PhD Biochemical Engineering


The field of biochemical engineering is very broad. It contributes to the advances in a variety of technical areas including fermentation, metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, pharmaceutical production, bio-based materials, tissue engineering, food science, bioenergy, etc. The industrial biotechnology sector, the traditional territory of biochemical engineering, is estimated at a market value of over $100 billion per year in the United States with a growth rate over 10%. Additionally, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 5.6% growth in chemical engineering jobs in the pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing between 2019 and 2029, which is higher than the 4% growth projected for all engineering jobs.

To learn more about the innovative and translational research being conducted, click here. Contact the graduate coordinator for additional details.


Exceptional and highly motivated students with a B.S. degree who have not completed an M.S. degree may apply for direct admission to a Ph.D. program provided they have demonstrated research experience. The student’s desire and suitability to enter a Ph.D. program should be clearly articulated in their statement of purpose and in accompanying letters of recommendation.


Program of Study:

Minimum requirement – 72 credit hours (minimum of 32 credit hours course work; minimum of 40 credit hours research and dissertation).

Required Advanced Engineering Core Courses (10 credit hours)
  • ENGR 8910: Foundations for Engineering Research (3 credit hours)
  • BCHE 8970: Bioengineering Seminar (4 semesters, 4 credit hours) *
  • ENGR 8103: Computational Engineering (3 credit hours)
Required Biochemical Engineering Core Courses – choose any three of the following (9 credit hours)
  • BCHE 8150: Heterogeneous Reactor Design and Bio/Catalysis (3 credit hours)
  • CVLE (MCHE) 8160: Advanced Fluid Mechanics (3 credit hours)
  • CVLE (MCHE) 8170: Advanced Heat Transfer (3 credit hours)
  • ENGR 8180: Advanced Mass Transport (3 credit hours)
  • BCHE 8210: Fermentation Engineering Laboratory (3 credit hours)
  • BCHE 8350: Sustainable Process Engineering (3 credit hours)
Electives (13 credit hours)Minimum of 13 additional credit hours of course work selected with the approval of the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee. At least 1 hour must be 8000-level or above, and at least 3 h must be courses offered by the College of Engineering. The University requires that students who are accepted to the Ph.D. program directly from a B.S. degree or who switch to Ph.D. program before earning an M.S. degree must complete an additional 4 semester hours of University of Georgia courses open only to graduate students.
Research and Dissertation (40 credit hours)A minimum of 37 hours of Doctoral Research (ENGR 9000) or Project-Focused Doctoral Research (ENGR 9010). Typically, students complete more than 37 credit hours with the approval of the Graduate Advisory Committee.
3 hours of Ph.D. Dissertation (ENGR 9300) is required on the Plan of Study.

A thesis master’s degree from an accredited university may be accepted for up to 30 credit hours, in which case a minimum of 42 credit hours of approved course work, research and dissertation beyond the M.S. degree would be required

General Requirements

In addition to Graduate School requirements and College of Engineering requirements, the School of Chemical, Materials and Biological Engineering has the following doctoral program requirements:

  • All Ph.D. programs offered by the School of Chemical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering have a minimum course requirement of 32 credit hours after the B.S. Additional credit hours are required for research and dissertation completion as provided by the University policies.
  • Ph.D. students must form their Graduate Advisory Committee within 18 months of starting their Ph.D. program. The committee must be comprised of 5 members, all of whom must be members of the graduate faculty and at least one, but no more than two faculty members on the Advisory Committee must have an appointment exclusively outside the College of Engineering.
  • A student must pass written qualifying and oral comprehensive exams before completing and orally defending a dissertation. The written qualifying exam will be administered by the school. The oral comprehensive exam will follow the Graduate School Requirements.
  • Ph.D. students are expected to be admitted to candidacy within 24 months of starting their Ph.D. program.
  • Student must make two oral presentations in the School Seminar Series advertised to the UGA scientific and engineering community.
  • The student’s dissertation research is expected to generate significant scholarship (such as publications, patents, conference presentations).

A complete list of PhD program milestones is available here.

* Only 3 hours of Bioengineering Seminar may apply on the Program of Study. Individual Programs or Schools may require students to enroll for additional semesters. Students are strongly encouraged to continue regular attendance of speaker series presentations even if not formally registered in the seminar.

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