Prospective Graduate Students

Departmental Admission Requirements & Application Information

To become an MS or PhD student in the Cain Department of Chemical Engineering 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, GRE scores, TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores (for international students whose native language is not English), and any other information that can contribute to the review. Program admission is also dependent on the availability of department funding, office/laboratory space, and faculty interest.

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

All applicants are encouraged to visit the 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.

Department Admission Requirements

  • GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • preferred GRE score of 300 or higher (verbal + quantitative) 
  • 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
  • supply 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 GRE scores (sent directly from ETS to the LSU Graduate School: code 6373), 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 required by the Graduate School, the Department of Chemical Engineering requires applicants to submit the following items: a statement of purpose, a current resumé/CV, and a minimum of three letters of recommendation (no form required). A writing sample is not required by our department but may be submitted if the applicant so desires. All of these additional items should be submitted electronically through the Graduate School admission system. Direct mailing of these items is discouraged.

Deadlines for Complete Applications

Fall Semester: May 15*
Spring Semester: October 15

*For those seeking financial assistance, the department's application deadline is April 15.

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 transcripts, test scores, and recommendations, 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, GRE scores, and any other information which can contribute to the review. Superior applicants will be invited to visit the department at our expense.

Contact Information

Michael G. Benton -
Office: 3315R Patrick F. Taylor Hall
Telephone: 225-578-3056


  • When should I apply?

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.

  • Do you admit students for the spring semester? Do you offer financial aid to students who are admitted for spring?

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.

  • How is admission decided?

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, recommendations, GRE scores, and any other information which can contribute to the review.

  • When will I know if I will be admitted?

That is difficult to say. The decision process usually begins in early February (for fall applicants) and continues through the spring semester, as long as applications are received and positions are available. 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. The graduate coordinator informs each applicant via email and post when a decision is made.

  • After I have applied, can you tell me my status in the admission decision process?

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

  • If I give you a summary of my scores and background, can you tell me my chances of receiving financial aid?

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

  • Do you have recommendation forms?

No. During the application process, you may supply the names and e-mail addresses of the three (or more) people from whom you are requesting a recommendation letter. An automatic e-mail 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.

  • Can I send photocopies of my GRE & TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores with my application instead of having the original scores mailed?

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.

  • Should I contact a faculty member that I would like to work with before I arrive at LSU or even before I am admitted?

Probably not. Most faculty members are deluged with e-mails from prospective students and will not commit themselves to work with a student based only on e-mail 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.

  • When & how do I pick a research advisor/project?

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.

  • What are the minimum GRE & TOEFL/IELTS/PTE score requirements?

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.

The Graduate School does not have a minimum GRE score requirement. It is only required that you take the test. Our department prefers GRE scores of 300 or higher (verbal + quantitative).

  • Do I have to retake a course I have already taken or can it be transferred?

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. A minimum of six hours of coursework numbered 7300 or greater must be taken at LSU, regardless of the transferred credit.