Research, seminars, comprehensive exam, thesis
4 years
Funding available

As a PhD student in chemical engineering, you can play a vital role in future developments in such areas as biological conversion, pollution prevention and treatment, tissue engineering, process control and optimization, (bio)chemical sensing, nanocomposites, and many other areas.

The Department of Chemical Engineering is based in Dupuis Hall and the Biosciences Complex, which are multipurpose facilities with extensive research laboratories. Areas of intense research in the department include biomedical engineering, polymer and reaction engineering, process systems engineering, sustainable energy sources and environmental engineering. The department's research activities range from developing new bio- and polymeric materials and production techniques to understanding how the dynamic structure of a chemical process limits the performance that can be achieved. Our faculty members collaborate extensively across research fields and with other researchers within Queen's and other institutions.

Program Structure:

The objectives of the PhD program are to conduct research inquiry at the forefront of discipline knowledge, educate students in advanced concepts and techniques, foster independent and critical thought, and develop technical leadership. To successfully complete the PhD program, the candidate must make an original contribution to existing knowledge in the field of study. Candidates are prepared for careers in academic research and teaching, industrial research and development, and government research. Candidates are expected to have acquired autonomy in conducting research, critical assessment of research, and preparing scholarly publications. These objectives are achieved through a combination of formal coursework, independent research, teaching and research assistantships, and a research thesis making original contributions to the field of study.

PhD candidates accepted with an MSc must take a minimum of three-term courses. Two graduate courses must be from within the Department of Chemical Engineering unless otherwise approved by the research supervisor and departmental graduate coordinator. All programs of study must be approved by the department. No credit is given for undergraduate-level courses.

Students in the MSc program who are promoted to the PhD program, as well as BSc holders that are admitted directly to the PhD program are required to take a minimum of four term courses. Two graduate courses must be from within the department unless otherwise approved by the research supervisor and departmental graduate coordinator.

Additional Information

All graduate students must take CHEM-801, a non-credit course in laboratory safety, at the first opportunity after their initial registration. The student must attend department seminars and complete two seminar presentations on the student's thesis work to complete CHEE-897, the mandatory seminar series course.

Note: Applicants for the above programs are accepted under the general regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Courses of instruction are provided in term length (3 units in weight) or modular six-week (1.5 units in weight) types. Please see the Academic Calendar for more information.

Admission and Application

To be considered for admission to a doctoral program, you must possess a master’s degree.

Minimum grade requirements

The Department of Chemical Engineering requires a B+ average or equivalent for admission to all graduate programs.

English Proficiency Requirements

Proficiency in English is a prerequisite for admission. Applicants whose native languages do not include English will be required to obtain satisfactory standing in an English Language Proficiency Test as part of the application process and before final acceptance is granted.

Any applicant who has recently studied for at least one complete year at a university where English is the official language of instruction may be exempt from the English Language Proficiency Test. An applicant requesting a waiver of the English Language Proficiency Test for this reason should do so in writing and submit it with the application. The Registrar of the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, in consultation with the department, will make determinations in these cases. It should be noted that in order to maintain a high academic standard, very few waivers are granted. Therefore, it is recommended that all applicants for whom English is not their first language submit an English Language Proficiency Test with their application.

The School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs and Research accepts the following English Language Proficiency Tests: TOEFL, MELAB, and IELTS.

The School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs at Queen's University requires the following minimum scores:

TOEFL Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT):

Writing Test: 24 (out of 30); Speaking Test: 22 (out of 30);Reading Test: 22(out of 30); Listening Test: 20 (out of 30); Overall minimum score: 88 (out of 120). Applicants must have the minimum score in each test, as well as the minimum overall score.

TOEFL Paper-Based and Computer-Based Tests:

Applicants must meet the minimum score requirements of the department to which they wish to apply. These minimum scores are listed on the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs website.

IELTS: 7 (academic module)


  1. Fill out the application
  2. Send original, official transcripts to the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (SGS)
  3. Indicate accurate email addresses for your referees. They will be contacted and asked to supply an electronic reference.
  4. Submit payment by credit card online.
  5. Contact professors who work in your area of interest to increase your chance of receiving an offer.

The documents required are dependent on the personal history you indicate on your application.

Generally you need:

  • Official, sealed transcripts from all educational institutions (no photocopies or certified copies are acceptable) Acceptable methods for submitting transcripts:
  • Transcripts can be uploaded to the online application, as PDF files. The transcripts must be scanned (black and white recommended) and saved as a PDF file, and uploaded successfully. Complete instructions are available to applicants on the Transcript Upload section of the online application.
  • If a transcript or transcripts cannot be successfully uploaded to the online application, applicants are responsible for ensuring that an official transcript or transcripts of all current and previous university-level studies are sent to the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs by all universities previously attended. All hard copy transcripts received as part of an application for admission must be received in sealed envelopes.
  • Two academic references (your referees will be sent an email with the link to fill out their reference)
  • If English Proficiency Testing is required, an official report from the testing agency is needed
  • If you are in the process of completing an undergraduate or master’s degree when you apply, you must provide a final copy of your transcript indicating that the degree has been granted before you can start your studies with us.

A GRE is not required or considered.

Before you begin your application, please review the graduate studies application process

Application deadline: There is a constant intake with no set deadline. It is recommended that the application be completed at least 4 months ahead of the desired admission cycle, especially for international students.

Notification of acceptance: Rolling acceptances for September, January, and May academic cycles.

Finding a Supervisor

We encourage you to identify an area of research interest and contact potential supervisor(s) before applying. Visit research groups and faculty profiles. When you find a faculty member with similar research interests to yours, contact them to let them know about your interest in graduate work, area of research and related experience. Please note, however, that contacting a faculty member does not guarantee acceptance and you will need to submit your full application in order to be considered.



The Department of Chemical Engineering aims to ensure that every full-time graduate student engaged in research has adequate financial support during his or her graduate program. This support may come from several sources, either individually or in combination: national or provincial scholarships, Queen's University scholarships and awards, research assistantships provided by faculty researchers, and departmental teaching assistantships. The level of financial support consequently varies among graduate students in the department, with a guaranteed minimum level of $27,000 for PhD (subject to change). As part of the minimum funding package, you may serve as a teaching assistant for at least one term per year. When necessary, serving as a teaching assistant for a second term will result in an increase in your funding package equivalent to the full value of the second TAship. Queen's internal awards are part of the minimum funding package and will not result in an increased funding level, whereas external scholarships may result in a significant top-up of funding. For current top-up amounts, please contact the Graduate Assistant:


Areas of Research

Exciting fields of research in the Department of Chemical Engineering include biochemical engineering, polymers and reaction engineering, and process systems engineering. Within these broad areas, we have significant research activity in the following areas:

Career Opportunities

In addition to academic and industrial research careers, our graduates have found employment in:

  • The public sector
  • The private sector
  • Consulting
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Petroleum
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Manufacturing

Interested in learning more about becoming a postdoctoral fellow? Learn more through Queen’s School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.


Program Contact

Graduate Studies Program Assistant
Laurie Phillips
613-533-6000 ext. 74830
Dupuis Hall, Room 201