Skip to main content
Degree Options:

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (Ph.D. Co-op Optional)

Chemical Engineering

The Ph.D degree is a thesis-based program where students are required to complete courses in addition to writing and defending a thesis.

Current Student Inquiries:

+1 905.525.9140 x 24292
Future Student Information


Duration: nominally four years (12 semesters) after the Master's degree. the Ph.D. program consists of four one-term graduate courses beyond the Bachelor's Degree or three courses beyond the Master's degree and a more extensive research program leading to a dissertation. The dissertation must be an original contribution to chemical engineering and must also be defended at an oral examination. A candidate is also required to take the Ph.D. comprehensive examination which is designed to test the breadth of knowledge and the ability to synthesize ideas from within the peripheral to the candidate's research area. Click here for a full explanation of the Ph.D. comprehensive procedures.

A Supervisory committee determines when a candidate is ready to write his/her thesis and then ascertains whether the quality of presentation is satisfactory. The student is required to defend the thesis at a Final Oral Examination.

The Department arranges a series of seminars; graduate students are expected to attend and participate in these seminars. Ph.D. students must present one seminar on their research work before they graduate.

Post-Degree Studies: A post-degree student is one who holds a university degree and has been given permission to take a specific graduate course, but has not been admitted to a graduate program. Please apply for Post Degree studies through the on-line application system.

Have questions about the program?  

Request More Information

How to Apply

Admission Requirements: Successful completion of a research Master's degree with at least a B+ (77 to 79%) average.

How to Apply: 

We accept applications throughout the year, but it is very advantageous to have applications in well before the deadline dates:

      September Admission

  • Visa - 01 March
  • Domestic - 01 May

      January Admission

  • Visa - 01 July
  • Domestic - 23 October

 All applications must be received through the web-based application process. These frequently asked questions may be of help to understand the process described below.

You will upload all required documents to your application. Here are all the details:

  1. Online application for admission. Please make sure that you fill out your name correctly. If you get an admission to McMaster University, we will register you under the name that appears on your application form. Your name should be consistent with your passport, birth certificate, social insurance number etc. unless your personal situation changes
  2. Two confidential letters of recommendation from instructors most familiar with your academic work. Please note that McMaster University uses the Electronic Referencing System. By entering the email address of your referee through the online application, the system will automatically send an e-Reference request on your behalf. If for some reason you are unable to use the Electronic Referencing System, you can download the reference form here (PDF).
  3. Transcripts Upload your transcript(s)to the application system. If you are presented with an offer, it will be conditional that you provide us with the original copies at a later date. If the final transcript does not show that a completed degree has been conferred, an official/notarized copy of your diploma is also required.
  4. Statement of interest. A one page summary describing the area of Chemical Engineering that you wish to study. Many students also include a brief summary of relevant employment experience. This statement helps faculty members identify prospective graduate students for their program.
  5. TOEFL score (if English is not your native language). An official copy of your TOEFL score, or other evidence of competency in English. Please read the frequently asked questions to see the minimum requirements.
  6. Application Fee To finalize your application, you need to agree to our terms and conditions, and pay a non-refundable application fee ($110 CAD) by credit card or debit card. The Student Accounts & Cashiers website indicates acceptable methods of payment. If you are paying the application fee by credit or debit card, please remember to return to the online application to click “Submit” Your application will not be considered for admission until your application fee has been paid.
  7. Permanent Resident (PR) Status; If you identify yourself as a PR on your application, you must upload proof of PR status to your application.
  8. All required documents should be uploaded to your application prior to submission. If you have official documents you would like to send us, please send them to:

Graduate Assistant
Department of Chemical Engineering, JHE 374
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L7

Applications should be sent as early as possible, as acceptance is on a competitive basis. Please read the frequently asked questions to learn about the deadlines for application. Please note, applications that are not complete within an eight week period after the application form has been submitted to the Department, will be closed.

To be accepted for study, the applicant must satisfy the Graduate Admissions Committee of the Department and the University and must also be accepted for supervision by a member of the Department. In submitting an application, the applicant should carefully choose an area of research from those described on this website. Normally individual departmental members will be asked to consider an applicant for work in their laboratories on the basis of the applicant's chosen area of study.

Completed application forms should be directed to, "The Graduate Assistant",

Admissions Questions? Click Here 


Is there a deadline for graduate application?

We accept applications throughout the year, but it is very advantageous to have applications in well before the deadline dates:

  September admission
      January admission
  • Visa – 01 March
  • Domestic – 01 May
  • Visa students – 01 July
  • Domestic students – 23 October

I would like to apply to your program. Where can I obtain the necessary forms?

Please follow the detailed steps given on our website.

What are the minimum admission requirements?

Master's program: 4 year undergraduate degree in engineering or physical science with a minimum B+ (77 to 79%) average.Ph.D. program: successful completion of a research Master's degree with at least a B+ (77 to 79%) average.

Will I receive financial support?

We will provide financial support to any student who does not already have external support and is admitted to one of our full-time research-based graduate degree programs (MASc. and Ph.D) and is not over-time. In our Department,full-time, on-time students receive a combination of support which many include a combination of a research stipend, a teaching assistantship, a departmental scholarship, and/or a bursary. Our Departmental policy ensures that the sum total of this support is such that after tuition fees have been paid, full-time students will receive a minimum net amount of $17,500, as long as the student remains in good standing to graduate on time. Students with scholarships from external agencies have an opportunity to earn more, and eligible students are encouraged to apply for these awards. We regularly review our support levels to ensure that students can concentrate on their studies.

Do I need to find a supervisor or need the support of a professor before applying?

No. If you are interested in particular professors, you should identify any potential supervisors of interest in your Statement of Interest that you include with your formal application (it is ok to list more than one professor). We will ensure that those professors will receive your application for review. You do not need to find a supervisor before applying. If you do not have specific supervisors in mind, you have the ability to select research areas of interest and the application will be sent to professors in those areas for review (see next question). 

What are your department's fields of research?

  1. Biomaterials and bioprocessing:
    drug delivery, tissue engineering, biocompatible surfaces, bioseparations, membranes, bioreactors, pharmaceutical processing
  2. Polymer science and engineering:
    polymer synthesis and characterization, polymer reaction engineering, polymer and particulate processing, paper chemistry, nanotechnology, interfacial engineering
  3. Process system engineering and control
    process systems design, process control, optimization, supply chain planning and scheduling, data mining, multivariate statistical methods
  4. Materials and process modeling and computation:
    molecular modeling, computational fluid dynamics, energy systems, alternative fuels/energy, wastewater treatment, life cycle analysis

What are the career prospects in Chemical Engineering?

Our graduates are employed in a wide spectrum of industries, including chemical, steel, food, pharmaceutical, medical and control vendor industries, as well as in academia.

How can I determine the status of my application?

Please check the on-line application using your access ID number to see what documents have been received. Applications will not be reviewed until all materials are received.

My application is complete, what do I do now?

Your completed application is sent for review by our admissions committee. You will be notified as soon as possible, but in peak periods, this review can take up to 6 weeks.

Can I re-apply if I'm unsuccessful?

If an unsuccessful applicant wishes to reapply, a new application package, including supporting documentation and application fee must be submitted. Applications from one year are not held over to another year. All documentation submitted in support of your application for admission becomes the property of the University and will not be returned.

How long is the MASc program?

Our MASc program has a nominal duration of 24 months and students are funded during this period.

How long is the Ph.D. program?

Our Ph.D. program has a nominal duration of 4 years and students are funded up to 4 years.

What is the TOEFL score requirement?

Scores of: 88 (Internet-based) 230 (Computer-based) 570 (paper based).

What are the university code and the department code (for the language tests)?

The University Code is: 0936 and the Department Code is: 64.

What is the MELAB requirement?

A score of 85.

What is the IELTS Minimum score?

A score of 7.0.

Program Structure

PhD students are required to complete at least three courses with a grade of B- or higher, sometimes more depending on how and when they entered the program, the type of degree(s) they have earned prior to entry, or requirements set forth by their supervisory committees. Although most courses should be at the 700 Level and be within the Department of Chemical Engineering, some courses can be at the 600 level or outside of the department depending on program requirements. PhD students are also required to enrol in the 700 level Seminar Series course each Fall and Winter term, where they will attend guest lectures by distinguished researchers from around the world. In addition, all PhD students must pass the Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination, which is designed to test the breadth of knowledge and the ability to synthesize and integrate ideas from within and peripheral to the candidate’s research area. This exam takes the format of a research proposal for a new concept, which must be presented both in writing and orally to an examination committee. PhD students must meet formally with their supervisory committee (consisting of at least three professors) at least once each year. Please see the Graduate Handbook for details of all of these aspects of the program.

Learn more

Request More Information

Thank you for your interest in McMaster University Faculty of Engineering. Please fill out the form below, and we will connect with you to answer all of your questions. 

Request more info about Graduate Studies