Lehigh’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering offers a vibrant education and research environment with opportunities to specialize in research spanning biomolecular engineering, energy and environmental engineering, functional materials, interfacial science and engineering, and process modeling and control. All flavors of research are possible, including experiments, modeling, simulation, and theory, and combinations thereof. Comprehensive insight into all that the department has to offer in terms of both academics and research can found by visiting the department website.



In order to complete the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering Graduate Program Application, please visit RCEAS Graduate Admissions and the Graduate Application portal. Complete applications will require the following:

  • At least three (3) letters of recommendation for applicants to the Ph.D. program and at least two (2) letters of recommendation for applicants to any of the Master’s programs (submitted online by recommenders) from qualified individuals who are able to evaluate the applicant’s academic achievements and potential for graduate studies and research. Preference is given to letters from research advisors and professors (should account for at least 2 of the 3 letters for Ph.D. applicants), but relevant letters from technical/industrial employers who are able to speak to a candidate’s potential for graduate study and research will also be accepted.

  • Candidate’s resume summarizing background relevant to graduate study, including (but not limited to) education/degree(s), class rank, relevant coursework, projects, research, technical publications, relevant work experience, career goals, extracurricular activities, etc. The resume should be current, documenting experiences and positions held up to and at the time of application.

  • Candidate’s Personal Statement, detailing motivation for graduate study, relevant background and research experience, specific research interests, specific faculty of interest, etc.

  • Complete transcripts from each college and university attended. Unofficial copies may be uploaded by the candidate, but official transcripts from the prior institution’s Registrar office must be submitted by candidates who accept offers of admission. 

  • GRE scores are no longer required nor considered as part of the application review process.

  • International students: Official TOEFL or IELTS scores sent to Lehigh University by ETS (Educational Testing Service). If applicant received a degree in the United States within the past two years, these test scores can be waived. Both assessments are available for only two years from the date the test was taken.

  • Application fee of $50 (non-refundable), payable to “Lehigh University”

Ph.D. APPLICATION DEADLINE For prospective Ph.D. students seeking fall admission, full applications (including relevant test scores and letters of recommendation) should be submitted by no later than Dec. 15. Early applications are encouraged. Late applications may be reviewed.

MASTER’S PROGRAM APPLICATION DEADLINE For prospective Master’s students seeking fall admission, full application review is carried out on a rolling basis, with decisions made year-round for matriculation in future academic semesters. International students must account for the time required for visa interview and processing when applying for a given academic semester.


All applications undergo a rigorous and holistic review, with decisions made on the basis of multiple factors beyond simple benchmarks, including the applicants motivation for advanced study, tenacious pursuit of personal and technical goals, strong or strengthening academic record, and desire and skill set to tackle challenging questions in industrial practice, the academic research lab, or even the university classroom/lab—recognizing the continuum of prior opportunities available to our applicants.

  1. Prior degrees: Applicants must have earned a Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) or a Master of Science (M.S.) in Chemical Engineering or a related engineering discipline by the time of their matriculation. Applicants with degrees in related science fields (e.g., chemistry, physics, biology) are also welcome. Bridging coursework is available as needed to help ensure smooth transition from less conventional technical degrees into our programs.

  2. GRE scores – NO LONGER REQUIRED nor REVIEWED: Lehigh ChBE no longer requires nor evaluates GRE scores as part of the application review process, relying instead on a holistic application review.

  3. GPA benchmark: GPA (US equivalent) higher than 3.3 on a 4.0 scale for Ph.D. applicants and 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for Master’s applicants is preferred. GPA standards for international institutions will be followed accordingly. Consideration will be given to a trend showing a strengthening of the core GPA during the final semesters of study. 

  4. TOEFL or IELTS (international students only): Individual “skill section score” recommendations for Lehigh University and the Internet based TOEFL are: Writing (20), Speaking (20), Reading (20), Listening (15), Composite score (79).
    Individual “skill section score” recommendations for Lehigh University and the IELTS are: Writing (6.0), Speaking (6.5), Reading (6.5), Listening (6.0), Overall score (6.0). 


Please contact Graduate Admissions with any questions for on-campus programs (inchegs@lehigh.edu) and Distance Education programs (inchbede@lehigh.edu) in Lehigh’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

What are benchmarks for admission into the graduate programs in Lehigh’s ChBE Dept. and are they “hard cutoffs” for admission? Admissions guidelines related to GPA and language scores? Are there “hard cutoffs”? Holistic application review?

Lehigh ChBE completes holistic application review, carefully reviewing all aspects of applications (e.g., personal statement, resume, letters of reference, academic performance, relevant test scores). Admission decisions are never based upon any one factor, test score, etc. Admission benchmarks reflect commonly competitive applications, but do not serve as “hard cutoffs” for admission. Specifically, in cases where GPAs from prior programs fall below the benchmarks, consideration is always given to a trend showing a strengthening of the core GPA during the final semesters of study. In cases where scores in one or more TOEFL or IELTS categories fall below the benchmark, admission is still possible, with English language instruction through Lehigh’s International Center for Academic and Professional English (ICAPE) required during the first year in our program.

Do you waive TOEFL and IELTS requirements for applicants who have studied outside the US in countries where the official language and/or primary language of instruction is English?

Lehigh University does offer measures (e.g., formal confirmation from prior institutions of instruction in English, Zoom interviews, authorship of scientific publications in English, etc.) enabling waiver of TOEFL and IELTS scores in cases where applicants have studied outside the US in countries where the official language is English and/or where English is the primary language of instruction. Relevant applicants should complete and submit a formal application, leaving the TOEFL/IELTS scores blank, and clearly note within your application that you fall into this category. We will follow-up on a case-by-case basis regarding additional requirements to be considered for waiver of the language test requirements.

Do you accept Duolingo scores in lieu of TOEFL iBT and IELTS Academic scores?

Since the TOEFL iBT and IELTS Academic are available in all countries, Lehigh is no longer able to accept Duolingo test scores. TOEFL Essentials test scores are also not accepted.

When should I expect to receive a decision on my application? Will it give international students enough lead time to secure a visa?

Admission decisions for fall semester matriculation into our PhD program are communicated between the Jan. 15 application deadline and the April 15 applicant decision deadline, with most offers extended to candidates by the end of March. Applicants who are offered admission are encouraged to make a decision as soon as possible after receiving an offer. Lehigh’s Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) initiates processes associated with securing a visa immediately upon receipt of a formal acceptance of our offer of admission. In cases where visa processing delays prohibit students from on-time matriculation into our program, one-semester deferrals will be considered.

Master’s program admissions are completed on a rolling basis through July 15 for a fall semester start. However, international students should carefully time their application to ensure that they allow sufficient time for the completion of visa processing for on-time arrival for the fall semester. In cases where visa processing delays prohibit students from on time matriculation into our program, one-semester deferrals will be considered.

Should I contact faculty about research advising in advance of applying into the PhD program? What kind of response can I expect, and what will be the impact on my application?
While you are welcome to contact faculty in advance of applying into our program, doing so is not necessary and will not influence admission decisions. If you do decide to email, please understand that our faculty get a large number of such email requests and, therefore, may not be able to respond to you in a timely manner (or you may receive only a general email reply from them).
Lehigh ChBE admits students into our PhD program without prior commitments to a specific faculty research advisor. Students complete an advisor selection/assignment process early in their first semester on campus, with assignments to research groups typically finalized within two months after entering our program. All admitted students will be given an opportunity to visit our department in person or virtually in March before making a decision on our offer of admission. During that time, meetings with individual faculty research advisors will be organized to help inform your decision.
If I have interest in working with one faculty member, should I note that in my application?

We strongly encourage you to share important details about your background, motivation for graduate study, and future research interests in your personal statement. You are welcome to identify specific faculty whose lab(s) you would be interested in joining. However, it is as much or more important for you to identify and discuss what general/specific research area(s) you are interested in and why. Such  information is very useful for us in our admission process as we work to ensure that we admit a class of students with backgrounds and interests that best match the mix of funded research opportunities.

Do you accept applications from students with technical degrees/backgrounds outside of chemical engineering (e.g., physics, material science)? If so, how competitive are such applications?

We welcome strong applications from prospective students with a wide range of technical backgrounds in other engineering disciplines as well as the sciences (e.g., math, physics, biology, chemistry, polymer science). We offer all of our students–no matter their technical background–a supportive and engaging environment for advanced education and cutting edge research. In fact, we have a strong track record for successfully mentoring students with backgrounds spanning chemistry and physics to materials science and mechanical engineering, and remain fully committed to providing the support and tools necessary to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.

Are applications accepted from prospective students who have worked for some time in industry? How competitive are such applicants?

While many of our students enter our program directly from Bachelors or Masters programs, industrial experience provides students with unique perspective, motivation and determination that tends to help focus their academic and research pursuits in our program. We have a strong Distance Education Master’s program and an established track record for successfully mentoring students in both our on campus Masters and Ph.D. programs who make the decision to pause their industrial work for graduate study and research. Applications are reviewed holistically to assess candidate quality, preparation, motivation, and promise for success in our program. As such, industrial experience does not handicap an applicant's chances of admission. All applicants are strongly encouraged to use their personal statements to explain their background and motivation for graduate study.

What is the average duration of a Ph.D. in Lehigh ChBE?

The average length of a Ph.D. based on data from the past five years is slightly less than 5 years. The progress toward a Ph.D. is dependent upon research progress and will vary from one thesis to another. Lehigh offers opportunities for cutting-edge research at a scale enabling personalized mentorship–a highly supportive and vibrant environment for achieving research goals and realizing impact over the course of the Ph.D., no matter the length.

How would you characterize advisor-student relations in the program?

We recognize that a healthy relationship between an advisor and the student is critical to the success of the student in their research and professional life. The average group size at Lehigh allows for not only a greater level of interaction between a student and their advisor, but also between the student and their colleagues (classmates, group mates, etc.). The faculty in the department are highly collaborative, and, as a result, most students also closely interact with other faculty members in the department as well as across the university.

What kinds of industrial connections do faculty have with industry, and what is the department’s track-record for industrial placement of its graduates?

Numerous faculty have formalized interactions with companies spanning industrial advisement of research to partnership on federally funded projects or full industrial funding of faculty-guided Ph.D. research. Coupled with healthy industrial interactions with the Department’s industrial advisory board members, alumni in industry who return each year for our annual graduate research symposium, and industrial colleagues at technical meetings/conferences attended by our faculty and students, our students have a range of opportunities to network with industry professionals over the course of their Master’s and Ph.D. Bolstered by the strong technical education and cutting edge research experience that our students gain in our program, these opportunities to network with industrial colleagues only enhance efforts of our students to identify, pursue, and successfully land full-time industrial placement at a wide range of top domestic and international companies.

Are Master’s degrees self- or department-funded?

We are able to offer limited scholarships, amounting most commonly to 3-6 credits (10-20% cost savings), to many of our Master’s students to help offset the costs for pursuing a Master’s degree in our department. While additional direct departmental funding is not available, other routes to graduate financial assistance (e.g., loans, external scholarships) can be pursued as well as on-campus work opportunities. The remainder of the costs for pursuit of a Master’s degree are self-funded.