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.
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.
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 does not accept students interested in a terminal master’s degree except under special circumstances. Students generally obtain master’s degrees in the course of fulfilling the requirements for the 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.
Applications are reviewed by the department’s Graduate Admissions Committee. Final admissions decisions are communicated to all applicants via the email you provide on your online application. Admitted students who reside in the United States will be invited to visit the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, 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; individual meetings with faculty; tours of the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotech Building, chemical engineering labs, and the University of Colorado Boulder campus; opportunities to meet with faculty and graduate students in a social setting; and social activities with graduate students so that you can become acquainted with Boulder, Colorado and the surrounding area.
All applicants must utilize the new online application system.
Minimum Requirements for All Applicants
All applicants must submit an online Graduate Application.
The following items must be uploaded with your online application.
1.) There is a $60 application fee for all domestic applicants. However, between September 1 and December 15, the application fee will be waived for all U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents seeking a PhD and who have an overall GPA of 3.50/4.00 or greater from an accredited college or university. If you are applying to our department and you meet the requirements above, please email our Graduate Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) a copy of your most recent unofficial transcript. After a review of your transcript, you will receive instructions on how to waive the application fee.
2.) The Graduate School has agreed to waive the application fee for the following:
- Current McNair Scholars
- Active Peace Corps or AmeriCorps volunteers
- Project 1000 applicants
- U.S. military (active duty, veteran, previously served, those in the National Guard, and Those on Active Reserve). All will automatically have their application fee waived.
If you are a McNair Scholar or an active volunteer for the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps, please contact email@example.com for more information before you complete your application.
The application fee will NOT be waived for applicants seeking a Master’s degree.
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, 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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.
Department Contact Information
University of Colorado Boulder
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Attn: Graduate Admissions Committee
596 UCB, RM A125A
Boulder, CO 80309
General research areas within the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering include:
Ours is one of the top research departments in the nation and maintains sophisticated facilities to support research endeavors. Although research in the department spans many diverse fields, there is a particular emphasis on research in biological engineering, functional materials and renewable energy.
Biological engineering research includes a broad collection of focal areas spanning from the molecular scale (metabolites, genes, proteins) to the cellular and multicellular scales. Biological engineering projects account for a significant portion of the research activity within the department. This research is supported in a variety of manners: federal grants (NIH, NSF, DOD, etc.), national foundations (Howard Hughes, Cystic Fibrosis, etc.), and industrial collaborators.
Functional materials research includes a diverse group of research areas including polymers, nanostructured materials, photovoltaic materials, ultrathin films, catalytic materials, computational materials science, self-assembled monolayers and liquid crystalline materials. The department has strength in studying materials problems at the nanometer and sub-nanometer scales. Such fundamental investigations are directed toward technological applications.
Finally, the department has an active program in renewable energy research. Studies range from the production and utilization of hydrogen to materials for photovoltaics to biorefining and biofuels research. A number of efforts focus on developing catalysts for converting water to hydrogen and CO2 into fuels such as CO and methanol. Another area of focus is the study of novel photovoltaic materials and structures involving organic, inorganic and hybrid structures for efficient solar energy harvesting.
Full financial support is available to admitted PhD students in the form of teaching assistantships, research 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.
Compare us to other institutions nationwide.
Graduate Student Profile (AY 2020-2021)
Graduate Student Excellence
#1 Recognized Faculty (Shanghai Ranking)
- Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellows: 2
- AIChE Colburn Award: 1
- AIChE Professional Progress Awards: 3
- Camille-Dreyfus Teacher Scholars: 3
- Department of Energy Early Career Awards: 2
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator: 1
- National Academy of Engineering Fellow: 1
- National Academy of Medicine Fellows: 2
- National Academy of Sciences Fellow: 1
- National Institutes of Health FIRST Award: 1
- NIH New Innovator Award: 1
- NSF CAREER Awards: 13
- NSF Presidential Early Career Investigators: 3
- Teaching and Mentoring Awards: 29
- L’Oreal-UNESCO Award: 1
Opportunities for Collaboration