Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the MS SENG degree valid and recognized in all US states and internationally?

A: Yes, the degree is recognized world-wide.


Q: As a Distance Learning student, will I be required at any point to take courses on campus in College Station?

A: No, you are not required to do this; the MS SENG degree via Distance Learning can be completed 100% online.  However, if you wanted to come to campus for a semester or two to take classes, we can arrange for that option as well.


Q: If I take courses provided for continuing education (for example, through AIChE), can I get credit towards my Master’s degree?

A: No, all courses must be academic courses at Texas A&M University, and all credit applied to the degree must be academic credit.


Q: How many years does it take to complete the MS SENG degree?

A: As an on-campus student, it generally takes about two years; it is recommended to take three classes (nine credit hours) each semester or supplement with research.  As a Distance Learning student, the length of time can vary.  If you are only taking one class per semester (as recommended if you are a full-time employee), it can take up to six years to complete the degree.  If you are taking more classes per semester, it will take significantly less time.


Q: How many actual hours per week will I spend on a course that is three credit hours?

A: This can vary from course to course, but it is generally accepted that a three credit hour course will require approximately 15 hours of dedication to course material per week.


Q: If I am in a non-degree seeking status, how many courses can I take to apply to an MS SENG if I am eventually accepted into the program as a degree seeking student?

A: The graduate catalog states that a student “…may take up to 12 hours in non-degree-seeking post-baccalaureate status and apply these hours to a master’s program with the approval of the student’s advisory committee, head of the department and the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies if all the admission requirements to the selected master’s program are fulfilled”


Q: How do I apply to the MS Safety Engineering Program?

A: You need to submit the following to the Office of Admissions (not the department):

  • Application for admission. On your application, Chemical Engineering is the department and SENG (Safety Engineering) is the major you will list.
  • Application fee if you are an international student. The department will pay the application fee for all students who are U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents and who apply to our graduate program.
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty members (preferably) or other persons who can discuss your potential for graduate work in chemical engineering (to be submitted electronically).
  • Personal statement of purpose (1 to 2 pages are sufficient; to be submitted electronically).
  • GRE scores: verbal, quantitative, and analytical. We do not require a subject GRE test.
  • If you are not a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. you will also need to submit TOEFL scores (unless you received a degree from a U.S. institution or have a score above 400 in the verbal portion of the GRE).
  • Official copies of these documents are required for admission. However, photocopies can be used for the initial review process. Once the complete application is received, the departmental graduate admission and recruiting committee decides whether admission is granted. Since admission is highly competitive, it serves the applicant well to apply early.


Q: Is it okay for me to send my transcripts directly to you or will the university(ies) where I graduated from need to send the official copies to Texas A&M?

A: You may send in copies of your transcript(s) for the application review. However, if you are accepted into our program, you will need to have the university(ies) send your official transcripts and degree statement to the Texas A&M University Office of Admissions. For mailing instructions, please visit their website:


Q: What are the GPR and GRE requirements for acceptance into the MS SENG program?

A: Admissions decisions are based on evaluation of your complete undergraduate (and graduate, if applicable) record, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation. Generally a minimum GPR of 3.0 is required to be considered for admission into the graduate program. However, please note that the average GPR for admitted students in previous years was 3.5. While there is no minimum GRE score required, the scores are competitive based on the pool of applicants; international students usually are expected to score above 146 in the verbal section. Each candidate is evaluated individually by the departmental graduate admission and recruiting committee that makes admission recommendations to the graduate school.


Q: How long are GRE scores good for?

A: GRE scores are viable for 5 years. After the 5-year mark, the test must be retaken.


Q: How long are TOEFL scores good for?

A: TOEFL scores are viable for 2 years. After the 2-year mark, the test must be retaken.


Q: What is the English Language Proficiency Exam?

A: If you are an international student and score below 400 on the verbal section of the GRE and below 550 on the TOEFL, then you are required to pass an English Language Proficiency Exam (ELPE) before beginning your coursework. Should you fail that exam, you will be required to take and English language exam.


Q: How can I check my application status?

A: You may check to see if there are any missing documents by logging into a site that will be given to you by the graduate school email.


Q: What is the deadline for applying for admission?

A: While applications are accepted on a rolling basis, the deadlines for each semester are:

  • Fall Semester – March 1
  • Spring Semester – August 1


Q: How do I select my research advisor?

A: Once the application is review and a student is selected for the program, the research interests and essay are reviewed and then the advisors are contacted who best match this research area. If a student has a preference for an advisor, this information should be included in the personal statement.


Q: Is it necessary to submit a separate application for financial aid?

A: No. All students who indicate a need for financial aid on the application for admission to graduate school will automatically be considered.


Q: As an M.S. student, can I receive a stipend?

A: M.S. students do not typically receive a stipend.


Q: Are there scholarships available for the program?

A: There are very few scholarships available for the Safety Engineering program, and the process is highly competitive. However, all students are encouraged to apply. Please click here for the application.


Q: I am currently working in industry; is there a way to get a MS in Safety Engineering without returning to school?

A: Yes, we offer the MS SENG program via Distance Learning courses as well as on campus. Please visit this page for more information.


Q: What is the recommended course intensity per semester for obtaining the MS SENG degree via Distance Learning considering I have a full time job?

A: 1 course (3 credit hours) per semester is recommended as per our past experience with students also working full time.


Q: If I already have graduate level coursework completed, can I transfer in the hours to the MS SENG program?

A: You will need to apply to the MS SENG program, and when you file your degree plan we will see if you can transfer in previous coursework.


Q: Where can I find a list of acceptable electives I can take as a Distance Learning Non-Thesis track student?

A: Electives for the non-thesis option can be taken from any Texas A&M University distance education program. We have created a list of some of the more common courses taken in engineering; that list can be accessed here. Please visit the university’s distance learning website for information on all of the available programs throughout the university.


Q: What is the policy for adding or dropping classes after the start of the semester?

A: Students may add and drop courses without penalty through the 5th class day of a fall or spring semester or through the 4th class day of a summer term. Please visit the Academic Calendar for specific dates for each semester. After this period, students will need to submit a Q-Drop request for courses they wish to drop. Please see this website for more information about the Add/Drop policy:


Q: What is a “Q-Drop” and how do I request one?

A: If it is past the Add/Drop deadline and you wish to drop a class, you will need to complete a Q-Drop request and submit it to your advisor for approval. You may fill out the Q-Drop Request Form online, or see your academic advisor for a hard copy of the form. Students are allowed a limit of three (3) Q-Drops over the entire course of their time pursuing a degree. The deadline for Q-Dropping courses is generally mid-way through each semester. Please see the Academic Calendar for specific dates for each semester.


Q: How do I defer my application or my admissions date?

A: An application and its components are only good for one year, so you can defer an open application for up to one year. If you are accepted to the program, you can also defer your admissions (start) date for up to one year. For example, if a prospective student originally applies for admissions into the Fall 2013 semester, the furthest this student can defer his application is to the Fall 2014 semester; if the student were to defer to the Spring 2015 semester, he would have to complete an entirely new application.


Q: As a Distance Learning student, can I attend the graduation ceremony on the Texas A&M University campus?

A: Yes, Distance Learning students receiving TAMU degrees may participate in graduation ceremonies in the same manner as other students. When you submit your degree application in the semester you intend to graduate, you may indicate whether or not you plan to attend the ceremony on campus.


Q: Does my undergraduate degree need to be received from a regionally accredited university?

A: Yes, a school must be accredited by one of the following boards for Texas A&M University to consider the degree earned there as valid. The five boards are: 1) Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), 2) New England Association of School and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE), 3) North Central Association of Colleges and Schools the Higher Learning Commission (NCA-HLC), 4) Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges, and 5) Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC-WASC).


Q: How to I submit letters of recommendation?

A: On the ApplyTexas application, you will enter in the information for who will be writing letters for you. However, as stated on the application, the University does not send requests for letters to the individuals. You will need to log onto the Application Information System (AIS, located at In the middle of the page you will see:


Click the link presented to submit/manage letters of recommendation, and you will receive the appropriate submission instructions.


Q: Where can I send in hard copies of my paperwork?

A: Ideally, all paperwork should be submitted online. Any paperwork not submitted online may be sent to the following address:

    Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center
    3122 TAMU
    College Station, TX 77843-3122