Jul 17, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemical and Biological Engineering, PhD

Contact Information

Dr. Travis Walker, Program Coordinator
Karen M. Swindler Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
(605) 394-2543 Dept: (605) 394-2421
E-mail: Travis.Walker@sdsmt.edu

Department Website

Students are responsible for checking with their advisors for any program modifications that may occur after the publication of this catalog.

PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering

The curriculum is designed to provide the CBE PhD graduate with the depth and breadth of engineering knowledge to become a leader in their chosen focus area. To facilitate this goal, each student is asked to complete a program of study plan that will provide the framework for the student’s coursework and research. This plan should be filed with the Program Coordinator before the midterm of the second semester in residence. The CBE PhD Advisory Committee must approve all programs of study.

Degree requirements

Distribution of credits

Core requirements: 19 credits
Research requirements: 32 credits
Elective requirements: 21 credits
Total credits: 72

Students who are entering the program with a MS degree in Chemical Engineering or a closely related discipline may apply 24 coursework credits and 6 research credits from a previous MS degree toward the PhD requirements, subject to approval of the CBE PhD Program Advisory Committee.

Students who are pursuing a PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering must take the 500 and above level courses (i.e., not the 400 level courses). At least 36 of the required 72 credits must be taken at the 600 level or above.

Research requirements

The completion of a doctoral dissertation, approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee and the Dean of Graduate Education, is required for this degree.

  • Credits: 1 to 12 *
  • * A minimum of 32 credits of CBE 898 is required for this degree.  No more than 32 credits of CBE 898 may be counted toward the degree.

Elective requirements

A total of 21 credits of electives a required. At least 9 credits of electives must have a CBE prefix. CBE 501  and CBE 502  may not be used as electives. Examples of CBE elective courses include:


Detailed information on examination policy, admission to candidacy, and defense of dissertation are included in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Graduate Program Handbook.

Qualifying examination

The qualifying examinations are given in late May of each year.  Incoming PhD graduate students should take the written examinations as soon as possible, but they are expected to take the exams after two long sessions in residence (Fall and Spring semesters). Details on the qualifying examination may be found in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Graduate Program Handbook.

Comprehensive examination and admission to candidacy

Within the first 24 months of residency within the CBE PhD program, students must write a research proposal and complete an oral presentation of that proposal in the presence of their major advisor(s) and their PhD committee.  Additional details on the written research proposal and oral presentation may be found in the Chemical and Biological Engineering PhD Program Handbook.

Successful completion of the written examination, written research proposal, and oral presentation are required for admission to candidacy within the CBE PhD program. The comprehensive examination, and subsequent admission to candidacy, must be completed at least 12 months before the dissertation is defended.  

Dissertation defense

A dissertation defense and a final oral examination are required for this degree.

Additional requirements

In addition to these degree-specific requirements, the student must also meet the requirements and policies applied to all graduate degrees  by the Council of Graduate Education.

Objectives and Outcomes

Student Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced mastery of engineering and science fundamentals appropriate for the discipline.  
  2. Demonstrate and act with an understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities.  
  3. Demonstrate the ability to identify, investigate, formulate, and solve new problems through the application of original, independent discipline specific research.  
  4. Demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate technical concepts both orally and in writing through dissemination.  
  5. Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of technical concepts and state-of-the art literature within the student’s chosen field of specialization.