Many of the essential products and materials in daily life are either used as or processed as a complex fluid. Non-durable consumer products, food, cosmetics, pharmaceutical formulations, coatings, adhesives, and health care products are all examples of multi-component complex fluids. Our ability to control and optimize the properties of these products depends on understanding how molecules interact and how those interactions impact properties.

The College of Engineering and Mellon College of Science jointly offer an interdisciplinary MS CPS degree program focused on teaching necessary fundamental and analytical skills. The program includes hands-on laboratory courses, lecture courses, and a wide variety of unique electives. Graduates go on to work in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, nanotechnology and food science industries, among others.

CMU ChemE student works in lab

Industry-relevant curriculum

Training in the MS CPS program enables graduates to immediately impact a diverse range of industries. The program started as a part-time degree for scientists with full-time employment in local industry, and that connection has remained strong.

CPS program alum works in lab at L’Oréal

The MS CPS program is either completed as a two-semester coursework-only degree or a three to four-semester project-based degree. Both programs include:

Physical Chemistry of Macromolecules
Physical Chemistry of Colloids and Surfaces
CPS Lab I - Macromolecules
CPS Lab II - Colloids and Surfaces
 Graduate level thermodynamics
 Electives (from the College of Engineering or Mellon College of Science)

Students in the MS CPS project-based degree complete a three-semester independent project working closely with a research group in the department. These projects are designed to provide students with exposure to one of the many areas of this field.

Admissions and application deadlines

The MS CPS degree is designed for students from both science or engineering backgrounds. Successful applicants have a strong science background and an interest in problem-solving and laboratory work.

Spring 2023 admission
Mid June through August

Fall 2023 admission:
Mid September through Mid December

Endless opportunities 

The MS CPS program prepares students to work with complex fluids, macromolecules, and interfaces vital for chemical product manufacturing and process development. Our graduates go on to work in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, nanotechnology and food science industries, among others, at companies like:

company logos - PPG, Proctor and Gamble, Dow, Bristol Meyers Squibb
graphic: salary range - $60,000 to $108,000, mean salary - $84,000

* Based on survey results from program graduates

Carnegie Mellon University

US News and World Report ranking graphic - College of Engineering #4

Located in the heart of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private, global research university, that stands among the world's most renowned educational institutions.

With cutting-edge brain science, path-breaking performances, innovative start-ups, driverless cars, big data, big ambitions, Nobel and Turing prizes, hands-on learning, and a whole lot of robots, CMU doesn't imagine the future, we create it. 

One of the nation’s premier programs, CMU’s College of Engineering ranks 4th on U.S. News and World Report’s list of best graduate programs.

Student experience

Cristiana Lara ('19) photo and quote - "The CMU ChemE department is a special place. The diverse research interests of the department is a unique factor that helps prepare well-rounded scientists who can discuss outside of their niche field."