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At Virginia Tech we are proud of our tradition of training and guiding future leaders of chemical engineering research in industry and academia. We have an exciting program with research in Materials, Polymers, Bioengineering, Catalysis, Interface and Surface Science, and Simulation. Much of the research is interdisciplinary. We recently moved to a new building with excellent equipment, and we have an enthusiastic faculty including a number of recent new hires. There are many opportunities for students interested in pursuing graduate degrees.
Ph.D. and M.S. degrees
The Ph.D. and M.S. degrees include a core of 14 credits in transport phenomena, thermodynamics, kinetics and mathematics. These courses are supplemented with electives chosen in support of the thesis research or the student's special interests. The Ph.D. is awarded only to those students who demonstrate the initiative and ability to carry through a significant research program, resulting in a thesis. A thesis is required of all M.S. degree students.
Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Programs (IGEPs)
ChE is affiliated with three Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Programs (IGEPs) - Computational Tissue Engineering (CTE), Macromolecular science and Engineering (MACR), and Regenerative Medicine. You will find links to individual program pages on the Graduate Catalog in the IGEP descriptions below.
Imagine a child with a skin injury who walks into a drugstore to purchase a Band-aid containing cells that will heal the injury. Imagine a patient with a damaged liver not having to wait years for a transplant but having the organ regenerated from his own liver cells. Imagine being able to test the side effects of drugs on artificial tissue cultures in lieu of expensive animal testing and complex clinical trials.
Such is the promise of the field of tissue engineering. Despite tremendous developments, the field requires high-throughput assays and instruments to reduce the cost, time, and complexity; novel biomaterials that support multiple cell types in defined spatial configurations; biochemical assays to monitor the interaction of cells with biomaterials and their environment; and predictive computational models for engineering functional tissues.
We train students at the confluence of tissue engineering, molecular and cell biology, and computational science. Our vision is that trainees will emerge as the leaders of the trans-disciplinary field of “Computational Tissue Engineering.”
The Macromolecular Science and Engineering graduate degree (MACR) is an interdisciplinary program at Virginia Tech beginning Fall semester, 2001. This is a university-based degree program spanning multiple departments and colleges to emphasize fundamental and emerging technological areas in the field of macromolecular science and engineering. The interdisciplinary curriculum is comprised of a core requirement and modular approach to coursework. A key feature of this modular approach is the flexible integration of cutting-edge research with graduate training.
Regenerative medicine (RM) is a new medical approach that seeks to restore both structure and function of tissues lost to injury, disease or congenital defects. This field incorporates use of stem cells, proteins that stimulate healing, and engineered biomaterials to help cure diseases from diabetes to osteoarthritis. Regenerative strategies are modeled on mechanisms drawn from embryonic development and naturally-occurring examples of regeneration. This field represents a paradigm shift in biology, medicine and biomedical engineering. Ethical and societal impacts need to be considered as this rapidly expanding technology is developed.
To learn more, see our website. Also visit our graduate catalog page.
Undergraduates who do not have a Chemical Engineering Degree
Programs are also available for students with undergraduate degrees other than chemical engineering. Chemistry majors, especially those with thorough backgrounds in physical chemistry and mathematics, as well as graduates in biochemistry and microbiology, can re-orient their studies. The applied science nature of the research in the department facilitates this reorientation process for such students. Ph.D. programs to meet the needs of these students generally may require additional courses.
For general questions and additional information contact our Graduate Program Coordinator, Diane Cannaday