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Via new program, two degrees in five years

Students in class

UIC chemical engineering undergraduates now have a chance to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in just five years.

This new dual-degree program accepts applications from chemical engineering majors through the fall semester of senior year. It is known as the 4+1 program, meaning that participants can earn a bachelor’s degree in their first four years and then complete the master’s degree in chemical engineering in the fifth year.

That is a full year faster than is typically required.

The 4+1 program is ideal for undergraduates who have excelled academically and who want to pursue graduate-level study in chemical engineering or enter the industry at a higher level.

“This joint degree will prepare students for advanced placement in the workplace or make them very competitive if they are looking for opportunities in top-ranked PhD programs,” said Associate Professor Gang Cheng, the department’s director of graduate studies.

Making the accelerated completion possible is the sharing of eight hours of coursework between the BS and MS programs. With advisor approval, students take their first two graduate courses in their senior year, which simultaneously meet their undergraduate requirements for technical electives or electives outside the major.

“We are very excited about this new program that will enable students interested in graduate studies to take some of the MS courses while completing the BS,” said Vikas Berry, professor and department head, “thereby completing both degrees in five years, saving almost one whole year and eight credits.”

Interested undergraduate students can apply to the program anytime before the end of the second week of the fall semester during their senior year. Students will need to have a GPA of 2.5 or higher in the prior semester to be eligible for the program.

For more information or to begin an application, contact Eduardo Martinez, program coordinator, at, or  Cheng at