Chemical Engineering Master's Program

The Brown University chemical engineering master's program prepares students to apply chemical and engineering principles to emerging technologies. The program emphasizes a molecular engineering approach to problem-solving. Students will learn how engineering at the atomic scale can be used to solve some of the most pressing technical challenges facing society. The program provides a rigorous foundation in engineering fundamentals and space for students to craft a program for their desired goals. Our students go on to work in industry, start-ups, consulting, graduate and professional schools, and many other fields. 

The objectives of the Brown University Chemical Engineering Sc.M. Program are to produce graduates who will: (1) apply their knowledge of engineering, science, mathematics, and liberal arts to successful careers and leadership roles in industry, government, or academia; (2) apply independent, critical, and integrative thinking to a broad range of complex, multidisciplinary problems, and effectively communicate their solutions to broad audiences of diverse backgrounds; and (3) show a lifelong commitment to technical approaches that address the needs of society in an ethical, safe, sustainable, and environmentally responsible manner. 

Students in the ChemE master’s program can study a broad range of topics including: 

  • Catalyst design
  • Reaction engineering
  • Nanoscience
  • Electrochemistry
  • Renewable energy technology
  • Biotechnology
  • Transport processes
  • Carbon-based materials

Program of study


Students take a total of eight courses to satisfy the degree requirements. Students are expected to complete the Master of Science – Non-Thesis program option in three semesters, taking three courses in the first and second semesters, and two courses in the third semester.


Students take a total of eight courses, including independent reading and research courses. Students are expected to complete the Master of Science – Thesis program option in four semesters, taking three courses in the first semester, two in the second and third semesters, and one in the fourth semester. Students can switch between degree options during the program for greater flexibility. Students interested in pursuing the Thesis option usually identify a faculty advisor during their first or second semester at Brown.


In addition to the course requirements, a paid or unpaid experiential learning experience of 3-6 months is a required component of the professional track program. Experiential learning can include a summer internship or completion of  ENGN 2960 (Experiential Learning in Industry (ELI)) as an elective course. Assistance in obtaining internships will be provided by the School of Engineering and Career Services and Professional Development in the School of Professional Studies.

More about ScM requirements.

Master's students should meet with their advisor at their orientation and/or the start of the semester and share their intended program of study for advice and approval. 

Course highlights for ChemE master’s students include (but are not limited to):

ENGN 2730 Chemical and Environmental Thermodynamics - Reviews and expands on the principles of chemical thermodynamics: equilibrium criteria, fundamental relations, derivation of property relations, phase equilibrium, mixture behavior, intermolecular interactions, and reaction networks.

ENGN 2750 Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Engineering - Topics include: quantum chemistry, statistical thermodynamics, and transition state theory; tight versus loose transition states; the kinetics of gases, liquids, and surfaces; adsorption, desorption, surface diffusion; enzyme kinetics and biological processes; formation, solution, and interpretation of elementary mechanisms; global versus local sensitivity analysis; uncertainty quantification; and the coupling between fluid dynamics and chemical reactions.

ENGN 2911P Fate and Transport of Environmental Contaminants - Topics include: solute transport, sorption processes, mass transfer, non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) entrapment and dissolution, abiotic and biotic transformations.