Master of Engineering

Student Handbook

Master of Engineering in Molecular Engineering

This is a set of academic policies and requirements that are applicable to students the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering’s (PME) Master of Engineering (MEng) program. For any questions or clarifications, please contact the Program Director or the Dean of Students Office. The manual will receive regular updates. Significant policy updates will be communicated to current students via email prior to appearing in the handbook.

Nadya Mason
Dean of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering
Office: ERC 299C

Paul Nealey
Vice Dean for Education & Outreach
Office: ERC 229

Rovana Popoff
Senior Associate Dean for Education and Strategy
Office: ACC 212

Laura Rico-Beck
Education and Outreach Coordinator
Contact for: Outreach and Graduate Student Professional Development
Office: ACC 215

Briana Konnick
Director of Career Development
Contact for: Career advising and career-related resource sharing and programming
Office: ACC 217

Terry Johnson
Program Director
Contact for: Issues or concerns not addressed by the contacts below
Office: ACC 115

Anna Kent
Assistant Director of Academic Programs
Contact for: Main contact for MEng students for curriculum, registration, graduation and program/degree progress
Office: ACC 114

Phil Griffin
Track Lead and Advisor
Contact for: Academic advising&
Office: ERC 105B

Mustafa Guler
Director of Experiential Learning
Track Lead and Advisor
Contact for: Academic advising
Office: TAAC 15

The PME Dean of Students Office is your primary resource as you navigate the wide variety of offices and programs across the University. Overall, our mission is to support graduate students in their academic engagement and progress. Students should reach out to our team for help in addressing any issue that might impact their success in their program (e.g., health problems, dynamics with faculty and peers, and concerns about academic preparation). The sooner students meet with us, the better able we are to offer appropriate and proactive assistance.

In addition to general advising and support, faculty and staff working in this area assist students in the processes and policies related to academic progress and degree requirements, registration and enrollment, student leadership and involvement, financial aid, access to university resources, overall student health and well-being, and other related matters. The Dean of Students Office connects students with opportunities to develop as teachers and researchers, to enhance their broader professional development, and to foster diversity in their academic and co-curricular lives.

David Taylor
Dean of Students
Contact for: Student status changes (e.g., leaves of absence and graduation), management of academic and behavioral disciplinary issues, and providing/coordinating support for students with disabilities and health difficulties

Brett Stachler
Associate Dean of Students, Recruitment and Admissions 

Lillian M. Griffin
Assistant Dean of Students for Graduate Student Funding

Ozge Kocak Hemmat
Assistant Dean of Students for Registration and Data Management
Contact for: Student records (milestones, registration, graduation), non-degree visiting students

  • The university’s academic calendar can be found here.
  • Course registration dates, including Add/Drop deadlines, can be found here.
  • The Office of the Bursar’s policies, including dates by which late fees will be assessed, can be found here.

The PME master’s program adopts a holistic coursework-focused approach covering fundamental and applied science and engineering alongside humanities, entrepreneurship, and business. The program encourages students to take advantage of opportunities outside of coursework to gain valuable skills that will support their success as engineers. Success requires a commitment to academics along with efforts to build positive professional relationships. As a graduate student, you will be expected to assume an increased responsibility for your own progress, to ask questions, and to raise issues or concerns as they arise. This applies to academic questions that may be best addressed by an advisor, as well as to questions that are not academic but are affecting your ability to progress through the program.

It is contrary to ethics, academic integrity, and to the spirit of intellectual inquiry to submit another’s statements or ideas of work as one's own. To do so is plagiarism or cheating, offenses punishable under the University's disciplinary system. Because these offenses undercut the distinctive moral and intellectual character of the University, we take them very seriously. Failure to adhere to these standards can have a number of serious consequences, including dismissal from the program.

The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering is committed to equity, diversity, respect, and inclusion, and aims for broad representation, accountability, and participation among our faculty, other academic appointees, research and administrative staff, and students across age, gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ability and disability, religion, belief, and backgrounds.

In support of this mission, the PME hosts a standing committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion charged with promoting an environment that allows everyone the opportunity to contribute, participate, and learn. Committee members include students, faculty, and staff members. Members explore and promote best practices that advance our goals in this area. They also discuss and address issues that run contrary to our mission and values.

Students who think that they have been adversely affected by bias have several options:

  1. They can raise their concern with any member of the PME Dean of Students Office,
  2. they can raise their concern with the Vice Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, or,
  3. they can raise their concern with the Bias Education & Support Team (BEST).

All of these options will result in emotional and administrative support.

Course Requirements

The degree consists of a one-week bootcamp and the completion of nine (9) 100-unit courses, three in Innovation Leadership (taken by all MEng students) and six technical courses (chosen according to the student’s track and interests). Please note that MEng students are charged the regular tuition rate for formally auditing a course, but audited courses cannot be used to meet your degree requirements.

Specific details can be found on the Masters of Engineering website.

The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering does not grant transfer credit for work completed prior to enrolling in the Master of Engineering program. Students who have completed coursework at the University of Chicago prior to enrolling in the Master of Engineering program may petition to waive a maximum of one required course in the program, provided the course intended to count for the MEng program requirement was not used toward another degree at the University.

Other Requirements

  • Each course used to meet program requirements must be completed with a “C-” grade (or better)
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 must be maintained to avoid being placed on academic probation and to earn the degree
  • Falling below a 2.0 cumulative GPA may also have financial aid consequences

As a graduate student at PME, you must meet the residency requirements of the University of Chicago. See the section on Degrees in the Student Manual.

Quarterly Registration and Enrollment Status

PME students are expected to maintain full-time registration during all three quarters of the academic year. Full-time status requires registration in at least 300 and up to 400 units of credit. A typical schedule for the MEng is three 100-unit courses per quarter. Students interested in taking fewer courses (potentially as part of a part-time approach to the degree) or more than three courses should discuss with their academic advisor.

The Registrar has a guide to registering for courses, and a complete list of PME courses is published in the Graduate Announcements. All registration changes must be completed by the Friday of 1st week of the quarter in which you are registering.

Academic Advising

The academic record of all PME MEng students will be reviewed at the end of every quarter during advising appointments with their academic advisor. These appointments are to ensure that students understand the requirements of the master’s program and that they are aware of sources of support both within the PME and within the broader University. Each of these meetings will produce an updated plan to graduation, which includes future courses chosen by the student and approved by their Advisor.

The PME is invested in the overall success and well-being of our students. Any student who is experiencing difficulties that might hinder their performance in the classroom or in the laboratory, or that might otherwise negatively affect their annual review, should reach out to the Office of the Dean of Students and to the Program Director. Early attention to such difficulties will facilitate appropriate support and access to resources.

Academic Probation

To remain in good standing, all students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7. Students failing to meet this requirement will be placed on academic probation, at which point there will be a meeting with the Program Director to determine a successful strategy towards graduation. Failure to resolve this status within a quarter via academic improvement (by increasing your cumulative GPA to or above the 2.7 threshold), or to participate meaningfully in developing a graduation strategy with PME, may result in dismissal from the program.

If you are experiencing a situation in your life that is impeding your ability to participate in the program and demonstrate academic excellence, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students and the Program Director as soon as possible. They will work with you to find an appropriate path forward.

If you are planning to earn your degree over two years, be mindful that a lack of academic progress in your program can impact your financial aid. You should contact your financial aid officer for details.

Leave of Absence

Students will need to contact the Dean of Students to request a leave of absence. Once a leave of absence is approved, students will meet with their academic advisor and Program Director to define the length of absence and to ensure there’s a program plan for students to return to. Students must understand the implications for health insurance coverage, visa status, student loan repayment, and stipend eligibility among other concerns. Additionally, many University privileges, facilities, and services are not available to students on leaves of absence, unless otherwise indicated. Learn more at the University of Chicago Student Manual’s section on leaves of absence.

Internship Opportunities

Master of Engineering students are encouraged to apply for and participate in internships, particularly during the summer. Interested students must meet with their academic advisor, and with the Dean of Students, to define the length of absence, and to consider changes to their academic plan that will be required.

Students should understand the implications for health insurance coverage, visa status, student loan repayment, and stipend eligibility among other concerns. Additionally, many University privileges, facilities, and services are not available to students on leaves of absence (see Leaves of Absence above).

Other Professional Opportunities

In addition to providing a rigorous curriculum and meaningful research experiences, the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering aims to develop in its students core competencies in communication, knowledge synthesis, engaged scholarship, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

In PME’s STAGE Collaboratory, professionals and students from a multitude of artistic, scientific, engineering, and technological disciplines will come together to craft theatrical stories that reflect the scientifically and technologically driven world in which we live.

The Art, Science & Culture Initiative provides opportunities for scholars, students, and arts practitioners, in multiple domains, to pursue original investigations and explore new modes of artistic production and scientific inquiry.

The Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE) and the Polsky Center provide educational opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration to explore technology and product development; to practice user-centered design skills; and to gain familiarity with entrepreneurial fundamentals.

The myCHOICE program exposes, educates, and provides students with career options and experiences that leverage their strong research training. The program highlights employment opportunities focused on business, education, government policy, industry, innovation, research, and the public sector.

Graduate students are encouraged to further enhance their skills by participating in university-wide and divisional leadership activities. You can find a list of activities and opportunities on PME’s Student Leadership and Engagement website.

Educational costs include more than required tuition and fees. Tuition and fee information is available on the Bursar’s office website. For the full cost of attendance, please visit the Office of Graduate Financial Aid website.

On rare occasions, a student finds themselves needing to withdraw from a course after the Add/Drop deadline. These students should confer with their academic advisor, who can recommend to the Program Director that the student become eligible for a credit for future tuition. Students can only receive this credit once during their time in the MEng program, and only for courses that apply to their degree requirements.

If approved, this credit (of 80% of the tuition charged to the student for the withdrawn course) will be posted during the student's final quarter. After approval, it is the responsibility of the student to request this credit when they submit that they are planning to graduate at the end of a given quarter.

At the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, we encourage students and companies to engage and create new value with premier talent, interdisciplinary solutions from cutting edge research, and world-class materials characterization and processing facilities. PME is a collaborative environment that’s geared toward enhancing corporate innovation efforts, where students are given the key to incorporate scientific advances and molecular building blocks into tomorrow’s advanced products, materials, and processes.

Learn more about our industry partners and collaborators by visiting the websites listed below.

Being aware of tangible opportunities and knowing the tactics of how to leverage them lowers the barriers to access. Briana Konnick (Director of Career Development, and Felix Lu (Director of Corporate Engagement, are here to help you learn about these opportunities and connect you with the right technical expertise.

The University of Chicago offers numerous resources to graduate students to support them as they progress through their programs. In addition to the PME Master of Engineering in Molecular Engineering Student Handbook, the University Student Manual contains key information for students regarding residency requirements, campus policies, academic policies and requirements, and information on student life and conduct. Furthermore, the UChicagoGRAD office and the Office of Campus and Student Life provide numerous resources for graduate students in the areas of general skills and professional development, health and wellness, counseling services, and campus-wide social programs. Finally, the University provides a wide array of opportunities for graduate students to get involved in outreach activities and other non-academic campus activities through offices such as Civic Engagement and the University Community Service Center.

Students are encouraged to explore these resources individually and to attend workshops throughout the year where some of these services will be featured. Students are also invited to seek out their Dean of Students Office if they have questions about where to find help and/or how to access particular resources. Flagging a concern or challenge early on with the PME Dean of Students Office will help students to connect with the appropriate services in a timely way. Below you will find a list of the most-accessed resources for graduate students. You can find more information about each on the University’s Resources | Campus and Student Life website.