WPI’s PhD in Chemical Engineering program brings you to the front and center of widely recognized global work in chemical engineering and related fields. You’ll have immediate access to advanced technologies, processes, and pioneering faculty providing core support in molecular bioengineering, sustainable energy, advanced functional materials, and catalysis, to name a few. You will join a diverse group of graduate students and because of WPI’s small size, you will have the opportunity to develop strong mentoring relationships with not only your primary faculty advisor but other faculty in the program. WPI has a long standing tradition of “research for a purpose” to address a societal need, so your work will have tangible impact. Because of WPI’s interdisciplinary research tradition, you will get the opportunity to explore topics outside of the box, preparing you to take on future challenges as a leader in the research community. 

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Curriculum

While pursing your PhD in Chemical Engineering at WPI, you’ll employ active learning and knowledge of up-to-date practices to solve diverse real-life problems in areas such as bioengineering, nanotechnology, environmental engineering, energy, catalysis, process control and safety. You’ll have your choice of courses to achieve your goals, with a multitude of electives offered within Chemical Engineering and in related departments such as Biology and Biotechnology, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mechanical Engineering and Physics. Complete course descriptions and degree requirements are in the Course Catalog.

 

Graduate Student Professional Development

WPI is an emerging leader in graduate student professional development and offers a number of opportunities for graduate students to develop their interests and skills outside of a traditional research context. WPI’s Graduate School supports a robust Office of Professional Development and offers annual seminars and workshops as part of the STARS Program. The Chemical Engineering Department offers an annual Graduate Student Seminar Series where students explore creation and implementation of Individual Development Plans, meet industry experts as part of career panels, and present their research to both peers and 

Turning Plant Waste into Fuel with Solid Acids

Research

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Lab work is essential, but faculty want students to succeed in all aspects of their careers so professional development opportunities are offered and encouraged.
Lab work is essential, but faculty want students to succeed in all aspects of their careers so professional development opportunities are offered and encouraged.

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Students and faculty work closely as they conduct research in multidisciplinary, open lab environments within state-of-the-art facilities.
Students and faculty work closely as they conduct research in multidisciplinary, open lab environments within state-of-the-art facilities.

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Graduate students use WPI’s computational facilities to advance their work in simulations, bioinformatics, and big data analysis.
Graduate students use WPI’s computational facilities to advance their work in simulations, bioinformatics, and big data analysis.

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Cutting-edge research in our labs makes a direct impact on human life.
Cutting-edge research in our labs makes a direct impact on human life.

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From medical devices that stave off or prevent infections to advances in additive manufacturing, research in the chemical engineering department brings global problems to a human scale.
From medical devices that stave off or prevent infections to advances in additive manufacturing, research in the chemical engineering department brings global problems to a human scale.

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Chemical engineering is a vibrant, research-active department with dedicated and innovative faculty and students.
Chemical engineering is a vibrant, research-active department with dedicated and innovative faculty and students.

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WPI’s chemical engineering research areas address pressing global challenges, including advanced functional materials, molecular bioengineering, sustainable energy engineering, and engineering education.
WPI’s chemical engineering research areas address pressing global challenges, including advanced functional materials, molecular bioengineering, sustainable energy engineering, and engineering education.

Faculty Profiles

Faculty Profiles

Susan Celia Roberts

Susan C. Roberts

Professor and Department Head
Chemical Engineering

To me there is nothing more exciting than watching a student learn and develop and there is no greater privilege than having the title of professor. My favorite part of my job is being able to mentor and teach students in a research context – be that in a biochemical engineering course or laboratory, through supervising undergraduate IQP/MQP projects or by advising doctoral students in their thesis work. There is no greater satisfaction than to watch a timid, insecure student gain confidence through knowledge and practice.

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N Aaron Deskins

Nathaniel A. Deskins

Associate Professor
Chemical Engineering

Students here at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have a lot of enthusiasm and ambition, and it certainly is contagious. Teaching brings a lot of joy because of this, and I find myself often trying just to keep up with the students! WPI is also a place where you have a chance to collaborate with people of many different backgrounds and technical interests. This is exciting. For my research, I work in the area of molecular modeling: trying to understand and solve energy and environmental problems using high-powered computer simulations.

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David DiBiasio

David DiBiasio

Associate Professor
Chemical Engineering

My research involves educational scholarship: investigating how students learn chemical engineering and how the curriculum can be modified to optimize learning. That includes understanding learning in hands-on labs compared to virtual or remotely operated labs; learning in international contexts; and how safety, ethics, and social responsibility can be effectively integrated into the chemical engineering curriculum.

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Elizabeth J. Stewart

Elizabeth J. Stewart

Assistant Professor
Chemical Engineering

My research utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to explore and exploit the physical properties of biological soft matter systems. Through investigating the biophysical properties of cells, multicellular communities and their microenvironments, my group seeks to reveal connections between the physical properties of living systems and their disease states and to utilize these findings to develop biological control strategies, therapeutics and diagnostics. We are particularly focused on using our soft matter approach to address bacterial infection prevention and control.

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Andrew R. Teixeira

Andrew R. Teixeira

Assistant Professor
Chemical Engineering

Andrew is a classically trained chemical engineering with with specialties in the fields of chemical reaction engineering and materials science. He received his B.S. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2009, and continued to pursue his Ph.D. with Professor Dauenhauer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2014, before finally completing his postdoctoral studies with Professor Jensen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2016 when he joined the department of chemical engineering here at WPI.

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Michael T. Timko

Michael T. Timko

Associate Professor
Chemical Engineering

Sharing that “ah hah” moment with a student struggling and suddenly mastering a difficult concept; helping expand the intellectual horizons of an aspiring engineer; tackling and solving problems that challenge the energy, economic, and environmental security with passionate students; sharing my passion for engineering science: these are the reasons that I am a professor of chemical engineering. WPI students understand the importance of translating their engineering talents into technologies and knowledge that benefit others.

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Jennifer L Wilcox

Jennifer L Wilcox

James H. Manning Chaired Professor
Chemical Engineering

Jennifer Wilcox works on ways to test and measure methods of trace metal and carbon capture, to mitigate the effects of fossil fuels on our planet.

Jennifer Wilcox is the James H. Manning Chaired Professor of Chemical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Having grown up in rural Maine, she has a profound respect and appreciation of nature, which permeates her work as she focuses on minimizing negative impacts of humankind on our natural environment.

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