Chemical Engineering PHD

Program Purpose

The Department of Chemical Engineering exists to provide strong and unique support of Brigham Young University's mission to "assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life" and to provide an educational experience that is "spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, and character building, thus fitting students with the skills and desire for lifelong learning and service."

The mission of the graduate program in the chemical engineering department is to provide exceptional students the opportunity to earn M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering as the students benefit from the unique experience of BYU. The program provides the faculty an opportunity to direct internationally recognized research that enhances department educational efforts and the value of all department degrees. Research and other graduate-program activities improve both the undergraduate and graduate educational experiences and are not justified solely by external funding, publications, or other norms. In this environment, student education is substantially broader than classroom instruction and includes the practical training, critical thinking skills, writing skills, and self-direction required to perform research.

Curricular Structure

Department Information

Graduate Catalog


Program Objectives

Within a few years of graduation, all engineering students will (assessment methods shown in parentheses):

  1. Be engaged in fulfilling and meaningful careers that use skills developed in the program (self surveys)
  2. Establish themselves as consistent and substantive organizational contributors (industrial advisory committee/employer/self surveys)

Learning Outcomes

The graduate programs in chemical engineering at BYU include a project-based MS program, a thesis MS program, and a PhD program. The objectives and learning outcomes associated with each of these programs differ both in extent and fundamentally, as described below. The objectives outline the skills students should demonstrate a few years after graduation. The learning outcomes describe skills students should exhibit at the time of graduation. Assessments of meeting the objectives and learning outcomes include direct and indirect measures, the former being information that relates directly to student achievement and the latter being secondary measures related to this achievement. These objectives and outcomes are further supported by quantitative departmental performance goals. The objectives and outcomes fall into four categories: engineering foundation, sub-discipline expertise, engineering work skills and leadership, and personal ethics and accountability. The extent and nature of sub-discipline expertise and leadership is the biggest difference between the MS and PhD program outcomes.

Broad Understanding of Engineering Science

Demonstrate accurate and broad understanding of engineering science as evidenced through innovative, timely, and sound solutions to problems

Courses that Contribute: CH EN 531 CH EN 533 CH EN 535 CH EN 601
Linked to BYU Aims: Quantitative reasoning
Productive Interaction

Interact productively with people from diverse backgrounds as both leaders/mentors and team members and with integrity and professionalism

Courses that Contribute: CH EN 601 CH EN 799R
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Character
Communication Skills

Exhibit communication skills

Courses that Contribute: CH EN 601 CH EN 799R
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively
Understanding Sub-disciplines

Understand sub-discipline at a level that meets or exceeds that of world experts and their advisors.

Courses that Contribute: CH EN 601 CH EN 791R CH EN 799R
Linked to BYU Aims: Competence
Conducting Research

Conduct research independent of their advisers and take personal responsibility for its direction and conclusions.

Courses that Contribute: CH EN 601 CH EN 799R
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Competence
Innovating Contributions

Innovate contributions to new science/scientific methods.

Courses that Contribute: CH EN 601 CH EN 799R
Linked to BYU Aims: Quantitative reasoning
Publishing Contributions

Publish contributions in respected, archival journals.

Courses that Contribute: CH EN 601 CH EN 799R
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively
Safety Skills

Exhibit safety skills

Courses that Contribute: CH EN 791R
Linked to BYU Aims: None

Evidence of Learning

Direct Measures

Direct measures of outcomes include

  1. examining committee dissertation evaluation
  2. qualifying exam
  3. semiannual student evaluations
  4. publications/student – goal is 3 peer reviewed publicaitons for PhD students  with at least one submitted by defense date

Indirect Measures

Indirect measures of outcomes and objectives include

  1. external program evaluations by visiting scientists
  2. periodic alumni and industrial advisory committee surveys
  3. student surveys

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement

The graduate curriculum was reviewed by faculty committees composed of current and past instructors for each class. As a result, several courses were revised and new courses proposed.

Expectations for adequate student progress toward timely graduation were re-evaluated and revised.  Published documents were clarified to improve student/faculty expectations and interactions.  The graduate committee developed uniform guidelines for the preparation and defense of the prospectus.  Furthermore, expectations regarding publications were clarified for students and committees.  The peer-review process necessitated by early publications will improve quality of thesis work.

Increased emphasis on safety and professional ethics.

Survey instruments for students and advisory committees upon graduation were developed.