Laurel Hind and student in lab examining a sample

Graduate Degrees

PhD Programs
Chemical Engineering
Biological Engineering

MS Program
Chemical Engineering

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering offers an innovative graduate program and emphasizes the doctoral degree. The department's outstanding domestic and international students take advantage of the high level of faculty-student collaboration and benefit from access to six interdisciplinary research centers. Department faculty and students have won numerous awards both nationally and internationally.

The department particularly encourages applications from students who would broaden the diversity of our graduate community. We know that diversity is essential to academic and workplace success and we are committed to creating an inclusive and collaborative community.

MS Degree

The master of science degree requires 30 hours of approved course work and successful completion of a comprehensive final exam or thesis defense. Students may pursue a thesis or non-thesis plan.

The department emphasizes the PhD degree and does not accept applications from students seeking a terminal master’s degree. Students generally obtain master’s degrees in the course of fulfilling the requirements for the PhD degree.

PhD Degree

The doctor of philosophy degree requires 30 hours of approved course work and 30 hours of dissertation. Students must successfully complete a preliminary examination, comprehensive examination and dissertation defense.


Full financial support is available to admitted PhD students in the form of assistantships and fellowships. No additional forms are needed to be considered for this funding.

Students admitted to the MS program are not eligible to receive department financial support.

A significant number of PhD students are supported through external fellowships available through the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, NASA, etc., and applicants are highly recommended to apply for relevant external fellowships.

How to Apply

Admission is based on overall student qualifications and is independent of research subject area. Department faculty and staff members do not conduct individual recruiting practices for prospective graduate students. Prospective student information will only be reviewed through formal submittal to the Graduate Admissions Committee.

Admission Requirements

All applicants must utilize the online application system.

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university.
  • The GRE is no longer a requirement for admission to our graduate program and it is not part of our review process.
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Unofficial transcripts from all attended institutions of higher education. For review and decision purposes you are required to upload an unofficial copy of your transcript(s) in the online application. We require one copy of the scanned transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution that you attended. This includes community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs. While credits from one institution may appear on the transcript of a second institution, unofficial transcripts must be submitted from each institution, regardless of the length of attendance, and whether or not courses were completed. Failure to list and submit transcripts from all institutions previously attended is considered to be a violation of academic ethics and may result in the cancellation of your admission or dismissal from the university. ONLY after you are recommended for admission will you need to provide official transcripts. Read the instructions for uploading unofficial transcripts to your application.
  • Three letters of recommendation. You will enter your recommender’s contact information into the online application.
  • International Applicants must submit an official TOEFL (minimum 100ibt), IELTS (minimum 7.0) or Duolingo (minimum 100) score to the University of Colorado Boulder. The department will waive the English Language requirement if the applicant has studied at a U.S. institution for a minimum of 1 year or the applicant is a citizen of one of the following countries: Australia, Belize, Botswana, Anglophone Canada, Commonwealth Caribbean, Ghana, Great Britain, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Scotland, Singapore or South Africa.

Diversity Initiative

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering particularly encourages applications from students who would broaden the diversity of our graduate community. We know that diversity is essential to academic and workplace success, and we are committed to creating an inclusive and collaborative community. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder Diversity Initiative.

Domestic Applicants

The College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU Boulder is once again offering a program that allows qualifying PhD applicants to waive their application fees until Nov. 15, 2022.

The program is intended to support our college's strategic vision to become a premier destination for U.S. graduate students.

The minimum requirements are:

  • Applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident
  • Applicant must be applying for a PhD program in the College of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Applicant must be applying to enroll in fall 2023
  • Applicant must have at least a 3.4 GPA from their accredited undergraduate institution
  • Applicant must meet all department requirements for their PhD programs
  • Application must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 15, 2022

The offer will be applied automatically to qualifying students in the application portal; no code is needed. Questions may be directed to Meredith Canode, director of graduate programs, at

Please note: While the application fee waiver should be automatically applied, please allow 24-48 hours processing time. After submitting your application, you should ignore the payment window and check back at a later time to gain access to your status page and verify that the waiver has been successfully applied. If you continue to have issues accessing the status page after 24-48 hours, please reach out to for assistance.

Learn more about the CEAS Graduate Application Fee Waiver

The application fee will not be waived for applicants seeking a terminal Master’s degree.

The Graduate School offers application fee waivers for participants in the following programs: current McNair Scholars, active Peace Corps or AmeriCorps volunteers, Black in AI (BAI), Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) initiative, Gates Millennium Scholars, Leadership Alliance, Louis-Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Scholar Program, Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP), SMART, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native American in Science (SACNAS) or Teach for America. If you are affiliated with one of these programs, please send proof of affiliation to before you submit your application, and the university will process your fee waiver for you.

If you are in the U.S. military, you will receive an automatic fee waiver as a thank you for your service (active duty, veteran, previously served, and active reserve are all eligible for this automatic fee waiver).

International Applicants

There is an $80 application fee for all international applicants. However, between Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, the department will consider waiving the application fee for international students seeking a PhD degree who have a GPA greater than or equal to 3.80/4.00, 4.00/5.00, 90/100, 9.0/10, 90% or 18/20 for both bachelor's and master's (if applicable) degrees from an accredited college or university. The GPA requirement is not an average of bachelor's and master's degrees. If you meet the requirement, please email our Graduate Coordinator ( a copy of your most recent unofficial transcript and a resume. After a review of your transcript and resume by the Graduate Admissions Committee, you will receive instructions on how to waive the application fee.

The application fee will not be waived for applicants seeking a terminal master’s degree.

Next Steps

Applications are reviewed by the department’s Graduate Admissions Committee. Final admissions decisions are communicated to all applicants via the email you provide in your online application. Admitted students who reside in the United States will be invited to visit CU-Boulder, at department expense, during one of two weekends in the spring. These visit weekends provide recruits with an overview of the research conducted in the department; meetings with faculty; tours of the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotech Building, lab tours, and campus tours. There will be opportunities to meet with faculty and graduate students in a social setting and participate in activities with graduate students so that you can become acquainted with Boulder and the surrounding area.

Department Contact Information

University of Colorado Boulder
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Attn: Graduate Admissions Committee
596 UCB, RM A125A
Boulder, CO 80309

Phone: 303-735-1975