University of California, Riverside

Department of Chemical Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply?

If you are ready to start your application, please visit:

What is the deadline for admission?

The deadlines for Fall admissions are:

December 15th for priority financial support consideration

January 5th for the application and all required documents.

For optimal funding, the priority deadline for the application and all materials is December 15th. Applications received by January 5th will still be considered for funding.

For off-cycle admissions (Winter or Spring quarters), please reference the Graduate Division website: 

What supplemental documentation is submitted through Grad SIS?
  • Statement of Purpose
  • International Student Confidential Financial Statement (if applicable)
  • Disclaimer Statement and Fee Payment Form
  • Application Fee
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • GRE Score(s)
  • TOEFL Score(s) or IELTS Score(s)
What supplemental documentation will need to be mailed in?
  • 2 official sealed transcripts from your undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) institutions.  Transcripts should also be translated into English if you have attended a foreign institution.  If you already have your Bachelor's or Master's degree we will also accept copies of your degree certificate(s).
What is the department mailing address?

University of California, Riverside
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Graduate Program
A220 Bourns Hall
Riverside, CA 92521

What are the minimum scores accepted?
  • GPA: 3.0
  • GRE:  300 
  • TOEFL (paper based): 550
  • TOEFL (computer based): 213
  • TOEFL (internet based): 80
  • IELTS: overall score of 7, with no individual section score less than 6.
Where can I send my test scores?
  • Institution Code: 4839
Do you accept scores from  the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)?
  • Yes, an overall score of 7 is required with no individual section score less than 6.
  • Please request an Official Test Report Form (TRF) of your IELTS.  Ask the administrator to mail it to:

    Graduate Admissions Office
    Graduate Division
    University Office Building
    University of California, Riverside
    Riverside, CA 92521, USA
  • For additional information, please refer to the Graduate Division website.
What can delay the processing of my application?
  • Not turning in all required documents by the January 5th deadline.
  • Letters of Recommendation that have a recommender e-mail address that is not from a university e-mail address will greatly delay your application as the recommender must be contacted to verify the letter was written.  Please make sure a university e-mail address is given when listing a faculty member as a recommender.
  • Not having 2 official sealed transcripts from each institution you attended.  Foreign transcripts not translated into English can also cause a delay.
  • Selecting more than two areas of research interest on the online application.
Do I send in the Confidential Financial Statement along with my other documents?

No, this is not necessary. If you are admitted into the program, Graduate Division will request this information from you directly. 

I checked GradSIS and my materials received status has not been updated.

Please allow at least a couple of weeks for your materials received status to be updated for documents that are mailed in. Different components of your application are reviewed separately and updated separately as well which is why you may see various update times. Also the University closes for two weeks at the end of December which can delay status updates once staff return in January. Due to the large volume of applications in January, there may be up to a three week delay in status updates. If you have used a delivery service (UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc), please use their delivery confirmation as confirmation that the department has received your hard copy materials.

What if I do not meet the minimum requirements for test scores or GPA? Should I apply anyway?

The Admissions Committee will be reviewing an applicant's overall file and taking many different factors into consideration. However, keep in mind that admission with fellowship is a very competitive process. So if your file is obviously weak, you may want to save yourself the trouble and expense of the application process. Think about possible ways to strengthen your case and apply next year.

Can I apply if I do not have a B.S. in Chemical Engineering?

Applicants to the graduate program should hold a degree in Chemical / Environmental Engineering or a related field. All students are expected to satisfy the prerequisites for graduate courses (check here for details). Under special circumstances, students who have not completed undergraduate requirements may be admitted with the condition that deficiencies are corrected within the first year of graduate study. Courses taken for this purpose do not count toward an advanced degree.

Do I have to take the TOEFL?

International students, permanent residents, and even U.S. citizens whose native language is not English and who do not have a bachelor's or postgraduate degree from an institution where English is the exclusive language of instruction are required to complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  You also have the option of taking the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

How do I obtain an application fee waiver?

If you are a domestic or permanent resident applicant your application fee will be automatically waived. There is currently no fee waiver available for international applicants.

What forms of payment are accepted for the application fee?

The online application system, GradSIS allows you to pay by credit card.  If you cannot pay by credit card, please contact Graduate Division for alternate forms of payment: (951) 827-3313.

Is an M.S. degree a prerequisite for the program?

No, the graduate program accepts applicants with a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree.

I have selected two areas of research interest on the online application.  What if I am interested in additional areas?

Once you are admitted to the program, you can change your research interest area.  Selecting two areas initially helps the Admissions Committee keep track of applicants.  During a new student's first quarter, they are required to attend research seminars for each area of interest before deciding on a final research interest area.

How many applications does the program typically receive in a year?

The graduate program receives approximately 200 applications annually.

How many students are accepted into the program each year?

The target is usually 20 students per year, however this is subject to change.

How are students funded in the graduate program?

Most of our Ph.D. students, both domestic and international receive fellowships, TA and Graduate Student Researcher appointments. International students who are pursuing an M.S. degree are not funded.  Well qualified domestic students who are pursuing an M.S. degree are eligible for limited funding.

What type of fellowships can I expect?

Qualified applicants get extremely competitive fellowship packages. These cover all fees and tuition and include an annual salary of $18,000 to $22,000 in addition to the paid health insurance. The only out of pocket expense (except of course for the cost of living) is a miscellaneous campus fee of about $350 per quarter (subject to change).

I am self-supported how much money will I need?

You can refer to the Graduate Division's Fees Fellowship and Financial Assistance web page for the numbers.

I have been accepted into the program but would like to defer my start to Winter, Spring or defer one year.  Can this be done?

The short answer to this question is no. We cannot defer admission to Winter or Spring as you will be off-sequence with the core courses to be taken. Also, you will be off schedule with research advisor selection.  However, there are some exceptions, e.g., if you are self-supported, or if you have already selected your research advisor (and this has been agreed upon) and if you are taking the corresponding courses at your institution.

I have missed the deadline for Fall acceptance, do you take applications for Winter or Spring admission?

Please see the answer to the question above. In order to be considered for fellowships, potential applicants must meet the Fall acceptance deadline of January 5th. Self-supported students may be accepted for Winter or Spring quarter admission, although this is relatively unusual. Refer to the Graduate Division regarding deadlines for admission.

Do you have any advice to increase my chances of being accepted?

Be specific in your personal statement, what are you interested in, emphasize any synergy between your experience and our current research. Also, make sure your application is complete, i.e. pay your application fee, make sure your recommendation letter writers send in letters on time, and that original transcripts are sent. Make sure that your GRE and TOEFL (if applicable) scores are recent. Finally, make sure you list a valid email address on the application, and keep the address current. Notify us of any changes.

What is the normative Time to Degree?

For an M.S. the normative Time to Degree is 6 quarters. For Ph.D. it is three years for students with an M.S. in Chemical and Environmental Engineering and five years for those without an M.S. in Chemical and Environmental Engineering.

How is my thesis advisor assigned, what research project will I work on?

Some students come to our department with a good idea of with whom they would like to work. In this case, it is recommended to correspond with the faculty prior to making a final decision in order to ensure that the faculty knows about your intent. It may be difficult for the faculty to make a firm commitment. In any case, in the December following admission, ALL incoming graduate students are asked to list the names of 3 faculty they would like to work with. The graduate advisor will check with the faculty and try to accommodate everyone's choice. This has worked very well in the past and most got their first choice. It is recommended that you look at the faculty's web pages for more information on the research being conducted in our department. Regarding possible research projects, each faculty may have one or several projects they will offer to incoming graduate students.

How is the visa application process?

Check the International Student Resource Center for visa and traveling information.

I am in the US, can I come and visit the campus?

Yes, please contact the department to organize a site visit. Usually, for US and resident applicants, an Open House is organized in February or early March. During the visit, you will have the opportunity to see the labs, meet with the faculty and current graduate students.

Does UCR guarantee housing for graduate students?

We are able to nominate admitted students for guaranteed housing. Housing is also offered off campus. Please visit the Housing Services website for more information.

I am taking/have taken some of your core courses at my institution, can the credits be transferred?

Transfer of credit is done on a case-to-case basis. For transfer of credit, the equivalence in content needs to be established. In general, we only transfer credits taken at US institutions. Because all graduate students receiving financial support are required to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, the transferred units are expected to meet this criterion.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

College Information

Bourns College of Engineering
446 Winston Chung Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5190
Fax: (951) 827-3188