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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

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Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Mission of the Undergraduate Program in Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers are responsible for the conception and design of processes for the purpose of production, transformation, and transportation of materials. This activity begins with experimentation in the laboratory and is followed by implementation of the technology in full-scale production. The mission of the undergraduate program in Chemical Engineering is to develop students' understanding of the core scientific, mathematical, and engineering principles that serve as the foundation underlying these technological processes. The program's core mission is reflected in its curriculum which is built on a foundation in the sciences of chemistry, physics, and biology. Course work includes the study of applied mathematics, material and energy balances, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, energy and mass transfer, separations technologies, chemical reaction kinetics and reactor design, and process design. The program provides students with excellent preparation for careers in the corporate sector and government, or for graduate study.

The Chemical Engineering B.S. program requires basic courses in biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics. The depth sequence of courses required for the major in chemical engineering provides training in applied chemical kinetics, biochemical engineering, electronic materials, engineering thermodynamics, plant design, polymers, process analysis and control, separation processes, and transport phenomena. Undergraduates who wish to major in the department should consult the curriculum outlined in the "Undergraduate Degree in Chemical Engineering" section of this bulletin. Courses taken to fulfill the requirements for the major (courses in mathematics; science; technology and society; engineering fundamentals; and engineering depth) must be taken for a letter grade if this option is offered.

There are several sample 4-year sequences of courses leading to a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. While each sequence starts at a different level, based on the student's prior preparation, all complete the major at the same level. Sample programs are available from the department's student services and faculty advisers for undergraduates, the Office of Student Affairs in the School of Engineering, and in the Handbook for Undergraduate Engineering Programs, available at It is recommended that students discuss their prospective programs with chemical engineering faculty advisers, especially if transferring from another major, e.g. biology, chemistry, physics, or another engineering major. With advance planning, students can usually arrange to attend one of the overseas campuses.

Students interested in a minor should consult the requirements for a "Minor in Chemical Engineering" section of this bulletin.


The Department of Chemical Engineering offers a program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with Honors. Qualified undergraduate majors conduct independent study and research at an advanced level with faculty mentors, graduate students, and fellow undergraduates. This three-quarter sequential program involves research study in an area proposed to and approved by a Department of Chemical Engineering faculty adviser; concurrent participation each quarter in the CHEMENG 191H seminar; completion of a faculty-approved thesis; and participation in the Chemical Engineering Honors Symposium held annually during Spring Quarter. The last requirement may also be fulfilled through an alternative, public, oral presentation with the approval of the department chair. Work should begin at least four quarters prior to graduation.

Admission to the honors program is by application. Declared Chemical Engineering majors with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher are encouraged to apply. Students should submit their applications by Winter Quarter of their junior year; applications must be submitted no later than the end of the first week of Autumn Quarter of the senior year. An application includes a research proposal, approved by both a research thesis adviser and a faculty reader. The faculty adviser or, alternatively, a faculty sponsor, must be a member of the Department of Chemical Engineering. Students should start their research in their junior year and are encouraged to consider incorporating research opportunities such as those sponsored by Undergraduate Academic Life into their honors research proposal; see See departmental student services staff in Keck 189 for more information about the application process, a proposal template, and other assistance.

In order to receive departmental honors, students admitted to the honors program should:

  1. Maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.5 as calculated on the unofficial transcript.
  2. Complete at least three quarters of research with a minimum of 9 units of CHEMENG 190H for a letter grade. All quarters must focus on the same topic. The same faculty adviser and faculty reader should be maintained throughout if feasible.
  3. Enroll in CHEMENG 191H, Undergraduate Honors Seminar, concurrently with each quarter of CHEMENG 190H.
  4. Participate with a poster and oral presentation of thesis work at the Chemical Engineering Honors Poster Session held during Spring Quarter or, at the faculty's discretion, at a comparable public event.
  5. Submit final drafts of a thesis simultaneously to the adviser and reader and, if appropriate, to the Chemical Engineering faculty sponsor, no later than April 16th, or the end of the second week of the first month of the quarter in which the degree is to be conferred.
  6. Complete all work and thesis revisions and obtain indicated faculty approvals on the Certificate of Final Reading of Thesis forms by the end of the first week of May, or the second month of the graduation quarter.
  7. Submit five (5) final copies of the honors thesis, as approved by the appropriate faculty. Include in each, an original, completed faculty signature sheet immediately following the title page. The deadline is May 10, 2010, or the Monday at the beginning of the second week of the second month of the graduation quarter.
  8. Submit one copy of the honors thesis in electronic format to student services by May 10, 2010, or at the same time as the final copies of the thesis.

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