Why BYU for ChE Grad School?


High Academic Quality

The chemical engineering department has offered graduate degrees since 1962 and is home to world-class research facilities and researchers.  We have strong research programs in sustainable energy, combustion, catalysis, thermophysical properties, biochemical and biomedical engineering, and electrochemical engineering.  All of these areas include experimental investigations and computer modeling of complex molecular and physical systems.   With multiple faculty members in each area, graduate students have many options when choosing faculty advisors and research topics.

BYU is home to ACERC, an internationally recognized center for combustion research, and DIPPR, a premier thermophysical properties database managed for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.  Students benefit from being at a large university (30,000 students) with strong departments in a range of scientific and engineering disciplines.  The University library is ranked 3rd best college library in the US, after Harvard and Princeton.  The Fulton supercomputer facility is ranked among the top five university supercomputers in the nation.

All 15 full-time faculty members are active in research and receive on average $250,000 per faculty member per year to support student research.  The median time to graduation for MS students is 2 years and for PhD students is 4.5 years.  For the PhD this is considerably less than graduation times at many other programs in the US.  Faculty employ significant numbers of undergraduate students to assist graduate students in their work, which provides graduate students with experience in mentoring and leading others as part of a research team.

Our graduates receive great opportunities for employment.  All of the MS and PhD graduates from our program are able to secure rewarding jobs that use their unique skills, such as at industrial research centers, national laboratories, and universities.

Quality of Life

BYU is located in Provo, Utah at the base of the Wasatch Mountains and next to Utah Lake.  It is part of a metro area with around 350,000 residents, and is 1 hour south of Salt Lake City, host of the 2002 Winter Olympics.  Provo City was recently rankedas the best mid-sized city in the United States for livability and has consistently received awards from national business publications. 

  • Crime rates are among the lowest in the nation (Utah having the 7th lowest).
  • The cost of living is modest.  Estimated living expenses for single graduate students at BYU are around $13,500 per year.  There is a great deal of affordable student housing within walking distance of campus.
  • Many outdoor activities are available within just a few minutes from campus including skiingwatersports, hiking, biking, and camping.  Utah is also home to five national parks within a half-day drive from Provo.
  • The climate exhibits four distinct seasons, with warm, dry summers, and cold, snowy winters.

A Welcoming Environment

The chemical engineering graduate program averages around 45 students, or approximately 3 students per faculty member.  Students will get to know nearly all the faculty, staff, and their fellow students while attending socials and scientific seminars and in day-to-day interactions in hallways, classrooms, and laboratories. In recent years, around one-fifth of our students are women, and one-third are international students.  In 2009, the program included international students from China, India, Singapore, Iran, and Canada.

BYU is a very family-friendly environment.  Around two-thirds of our graduate students are married and many also have children.

BYU as a whole is well known for its international reach, with students (graduate and undergraduate) from all 50 states, and 115 countries.  More than 75% of BYU students speak a second language.  Additional information is at the BYU demographics webpage.

Honor Code

BYU is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Many students choose to attend BYU over academically comparable programs because of the BYU Honor Code and the wholesome social atmosphere.  Under the Honor Code, all students who attend Brigham Young University agree to observe high moral standards that include chaste living, modesty in dress, and refraining from using tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and illegal or harmful drugs.  About 20% of the department's graduate students are not members of the Church.