Why a Ph.D. from UVA CHE?

We are a community of faculty, staff, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows working together to solve important, emerging challenges in medicine, energy, environmental science and more. And, we’re like a family here. We love our faculty and student get-togethers, from our summer student seminar series to happy hours and trivia nights, adventures to local attractions or our annual holiday dinner. We invite you to keep exploring this page to get to know us better!

Mark Your Calendars

Meet our faculty and students! Please join us at our upcoming virtual event:

Dec. 15 │ 1-3 p.m.
CHE Ph.D. Program Admissions InfoRegister here

You can also contact us any time at cheadmis@virginia.edu with questions, or complete this form to receive information about our graduate program. We can’t wait to see you!

NOTE: The GRE is waived for fall 2021 admission. U.S. and international students welcome.

The Ph.D. Student Perspective

  • Erica Hui

    Erica Hui, fifth-year Ph.D. student from Lenexa, KS

    Undergraduate institution: University of Kansas

    UVA CHE faculty advisor/lab: Assistant Professor Steven Caliari

    Favorite things about chemical engineering at UVA: Close-knit community, social events like department happy hours (with events like pumpkin-carving contests, department bake-off, tie-dying, and themed happy hour food), supportive advisor, open-door policy for many faculty, seminar food, recruitment weekends, ability to network via the Chemical Engineering Research Symposium (CHEERS) and meetings with the ChE Advisory Board

    Favorite Charlottesville-area hangouts and things to do:

    Wineries: King Family, Mount Ida, Glass House
    Breweries: Pro Re Nata, Blue Mountain, Devils Backbone
    Coffee shop: Mudhouse
    Restaurant: Al Carbon
    Entertainment venue: Jefferson Theater

  • Mark Bannon at UVA lacrosse game

    Mark Bannon, second-year Ph.D. student from Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

    Undergraduate institution: New Jersey Institute of Technology

    UVA CHE faculty advisor/lab: Assstant Professor Rachel Letteri

    Favorite things about chemical engineering at UVA: Really tight-knit department, you get to go to work with your friends every day; very collaborative environment, can learn something from everyone; really great seminars, excellent researchers are brought in to give useful and relevant information every week.

    Favorite Charlottesville-area hangouts and things to do:

    Cidery: Bold Rock at Carter Mountain, best view in Charlottesville
    Restaurant: Burger Bach
    Favorite things to do around Cville: UVA lacrosse games (when they’re playing)
    Entertainment: Listening to live music downtown. The Whiskey Jar always has amazing local bands, and even busking musicians are always very talented.

  • Sean Bannon busking in Charlottesville

    Sean Bannon, first-year Ph.D. student from Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

    Undergraduate institution: New Jersey Institute of Technology

    UVA CHE faculty advisor/lab: Associate Professor Geoff Geise

    Favorite things about chemical engineering at UVA: Coming into a graduate program amidst a pandemic can be daunting, but between virtual happy hours, zoom homework meetings and socially distanced get-togethers, doing so in the UVA ChE department has still been a lot of fun!

    Favorite things to do in Charlottesville: C’ville has great options for hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, country roads for bike rides, and music/food downtown. Still, nothing I’ve seen in Charlottesville so far has managed to surpass Thursday night Pizza Hut karaoke.

  • Ashley Conley at waterfall in Shenandoah National Park

    Ashley Conley, fourth-year Ph.D. student from Columbus, Ohio

    Undergraduate institution: The Ohio State University

    UVA CHE faculty advisor/lab: Associate Professor Joshua Choi and Assistant Professor Gaurav Giri

    Favorite things about chemical engineering at UVA: As it turns out, the people around you greatly influence your experience as you get your Ph.D. That’s why I came to UVA. Our department is highly collaborative and is a socially tight-knit community. The faculty and graduate students you get to work with are brilliant, bright and encouraging. From my visit up to now, Charlottesville is my home away from home.

    Favorite Charlottesville-area hangouts and things to do: Basic City Brewing, Sedona Taphouse or Cava;- Shenandoah National Park with my doggo, Rutherford; hiking and finding new places to eat.

    I recently went on a long hike with multiple beautiful waterfalls and swimming holes, complete with smushed sandwiches, grapes and chips. Plus, I got to break in my new fancy hiking boots! Then we visited a nearby brewery to have a beer next to a warm, cozy firepit with cows grazing in the open pastures nearby as the sun went down. Another noteworthy event, I just carved pumpkins with a few close ChE friends, which we do each year together. Pre-COVID, right about now I would be looking forward to the ChE grad student holiday events, such as our Friendsgiving potluck and Christmas parties with gift exchanges.

  • CHE Ph.D. student Jenna Sumey (center) with friends

    Jenna Sumey, third-year Ph.D. student from Uniontown, Pa.

    Undergraduate institution: Virginia Tech

    UVA CHE faculty advisor/lab: Assistant Professor Steven Caliari

    Favorite things about chemical engineering at UVA: Close-knit community, supportive advisor, collaboration between labs, seminar food, monthly department happy hours and holiday parties

    Favorite Charlottesville-area hangouts and things to do:

    Coffee shop: Mudhouse (their house blend is my favorite!)
    Restaurant: Tavola
    Entertainment venue: Sprint Pavilion
    Winery: King Family

    Some of my favorite memories include getting ice cream with my classmates (and faculty) after passing our qualifying exam; watching Kacey Musgraves perform from a rooftop in downtown Charlottesville and dressing up as the Belcher family (from Bob's Burgers) with friends for Halloween.

  • Tori Vigil photo

    Tori Vigil, first-year Ph.D student from Nampa, Idaho

    Undergraduate and master’s institutions: Pacific Lutheran University, B.S. in chemistry and biology; Johns Hopkins University, M.S.E. in chemical and biomolecular engineering

    UVA CHE faculty advisor/lab: Associate Professor Bryan Berger

    Favorite things about chemical engineering at UVA: I chose UVA because the professors are genuinely invested in helping students reach their goals!

    Favorite Charlottesville-area hangouts and things to do: Shenandoah Joe has been my favorite coffee shop in Charlottesville, although it has been fun to try a new coffee shop each week — now I know who has the best lattes, the best atmosphere for studying and the best pie!

    We often walk part of the Rivanna Trail to Moore’s Creek and our pup’s favorite swimming hole! There are lots of walkers, runners and cyclists who take the trail too. There are so many fun activities in Charlottesville — I know when I’m not studying there will always be something fun to do.

  • Brooke McGirr Brown in the lab

    Brooke McGirr Brown, fourth-year Ph.D. student from Winston-Salem, N.C.

    Undergraduate institution: North Carolina State University, chemical and biomolecular engineering

    UVA CHE faculty advisor/lab: Associate Professor Matt Lazzara

    What’s great about chemical engineering at UVA: The department has a very collaborative and encouraging environment. There are great resources to conduct your research.

    Favorite Charlottesville-area hangouts and things to do:

    Winery: Loving Cup Winery
    Cidery: Potter’s
    Hike: Spy Rock
    Entertainment: Live music! There are so many opportunities for concerts, such as local venues downtown, outdoor performances and big performers at the John Paul Jones Arena.

  • Tori Vigil photo

    Tori Vigil, first-year Ph.D student from Nampa, Idaho

    Undergraduate and master’s institutions: Pacific Lutheran University, B.S. in chemistry and biology; Johns Hopkins University, M.S.E. in chemical and biomolecular engineering

    UVA CHE faculty advisor/lab: Associate Professor Bryan Berger

    Favorite things about chemical engineering at UVA: I chose UVA because the professors are genuinely invested in helping students reach their goals!

    Favorite Charlottesville-area hangouts and things to do: Shenandoah Joe has been my favorite coffee shop in Charlottesville, although it has been fun to try a new coffee shop each week — now I know who has the best lattes, the best atmosphere for studying and the best pie!

    We often walk part of the Rivanna Trail to Moore’s Creek and our pup’s favorite swimming hole! There are lots of walkers, runners and cyclists who take the trail too. There are so many fun activities in Charlottesville — I know when I’m not studying there will always be something fun to do.

Outside the Lab

When we’re not doing research to help solve big challenges, we get out and enjoy all the natural beauty and man-made fun Charlottesville has to offer!

Why Hoos Love to Call Charlottesville Home

“The cultural scene here is way bigger than something a town of this size should have.”

The Ph.D. Student Experience

Why a Graduate Degree from UVA Chemical Engineering?

Excellent and caring faculty, difference-making research in critical areas and career development opportunities are just part of our story.

Opportunities and Achievements