PhD Program

Chemical & Biological Engineering is a discipline that integrates chemistry and biology at the molecular level and uses this broad foundation along with engineering fundamentals to study the synthesis of new processes and products. Our graduate program in Chemical and Biological Engineering is an interdisciplinary program that combines chemical engineering fundamentals and systems biology to meet the research challenges of the future.

Degree Requirements

Students can apply to the Ph.D. programs with a B.S. or M.S. degree. The Ph.D. degree requires successful completion of 14 courses within 3 years and take the Qualifying Examination within 7th semester at latest beyond the B.S. degree and 7 courses within 2 years and take the Qualifying Examination within 5th semester at latest beyond the M.S. degree.

PhD program in Chemical and Biological Engineering requires 21 credits on top of the requirements of the MSc program.  Students who already have an MSc degree are required to collect 21 more credits. The required courses for the MSc courses are required to be completed. If the student took these courses during his/her MSc level studies then they can be waived.  If this is the case the student needs to get approval from the instructor of the corresponding course and return it to the Program Coordinator.

Students who do not have an MSc degree are required to collect 42 credits (14 courses) in total including the required courses:

  • CHBI501  Transport Phenomena (3 credits)
  • CHBI502  Advanced Reaction Engineering (3 credits)
  • CHBI503  Thermodynamics (3 credits)


Students whose background is not Chemical (and Biological) Engineering are also required to audit the following undergraduate level core Chemical and Biological Engineering courses:

  • CHBI204 Thermodynamics
  • CHBI301 Fluid Mechanics
  • CHBI305 Heat and Mass Transfer
  • CHBI308 Reaction Engineering


These undergraduate level courses are the prerequisites for the grad level required courses. PhD students cannot enroll in an undergraduate level course for credit.  However, they are free to audit any course of their choice. In addition to the credit courses, students must complete the non-credit courses; KOLT 500: KOLT Graduate Teaching Assistant Training, CHBI 590: Seminar, ENGL 500: Academic Writing, ETHR 500: Scientific Research Methods and Research and Publication Ethics, TEAC 500: Teaching Experience and CHBI 695: PhD Thesis Course.

Qualifier Exam Rules

Information about the CHBI PhD Qualifying Examination

Revised 25/10/2018

  1. A grade of B or better in core graduate courses (CHBI 501 Transport Phenomena, CHBI 502 Advanced Reaction Engineering and CHBI 503 Thermodynamics) partially fulfills the requirement of having the necessary knowledge to perform research in the field. Students who do not meet this requirement cannot take the qualifying exam.
  2. The PhD student must take the Qualifying Examination by the end of her fifth semester, if she has a master’s degree. If not (i.e. if the student enrolled directly after obtaining her bachelor’s degree), the student must take the exam by the end of her seventh semester.
  3. The PhD Qualifying Examination consists of 2 parts: A written part that consists of a “mini-review” article and an oral presentation about the article.
  4. Content of the Review Article: The review article defines the focus of the Qualifying Examination topic and must include:
    • Definition and significance of the PhD research work.
    • Review of the fundamental knowledge base and the computational and/or experimental methodologies / techniques used by the past researchers.
    • Shortcomings of the existing literature, the potential areas of improvement to advance research in the proposed field.
    • Critique of 3 main articles from the literature related to the student’s PhD research. The student can receive help from her advisor in selecting the papers. Only 1 paper co-authored by the student can be selected.
  1. The student cannot seek any help from her advisor in the preparation of the review article. The article should be single-spaced, have a font size ≤12, and should not exceed 6 pages.
  2. Timeline of the Review Article: Once the student selects the 3 articles, she submits the articles to the Qualifier Committee. The Qualifier Committee reviews the 3 selected paper, and upon approval, assigns the Examination Jury members. After the Jury is assigned, the student will be asked to prepare the review article. The student will have two weeks to submit the paper to the Examination Jury after notification. The Jury will evaluate the article and assign a grade (satisfactory or unsatisfactory).
  3. Oral Presentation: The student must pass the written part to proceed to the oral part of the exam. Two weeks after the written part is graded, the student gives a 30-minute presentation to the Examination Jury. The presentation should be about the review article. After the presentation, the Jury may ask questions about the research area, the 3 articles critiqued in the review article, the article itself, and the related chemical and biological engineering fundamentals.
  4. Qualifying Committee: The Committee consists of 5 faculty members from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and is chaired by the CHBI Graduate Coordinator(s).
  5. Examination Jury: The Jury consists of the PhD advisor of the student, an expert from outside Koç University recommended by the advisor, and a third academic determined by the Qualifying Committee.
  6. Attempts: A student can take the Qualifying Examination twice. In case of failure, the student must retake the exam the following semester. After the second unsuccessful attempt, the student is discontinued from the PhD program.
  7. Inquiries and Grievance: The Qualifying Committee will be responsible for adjudicating requests related to the examination procedure.