The Master of Science (MS) program was approved by the Puerto Rico Council for Higher Education (CES) in 1972. The program officially began operation during the first semester of the 1972-73 academic year. So far, the Masters’ program has produced 225 graduates which are employed in different fields. As of early 2021, around 30% of our graduates have been employed in industry or government agencies, and 70% have been admitted to doctoral programs in PR and the US.
The industrial development of the island and the need for innovation require professionals with a depth understanding of advanced chemical engineering fundamentals. Research in the Department of Chemical Engineering spans the spectrum from fundamental work on chemical engineering science to applications development. Current research projects falls into the broad categories: a) Bioprocess and Biomedical Engineering, b) Catalysis & Surface Engineering, c) Complex Fluids & Soft Matter, d) Transport & Separations and e) Pharmaceutical and Chemical Processes.
The educational objectives of the MS program are to prepare graduates:
(1) with an understanding of advanced chemical engineering fundamentals and principles, and knowledge in a focus area in chemical engineering,
(2) capable of identifying research and technical problems and outlining solutions by integrating and applying fundamental and applied principles of sciences and engineering,
(3) capable of carrying out a research plan and make contributions to the fields of Chemical Engineering, and
(4) with the ability to effectively communicate to a broad audience the technical and socio-ethical impact and context of their work.
The Master of Science (MS) program requires a minimum of 31 credits to complete the degree, which are divided as follows:
12 credits in chemical engineering core subjects,
1 credit in MS seminar,
6 credits in masters thesis,
6 credits in electives in the specialization area*
6 credits in electives outside the specialization area
A maximum of 6 credits in advanced undergraduate elective courses are allowed. At least 60% of all courses must be approved at the UPRM. The discipline of Chemical Engineering covers many diverse areas and, therefore, the Programs provide graduate-level subjects (electives) to cover those of most relevance. The philosophy of the Department is to encourage students to develop an in-depth understanding of the fundamental concepts of Chemical Engineering and, at the same time, broaden their perspective by sampling other, more specialized subjects.
To this end, the following four subjects have been designated as core:
- Mathematical Methods in Chemical Engineering (InQu 6001);
- Reactor Design (InQu6005);
- Advanced Transport Phenomena (InQu 6016); and
- Advanced Thermodynamics (InQu 6019).
It is expected that Masters’ students will complete these core subjects within the first two semesters of their tenure at the UPRM. The list of core and elective subjects will be periodically reviewed to accommodate modern developments in the discipline. In addition, to these core courses, MS students must enroll each semester in a Graduate Seminar (InQu 6029). As students complete their coursework they are expected to phase into the Master Thesis (INQU6037). Students most continue to register in these courses until completing their degrees.
Elective courses should be related to the student’s thesis research and their particular specialization interest. All of these courses should be selected by the student in consultation with his/her advisor and thesis committee or Program Coordinator.
The Masters program does not have qualifying procedures.
Each graduate student is associated with a research advisor who plays an important role in the student’s academic and research programs. Since research is such a critical component of the graduate program, students need time to gather information about the available projects, to clarify their own personal research interests, and to think carefully about their own long-term objectives. All first-year students are required to go through the process described herein. Students and potential advisors cannot reach agreements prior to this process. Every semester faculty members will present research opportunities in their groups in 20-minute talks. Graduate students are expected to attend all of the thesis topic presentations (even if they are not predetermined toward that particular research area). These presentations are an ideal way for new students to meet the faculty and vice versa. Additionally, students are exposed to the full range of chemical engineering projects offered. Students should then individually interview faculty members and other graduate students to gain a more thorough understanding of possible research topics. As part of the Seminar course students are required to turn in the “Thesis/Advisor Selection Form” where students are expected to present evidence of having interview at least five faculty members and provide a brief descriptive summary of the research project. Students are then asked to provide their preferences. There must be at least four projects spanning at least three advisors listed. The matching of students to topics is a difficult multivariable problem. There are many factors involved in the determination of the final assignments, including current research group sizes, faculty objectives, department objectives, funding, and student preferences. Often the solution does not match everyone’s requests and some students may be asked to meet again with the graduate advisor to discuss options.