Aug 24, 2019  
2013-2014 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2013-2014 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemical and Biological Engineering, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Dr. Jan Puszynski
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
(605) 394-1230 Fax: (605) 394-1232 Dept: (605) 394-2421


Professors Bang, Dixon, Puszynski, Salem and Winter; Associate Professors Benjamin, Gilcrease, Menkhaus and Sani; Assistant Professors Groven and Shende.

Program Advisory Council

Professors Bang, Dixon, Puszynski (Program Coordinator) and Winter; Associate Professor Gilcrease; Assistant Professor Benjamin.

Chemical and Biological Engineering

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) offers, in addition to B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering, a Ph.D. degree in chemical and biological engineering. The Ph.D. program provides the chemical and biological engineering Ph.D. graduate a core educational experience in transport phenomena, chemical kinetics, biochemical engineering, chemical thermodynamics, and biotechnology. This knowledge base, along with key electives, provides graduate students the training to participate in biochemical and petrochemical processing, bio-based energy technologies, including biomass and biofuels; catalysis; bio-based and bio-compatible materials; bioremediation; emerging energy technologies; synthesis and functionalization of nanomaterials, and processing of polymers and composite materials. These areas are aligned with the expertise of our faculty members. The current research interest of the faculty can be found on the departmental website The modern Chemical and Biological Engineering and Chemistry (CBEC) building houses the CBE research laboratories.

The State of South Dakota is recognized as a leader and major producer of ethanol from starch in the United States. Hence the State of South Dakota is well positioned to play an important role in development of new bio-based technologies and value-added agricultural products. This Ph.D. program directly supports the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (NSF I/UCRC) for BioEnergy Research and Development (CBeRD). This unique national center is focused on bio-based energy and chemical feedstocks, is comprised of four universities, including the SDSM&T, North Carolina State University, State University of New York - Stony Brook, University of Hawaii, and more than 30 industries and state and federal laboratories. Students participating in CBeRD I/UCRC Center research are working on projects of current and immediate interest to the industrial sponsors. Students also have the opportunity to participate in more fundamental research being pursued through the 2010 Center for Bioprocessing Research and Development (CBRD) at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and the South Dakota State University. The CBRD center focus is to develop the fundamental understanding and technologies to convert lignocellulose to fuels and key building block chemicals. The research foci of these two research centers — pretreatment, conversion, extremophiles, separations, and process simulation and economic analysis — rely on the fundamental underpinnings taught in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Ph.D. program.

The Ph.D. program is also a strong supporter of State-focused areas in advanced materials, polymers, composites, and nanotechnology. The Composites and Polymer Engineering Laboratory (CAPE) is a key resource utilized by our students The CBE research laboratories along with CAPE, CBeRD, and CBRD provide CBE Ph.D. students a wealth of modern resources to participate in cutting-edge research funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the Department of Agriculture, NASA, and industrial collaborators.

The Ph.D. Program in chemical and biological engineering is administered by a graduate Program Coordinator and Program Advisory Council consisting of appointed faculty members actively involved in the program. The Program Advisory Council is responsible for the curriculum and program policies.


The current curriculum is designed to provide the CBE Ph.D. graduate with the depth and breadth of engineering knowledge to become a leader in their chosen focus area. To facilitate this, each student is asked to complete a program of study plan that will provide the framework for the student‘s coursework and research. This should be filed with the Program Coordinator before the midterm of the second semester in residence. The CBE Ph.D. Advisory Council must approve all programs of study. Detailed information on examination policy, admission to candidacy, and defense of dissertation are included in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Ph.D. Program Handbook.

Students entering the program with B.S. or M.S. degrees from disciplines other than Chemical or Biochemical Engineering will be required to take several selected courses in Chemical Engineering at the undergraduate level, to provide a firm understanding of fundamental chemical engineering principles.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE), three letters of recommendation, and a GPA of 3.00 or better are required of all applicants for the Ph.D. program. The TOEFL exam is required for students whose native language is not English.

All CBE Ph.D. candidates are required to successfully complete the required minimum credits and earn a grade of “C” or better, except for a final grade of “S” in CBE 898. However a 3.00 GPA must be maintained to receive graduate research assistantships (GRA).

Below is the summary of the basic required courses:

Category Credits  
Required courses1 (minimum 6 credits from Chemical Engineering and 6 credits from Biological Engineering focus areas) selected from the two focus area lists 24    
Required seminar 2    
Minimum required research credits 30    
Minimum electives1,2 12    
TOTAL 80    

Curriculum Notes

1 Students entering with a M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering or a closely related discipline may apply a maximum of twenty-four (24) course credit hours toward the required and elective course requirements subject to approval of the Chemical and Biological Engineering Ph.D. Program Advisory Council.

2  Elective courses may be selected from the two focus area lists, from the example elective list, or from other SDSM&T courses as a part of a student‘s program of study, subject to approval of his/her major professor and graduate committee.

Focus Area — Chemical Engineering

Students pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering must take the 500 and above level courses, not the 400 level courses.

Focus area — Biological Engineering

Students pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering must take the 500 and above level courses, not the 400 level courses.

Required courses (Seminar and Research)

Two (2) credits of CBE 890 Seminar and a minimum of thirty (30) credits of CBE 898D Dissertation are required.

Example elective courses

Students pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering must take the 500 and above level courses, not the 400 level courses.