Graduate Admissions

Preparing for Graduate Study at UIC

student with lab equipment

Prior study: Successful applicants ideally will have completed prior study at an accredited college or university in chemical engineering or chemistry. It is possible, however, for students with degrees in other disciplines to apply to our MS and PhD programs. Please see the appropriate section of our graduate admissions FAQ for details.

MS program: Applicants should have earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a scale of 4.0 based on the last 60 semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) of undergraduate study. In exceptional cases, applicants with averages below 3.0 but above 2.75 may be admitted on limited standing if they otherwise show evidence of substantial ability to complete the program successfully. Preference in the admissions process is given to students with stronger academic records. Interested in master’s-level study in our department? Download our MS program booklet.

PhD program: Applicants should have earned a GPA of 3.5 or higher on a scale of 4.0, based on the last 60 semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) of undergraduate study. PhD applicants may apply after having completed (or with the expectation of soon completing) a master’s degree in engineering or a related field, or, via a program called “direct admission,” they may apply having only earned a bachelor’s degree. Please see the direct admission section below for more information.

Application Process

There are two phases to the admissions process for graduate study in civil and materials engineering.

Step 1: Graduate College review. Prospective graduate students must apply for admission through the UIC Graduate College. Within two to three days of completing your online Graduate College application, you will receive an email acknowledging receipt and indicating that you can log back into the system to begin uploading supplementary application materials (see Step 2 below).

Step 2: Departmental review. The department is very interested in reviewing the additional documents you may upload as part of the application process. Depending on your program of choice, these may include your statement of purpose, résumé, GRE general test scores, and other documents you might want to submit for consideration. These documents will help to distinguish you from other applicants. The next section explains them in detail.

Application Requirements for MS and PhD Students

Applicants must meet the requirements of the Graduate College and the requirements of the chemical engineering department. In general, applicants should be prepared with the following:

  • Admissions application completed online
  • Transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work
  • English competency test. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take an English competency test. Minimum required scores are: iBT Internet-based TOEFL of 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21; New Paper-Based TOEFL (after August 2018) of 60, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Writing 21; Institutional Testing Paper-Based TOEFL (prior to August 2018) of 550; IELTS of 6.5, with all four subscores of at least 6.0; or PTE-Academic of 54, with subscores of Reading 51, Listening 47, Speaking 53, and Writing 56.
  • GRE general test scores. GRE general test scores are required for all applicants. For score reporting, our institution code is 1851, and no department code is required. ***Important note: the GRE requirement is waived for applicants to the one-year fast-track MS program who plan to enter in fall 2020.***
  • Personal statement. Use this opportunity to tell us who you are, what has influenced your academic or career path so far, what your professional interests  are, and what you hope to do after completing your graduate education.
  • Three letters of recommendation. Letters should be written by people who are familiar with your academic work and who can assess your potential for success in graduate studies and research. During the application process, you will be asked to provide the email addresses of your references, and UIC will contact these individuals to request the references directly.
  • Application for Graduate Appointment form (PhD applicants only). This form is required for PhD applicants who want to be considered for fellowships, assistantships, tuition and fee waivers, and other forms of financial aid. You can download the Application for Graduate Appointment form here (see the section called Funding Your Education / Awards and expand the accordion labeled General Forms).

Direct Admission for PhD Applicants

Most PhD applicants already have earned (or are about to complete) a master of science degree in chemical engineering, chemistry, or a related field. However, exceptional applicants who seek to start the PhD with only an undergraduate degree may be considered for what is called “direct admission.” Students who are admitted to the PhD program with only a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field must complete all 108 credit hours toward the PhD degree (compared with students entering with an MS degree, who can transfer in 32 earned credits from their master’s program).


Please refer to the Graduate College’s admissions deadlines page for the most current application deadlines.

Special note: To give prospective students additional time to prepare their applications, applications from U.S. students will be accepted until July 15, 2020, for the MS program, including the traditional two-year format and the one-year fast-track format. Applicants to the one-year fast-track format who plan to begin courses in fall 2020 also have the GRE requirement waived.