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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Graduate Admissions FAQ’s

Graduate Admissions FAQ’s

Applying to the Graduate Program

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Graduate Admission Requirements

Application Fees


Official Transcripts

Letters of Recommendation

Personal Statement

Declaration of Certification of Finances Form

Financial Support

Contact Information

Applying to the Graduate Program

WHEN TO APPLY: Applications will be reviewed on a continuous basis, and applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their complete applications by December 15, 2021. The final deadline is December 31, 2021. Applications that are incomplete after that date will not be considered.

*Note: The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering does not admit students into the program with the intention of earning a terminal Master’s degree; however, students who have met the requirements may obtain a Master’s degree as a milestone on the path to completing their Ph.D. degree.


Complete Application Form on the Graduate College online application website
Instructions are located on the Graduate College application website.
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering = 10KS0300PHD

Provide the following supporting materials electronically via the Graduate College online application:

  • Official transcripts
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation (submitted by recommenders)
  • Official iBT or IELTS scores (international applicants only)
  • Passport (international applicants only)

Nothing is to be mailed to the department at this time.
Incomplete files will not be fully evaluated until missing items have been submitted.

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) Graduate Admissions Requirements

The ChBE Admissions Committee will evaluate the OVERALL application when considering an applicant for admission. The committee will carefully consider an applicant’s grades, letters of recommendation, research experience, publications, research interests, and personal statement.

The requirements below are general guidelines and are not meant to dissuade potential applicants from applying. Please keep in mind that a successful applicant can be “weak” in one area, but strong in all other areas of their application. For example, a student who may not have good grades, but who has good research experience with strong letters of recommendation, could still be considered for admission.

Successful applicants typically have an overall grade point average (GPA) well above 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (4.0 is A) in their undergraduate level study. This is equivalent to a ‘B’ average. Grades received in science and mathematics courses will also be closely evaluated.

When reporting GPAs, students should not convert their scores to the US 4.0 system, but should report the scores based on their home institution’s grading system (e.g., 80%, 7/10).


ChBE does not require GRE scores for admission.


TOEFL iBTscores are required for international applicants whose native language is not English. The ChBE Admissions Committee will consider applicants whose scores on the spoken section of the exam are at least 24 (the minimum speaking score required to teach at the university). Applicants whose speaking scores fall between 20-23 may be considered if the rest of the application is strong and English proficiency is demonstrated by other means. The total score must meet the university minimum of 79. Successful applicants with a total score of less than 103 will be admitted on limited status and must sit for an English Placement Test (EPT) upon arrival in the fall. Students who matriculate with a score less than 24 (speaking) are required to sit for the English Proficiency Interview (EPI) upon arriving at Illinois.

The Test of Spoken English (TSE) is not required for admission. However, teaching assistant duties require that international students pass a similar exam with a score of 50 or higher before being allowed to teach at the university. The fact that a student has taken the TSE and received a passing score will be taken into consideration when decisions on international applicants are made.

In lieu of the TSE, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) will also be accepted. Students who receive a score of 8 on the spoken section of the exam would be eligible to teach. The university minimum score in any section is 6.5.

Application Fees

International applicants = $90
Domestic applicants = $70

Payment of the application fee is required and must be paid via credit card prior to the submission of the application.

Domestic applicants may be eligible for an application fee waiver. Information can be obtained from the Graduate College website at International applicants are not eligible for waivers.


GRE: The General GRE is not required to apply the ChBE graduate program.

TOEFL iBT: The TOEFL iBT is required of all non-native English speaking students.

There are two exceptions to the iBT requirement:

  1. Applicants who have received a master’s degree at a US institution.
  2. Applicants who have spent 2 of the last 5 years at an English-speaking institution as a full-time student. These English-speaking institutions must reside in countries where English is the primary language — e.g., the United States, England, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, or the English-speaking provinces of Canada.

In lieu of the iBT, the IELTS can be accepted.

Please contact the ChBE office if you have any questions regarding these exceptions.

Information needed by ETS to report scores to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Institution Code = 1836

Official Transcripts

All applicants are required to upload a copy of their official transcripts* directly into the Graduate College online application program. If the transcripts are illegible, we will ask you to submit them again. Send a copy of the grade legend if it appears on the reverse side of the transcript. Transcripts should include degree conferral, where appropriate.

*An official transcript is obtained directly from the institution and comes in a sealed envelope with the stamp/signature of the registrar on the transcript and the envelope. For evaluation purposes, we will accept official student transcripts, which students might not receive in a sealed envelope. ChBE will not accept copies of web-based listings of courses available to students as official transcripts.

If you are admitted, you will be asked to provide a final, official transcript showing degree conferral. Those final transcripts must arrive in a stamped/sealed envelope either directly from the institution or from the applicant.

Letters of Recommendation

Three (3) letters of recommendation are required for each applicant.

All recommenders are strongly encouraged to send their letters electronically via the Graduate College online application system.

If the recommender chooses not to send their letters electronically, the recommendation letter must be on the official stationery of the school or institution, bearing a masthead and watermark. Letters with mastheads printed out from a personal computer will not be accepted. The letter must have the original signature of the person writing the recommendation letter, not a rubber-stamped signature or photocopy of a letter. The recommendation form accompanying the letter must also bear the original signature of the person writing the recommendation letter and their name, title, address, phone number, and email address.

If applicants are unable to send the recommendation form to the person writing the letter, the recommender may submit an official letter of recommendation directly to the ChBE office, as long as it is on official letterhead, bears an original signature, and contains all the information on the recommendation form (name, title, phone number, email and mailing address). In rare circumstances, the ChBE office will accept an email from a recommender, with the official letter sent as an attachment (preferably in pdf form).

Personal Statement

All applicants are required to upload a statement of purpose with their application.  There are no formal format requirements or page limits, however, we suggest that the length is no more than double-spaced 3 pages.

Declaration and Certification of Finances Form

Because we guarantee financial support for incoming students, the Declaration and Certification of Finance form is not required for international students applying to the ChBE program.

However, it is important to note on your application if you are going to receive financial support through a government or a private source (like Fulbright, etc). In those cases, we would supplement your stipend support to the level of other graduate students in our Program.

Financial Support

Students who remain in good standing, and continue to make satisfactory academic progress in the program based on their annual reviews, are guaranteed full financial support for the duration of their studies in the program.  This support includes a stipend that easily covers living expenses in the Champaign-Urbana area, paid tuition, and costs of research and supplies. Students are typically required to serve as a teaching assistant during three semesters of their time on campus.

Questions about the graduate program should be directed to:

Cindy Dodds, Graduate Program Coordinator

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