless to say, my post-doc experience was very positive.  Its being too short is my regret.  Cheers.

View All Graduate/PostDoc Alumni Profiles

Graduate Alumni Profiles | Leslie Yeo

Leslie Yeo

Leslie Yeo '05

Advisor: Hsueh-Chia Chang
Graduate School: MEng Imperial College London, PhD Imperial College London
PostDoc: University of Notre Dame

Current Position

Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Monash University, Australia. Co-director, Micro/Nanophysics Research Laboratory (MNRL).


I came to ND after 2 years in industry as a mathematical modeller having previously completed a PhD at Imperial College. During this time, I had discovered that I missed the challenges and dynamics of working in a research environment. This I found at ND, where I worked for 1 1/2 years on electrohydrodynamically driven microfluidics associated with freely deforming surfaces for a range of bioapplications.

At ND, I had the privilege of working at the forefront of leading edge microfluidics research with Prof. Chia Chang. I benefited greatly from the exposure to state-of-the-art technologies, the breath and depth of Prof. Chang's physical insight, and, the opportunity to work with an extremely motivated and creative bunch of postdoctoral researchers and graduate students. Together, we had discovered the first ever electrospray driven by high frequency alternating currents and a way to remotely induce recirculatory surface flows in tiny liquid volumes for micro-mixing and bioparticle trapping. To this day, I continue to draw on my experience at ND in the daily challenges of an academic career.

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Professor Wolf and final reaction eng class

​Professor Eduardo Wolf and his Fall 2014 Advanced Chemical Reaction Engineering graduate students. This fall is Dr. Wolf's final semester teaching. He and his class posed for this photo at the Gradutate Student and Postdoc Christmas Party.​
Professor Wolf and final reaction eng class
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Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Academic Timeline
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Admissions FAQ

Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How big is the department?
    A. There are 25 faculty, 75 graduate students, over 15 postdocs, and an average of 85 undergraduates per class.

Q. How big will my incoming graduate student class be?
    A. We typically enroll about 15 - 22 students each year.

Q. Do Ph.D. students get their Masters too?
    A. Most do get an M.S. on their way to a Ph.D. after meeting the departmental requirements.

Q. Do I need a Masters to get my Ph.D.?
    A. Nope. Most of our students come directly from undergrad, some after completing MS programs, and others return to higher ed after working in industry.

Q. How do I apply?
    A. Applications are all done online. Click here to begin!

Q. Are there minimum GRE scores required to apply?
    A. No. All submitted applications are reviewed. Click here to view recent admissions statistics, such as number of applicants, diversity of applicants, and average GRE and GPA scores. Entry into the program is competitive so strong scores are recommended.

Q. How can the GRE scores be sent directly to Notre Dame?
    A. Use the institution code 1841 to send the scores directly through ETS. If you need to upload new scores after you have submitted your application, please send them to gradapp@nd.edu. Unofficial scores can be uploaded until the official scores are available. An offer of admission is contingent upon receiving the official scores from ETS.

Q. Do I have to take the TOEFL?
    A. If English is not your first language you are required to submit TOEFL scores with your application unless you have/will have a degree from a US institution or can demonstrate that English is the primary language of instruction at your current institution. See more FAQs about the TOEFL exam on the Graduate School website.

Q. Can I be admitted to the department if I don't have an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering?

    A. Yes. In fact, we have students with B.S. degrees in the sciences (usually chemistry, physics or materials science) and other areas of engineering. Depending on your background, you may need to take some undergraduate courses your first year in residence to ensure adequate preparation for graduate courses. Your individual course requirements are worked on between you and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Q. How do I pick my advisor?
    A. In late September you will have the opportunity to listen to presentations from each faculty member where he or she describes the research projects they are offering. Once you have a better idea of the professors you might like to work with, first-year students are strongly encouraged meet in depth with the professor(s) that interest you as well as the students in their group.

After this, you submit a list of your top three choices to the Chair, who matches students and faculty according to mutual interest.

Q. Can I be guaranteed that I will get my first choice of advisor?
    A. The vast majority get their first choice. In some cases, students may end up with their second or third choice if too many people prefer one project, but we make every effort to make sure students are happy with their choice.

Q. Why wouldn't everybody get their first choice?
    A. At Notre Dame, all graduate students are fully funded; TA duties are the same for all students. At some schools, faculty take students without full funding, and the student earns their stipend by serving as a TA every semester. Because we don't do this, it means we only assign students to projects that are funded. If too many students pick the same project for their first choice, then obviously something has to give.

Q. What kind of exams are there and when do they take place?
A. Comprehensive Evaluation - This takes place during the beginning of the third semester in residence, usually the week before Fall classes start. The purpose of the exam is to judge whether a student is prepared to perform research at a level consistent with their degree objectives. It involves both written and oral components as well as an evaluation of student performance in course work and as a TA. Complete details can be found in the Guide for Graduate Students.

Ph.D. Candidacy Exam - After passing the Comprehensive Exam, Ph.D. students take the Candidacy Exam by the end of the fifth semester. The student writes a 10-12 page document describing their research progress and outlining their plans for the remainder of their thesis work. A faculty panel consisting of a chair from outside the department and a panel of three departmental faculty evaluate the document and conduct an oral examination. Full details are provided in the Guide for Graduate Students.

Ph.D. Defense - Once all the departmental requirements for the Ph.D. degree are satisfied, including submission of a thesis, the student defends the thesis during an oral examination before a panel of faculty.

Q. What's the vacation policy?
    A. The basic departmental vacation policy for graduate students is that each graduate student is eligible to take two weeks vacation during each twelve-month period, in addition to the following holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas through New Year Celebration, Good Friday, Memorial Day, and Independence Day. Students should consult with their advisor before scheduling vacation.

Q. Health Insurance?
    A. Full-time Ph.D. students receiving a full stipend are eligible for a 100% insurance premium subsidy from the Graduate School. Check out the specifics of the ND sponsored plan on the University Health Services website. Students who have other coverage (through parents, spouse, etc.) and waive the University sponsored plan are eligible to receive a small financial incentive.

Q. Cost of living expenses?
    A. The cost of living is very low in the South Bend area, so your stipend dollars go a long way. According to Salary.com, the cost of living in South Bend is about 15% lower than the cost of living in Chicago, Atlanta, Ann Arbor and Minneapolis, and over 30% lower than the cost of living in Boston or Los Angeles.

Q. Notre Dame is a Catholic school, so are all the students Catholic?
    A. Notre Dame welcomes students and faculty of all religious backgrounds and beliefs. Our graduate students come from all over the U.S. as well as from around the world, and have a wide range of creedal affiliations. The mission of Notre Dame is to advance knowledge and pursue the truth. This is best done in a climate that supports diverse views and freedom of inquiry.

Q. How many students live off campus?
    A. Most students end up living off campus in apartments or rental houses. A few students even purchase their own homes (see cost of living question!). Most new students find it easier to to live on campus for the first year and get settled in, especially if they don't have a car.

Q. Are many students married and/or do many have children?
    A. Perhaps 20% of the graduate students are either married when they enter graduate school, or get married during graduate school. Of these, a fair number also have children.

Q. What is the ratio of male to female students?
    A. About 25% of our current graduate students are female.

Q. What is the ratio of international to domestic students?
    A. The ratio of domestic to international students varies, but currently almost 45% of the graduate students are international and come from 15 different countries. 

Q. How long does it take to get a Ph.D.?
    A. The range is typically 4-5 years with an average of 5 years.

Q. How many students stop at Masters degree?
    A. Almost all of our students complete their Ph.D. degree. Less than 10% stop at an M.S.

Q. How many classes do I have to take, and are there core classes?
    A. There is a 5-course (15 credit) minimum for a the M.S. degree, and an 8-course (24 credit) requirement for the Ph.D. Students entering with an M.S. degree may transfer up to 24 credits upon approval of the Graduate Studies Director. There are core required courses all students must take in mathematics, transport phenomena, thermodynamics and kinetics. Complete details are provided in the Graduate Guide.

Q. How much does it cost for athletic facilities?
    A. Graduate students have free use of all facilities on campus with student ID. Also, various grad, faculty, and staff sport leagues are available.

Q. Can I get football, basketball or other sporting event tickets?
    A. Yes, you may purchase season tickets for any sport. Football is very popular at Notre Dame. Graduate students may purchase football tickets during the beginning of the fall semester at a discounted price and through a lottery. Information will be given to you soon after your arrive on campus. Other sports offer discounted or free admission to enrolled students.

Q. When do I need to arrive on campus?
    A. Everyone needs to be on-campus for Graduate Student Orientation week, which starts a week before Fall classes. There are mandatory training sessions, Kaneb Center Orientation for TAs, as well as mandatory International Student Orientation for non-US students. The Department's welcome and orientation are typically this week, as well.

Apply for Fall 2018

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Defenses and Graduation

Information for CBE Ph.D. defenses and graduation

Ph.D. Dissertation Defenses

The final document a Ph.D. candidate produces as a requirement of the Doctor of Philosophy degree is called a dissertation. Dissertations in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering must be defended to a committee of three faculty plus the student's advisor.

Committee selection: Committees are assigned prior to the Candidacy Exam. The members are suggested by the student's faculty advisor based on the dissertation topic and assigned by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Registration and ND Roll Call

Regardless of when a student defends in the semester, they maintain their student status through the degree conferral date. A student must be enrolled in the semester in which they graduate. If you are unsure about what to register for, please check with Nadia Casas.

In the semester you will defend and graduate, indicate you are graduating in ND Roll Call. Even if you think you may end up graduating at a later date, please check the box in ND Roll Call to get on the graduation list if there is a chance you will graduate in that semester. It is easier to remove someone from the list than in is to add later on.

Setting the date

Check the Graduate School's SCHEDULE OF DEADLINES to help you pick a defense date. There is deadline before the end of the semester for defenses, students defending after that date will graduate in the following semester. Work with your advisor and committee to set a defense date; book a time for 2 hours. Faculty schedules fill up early so please schedule well in advance so don't delay in getting something on the calendar.

When you have a date and time set, email Nadia to schedule a conference room. Please send her the date, time, committee members (their department if not in CBE and email address and institution if non-ND) and your tentative dissertation title. The actual title will be on your final submission to the Graduate School.

You can read more about the Grad School’s graduation timeline, requirements, and dissertation checklist on their website under Resources for Current Students. Please find below a summary of the upcoming PhD Dissertation and Defense deadlines for the upcoming graduation date.

The Defense

Your committee should have an advisor-approved copy of your dissertation three weeks prior to your defense. Provide them a hard copy and PDF. Check out the room you will use to defend in and test your computer with the room's equipment and note any dongles you might need co connect to the monitor or projector.

The day of, make sure to get to the room ahead of time. The room will be reserved 30 minutes before the start to allow for set-up. Bring a helper and set up any food and beverages. Many students bring in food for their committee while others order items to be delivered from on-campus (ABP, Starbucks, Campus Catering, etc).

The initial presentation is open to the public. Students invite their research groups, friends, and/or family to watch. The question and answer portion is limited to the committee and the student, no visitors. See the CBE Guide to Graduate Studies and the Graduate School's Doctoral Defense Overview for more information on the defense format.

After the defense the committee will recommend a Pass or Fail. They will sign the Doctoral Defense Reporting Form and submit it to be recorded with the Graduate School. Now, all that remains is submitting the final dissertation to the Graduate School and fulfill any remaining requirements before graduation.

Commencement Ceremony

There are three graduation dates throughout the year at the end of the summer, fall and spring semesters. This is the degree conferral date and is listed on the diploma and final transcripts.

The annual commencement ceremony takes place in May and celebrates the graduates from the prior summer and fall semesters in addition to the spring graduates. The Graduate School ceremony where graduates are hooded and presented their diplomas is Saturday and the University-wide ceremony is Sunday morning.

Proof of Degree


Proof of Degree, Transcripts, Proof of Enrollment, Employment and Income Verification

Proof of Degree, Transcripts, Proof of Enrollment

Proof of Degree

Prior to graduation date, >1 month: If you will be accepting an offer of employment shortly after submitting your formal dissertation, and your employer requires proof that you’ve met all of your degree requirements prior to receiving your formal diploma, you may request a letter of completion from the Graduate School. This is only for a letter needed more than one month before the graduation date can be obtained only if all Graduate School requirements have been fulfilled, reviewed, and approved; defense, dissertation submission, surveys, fees paid, etc. See section 3. Letter of Completion for more information.

Final transcripts issued after the graduation award date will reflect the date of graduation and degree awarded.

Your diploma is also proof of degree.


Current students can request transcripts through the Transcript Request page of InsideND. Alumni can request transcripts through MyNotreDame. Only transcripts issued after the graduation date will reflect conferral of degree.

Proof of Enrollment

For current students, enrollment can be verified through the self-service Enrollment Verification (access through InsideND) or by Transcript Request (access through InsideND) if grades are required.

To verify degree and attendance dates, please contact verifications.1@nd.edu or 574-631-7043.

Proof of Employment and/or Income

The department cannot respond to employment verification requests. Students and Alumni must authorize The Work Number to release that information or use the online portal to retrieve and instant report.

The Work Number service is used when you apply for a loan, need a reference check, lease an apartment or any other instance where proof of employment or income is needed. You benefit from verifiers having 24/7 access to your information, allowing you to make life decisions at your own pace.

For further info, please visit the Work Number info page on the Human Resources website: http://hr.nd.edu/nd-faculty-staff/the-work-number/  for the Employer Code.

Access The Work number portal through InsideND 

You can generate instant reports for employment or income in the portal.

If you know a background check is being conducted, you must authorize The Work Number to release your information or else they will not  be able to verify anything.

CBE Program Info Portfolio

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CBE Graduate Student Organization

The goal of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Graduate Student Organization (CBEGSO) is to facilitate intradepartmental communication and collaboration, encourage professional development, and support Notre Dame Chemical Engineering graduate students as they become leaders in industry and academia. To achieve our objective, we organize an several academic and social events, including an annual research symposium, and an annual retreat to celebrate a productive year and welcome incoming students. Check out our events page for more details.

The link address is: http://cbegso.nd.edu/

CBE-GradGuide-2018 Sept.pdf

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CBE Graduate Student Self-Evaluation

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CBE Grad Guide 2019-20

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