Amyloid Beta Amino Acid 3D Model

Chemical engineers exploit advances in chemistry and biology to create new products, design chemical processes, develop energy resources, and protect the environment. Students receive a thorough grounding in chemistry, biology, mathematics and physics. With this broad scientific training, chemical engineers work effectively on a diverse set of problems involving chemical, physical, and biological phenomena. For example, chemical engineers develop environmentally benign and safe processes to make the chemical products that people depend on. They work in research and development laboratories, creating polymeric materials with improved performance and durability. They work in manufacturing, making vaccines and antibiotics. They invent new ways to keep our food and water supplies safe. Opportunities for chemical engineers span numerous industries: pharmaceuticals, polymers, energy, food, consumer products, biotechnology, and electronic and optical materials. Graduates understand the needs of society, and use their training in science and technology to meet those needs.

The chemical engineering program develops the student's capability for invention and analysis of chemical processes and products. Students in the program take several classes in chemistry, along with courses in physics, mathematics, and biology. The curriculum provides a rigorous education in the fundamental chemical engineering sciences of thermodynamics, transport phenomena, and kinetics, as well as more applied areas such as materials science, biochemical engineering, or chemical process design. Because engineers must be skilled communicators, the curriculum places considerable emphasis on technical report writing, team projects, and formal and informal oral presentation. In addition, students broaden their understanding of people and society by taking several courses in the humanities and social sciences.

The B.S. program in chemical engineering leads to a wide variety of careers. Graduates are prepared for professional lives in industry, government, engineering design, or consulting companies. Graduates with a more practical, hands-on approach are employed in manufacturing support, process development, product development, design, construction, or technical sales. They rapidly advance to responsible technical supervisory and management positions. Graduates with a research interest work to improve understanding of scientific engineering principles, and to apply these principles to solve emerging problems. Entrepreneurial graduates work in smaller enterprises, or create their own businesses, developing the major industries of tomorrow. An undergraduate degree in chemical engineering provides a strong basis for advanced study in graduate school, or for further training in medicine, law, or policy.

Chemical Engineering Program Educational Objectives

The department recognizes that our graduates will choose to use the knowledge and skills they have acquired during their undergraduate years to pursue a wide variety of career and life goals and we encourage this diversity of paths.

Whatever path graduates choose, be it a job, graduate school, or volunteer service, be it in engineering or another field, within the next 5 years and beyond, we have for our graduates the following objectives:

  1. That they will exhibit strong skills in problem-solving, leadership, teamwork, and communication;
  2. That they will use these skills to contribute to their communities;
  3. That they will make thoughtful, well-informed career choices; and
  4. That they will demonstrate a continuing commitment to and interest in education (their own and others’).

Admission to the College as a Freshman

Students applying to UW–Madison need to indicate an engineering major as their first choice in order to be considered for direct admission to the College of Engineering. Direct admission to a major means students will start in the program of their choice in the College of Engineering and will need to meet progression requirements at the end of the first year to guarantee advancement in that program.

Cross-Campus Transfer to Engineering

UW–Madison students in other schools and colleges on campus must meet minimum admission requirements for admission consideration to engineering degree granting classifications. Cross-campus admission is competitive and selective, and the grade point average expectations may increase as demand trends change. The student’s overall academic record at UW–Madison is also considered. Students apply to their intended engineering program by submitting the online application by stated deadlines for spring and fall. The College of Engineering offers an online information tutorial and drop-in advising for students to learn about the cross-campus transfer process.

Off-Campus Transfer to Engineering

With careful planning, students at other accredited institutions can transfer coursework that will apply toward engineering degree requirements at UW–Madison. Off-campus transfer applicants are considered for direct admission to the College of Engineering by applying to the Office of Admissions with an engineering major listed as their first choice. Those who are admitted to their intended engineering program must meet progression requirements at the point of transfer or within their first two semesters at UW–Madison to guarantee advancement in that program. A minimum of 30 credits in residence in the College of Engineering is required after transferring, and all students must meet all requirements for their major in the college. Transfer admission to the College of Engineering is competitive and selective, and students who have exceeded the 80 credit limit at the time of application are not eligible to apply.

The College of Engineering has dual degree programs with select four-year UW System campuses. Eligible dual degree applicants are not subject to the 80 credit limit.

Off-campus transfer students are encouraged to discuss their interests, academic background, and admission options with the Transfer Coordinator in the College of Engineering: or 608-262-2473.

Second Bachelor's Degree

The College of Engineering does not accept second undergraduate degree applications. Second degree students might explore the Biological Systems Engineering program at UW–Madison, an undergraduate engineering degree elsewhere, or a graduate program in the College of Engineering.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

Summary of Requirements

The following curriculum applies to students admitted to the chemical engineering degree program.

Life Science6
Core Engineering Requirement49
Professional Breadth6
Communication Skills6
Liberal Studies Requirement16
Total Credits132

Mathematics Requirement

The calculus requirement must be met with a minimum of 12 credits to cover the three-course basic math sequence. Any deficiency in total math credits must be made up with electives in science or engineering.

MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 15
or MATH 217 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
or MATH 275
MATH 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 24
or MATH 276
MATH 234 Calculus--Functions of Several Variables4
MATH 320 Linear Algebra and Differential Equations3
or MATH 319 Techniques in Ordinary Differential Equations
STAT 324 Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers3
Total Credits19

Physics Requirement

Credit shortages caused by transfer physics courses at fewer than 6 credits for the required courses must be made up with another physics course.

PHYSICS 201 General Physics5
or PHYSICS 207 General Physics
PHYSICS 202 General Physics5
or PHYSICS 208 General Physics
Total Credits10

Chemistry Requirement 

Credit shortages cause by transfer of freshman chemistry courses at fewer than 9 credits must be made up with chemistry, biochemistry, or chemical engineering courses.

General Chemistry (choose one)5
Advanced General Chemistry (preferred)
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
CHEM 329 Fundamentals of Analytical Science4
CHEM 343
CHEM 345
CHEM 344
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry II
and Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory
CHEM 562 Physical Chemistry3
Total Credits20

Life Science

Students who meet the Introductory Biology requirement with an AP exam are encouraged to take two advanced biology electives.1 

Introductory Biology requirement (choose one)3
Special Topics (Topic: Intro Biology for Engineers)
Introductory Biology
Introductory Biology
Advanced Biology requirement (choose one)3
Introduction to Biochemistry
General Biochemistry I
Cell Biology
Principles of Genetics
Biology of Microorganisms
Total Credits6

BIOCORE 381 Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics and BIOCORE 383 Cellular Biology may be used to satisfy the Life Sciences Requirements.

Core Engineering Requirement

CBE 150 Introduction to Chemical Engineering1
CBE 250 Process Synthesis (with a grade of C or better)3
CBE 255 Introduction to Chemical Process Modeling3
CBE 310 Chemical Process Thermodynamics (with a grade of C or better)3
CBE 311 Thermodynamics of Mixtures (with a grade of C or better)3
CBE 320 Introductory Transport Phenomena (with a grade of C or better)4
CBE 324 Transport Phenomena Lab3
CBE 326 Momentum and Heat Transfer Operations3
CBE 424 Operations and Process Laboratory5
CBE 426 Mass Transfer Operations3
CBE 430 Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design3
Select one of the following:3
Chemical Engineering Materials
Polymer Science and Technology
Introduction to Colloid and Interface Science
CBE 450 Process Design3
CBE 470 Process Dynamics and Control3
CBE Electives 26
Total Credits49

Chemical Engineering electives may be chosen from any of the CBE courses that are not required, numbered 300 or above (excluding seminar courses). A maximum of two credits of co-op work (CBE 1 Cooperative Education Program) may be used to meet the CBE elective requirement. Qualified undergraduates may take graduate-level (600 or 700) courses to fulfill this requirement.  

Professional Breadth

Select 6 credits

Professional Breadth Credits 36
Courses 300+ from the following College of Engineering departments and programs may be used:
Biomedical Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics
Engineering Professional Development
Geological Engineering
Industrial Engineering
Interdisciplinary Courses (Engineering)
Materials Science and Engineering 4
Mechanical Engineering
Nuclear Engineering
Engineering Physics
Courses 300+ from the following departments in the College of Letters and Sciences may be used:
Computer Sciences
The following courses may also be used:
Accounting Principles
Introduction to Biochemistry
General Biochemistry I
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
Cellular Biology
Engineering Properties of Food and Biological Materials
Renewable Energy Systems
Environmental Economics
Energy Resources
Environmental Ethics
Introduction to Finance
Fermented Foods and Beverages
Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance for Non-Business Majors
Fundamentals of Management and Marketing for Non-Business Majors
Principles of Genetics
Managing Organizations
Biology of Microorganisms
Statistical Experimental Design
Cell Biology
Total Credits6

Students may petition the department to allow other courses related to engineering professional practice. To request that a course not listed above be used, the student should fill out the Professional Breadth Requirement Course Request form available online and submit it to the advisor. The department will then determine if the course can be counted toward the Professional Breadth Requirement. Petitions must be submitted before the beginning of the semester in which the course is to be taken. 


The objective of this requirement is to provide students with skills to interact with professionals from other disciplines. Suitable courses for this requirement include courses in engineering (excluding CBE) and science, as well as a variety of other disciplines.


Full degree credit is not allowed if a student takes both CBE 440 Chemical Engineering Materials and M S & E 350 Introduction to Materials Science. In this case M S & E 350 Introduction to Materials Science will be awarded only 1 degree credit.

Communication Skills

ENGL 100 Introduction to College Composition 53
or COM ARTS 100 Introduction to Speech Composition
or LSC 100 Science and Storytelling
or ESL 118 Academic Writing II
INTEREGR 397 Engineering Communication3

For Part A of the General Education Communication Requirement (3 cr) students must select one course with an "a" designation in "g" of the "geBLC" information in the Course Guide. Some students will be exempt from this requirement based on their placement test scores or advanced placement in English.

CBE 424 Operations and Process Laboratory satisfies Part B of the General Education Communication Skills Requirement.

Liberal Studies Electives

Students must complete 16 credits of liberal studies according to the College of Engineering requirements.

  1. Liberal studies elective courses must be classified as either Humanities, Social Studies, or Literature courses (identified by the letters H, S, L, or Z in "B" of the "geBLC" information in the Guide).  At least six credits must have a breadth designation of Humanities (H, L, or Z), and at least three credits must have a designation of Social Studies (S or Z). Foreign language courses count as H credits.
  2. A three-credit ethnic studies course must be selected from the College of Letters & Science. Acceptable courses are identified by the letter "e" in Guide. If appropriate, the ethnic studies course may be among those used to satisfy the concentration requirement.
  3. A minimum of two liberal studies courses must be taken from the same subject area (the description before the course number). At least one of these two courses must be at an intermediate or advanced level (designated in Guide).
  4. Retroactive credits may be awarded for foreign-language work done in high school. The following conditions apply:
    1. A university-level foreign language course must be taken before the student has earned 30 college credits in residence.
    2. Retroactive Language Credit Request Form must be completed and submitted to the language instructor during the first two weeks of class
    3. The student must earn a B or better in this course.
    4. Such credits do not count toward the 16 liberal-studies credits required. They may, however, be used to satisfy the concentration and depth requirements as stated in number three above and count as degree credits.
  5. English composition courses, English as a Second Language courses, and basic communications arts courses are not accepted as liberal studies electives.

Free Electives

Students fulfilling their course requirements with fewer than 132 credits must take additional free-elective credits to comply with the 132-credit minimum graduation requirement.

Course Substitution Regulations

  1. Any student may, with advisor approval, replace up to 12 credits of required courses in the curriculum, except CBE 424 Operations and Process Laboratory, by an equal number of credits of other courses within the limitations listed under (3) below.
  2. Any student who wishes to amend the curriculum by more than 12 credits or wishes to appeal the advisor's decision in (1) or to request exception to (3) below must submit a written request to the chair of the department, who will bring it to the department faculty for consideration.
  3. Restrictions on course substitutions are as follows:
    1. Physics courses may be replaced by science or engineering courses.
    2. Chemistry/life science courses must be replaced by courses with significant chemistry/life science content.
    3. Engineering courses must be replaced by engineering courses.
    4. Lab courses must be replaced by courses with an equal number of hours of lab courses.
    5. English as a Second Language courses, and MATH 112 Algebra, MATH 113 Trigonometry, and MATH 114 Algebra and Trigonometry may not be used for course substitutions.


The Honors in Research program in Chemical Engineering is designed for students who wish to have a more in-depth research experience and is particularly recommended for students considering enrollment in a PhD program. To be accepted into the Honors in Research program, students must have completed at least two semesters on the UW-Madison campus with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 and should find a faculty mentor. Students register for 1-3 credits of CBE 489 Honors in Research and are expected to complete at least 8 credits of CBE 489 over 2-3 semesters. Students must also write a senior thesis and present the work to a committee of faculty. Students meeting all requirements, and maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3, will receive the Honors in Research designation upon graduation.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  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
  8. ability with engineering application of the basic sciences to the design, analysis, and control of chemical, physical, and biological processes, including the hazards associated with these processes.


First Year
CHEM 1095CHEM 3294 
MATH 2215MATH 2224 
CBE 1501PHYSICS 2015 
Communications A3Liberal Studies Elective3 
Liberal Studies Elective3  
 17 16 
Second Year
CBE 25013CBE 2553 
CHEM 34323MATH 320 or 3193 
MATH 2344CBE 3103 
CHEM 344
ZOOLOGY 1533STAT 3243 
 18 17 
Third Year
CBE 3113CBE 3263 
CBE 32014CBE 3243 
Professional Breadth Elective3CHEM 5623 
Advanced Biology Elective3INTEREGR 3973 
Liberal Studies Elective3Liberal Studies Elective4 
 16 16 
Fourth Year
CBE 4263CBE 4503CBE 4245
CBE 4303CBE 4703 
CBE Elective3CBE Elective3 
Materials Elective3Professional Breadth Elective3 
Liberal Studies Elective3  
 15 12 5
Total Credits 132

CBE 250 Process Synthesis and CBE 320 Introductory Transport Phenomena both require a grade of C or better.


CHEM 343 Organic Chemistry I requires a grade of C or better.


Each College of Engineering program has academic advisors dedicated to serving its students. Program advisors can help current College of Engineering students with questions about accessing courses, navigating degree requirements, resolving academic issues and more. Students can find their assigned advisor on the homepage of their student center. 

Engineering Career Services

Engineering Career Services (ECS) assists students in identifying pre-professional work-based learning experiences such as co-ops and summer internships, considering and applying to graduate or professional school, and finding full-time professional employment during their graduation year.

ECS offers two major career fairs per year, assists with resume writing and interviewing skills, hosts workshops on the job search, and meets one-on-one with students to discuss offer negotiations.

Students are encouraged to utilize the ECS office early in their academic careers. For comprehensive information on ECS programs and workshops, see the ECS website or call 608-262-3471.


Eric V. Shusta (Chair)
Michael David Graham
George Huber
Daniel J. Klingenberg
David M. Lynn
Manos Mavrikakis
Regina Murphy
Sean P. Palacek
Brian F. Pfleger
Thatcher Root
John Yin
Victor Zavala

Associate Professors

Ross E. Swaney

Assistant Professors

Styliani Avraamidou
Matthew Gebbie
Siddarth Krishna
Whitney Loo
Marcel Schreier
Reid Van Lehn

Teaching Faculty

Brendan Blackwell
Eric Codner
Kate Dahlke
Andrew Greenberg

research professor

William Banholzer

See also Chemical and Biological Engineering Faculty Directory.


Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,, under the commission's General Criteria and Program Criteria for Chemical, Biochemical, Biomolecular, and Similarly Named Engineering Programs.

Note: Undergraduate Program Educational Objectives and Student Outcomes are made publicly available at the Departmental website. (In this Guide, the program's Student Outcomes are designated by our campus as "Learning Outcomes.")