To the New Graduate Student,
On behalf of the faculty and staff of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Brigham Young University, I am pleased to welcome you to the department. We are anxious that you have a successful and beneficial experience while you are here, and this handbook is designed to help you do so. In addition, the faculty and staff of the department are also here to help you, and we hope you will feel free to approach any of us.
Your graduate education is intended to prepare you to be a leader in all areas of chemical engineering, rather than just in specific areas. In fact, most chemical engineers work on many applications throughout their careers that were never specifically addressed (in fact, may not have existed) during their formal schooling. For this reason, regardless of the topic of your graduate thesis or dissertation, you should not think of your graduate education as a means to become specialized in one area (e.g. combustion, thermodynamics, etc.), but instead, as a broad foundation upon which you will never stop building. Indeed, your graduate degree (especially a doctorate, but to a certain extent, also a master's degree) will indicate to your prospective employer that you can effectively apply fundamental principles to new problems.
To support the goal of a broad foundation, our program is designed to emphasize the fundamentals. Three core courses, transport phenomena, thermodynamics, and chemical reaction engineering, are required of all students, and those courses become the basis of a comprehensive examination. Other "specialty" courses are also offered, but the student should approach those courses with a sense of continuity with the fundamental principles. Indeed, we encourage you to look for connections between what appear to be different areas. Do this in your course work, but also seek such connections through the graduate seminars that you will attend during each fall and winter semester. Also, seek opportunities for exchange with the faculty and with your fellow graduate students. Listen as your colleagues describe issues and challenges in their courses and in their research areas. In return, share your thoughts with them. As you contribute to the exchange of scholarship in our department, you will increase in ability to recognize the fundamental principles that tie together all areas within the broad chemical engineering discipline.
We eagerly anticipate your participation in the Chemical Engineering Department at BYU. We are particularly anxious that you find new understanding, new strengths, and new friendships to carry with you throughout your life. We pledge our best efforts to help you do so and ask for your best efforts as well. Welcome to our graduate program!