Graduate Programs

For graduate students, the department offers M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering.

Graduate students participate in all aspects of the department through the ChEMS Graduate Student Association, which fields representatives for bi-weekly faculty meetings and plays an active role in the faculty hiring process.  The ChEMS GSA is also a forum for organizing social events and mixers for the faculty and students.

Scholarship in the department is focused around the application of chemical engineering and materials science to five primary application domains:  biotechnology, energy, environment, microstructured materials, and nanotechnology.  The department has 31 affiliated research active faculty, 16 with primary appointments in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and 15 with primary appointments in other units on campus.

For general information about graduate programs in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, please visit the Graduate Student Affairs website.


"My research interest is in the areas of biomaterials, tissue engineering, and molecular biology.  Using recombinant technology, I am engineering yeast to create artificial biopolymers that can be used for medical applications, such as tissue regeneration and drug delivery."
Himanshu Shama, First-year Ph.D. Student
AdvisorsSzu-Wen Wang and Nancy DaSilva

"My research involves using the tools of biotechnology to help resolve the nation's energy crisis.  Specifically, I am genetically engineering two yeast (Pichia pastoris and Saccharomyces cerevisiae) to convert biomass, such as switch grass, to fermentable sugars which can be used to produce bioethanol."
Sneha Srikrishnan,Second-year Ph.D. Student
AdvisorNancy DaSilva

"For my Ph.D. thesis, I spend lots of time collecting field data that feeds into the development of management strategies for improving the water quality of our rivers and coastal bays.  My research focuses on the ecological factors that influence the surface water distribution of pathogens and enteric bacteria in highly urbanized areas, such as Southern California.  I am the second generation in my family to get their Ph.D. from the School of Engineering at UC Irvine! "
Rachel Litton, Third-year Ph.D. Student
AdvisorStanley Grant

"For my Ph.D. thesis, I am developing a new generation of ceramic-based armor technology.  I am evaluating the mechanical and optical properties of multiphase ceramics using conventional sintering, sinter forging, and spark plasma sintering techniques."
Chris Hoo, Third-year Ph.D. Student
AdvisorMartha Mecartney

"For my Ph.D. research, I am developing low-cost optical-based sensors for medical diagnostics.  Specifically, I am creating surfaces with biofunctionalized gold nanoparticles in an architecture that leads to large signal enhancements in order to reach single molecule detection limits."
Jennifer Asis, Second-year Ph.D. Student
Advisor: Regina Ragan