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PhD in Chemical Engineering – Eligibility, Admission, Syllabus, Institutes, Scope

A PhD in Chemical Engineering is a research-based doctoral program that takes 3 to 5 years to complete. Compounds and complexes, reaction engineering, and process optimization are among the advanced concepts covered in this course.

Chemical engineering is a sub-discipline of engineering that has an impact on a wide range of technological fields. It is a branch of engineering that involves the application of chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, and economics to the use and transformation of energy and materials. They mostly work in laboratories, where they conduct experiments for full-scale production.

Chemical engineering is widely used in the manufacturing of plastics, polymers, and synthetic fibers, which all involve chemical reactions and engineering. It’s also used in the dyeing of fibers, the production of pulp and paper, and the production of foodstuffs. With the world’s growing advancements and problems, this field is becoming increasingly important in space exploration and can help to sustain our environment.

Candidates for the PhD Chemical Engineering program must have a postgraduate degree in Chemical Engineering, Chemical Technology, or any other equivalent discipline from a recognized university with an aggregate of at least 55 percent. Fluid mechanics, reaction kinetics, surface chemistry and catalysis, thermodynamics, kinetic theory, process dynamics, heat and mass transfer, control and synthesis, optimization, applied mathematics, engineering design, and computational chemistry are all offered at various levels.

Analytical chemist, energy manager, manufacturing engineer, mining engineer, quality manager, and other PhD chemical engineering jobs are available. Candidates can also do independent research and publish their research papers after completing this course.

PhD Chemical Engineering: An Overview

The table below lists some of the major highlights of the PhD Chemical Engineering program:

Level of CourseResearch
Course Duration 3 to 5 years
Type of ExaminationSemester System
Eligibility CriteriaHold a postgraduate degree in Chemical Engineering with an aggregate of at least 55% marks. 
Process of AdmissionEntrance-Based admission followed by Group Discussion and Personal Interview
Average Fee for the CourseINR 50,000 to INR 4,00,000 
Average Salary in the beginningINR 7,00,000 to INR 20,00,000
Top Areas of Recruitment Nanotechnology, Alternative Energies and Biotechnology, Manufacturing Industries,Healthcare, Food Manufacturing etc.
Top Positions for JobEnergy Manager, Manufacturing Engineer, Mining Engineer, Analytical Chemist,Production Manager, Quality Manager etc. 

PhD Chemical Engineering Eligibility

Students who wish to apply for admission to the PhD Chemical Engineering program must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • You must have earned a postgraduate degree in Chemical Engineering, Chemical Technology, or a related field from a recognized university.
  • Candidates must have a post-graduate grade point average of at least 55 percent.
  • Some colleges allow students to enroll in this course immediately after graduation if they have sufficient research experience in the field.

PhD in Chemical Engineering Syllabus

PhD Chemical Engineering is a research-based program that entails conducting research in any of the subject’s major areas. The table below lists some of the most important research areas.

Area of ResearchDescription of Research
Energy and EnvironmentThis field of study entails the investigation of environmentally friendly energy sources and technologies. It also entails looking into ways to lessen the environmental impact of currently used energy resources.
Materials EngineeringIt entails investigating various types of materials that will benefit humanity. Its main focus is on developing new types of materials with significant applications.
Reaction EngineeringIt entails looking into a variety of important aspects of the reaction process. Reaction mechanisms, chemical kinetics and reaction speed, reaction spontaneity, energy absorbed or evolved, catalysts and enzymes, and other topics are covered.
Transport Phenomena and Complex FluidsThis research area is concerned with complex fluids, their properties, benefits and drawbacks, and so on. This also includes a thorough examination of Transport Phenomena.
Bio-Chemical EngineeringThis is a broad field that entails studying and researching a variety of biomolecules. Topics covered in this research include their origin, personality, uses, functions, and reactions, among others.

PhD in Chemical Engineering Admission Procedure

For admission to a PhD in Chemical Engineering program, the majority of Indian institutes and universities use an entrance-based admission process. Admission to top PhD colleges such as IIT, NIT, and others is based on entrance exams such as UGC, CSIR (JRF), NET, GATE, and others.

The following are the steps in the entrance-based admission process:

Step 1: Students must register for the entrance exam online by providing an email address, a mobile phone number, and a password, after which a login id will be generated.
Step 2: Filling out the application form: After creating a login id, candidates must complete the online application form by providing personal and academic information as well as information about the course they wish to pursue.
Step 3: Uploading Documents: Candidates must upload the required documents, such as a photograph, signature, photo ID, Class 10 and 12 certificates, and so on.
Step 4: Application Fee: Students must pay the application fee using a credit card, debit card, or net banking account after uploading the required documents.
Step 5: Save and Download the Application Form: Once the application fee has been paid, candidates must save and download the application form for future reference.
Step 6: Admit Card Issuance: The admission authority will issue admit cards to eligible students based on the record of the details submitted by the students.
Step 7: Entrance Exam: Exam dates will be announced by various conducting bodies after receiving the admit card. Candidates must take and pass an entrance exam in order to be considered for admission.
Step 8: Result Announcement: At the end of the process, admissions officials will announce the results of the entrance exam they took.
Step 9: Group Discussion and Personal Interview: Selected candidates will be required to participate in additional admissions rounds, including a group discussion and a personal interview.

PhD Chemical Engineering: Ranking by NIRF

Ranking by NIRFName of the Institute Process of AdmissionAverage Fees
Average Salary
Per Annum
2IIT DelhiGATE 2020INR 42,900INR 16,00,000 
4IIT BombayGATE 2020INR 73,000INR 20,34,000
27BITS PilaniMerit-BasedINR 1,10,125INR 9,20,000
47NIT DurgapurGATE 2020INR 64,100INR 9,09,000
54Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, SuratMerit-BasedINR 40,000INR 7,40,000

PhD Chemical Engineering: Important Entrance Exams

Some of the best colleges and universities that offer PhD in Chemical Engineering programs require applicants to take an entrance exam. The following are some of the most competitive PhD Chemical Engineering entrance exams:

GATE– It is a national entrance exam that will most likely be held in February. This exam allows students to apply for various PhD programs in colleges across India.
U.G.C NET– The U.G.C NET is a twice-yearly entrance examination for admission to postgraduate courses and some branches of PhD. The examination is usually held in the month of June.

PhD Chemical Engineering: Important Documents Required

  • passing/degree certificate of the last qualifying degree examination.
  • Migration Certificate (No objection certificate from the university last attended)
  • Gap certificate (if applicable)
  • No objection certificate from the employer (if employed)
  • Mark-list of the last qualifying degree examination
  • A character certificate (from the head of the institute from which the student has obtained his qualifying degree)
  • Documentary proof of the date of birth
  • Research Proposal

Students should be aware that if the aforementioned certificates are not attached to their application, their application will not be taken into account for admission.

PhD in Chemical Engineering: Focus Areas

The following are some key points to consider when learning about PhD Chemical Engineering:

  • The science behind the functioning of everyday items such as food, clothing, cosmetics, detergents, paper, paint, and many others is the focus of a PhD in Chemical Engineering.
  • Fluid Mechanics, Heat and Mass Transfer, Reaction Engineering, Process Control, Process Optimization, Inter-Disciplinary Research, and other concepts are covered in depth in this course.
  • This course gives students the opportunity to apply chemistry principles to the field of engineering.
  • Biotechnology & Bio-Systems Engineering, Energy and Environment, Materials Engineering, Process Systems Engineering, Transport, Colloids and Interface Science, and many other topics are covered in the PhD Chemical Engineering curriculum.
  • This course also allows you to learn about chemical manufacturing processes and how they affect the environment and people.

PhD Chemical Engineering: Preparation Plan

Candidates are advised to follow the guidelines listed below in order to do well on the entrance exam:

  • Syllabus: Students must have a clear understanding of the entrance exam’s syllabus as well as the types of questions that may be asked on the question paper. The majority of PhD entrance exams last between two and three hours, and the questions are of a subjective nature.
  • Preparation by Section: Questions are primarily based on the subject you studied during your postgraduate studies. As a result, it is critical for students to have a thorough understanding of all of the subjects in which they wish to pursue a PhD.
  • Previous Year’s Question Papers: Students should thoroughly review the previous year’s question papers. This will assist them in comprehending the types of questions that will be asked during the examination.
  • Time Management: Because this is the most important aspect of one’s preparation, students are encouraged to create a detailed time schedule and stick to it.
  • Students can get a guaranteed seat in a good college if they have a good post-graduate academic record and also based on their performance on various national or state-level entrance exams. The higher the score, the better the chances of being accepted into one of India’s top colleges.
  • It’s also crucial to be mentally and physically prepared for the next round of admissions, which includes a group discussion and an interview.
  • Keep track of all important admissions events to ensure that you don’t miss any deadlines. Keep track of the eligibility criteria, course cut-offs, application procedure, application fee, and all updates in newspapers, official websites, and other publications.
  • Students should practice as many papers and questions as possible to improve their time management skills.

PhD in Chemical Engineering: Top Institutes

The table below lists some of the top colleges that offer PhD Chemical Engineering programs:

Ranking by NIRFName of the InstituteProcedure of Admission Average Fees
(Semester wise)
Average Salary
2Indian Institute of Technology, New DelhiGATE 2020INR 42,900INR 16,00,000 
4Indian Institute of Technology, MumbaiGATE 2020INR 73,000INR 20,34,000
27Birla Institute of Technology and Science, PilaniMerit-BasedINR 1,10,125INR 9,20,000
47NIT, DurgapurGATE 2020INR 64,100INR 9,09,000
54Sardar Vallabh Bhai National Institute of Technology, SuratMerit-BasedINR 40,000INR 7,40,000
65Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, BhopalUGC NET/JRF/SET/ GATEINR 38,600INR 6,23,000
75NIT, AgartalaGATE 2020INR 28,200INR 5,00,000 
201-250Annamalai University, Chidambaram Merit-BasedINR 38,410INR 9,85,000
Indian Institute of Science, BangaloreEntrance-BasedINR 35,200INR 15,00,000
Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering, MumbaiMerit-BasedINR 91,500INR 6,65,000

PhD Chemical Engineering: Suitable Candidates

  • Students should be able to solve large-scale open-ended research problems using chemical engineering principles as well as advanced analytical and experimental techniques.
  • They should also be technically proficient and highly motivated.
  • Applicants must have excellent analytical, communication, and teamwork skills, as well as be hardworking, organised, and problem-solvers.

PhD Chemical Engineering and PhD Chemistry: Key Differences

PhD Chemical Engineering and PhD Chemistry are both chemistry-related courses that are very popular among students due to the wide range of career opportunities. The table below summarizes the key points of distinction between the two courses:

Basis of
PhD Chemical EngineeringPhD Chemistry
Level of CourseDoctorate of Philosophy in Chemical EngineeringDoctorate of Philosophy in Chemistry
Course HighlightThis course entails the investigation of new chemicals as well as the study of unknown compounds’ properties. This course also covers a thorough examination of various reaction mechanisms and chemical processes.Students work on theoretical, physical, and organic chemistry topics and conduct extensive research and experiments in this course.
Type of ExaminationSemesterSemester
Average Fees
INR 50,000 to INR 4,00,000 INR 80,000 to INR 2,00,000 
Duration of Course3-5 years3-5 years
Criteria of Eligibility Hold a postgraduate degree in Chemical EngineeringHold a postgraduate degree in Chemistry. 
Process  of Admission Entrance-Based followed by Interview Entrance-Based followed by Interview
Top InstitutesIndian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore etc. IIT Mumbai, NIT Agartala, IISc etc.
Average Annual SalaryINR 7,00,000 to INR 20,00,000 INR 5,00,000 to INR 16,00,000 
Top Areas of Job Food Industry, Govt. or Private Research Laboratories etc.Food Processing Units, Chemical Laboratories, Colleges/ Universities etc.
Top Positions of JobChemical Analyst, Production Manager, Testing Engineer etc.Quality Analyst, Chemical Scientist, Quality Assurance Manager etc.

Future Trends in Chemical Engineering

According to the reports, chemical engineering has undergone a significant transformation in the last few years. New topics in the field are also arising as a result of the development that is occurring in various fields. Chemical engineering must be brought to the forefront because of the fascinating research it conducts.

With everything new that comes on the market, the trends and topics in the Chemical Engineering course change as the needs and requirements change. Professionals must ensure that they adapt to various changes and trends in order to succeed in their careers and improve them every day. The following are some of the upcoming trends:

  • Expanding Health-related Bio-technologies 
  • The Circular Economy
  • Rapid Globalization
  • New Business Models
  • Digitization

PhD Chemical Engineering: A Comparison among Institutes

For students’ convenience, the table below shows the basic differences between the top universities/institutes offering PhD Chemical Engineering programs:

Name of the InstituteIIT DelhiNIT AgartalaIndian Institute of Science, Bangalore
HighlightIndian Institute of Technology is one of the best universities in the country, offering a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate, and research programs.The National Institute of Technology is one of India’s top engineering schools. Apart from engineering, this institute also offers a variety of science courses.The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is a public research university dedicated to science, engineering, design, and management education and research.
PlaceNew DelhiAgartalaBangalore
Ranking by NIRFEngineering – 02Engineering – 75Overall – 02
Criteria for Eligibility Hold a postgraduate degree in Chemical Engineering with an aggregate of at least 55% marks.Hold a postgraduate degree in Chemical Engineering with an aggregate of at least 55% marks.Hold a postgraduate degree in Chemical Engineering with an aggregate of at least 55% marks.
Process of AdmissionGATEGATEEntrance-Based
Average Fees
INR 42,900INR 28,200INR 35,200
Average Annual SalaryINR 16,00,000INR 5,00,000INR 15,00,000
Top Areas of RecruitmentFood Industry, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology etc.Food Industry, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology etc.Food Industry, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology etc.

PhD Chemical Engineering: Important Skills Required

Chemical engineering skills necessitate a great deal of knowledge, as well as awareness and alertness, because they are required when performing various experiments in the field.

  • Chemistry Interest – To perform the chemical experiments required for a career in chemical engineering, the candidate must have a strong interest in chemistry. To perform experiments, you must have a thorough understanding of chemistry.
  • Commercial Awareness – They should be able to understand what makes a company successful by utilizing various market services. They should be familiar with the industry and the various sectors that make it up.
  • Problem-solving abilities: the individual should be able to solve problems that the team or other members of the organization are experiencing. They must comprehend the issue and find an immediate solution.
  • Analytical Skills: The professional must be able to gather and analyze data as well as solve problems based on the information provided to them.
  • Numeracy Skills: The ability to use, interpret, and communicate mathematical information in order to solve problems is known as numeracy. It is the ability to comprehend and solve basic mathematical problems.

PhD in Chemical Engineering: Top Job Profiles

Students with a PhD in Chemical Engineering will be able to find work in a variety of companies that will help them develop their skills by providing a platform for them to do so. Campus placements are usually the norm when it comes to landing a good job.Students with a PhD in Chemical Engineering can work in a variety of fields, including environmental engineering, biochemical engineering, food engineering, waste engineering, and so on.

There are numerous opportunities for students in this field. PhD Chemical Engineering graduates will be able to work in a variety of fields, including the food manufacturing industry, nanotechnology, and healthcare, among others.

The table below lists some of the most popular professional jobs available to PhD Chemical Engineering degree holders, along with their corresponding salaries:

Position of Job Profile of JobAverage Salary
Analytical ChemistAn Analytical Chemist’s primary responsibility is to analyse samples from various sources in order to provide information on the compounds or quantities of compounds present in the sample. They’re known for using analytical techniques and equipment like gas and high-performance liquid chromatography, as well as spectroscopy.INR 8,48,000
Energy ManagerAn Energy Manager’s job entails planning, regulating, and monitoring the use of energy in a company.INR 10,24,000
Manufacturing EngineerManufacturing engineers typically work to improve the process of efficiently developing high-quality goods using cost-effective methods. They tend to work toward a goal of reducing the negative environmental impact of production.INR 9,58,258
Production Manager The Production Manager’s job is to produce a specific product while also keeping an eye on both human and material resources.INR 12,57,000
Product/ Process Development ScientistProcess Improvement Scientists are in charge of improving the efficiency of manufacturing units. They usually identify and develop new techniques for manufacturing a product as well as mechanisms to produce a high-quality product.INR 10,25,000

Some other important areas of employment are

  • Fibers and Polymers Industry
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Environment Associate
  • The Food and Drink Industry
  • Assistant Engineer
  • Associate Lab Director
  • Production and Planning Engineer
  • materials and corrosion engineer.
  • Plastic and metal industry
  • Toiletries Industry
  • Pulp and Paper Industry
  • Mechanical Systems Diagnostics Engineer
  • Commissioning Engineer
  • A Process Design Engineer

PhD in Chemical Engineering: Benefits and Scope

There are numerous advantages to pursuing a PhD in chemical engineering. The following are the main advantages of enrolling in this program:

  • PhD Chemical Engineering candidates can find jobs in both the public and private sectors, with competitive pay packages.
  • If you are interested in pursuing research in the field of chemistry, you should definitely consider enrolling in this course.
  • Students can work in a variety of settings, including colleges, universities, research laboratories, and the food industry.
  • Analytical chemists, energy managers, manufacturing engineers, materials engineers, mining engineers, and other positions for PhD Chemical Engineering graduates are available.
  • PhD Chemical Engineering graduates are offered attractive salary packages ranging from INR 8,00,000 to INR 20,00,000 per annum.
  • Chemical engineering is one of the engineering disciplines concerned with the design and processing of industrial chemical manufacturing.
  • Chemical engineers are in high demand in the field of Chemical Engineering, and the scope of the course is expanding as more candidates express interest in pursuing it because it allows students to experiment with new materials.
  • Chemical Engineering is an excellent course for students interested in a career in applied chemistry. It is one of India’s oldest branches, offering job opportunities in the private, public, and government sectors. This course provides career opportunities, and the scope of the course continues to expand, providing job opportunities in the field.
  • Students who want to meet and establish lifelong bonds with like-minded fellow students, faculty, and researchers from around the world will benefit from the program.
  • They can look for work in processing, operations, or manufacturing, as well as research and development, design and construction, finance, and teaching.
  • They work for the government to solve environmental problems such as waste and water treatment, environmental regulations, and recycling; in the energy sector, such as energy conservation and research on alternative energy sources; and in defense establishments and atomic power plants.
  • They also work in service industries like scientific research and development, especially in the fields of energy and biotechnology and nanotechnology, which are still developing.


After a PhD in Chemical Engineering, what are your options?

After completing a PhD Chemical Engineering program, you can work as an Analytical Chemist, Production Manager, or conduct research in the same field.

What are the requirements for admission to an Indian college or university’s PhD Chemical Engineering program?

Candidates must have a postgraduate degree in the field of Chemical Engineering with an aggregate of at least 55 percent to be considered eligible for admission to PhD Chemical Engineering.

In India, where can I get a PhD in Chemical Engineering?

The table below lists some of the top universities and institutes in India that offer PhD Chemical Engineering programs:
Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal
Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi
Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani
NIT, Durgapur

Is pursuing a PhD in Chemical Engineering a viable career path?

Yes, a PhD in Chemical Engineering is a good career choice for students who want to pursue a career in this field. After completing this course, one can work as a Production Manager, Analytical Chemist, and so on

What subjects are covered in a PhD Chemical Engineering program?

Biological Systems Engineering, Materials Engineering, Process Systems Engineering, Reactor Engineering,Energy and Environment, and Transport Phenomena and Complex Fluids are among the subjects covered in the PhD Chemical Engineering program.

I have a master’s degree in astronomy. Is it still possible for me to pursue a PhD in Chemical Engineering?

No, you are not eligible to apply for a PhD program in Chemical Engineering. A postgraduate degree in Chemical Engineering is required to pursue this program.

What is the difficulty level of the PhD Chemical Engineering program?

The PhD Chemical Engineering program is not that difficult if you are interested in chemistry and chemicals. Essentially, it is a matter of personal preference.

What will be the admission criteria to pursue PhD Chemical Engineering program from Indian Universities? 

Admission to this course will be done on the basis of candidate’s performance in national level entrance tests such as UGC NET, GATE etc. 

What exactly do chemical engineers do?

Chemical engineers are responsible for the development and design of chemical manufacturing processes. Chemical engineers use chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics to solve problems related to the use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and a variety of other products

What are the most rewarding careers for chemical engineers?

Process Engineer
Pharmaceutical Engineer
Production Engineer
Food Engineer
Petroleum Engineer
Consulting Engineer
Water Treatment Engineer
Mining Engineer

Is Chemical Engineering a field on the decline?

Chemical engineering isn’t going away anytime soon. Chemical engineers are still highly sought after. Between 2019 and 2029, employment is expected to grow by 4%.

In the aerospace industry, what do chemical engineers do?

Designing new processes, improving existing ones, lowering manufacturing costs, and developing new products are typical responsibilities. Chemical engineers have made significant contributions to the air and space industries.

In layman’s terms, what is chemical engineering?

Chemical engineering is a discipline that has an impact on a wide range of technological fields. Chemical engineers, in general, devise and design processes for the production, transformation, and transportation of materials, beginning with laboratory testing and progressing to full-scale production.

Is there a high demand for chemical engineers?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chemical engineers are in high demand, with a projected job growth rate of 8% between 2016 and 2026. Chemical engineering jobs can also be very rewarding.

Who qualifies for the NET examination?

Candidates who have received at least 55 percent (without rounding off) in a Master’s Degree OR equivalent examination in Humanities (including languages), Social Science, Computer Science & Applications, Electronic Science, and other fields from universities/institutions recognized by the UGC are eligible to take this test.

What does the full form of UGC stand for?

The University Grants Commission (UGC) was established on December 28, 1953, and by an Act of Parliament in 1956, it became a statutory organisation of the Government of India for the coordination, determination, and maintenance of standards of teaching, examination, and research in university education.

Is the NET exam conducted online?

The online CBT mode is used for both parts of the UGC NET. To pass the exam, candidates must pass both papers. The UGC NET Exam is a multiple-choice computer-based test.

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