Prospective Graduate Students

Departmental Admission Requirements & Application Information

To join the Cain Department of Chemical Engineering Graduate Program, applicants must meet the minimum requirements for admission to the LSU Graduate School and the department. Applications for admission are evaluated by the department graduate admissions committee on a competitive basis. Each applicant is assessed for success at the graduate level, taking into consideration academic credentials, undergraduate preparation, research skills, industry experience, recommendations, and TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores (for international students whose native language is not English), as well as any other information that contributes to the review. Program admission is also dependent on the availability of departmental funding, office/laboratory space, and faculty interest.

The minimum department admission requirements are listed below. Please note that meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission.

All applicants are encouraged to visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section at the bottom of this page, as well as the Graduate School's FAQ section, for additional information and answers to the most common admission questions.

Departmental Admission Requirements

    • a conferred baccalaureate (or equivalent) from a regionally accredited college or university by the expected date of entry into the graduate program
    • GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 GPA scale
    • minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper based exam), 213 (computer based exam), or 79 (internet based exam); IELTS score of 6.5; or PTE score of 59 (for international students whose native language is not English)
    • completed Graduate School application
    • a Curriculum Vita (CV) or resume with a complete and accurate chronological outline of all previous college-level education
    • transcripts from all post-secondary colleges and universities (and degree certificates for international applicants)
    • three letters of recommendation

Application Process

Applications and supporting materials for all graduate study must be submitted through the online application site for the LSU Graduate School. Official transcripts (along with an English translation version for non-English speaking universities) from each and every institution attended, official TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores (for international students whose native language is not English), and other materials that come from third-party sources must be mailed to: Graduate Admissions, 114 West David Boyd Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. These paper documents are stored electronically and departments have access to all materials submitted by and/or on behalf of a student applying to graduate study.

In addition to the documents and scores listed in the "Departmental Admission Requirements" section above, applicants can include a letter of intent, writing sample(s), and a GRE score. All of these additional items should be submitted electronically through the Graduate School admission system. Direct mailing of these items is discouraged. While these items are not required, they could give you a competitive edge over applicants who do not submit these items.

Deadlines for Complete Applications

Fall Semester: April 15 (International Students), June 30 (Domestic Students)
Spring Semester: October 1 (International Students), November 15 (Domestic Students)

Applicants must adhere to the application deadlines established by the Graduate School and the department. Applications for the summer term are strongly discouraged. International students are strongly encouraged to apply earlier than established deadlines to allow sufficient time for application review and processing of I-20 paperwork.

Completed applications received by January 1 are given first consideration.

Completed applications are those for which all required documents and information have been received by the Graduate School, including CV/resume, transcripts, test scores, and recommendation letters, as well as the completed online application.

Department Review Process

The department graduate admissions committee begins reviewing applications for the fall semester in January each year. The department graduate admissions committee reviews the record of each applicant, taking into consideration grade point average, undergraduate preparation, engineering experience, recommendations, and any other information which can contribute to the review. Superior applicants will be invited to visit the department at our expense.



Our deadline for fall admission is April 15, but we start admitting students in early February. Applications that are received after we have started the admission process have a reduced chance of admission because there will be fewer open positions remaining. For fall applicants, we recommend that the application be submitted no later than January 1 in order to have the best chance of admission.

The answer to both questions is yes. However, our program is best suited for fall admission, and the spring class is typically much smaller than the fall class. Occasionally, we do not have a spring class.

Our department graduate admissions committee makes all decisions concerning admission and assistantships. They review the record of each applicant, taking into consideration grade-point average, undergraduate preparation, engineering experience, recommendation letters, and any other information which can contribute to the review.

That is difficult to say. The decision process usually begins in early February (for fall applicants) and continues through the spring semester. A decision may be made shortly after we receive your application, but a pool of qualified applicants is kept on hold until we have received as many acceptances as we have openings. Applicants will receive the decision via the email address provided on the online application. No decisions will be given over the phone.

No. You will be notified via email if you are admitted. We do not respond to inquiries concerning admission status.

No. However, we can say that a large number of our students are granted financial aid. You will be notified via email if you are offered financial aid. We do not respond to inquiries concerning financial aid status.

No. During the application process, you must supply the names and email addresses of the three (or more) people from whom you are requesting a recommendation letter. An automatic email will be sent to them with instructions on how to submit the recommendation letter. You will be able to see which letters have been received via your Graduate School online application. You may also have your recommenders write letters, seal the envelopes, sign over the seal, and give them to you to mail to us.

Yes, but if you are admitted, you must then request that ETS sends the official scores to the Graduate School before the beginning of your first semester.

Probably not. Most faculty members are deluged with emails from prospective students and will not commit themselves to work with a student based only on email correspondence and an application package. Matching students with projects is a complex process involving student competition and available funding. Therefore, most faculty members will want to meet students in person and see how well they perform in core CHE courses before making a decision. However, most faculty members will be more willing to commit to advising a student if this commitment does not include a financial obligation to support the student. Therefore, if you are financially self-supported and do not require an assistantship, it may make sense to contact potential research advisors in advance.

Shortly after the semester begins, faculty members offering projects will give short presentations on these projects. New students will then have most of the semester to talk to the faculty members for whom they would like to work. Each student must hand in a list of three or more desired projects, ranked in order of preference. Students are then assigned projects based on these lists, preferably in such a way that everyone gets his or her first choice. Obviously, this is not always possible.

The LSU Graduate School requires a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper based exam), 213 (computer based exam), or 79 (internet based exam); IELTS score of 6.5; or PTE score of 59 (for international students whose native language is not English). No exceptions. Our department prefers scores of at least 620 (pBt), 260 (cBt), or 105 (iBt), but these scores are not required for admission as many factors are evaluated when considering admission of each applicant.

Students already holding a master's degree in chemical engineering can transfer up to nine hours of coursework, with a maximum of two core courses eligible for transfer. Every credit transfer is at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies.

No. However, submitting an outstanding GRE score can separate you from other applicants. You can submit an unofficial GRE score. If you are admitted, you will be required to have ETS send the official score to the LSU Graduate School prior to your first semester at LSU.


Contact Information

Kevin McPeak, Director of Graduate Studies
Office: 3315L Patrick Taylor Hall
Telephone: 225-578-0058