Undergraduate Academics

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers are involved in the transfer of scientific discoveries to modern technologies and novel products that benefit society and minimize the impact on the environment. They deal with multiscale aspects of generating clean energy, producing novel and superior materials, and utilizing the biological revolution to manufacture new products. Their broad training in basic sciences coupled with a strong foundation in chemical engineering principles makes them invaluable team members and leaders in any engineering enterprise. Chemical engineering graduates are well prepared for advanced study in related disciplines, as well as business, law or medicine.

The BS in Chemical Engineering degree program is designed to provide students with comprehensive training in chemical engineering fundamentals and is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET under the General Criteria and Chemical Engineering Program Criteria.

Program objectives and accreditation information

EECE Department Mission Statement

The mission of the department is to teach energy, environmental and chemical engineering principles and their application in an inspiring learning environment; to prepare students for engineering careers by developing the skills of critical thinking, analysis and communication proficiency; and to instill a sense of professional ethics and societal responsibility.

Program Educational Objective

The Program Educational Objective for the BSChE degree program is that, within a few years of graduation, graduates will: 

  1. Thrive in their professional practice or graduate education, leveraging their knowledge and skills to address complex challenges in chemical engineering or their chosen field.
  2. Foster a lifelong commitment to learning, growth, and professional development, seeking opportunities to advance their expertise and contribute to their chemical engineering practice or chosen field.
  3. Be dedicated to positively advancing society by promoting equity, diversity, sustainability, and ethical practices in their professional endeavors.
Student Outcomes

Graduates of the BSCHE program are expected to know or have:

  1. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  2. An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  3. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  4. An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  5. An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  6. An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  7. An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies
Enrollment & Graduation Data for BS in Chemical Engineering
Academic Year Enrollment (all undergraduate levels) BS Graduates
2018 124 36
2019 122 27
2020 122 36
2021 102 39
2022 95 27
2023 93 25

Degree Requirements

The BSChE degree requires satisfactory completion of a minimum of 126 units. Degree requirements are linked below, and sample year-by-year curricula are linked at the top of this page.

From the courses listed in the degree requirements, the humanities and social sciences courses (except Engr 450X courses) may be taken pass/fail. All other required courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Additionally, all students must earn a total of 45 Engineering Topics units across all courses. In almost all cases, this requirement can be satisfied by meeting all of the BSCHE degree requirements. Engineering Topics units are denoted by the designation EN/TU in the course listings.

The curriculum is designed to provide opportunities for students to explore areas of interest within chemical engineering. For additional flexibility, another choice is to pursue the course of study leading to the BS degree in Applied Science with a major in chemical engineering.

Electives Requirements

The degree requirements include 18 units of chemical engineering electives. These units permit students to tailor their studies toward specific goals such as obtaining more depth in a chemical engineering sub discipline (e.g., materials) or increasing breadth by choosing courses from different sub disciplines. Some of these 18 units may be taken in other engineering departments or in the natural sciences or physical sciences. In collaboration with their advisers, students design a course of study (subject to certain requirements) for the chemical engineering electives.

Electives may be chosen from the list below, subject to the following requirements:

  • At least one advanced (300-or-higher) laboratory course in engineering or physical sciences. Current approved options include:
    • EECE 424: Digital Process Control Laboratory (Spring)
    • EECE 425: Environmental Engineering Laboratory (Spring)
    • EECE 595: Principles of Methods of Micro and Nanofabrication (Spring)
    • MEMS 5801: Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems I (Fall)
  • At least 9 units from EECE courses, which can include the advanced laboratory course
  • No more than six (6) units from Independent Study (EECE 300, 400, 500) or Senior Thesis (EECE 423)
Policies and Procedures for Independent Study and Senior Thesis

Independent Study (EECE 100, 200, 300, 400, or 500) is a great way for students to explore a topic of personal interest or obtain academic credit for pursuing research. In order to register for Independent Study, students should first find an Independent Study advisor (EECE faculty member). In partnership with their advisor, students should complete the Independent Study Petition (linked at the top of this page). Only advanced (300-or-higher) level Independent Study courses will count towards the chemical engineering electives requirement.

The Senior Thesis (EECE 423) is an excellent way for seniors to earn distinction for research they have been involved in, as well as earn elective credit towards their degree. EECE 423 is similar to an independent study, except it is expected to be done over the course of two semesters (both fall and spring of senior year) with various milestone deliverables due throughout the year. At the end of senior year, the student’s thesis will be evaluated by a committee. Like with Independent Study, a Senior Thesis can be done if research is being done outside the department (e.g., at the medical school). Administratively, an EECE faculty member will need to oversee the EECE 423 course grade, but the rest of the oversight can largely be done by the normal research advisor. More details, including the Senior Thesis Registration Form, are linked at the top of this page.

Engineering Topics can be assigned to these courses based on a review of the project scope and content. Independent Study or Senior Thesis units from other departments must be approved by the EECE Undergraduate Committee (through Dr. Janie Brennan) and will be subject to the overall cap of six units. Independent Study or Senior Thesis units cannot be used to fulfill the requirement for an advanced laboratory in engineering or the physical sciences.

List of Approved Electives

Below is a list of courses currently approved as chemical engineering electives. Students interested in counting a course that is not on this list towards the chemical engineering electives should first discuss it with their academic advisor and then petition the EECE Undergraduate Committee by emailing Dr. Janie Brennan. Petitions should include the course name and description, the course syllabus (if available), and a brief statement about why the course should be allowed to count.

  • All 300-or-higher level courses in:
    • EECE (E44)
    • BME (E62)
    • CSE (E81)
    • ESE (E35)
    • MEMS (E37)
    • Chemistry (L07)
    • Mathematics (L24)
    • Physics (L31)
  • Biol 2970 (Principles of Biology II)
  • Biol 381 (Introduction to Ecology)
  • Biol 419 (Community Ecology)
  • CSE 131 (Introduction to Computer Science) - *only for students matriculating in Fall 2018 and earlier
  • CSE 247 (Data Structures and Algorithms)
  • Chem 262 (Organic Chemistry II)
  • Engr 324 (From Concept to Market: The Business of Engineering)
  • Engr 329 (Independent Study: Engineering Statistics and Startups)
  • EnSt 380 (Applications in GIS)
  • EnSt 407 (RESET: Renewable Energy and Decarbonizing the Grid)
  • EnSt 539 (Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic)
  • EnSt 580 (Applications in GIS)
  • EEPS 323 (Biogeochemistry)
  • EEPS 342 (Environmental Systems)
  • EEPS 386 (The Earth’s Climate System) [Note: Requires EEPS 202 as a prerequisite]
  • EEPS 387 (Geospatial Science)
  • EEPS 413 (Introduction to Soil Science) or EPSc 317 (Soil Science)
  • EEPS 428 (Hydrology)
  • EEPS 444 (Environmental Geochemistry) or EPSc 442 (Aqueous Geochemistry)
  • ESE 230 (Intro to Electrical and Electronic Circuits)
  • MEMS 1001 (Machine Shop Practicum)
  • MEMS 202 (Computer-Aided Design)
  • MEMS 253 (Statics and Mechanics of Materials)
  • MEMS 255 (Dynamics)
  • Physics 217 (Introduction to Quantum Physics)
  • SWCD 5660 (Designing Sustainable Social Policies & Programs: A Systems Dynamic Approach)