Each year, a number of graduating seniors in chemical engineering pursue advanced degrees. At Bucknell, in addition to the master's degree program which students may enter once their bachelor's degree is completed, the Department of Chemical Engineering offers an accelerated 3-2 program leading to both a bachelor of science and a master of science in chemical engineering in a period of approximately five years, including 1-2 summers devoted to full-time research.

Depending on an individual's goals, further study at the master's level can be attractive in that it provides:

  • study and experience in a specialized area within chemical engineering;
  • expertise in planning and conducting a intensive research project;
  • positioning for additional employment opportunities beyond those available to bachelor's degree engineers; and
  • experience (and time) to help you define your next educational/career path.

The Fourth and Fifth Years

In Bucknell's 3-2 program, the undergraduate curriculum remains the same through the third year. During the fourth and fifth years, students take a mix of undergraduate and graduate courses, chosen such that the required graduate courses (3 graduate core chemical engineering courses + 4 graduate elective courses + 1 unit thesis credit) are spread over two academic years, and the B.S. degree requirements are satisfied. This course credit load would typically amount to 4 course units each semester in the fourth and fifth years. A template which indicates the normal course sequence is shown in the table on below.

A written master's thesis describing work on a research, design or other problem involving original scientific inquiry is an integral part of Bucknell's master's program. Selection of a thesis advisor will be done during the Fall of the fourth year. In order to get an early beginning on a thesis topic, it is recommended that an undergraduate independent study elective be taken (if possible) during Spring of the fourth year (see table) under the supervision of the master's thesis advisor.

Typical 3-2 course sequence (UG = undergraduate course)

Fourth Year
CHEG 400 Process Engr. CHEG 410 Adv. Process Engr.
CHEG 320 Chem. React. Engr. CHEG 330 Process Control
UG Elective UG Elective / UG Independent Study
GRAD Engineering Math Course GRAD Core Course
Summer between Fourth and Fifth Years
Thesis Research
Fifth Year
UG Elective UG Elective
GRAD Core Course GRAD Elective
GRAD Elective GRAD Elective
GRAD Elective1 GRAD Thesis Credit

1 at the discretion of thesis advisor, one GRAD elective may be used for independent study related to the thesis project.

Note that once commitment to the 3-2 program is made and this schedule of courses is begun, the normal progression toward the four-year B.S. degree is altered. As a five-year student, you would not receive a B.S. degree after your fourth year (although you can request to be included in the graduation ceremony with your classmates). Also, it will be difficult and maybe impossible after the fourth year has begun to change your mind about the 5-year program and obtain your B.S. after the fourth year. Therefore, the decision to pursue the 3-2 option requires careful thought on your part and a strong commitment to pursue the dual degree option.

Financial Support for Participants

Students participating in the 3-2 program will receive a tuition scholarship for all courses taken during the fifth year, and are eligible for summer stipends and summer university housing. Also, as a part of the total graduate experience, they will be expected to assist the department faculty with duties related to the instructional program (usually by serving as a teaching assistant) for a maximum of nine hours per week during the fifth year.

Eligibility and Application

Early in the spring semester, the Chemical Engineering faculty will announce details about the 3-2 program (this memo) to members of the junior class. Note that the accelerated 3-2 program is very intensive, and also that only a limited number of total M.S. spaces are available. Admission criteria to enter the program (which will be reviewed by the department and Graduate Studies Office) are therefore quite stringent, and include a strong academic record as well as a persuasive statement of purpose, which would accompany an official application (see below). Typically, students accepted into the 3-2 program will have a GPA of 3.2 or higher, although exceptions can be made in unusual cases.

Of course, Bucknell graduates are also eligible to apply to the master's program via the normal (not 3-2) route.

Usually, the timeline for the 3-2 program specifies that admission decisions be made before pre-registration in the spring of the third year. The following deadlines therefore apply:

On or Before: 
January 25 Attend the Bucknell Chemical Engineering Graduate School Information Night or equivalent presentation to gather information regarding the available programs and procedures. If you miss the meeting, send an email to the graduate coordinator indicating your intention to apply to the 3-2 program.
February 1 Fill out and submit (to the Graduate Studies Office) a Graduate Studies Application form and a Financial Aid Application form, both available at: www.bucknell.edu/GraduateStudies Note the following regarding these forms as they relate to the 3-2 program:
  • Indicate "3-2 Program" with the "intended date of entry" on Application.
  • You do not need to take the GRE examination or the TOEFL examination.
  • Your application fee is waived.
  • You will need to have two letters of recommendation sent directly to Graduate Studies to accompany your application. Plan ahead so that these arrive on or before February 15 if possible.
  • Indicate "3-2 Program" on Financial Aid form, along with an indication of the date at which requested financial aid will begin (Fall of your fifth year).
March-April (hopefully before registration) Graduate Studies Office will notify of you of decision regarding your application.


Depending on your own personal goals and interests, the 3-2 program may provide an outstanding opportunity to obtain an advanced degree. For additional information about Bucknell's graduate program in chemical engineering, contact the department graduate advisor (Professor Vogel) or the department chairperson (Professor Raymond). General information about Bucknell's M.S. program (including faculty research areas) can also be found in the Chemical Engineering Department Graduate Program pages.