Path to Graduation

President Eisgruber speaks at the lecturn during commencement

Every CBE student graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) degree. Roughly 80 percent supplement their major with an undergraduate certificate. And while they're at it, our students pursue an amazing diversity of passions — from volleyball to chamber orchestra, from start-up companies to semesters abroad.

Below, we've tried to give you a quick look at what it means to be a CBE student. But this decision is far from simple, so please reach out to us with your questions.

Academic Requirements

Here's the basic outline:

  • Start with the foundational courses required of all BSE students.
  • Dive into theory and experimentation with our signature CBE Core.
  • Choose one of six areas of concentration to organize your electives.
  • Embark on a year-long independent research project, known as the senior thesis, advised by a member of the CBE or affiliated faculty.
Overview of Courses
SEAS Requirements (All BSE Students)  
Mathematics 4 courses
Physics 2 courses
Chemistry 1 course
Computer Science 1 course
Writing Requirement 1 course
Humanities and Social Sciences Requirement 7 courses
Advanced Science and Math Requirements  
Differential Equations 1 course
Advanced Chemistry or Advanced Biology 1 course
Organic Chemistry 1 course
Molecular Biology 1 course
CBE Core (see table below) 9 courses
Program Electives  
Area of Concentration 3 courses
Breadth Areas 2 courses
Free Electives 2 courses
Total 36 courses
CBE Core
Course Number Course Name
CBE 245 Introduction to Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Principles
CBE 246 Thermodynamics
CBE 250 Separations in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology
CBE 341 Mass, Momentum and Energy Transport
CBE 346 Chemical and Biological Engineering Laboratory (Core Lab)
CBE 441 Chemical Reaction Engineering
CBE 442 Design, Synthesis and Optimization of Chemical Processes
CBE 454 Senior Thesis (counts as two)


Areas of Concentration

Everyone who majors in CBE chooses one of six areas of concentration, which helps organize a student's choice of electives. In practical terms, this means three of your technical electives will come from a group of area-specific selections. Two additional electives come from two different "breadth" areas, which rounds out your over all experience.

Below find the list of electives on offer for each of the six areas of concentration.

Bioengineering & Biotechnology


Course Number Course Name
CBE 411/ MOL 411 Antibiotics: From Cradle to Grave
CBE 419 Enzymes
CBE 433/ MSE 424 Introduction to the Mechanics and Dynamics of Soft Living Matter
CBE 438/MOL 438 Biomolecular Engineering
CBE 439 Quantitative Physiology
CBE 440 The Physical Basis of Human Disease
CBE 447 Metabolic Engineering
CHM 440/ GHP 440 Drug Discovery in the Genomics Era
EEB 309 Evolutionary Biology
EEB 320/ MOL 320 Molecular Evolutionary Genetics
EEB 325 Mathematical Modeling in Biology and Medicine
EEB 327/MOL 327 Immune Systems: From Molecules to Populations
ENE 318/CBE 318 Fundamentals of Biofuels
GEO 417 Environmental Microbiology
GEO 428 Biological Oceanography
ISC 326/EEB 326/MOL 326 Human Genomics: The Past, Present and Future of the Human Genome
MAE 344 Biomechanics and Biomaterials: From Cells to Organisms
MOL 340 Molecular and Cellular Immunology
MOL 342 Genetics
MOL 345/CHM 345 Biochemistry
MOL 348 Cell and Developmental Biology
MOL 410 Introduction to Biological Dynamics
MOL 415 Modern Biophysics and Systems Biology
MOL 433/ CBE 434 Biotechnology
MOL 434 Macromolecular Structure and Mechanisms in Disease
MOL 435 Pathogenesis and Bacterial Diversity
MOL 448/CHM 448 Chemistry, Structure and Structure Functions of Nucleic Acids
MOL 457 Computational Aspect of Molecular Biology
MOL 459 Viruses: Strategy and Tactics
MOL 423 Molecular Basis of Cancer
NEU 201/PSY 258 Fundamentals of Neuroscience
NEU 202/PSY 259 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience
NEU 408/MOL 408/PSY 404 Cellular and Systems Neuroscience
NEU 437/MOL 437/PSY 437 Computational Neuroscience
PSY 406 Functional Neuroanatomy
PSY 407 Developmental Neuroscience
QCB 455/COS 455 Introduction to Genomics and Computational Molecular Biology
Entrepreneurship & Management
Course Number Course Name

CBE 260/EGR 260

Ethics and Technology: Engineering in the Real World

CEE 334/ WWS 452/ ENV 334/ ENE 334

Global Environmental Issues

CEE 460

Risk Assessment and Management

CHV 331/ WWS 372

Ethics and Public Health

COS 432/ ELE 432

Information Security

ECO 310

Microeconomic Theory: A Mathematical Approach

ECO 311

Macroeconomics: A Mathematical Approach

EGR 437/ MAE 437/ ELE 437

Innovation Process Leadership

EGR 491/ORF 491

High-Tech Entrepreneurship

EGR 494

Leadership Development for Business

EGR 495

Special Topics in Entrepreneurship

EGR 497

Entrepreneurial Leadership

GEO 366/ENV 339/
WWS 451/ENE 366

Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, Policy

ORF 245

Fundamentals of Engineering Statistics

ORF 335

Introduction to Financial Engineering

ORF 360

Decision Modeling in Business Analytics

ORF 435

Financial Risk Management

WWS 373/ CHV 373

Welfare, Economics and Climate Change Mitigation Policy

Energy & Environmental Technology
Course Number Course Name

AST 309/MAE 309/ PHY 309

Science and Technology of Nuclear Energy: Fission and Fusion

CBE 335/ MAE 338/ ENV 335

The Energy Water Nexus

CEE 207/ ENV 207

Introduction to Environmental Engineering

CEE 304/ ENV 300/ ENE 304

Environmental Implications of Energy Technologies

CEE 306


CEE 308

Environmental Engineering Laboratory

CEE 311/CHM 311/ GEO 311

Global Air Pollution

CEE 471

Introduction to Water Pollution Technology

CEE 474/ENV 474

Special Topics in CEE- Design and Construction of Environmental Sensors

CEE 477/ ENE 477

Engineering Design for Sustainable Development

ENE 431

Solar Energy Conversion

ENE 414

Renewable Energy Systems

ENE 318/CBE 318

Fundamentals of Biofuels

ENV 200A, 200B, 200C, 200D, 200E, 200F

The Environmental Nexus

ENV 305

Topics in Environmental Studies – Hormonally Active Pollutants

GEO 360/ ENV 356

Geochemistry of the Human Environment

GEO 361/ ENV 361/ CEE 360

Earth’s Atmosphere

GEO 363/CHM 331/ ENV 331

Environmental Geochemistry: Chemistry of the Natural Systems

GEO 366/ENV 339/ WWS 451/ ENE 366

Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, Policy

GEO 418

Environmental Aqueous Geochemistry

GEO 423/ CEE 423

Dynamic Meteorology

GEO 424/ CEE 424/ ENE 425

Introductory Seismology

GEO 470/ CHM 470

Environmental Chemistry of Soils

MAE 328/ EGR 328/ ENV 328

Energy for a Greenhouse-Constrained World

MAE 424/ ENE 424

Energy Storage Systems

MAE 427

Energy Conversion and the Environment: Transportation Applications

Materials & Product Engineering
Course Number Course Name

CBE 415 /CHM 415/ MSE 425


CBE 422

Molecular Modeling Methods

CBE 430/ MAE 430/ MSE 430 Squishy Engineering: Using Soft Materials to Solve hard Problems

CBE 433/ MSE 424

Introduction to the Mechanics and Dynamics of Soft Living Matter

CEE 364/ ARC 364

Materials in Civil Engineering

CHM 403

Advanced Organic Chemistry

CHM 409

Structural Solid State Chemistry

ELE 341

Solid State Devices

ELE 342

Principles of Quantum Engineering

ELE 455/ CEE 455/ MAE 455/ MSE 455

Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment

ELE 441

Solid-State Physics I

ELE 442

Solid-State Physics II

ELE 449

Materials and Solid-State Device Laboratory

GEO 378


MAE 324/ MSE 324

Structure and Properties of Materials

MSE 301

Materials Science and Engineering

MSE 302

Laboratory Techniques in Materials Science and Engineering

Optimization, Dynamics & Information Technology
Course Number Course Name

CBE 422

Molecular Modeling Methods

COS 217

Introduction to Programming Systems

COS 226

Algorithms and Data Structures

COS 333

Advanced Programming Techniques

COS 340

Reasoning about Computation

COS 343

Algorithms in Computational Biology

COS 402

Artificial Intelligence

COS 424

Interacting with Data

COS 485

Neural Networks: Theory and Applications

EEB 355/ MOL 355

Introduction to Statistics for Biology

MAE 433

Automatic Control Systems

MAE 434

Modern Control

ORF 245/ EGR 245

Fundamentals of Engineering Statistics

ORF 307


ORF 309/ EGR 309/ MAT 280

Probability and Stochastic Systems

ORF 311

Stochastic Optimization and Machine Learning in Finance

ORF 360

Decision Modeling in Business Analytics

ORF 363/ COS 323

Computing and Optimization for the Physical and Social Sciences

ORF 409

Intro to Monte Carlo Simulation

ORF 411/ ELE 411

Sequential Decision Analytics and Modeling

Science & Engineering for New Technologies
Course Number Course Name

Transport Phenomena

MAE 306/MAT 392

Mathematics in Engineering II

MAE 336

Viscous Flows

MAE 423/ ENE 423

Heat Transfer

Chemical Technology

CBE 421/CHM 421

Green and Catalytic Chemistry

CHM 302/304

Organic Chemistry II

CHM 305

The Quantum World

CHM 306

Physical Chemistry: Chemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics

CHM 403

Advanced Organic Chemistry

CHM 405

Advanced Physical Chemistry: Quantum Mechanics

CHM 406

Advanced Physical Chemistry: Chemical Dynamics and Thermodynamics

CHM 407

Inorganic Chemistry: Structure and Bonding

CHM 408

Inorganic Chemistry: Reactions and Mechanisms

Engineering Physics

PHY 203/205

Classical Mechanics

PHY 208

Principles of Quantum Mechanics

PHY 301

Thermal Physics

PHY 304

Advanced Electromagnetism

PHY 305

Introduction to Quantum Theory

Electronic Materials Processing

ELE 206/COS 306

Introduction to Logic Design

ELE 208

Integrated Circuits: Practice and Principles

ELE 341

Solid State Devices

ELE 342

Principles of Quantum Engineering

ELE/ ENE 441

Solid State Physics I

ELE/ ENE 442

Solid State Physics II


Sample Curriculum

The table below gives you an idea what four years of classes might look like. This schedule is not fixed, and the choice of courses does not account for advanced placement or other considerations. This is simply a baseline curriculum for a typical CBE student. And it is one more tool to guide you along your path to graduation.

First YearMAT 103 CalculusMAT 104 Calculus
PHY 103 PhysicsPHY 104 Physics
CHM 201 ChemistryCHM 202 Chemistry
Humanities/Social ScienceComputing Requirement
Writing Requirement
Sophomore YearMAT 201 Multivariable CalculusCBE 246 Thermodynamics
CBE 245 An Introduction to Chemical and Biochemical Engineering PrinciplesMOL 214 Molecular Biology
CHM 301 Organic ChemistryMAE 305 Differential Equations
MAT 202 Linear AlgebraProgram Elective
Humanities/Social ScienceHumanities/Social Science
Junior YearCBE 250 Separations in Chemical Engineering and BiotechnologyCBE 346 Chemical and Biological Engineering Laboratory
CBE 341 Mass, Momentum, Energy TransportCBE 441 Chemical Reaction Engineering
Program ElectiveProgram Elective
Program ElectiveHumanities/Social Science
Senior YearCBE 442 Design, Synthesis, and Optimization of Chemical ProcessesCBE 454 Senior Thesis
CBE 454Humanities/Social Science
Program ElectiveOpen Elective
Humanities/Social ScienceOpen Elective

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering offers an undergraduate program of study in chemical engineering accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc.