Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate Advisor
Eva Y. Chi

Degree Offered

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering (B.S.Ch.E.)
    Concentrations: Bioengineering; Chemical Process Engineering; Environmental Engineering; Materials Processing; Semiconductor Manufacturing.


The principles and approaches that make up chemical engineering are rooted in the world of atoms, molecules and molecular transformations, and chemical engineers have been leaders in extending our ability to manipulate materials on the atomic scale. Chemical engineers are on the forefront of rapidly developing areas that include biotechnology and biomedicine, semiconductor manufacturing and data storage devices, and advanced materials with precisely-controlled nanostructures. Chemical engineering is a rapidly evolving discipline that offers the excitement of developing cutting-edge products and the satisfaction of making important contributions to technology that improves our lives. Chemical Engineering has a rich history of contributions to the nation’s technology base for production of chemicals and materials for consumer products and basic commodities. Chemical engineers have long played key roles in a diverse set of industries that include petroleum, food, pharmaceuticals, artificial fibers, petrochemicals, plastics and ceramics, to name a few. In these areas, chemical engineers design and develop the processes for large-scale manufacturing that result in affordable products that are essential to our way of life. Chemical engineers also work in the areas of environmental protection and remediation, process safety and hazardous waste management. 

The diverse applications of chemical engineering, as well as the ability of chemical engineers to be on the leading edge of new fields, derive from the breadth of the chemical engineer’s education. The chemical engineering curriculum at the University of New Mexico offers broad training in the fundamentals of mathematics, physics, chemistry and the engineering sciences. These are integrated with the chemical engineering “core” which includes: thermodynamics, heat, momentum and mass transport, chemical reaction engineering, design, and process control. 

Students choose electives which are grouped into concentrations to provide expertise in specific areas. A concentration consists of three advanced chemistry courses and two technical electives. Concentrations include chemical process engineering, bioengineering, materials processing, semiconductor manufacturing, and environmental engineering. 

Undergraduate chemical engineering students benefit greatly from the extensive research activities of our faculty in strategic areas of chemical engineering. The research activities are well integrated and supportive of our teaching mission and have enabled us to continually improve the quality of our laboratory courses. A significant number of undergraduates participate in one-on-one research projects with individual faculty, often focused on the student’s area of concentration. The nearby national laboratories provide additional opportunities for student research. Learning is enhanced with such hands-on experience, and students are more competitive when they leave the University of New Mexico. Our research activities have allowed us to develop new courses and to alter the content of existing courses to incorporate state-of-the-art knowledge and practice.

The chemical engineering graduate finds many avenues of opportunity in chemical processing, food and consumer products, fibers and textiles, biotechnology, advanced materials, semiconductor manufacturing, environmental protection and remediation and other vital industries. Extensive opportunities also exist for students desiring to work towards advanced degrees in the field. And finally, a chemical engineering undergraduate degree represents an excellent foundation for an advanced professional degree in medicine, business or law.

Graduates of the undergraduate program in Chemical Engineering successfully progress in their careers or post-graduate endeavors in diverse chemical engineering areas, including chemical process engineering, biomedical engineering, materials processing, semiconductor manufacturing, and environmental engineering, by:

  1. demonstrating technical competence,
  2. solving technical problems efficiently, and
  3. communicating effectively in both written and oral forms.

The most up-to-date version of the objectives is available at the Department Web site.

Mission Statement

The Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering (B.S.Ch.E.) degree program in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering provides an outstanding education that prepares students to be productive and responsible members of society, with the skills and knowledge to be successful in their professional careers or post-graduate studies. This is accomplished by engaging students in a variety of academic, research and service activities, and fostering a learning environment that is supportive for a body of students that is diverse in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, and prior educational background.


To earn a baccalaureate degree in chemical engineering, a student must apply to and be admitted to the baccalaureate program in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. For students who have entered the University of New Mexico as freshmen, application to the program is typically made in the sophomore year. In most cases, such students have been admitted to the School of Engineering as pre-majors (see “Admission to the School of Engineering” in the School of Engineering section of this Catalog). Transfer students may apply to the baccalaureate program as soon as they have met the program admission requirements discussed below. The department strongly encourages all students who are interested in entering the baccalaureate program in chemical engineering to apply to the department as soon as they are eligible, to ensure that they receive the proper advisement.

The criteria for admission to the baccalaureate program in Chemical Engineering are specified in detail on the Department Web site. There are 20 credit hours of freshman year technical subjects required by the School of Engineering for admission, and a minimum GPA of 2.50 in those courses is required for admission to undergraduate study in Chemical Engineering. A total of 26 credit hours applicable to a degree is required for admission with a GPA of at least 2.20. All applicants must have completed ENGL 110 or its equivalent before admission. All courses required for the Chemical Engineering baccalaureate degree program must have grades of "C-" or better for satisfying both admission and graduation requirements.

Policy on "D" or "D+" Grades

Students admitted or readmitted to the B.S.Ch.E. degree program may not apply a course toward the degree if the highest grade earned in the course is a "D+" or less, regardless of where that grade was earned.

Curriculum in Chemical Engineering

The Bachelor of Science Program in Chemical Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Minimum credit hours required for graduation: 123. (1) (2)

First Year First Semester
CBE 101 Introduction to Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering 1
CHEM 121 General Chemistry 3
CHEM 123L General Chemistry Laboratory 1
ENGL 110
(or ENGL 112;
or ENGL 113)
Accelerated Composition
(or Composition II;
or Enhanced Composition)
MATH 162 Calculus I (1) 4
  Core Humanities Elective (3) 3
  Second Semester  
CHEM 122 General Chemistry II 3
CHEM 124L General Chemistry II Laboratory 1
ENGL 120 Composition III 3
MATH 163 Calculus II (1) 4
PHYC 160 General Physics (1) 3
Core Social/Behavior Science Elective (3) 3
Second Year First Semester  
CBE 251 Chemical Process Calculations I (1) 3
CHEM **301 Organic Chemistry 3
CHEM 303L Organic Chemistry/Laboratory 1
MATH 264 Calculus III (1) 4
PHYC 161 General Physics (1) 3
  Second Semester  
CBE 253 Chemical and Biological Engineering Computing (1) 3
CBE 302 Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics (1) 3
ECON 105 Introductory Macroeconomics (4) 3
MATH **316 Applied Ordinary Differential Equations (1) 3
  Advanced CHEM course for Concentration (5)  3
Third Year First Semester  
CBE 311 Introduction to Transport Phenomena (1) 3
CBE 317 Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Analysis (1) 2
CBE 318L Chemical Engineering Laboratory I (1) 1
CBE 361 Biomolecular Engineering 3
ENGL 219 Technical and Professional Writing
  Advanced CHEM course for Concentration (5)  3
  Second Semester  
CBE 312 Unit Operations (1) 3
CBE 321 Mass Transfer (1) 3
CBE 319L Chemical Engineering Laboratory II (1) 1
CBE 371 Introduction to Materials Engineering 3
ENG 301 Fundamentals of Engineering: Dynamics 1
ENG 302 Fundamentals of Engineering: Electronic Circuits 1
  Advanced CHEM course for Concentration (5)  3
Fourth Year First Semester  
CBE 418L Chemical Engineering Laboratory III (1) 1
CBE 454 Process Dynamics and Control (1) 3
CBE **461 Chemical Reactor Engineering (1) 3
CBE 486 Introduction to Statistics and Design of Experiments (1) 2
CBE 493L Chemical Engineering Design (1) 3
  Technical Elective (6) 3
  Second Semester  
CBE 419L Chemical Engineering Laboratory IV (1) 1
CBE 451 Senior Seminar (1) 1
CBE 494L Advanced Chemical Engineering Design (1) 3
  Technical Elective (6) 3
  Core Fine Arts Elective (3) 3
Core Humanities Elective (3) 3
  Core Second Language Elective (3) 3


(1)  Only courses with grades of "C-" or better may be applied toward the B.S.Ch.E. Courses with this footnote are prerequisites for other classes, and must be taken in the sequence listed. CBE classes are generally only offered in the semester listed, hence skipping a core CBE class could delay graduation by one year. Students are encouraged to sign up for independent study, CBE 491/492 which provide academic credit for doing research under the supervision of a CBE faculty member.

(2)  Students must file an application for the B.S.Ch.E. degree prior to the completion of 95 credit hours of applicable courses.

(3)  Students should consult with advisors to obtain a list of acceptable core humanities, social/behavioral science, fine arts and second language electives. These courses may be taken whenever convenient. Grade must be "C" or better.

(4)  ECON 105 may be taken in either the sophomore or junior year.

(5)  A minimum of 9 credit hours of advanced chemistry and/or biology courses. CHEM **312 is required for all concentrations. For the other classes, select from among CHEM **302, **311, *431; Chemistry and Physics at the Nanoscale; BIOL 201; or other approved courses, depending upon the student’s area of concentration. The courses chosen must represent a logical sequence of courses for the concentration and must be approved by an academic advisor.

(6)  Technical electives are chosen from upper-division courses approved by the chemical engineering program advisors. A list of approved technical electives is available on the Department Web site. One of these electives must be a class taught from within the School of Engineering, and the other elective may be taught from within either the School of Engineering or the College of Arts and Sciences. The department requires that these courses be part of an approved concentration. The chairperson may allow up to 6 credit hours of technical electives for students taking required ROTC courses in aerospace or naval science. One technical elective can be replaced by a research project done under the supervision of a CBE faculty member and requires advance approval by the undergraduate advisor.

(7)  Students are encouraged to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination during their senior year. This is the first formal step toward professional registration.

Persons having special needs and requiring auxiliary aid or service should contact the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (ADA and Rehabilitation Act of 1973).

Chemical Engineering Concentrations

Future chemical engineers conceive and solve problems on a range of scales (nano, micro and macro). They bring new tools and insights from research and practice in other disciplines: molecular biology, chemistry, solid-state physics, materials science, and electrical engineering. They also make increasing use of computers, artificial intelligence and expert systems in problem solving, in product and process design, and in manufacturing. Chemical engineering can be viewed as the engineering discipline with the strongest tie to the molecular sciences and therefore is an integral part of multidisciplinary research efforts.

To allow students an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge in specialized areas and to prepare them for diverse career opportunities, we provide five concentrations:

Students choose three advanced chemistry courses and two technical electives. In addition to these courses, the projects in the last design course (CBE 494L) and the last laboratory course (CBE 419L) provide opportunities to gain experience in the chosen concentration.

Advanced Chemistry and Science Electives: A minimum of 9 credit hours of advanced chemistry and/or biology, selected from among CHEM **302, **311, **312, 421, *431, 471; BIOL 201: or other approved courses depending upon the student’s area of concentration. One semester of CHEM **312 is required for all concentrations.

Technical Electives: Students have the opportunity to take 6 credit hours of technical electives. Three (3) credit hours must be engineering courses within the department or the School of Engineering. The other 3 credit hours may be taken outside of the School of Engineering, but must be a logical part of the concentration.


Since biological and medical systems involve complex chemical and physical processes, chemical engineering is a natural professional background for bioengineering applications. Bioengineering is an interdisciplinary field that combines the tools and methods of engineering to address challenges in the health sciences and in basic research. Bioengineers strive to understand biological systems, from molecules to whole organisms, from a quantitative and analytical perspective. Because of this in-depth study, bioengineers are uniquely qualified to work at the interface between living and non-living systems, enhancing our ability to measure, image, repair, or replace physiological substances or processes. Training in bioengineering prepares students for graduate school or industry, and is an excellent preparation for professional programs (medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy). Career opportunities for bioengineers at the undergraduate level include the biosensor, pharmaceutical and medical device industries as well as positions in hospitals, federal labs, and environmental agencies.

Advanced Chemistry and Science Electives  
BIOL 201L Molecular and Cell Biology 4
CHEM **302 Organic Chemistry 3
CHEM **312 Physical Chemistry 3
Technical Electives
Technical Elective 3
Technical Elective (Engr) 3

Chemical Process Engineering

The Chemical Process Engineering concentration is designed to provide maximum flexibility for students to pursue career opportunities in a wide range of industries as a process engineer. Historically, many chemical process engineers have found employment in the petroleum or chemical industries, and many still do. However, chemical engineers with a strong process engineering foundation are in increasing demand in many other technology areas, including pharmaceuticals, semiconductors and electronic materials, and environmental or “green” engineering. This concentration builds on the traditional process engineering emphasis, allowing the technical electives to be chosen by the student in consultation with his adviser to fit the interests or professional goals of the student.

Advanced Chemistry and Science Electives
CHEM **302 Organic Chemistry 3
CHEM **311 Physical Chemistry 3
CHEM **312 Physical Chemistry 3
Technical Electives
Technical Elective 3
Technical Elective (Engr) 3

Environmental Engineering

The chemical engineer with a concentration in Environmental Engineering is prepared to enter a field of growing importance. This field deals with treatment of waste to reduce its volume, to recover recyclable resources and to prepare appropriately for long-term disposal. Interesting applications exist in atmospheric discharge control and clean-up, bio-treatable water decontamination, soil remediation, and nuclear byproduct handling. Increasingly, chemical engineers are required to develop new processes to minimize byproduct and waste generation, and achieve higher energy efficiencies.

Advanced Chemistry and Science Electives
BIOL 201L Molecular and Cell Biology 4
CHEM **302 Organic Chemistry 3
CHEM **312 Physical Chemistry 3
Technical Electives
Technical Elective 3
Technical Elective (Engr) 3

Materials Processing

The Materials Processing concentration is designed to add additional emphasis in inorganic materials, polymeric, or biological materials, depending on the students interest. Students who are interested in working in the realm of high technology materials, biomedical materials, or nanotechnology should choose this concentration. These rapidly developing fields are expected to provide many job opportunities in the next decade. New materials are currently being developed whose properties depend strongly on their microstructure, nanostructure and processing history. Materials included in this category are advanced ceramics, polymers, composites, photonics, superconductors, semiconductors, and recording media. This concentration provides flexibility for students interested in inorganic or organic materials technology.

Advanced Chemistry and Science Electives
CHEM **311 Physical Chemistry 3
CHEM **312 Physical Chemistry 3
CHEM *431
CHEM 471
CHEM 471
Advanced Inorganic Chemistry

Adv T: Polymer Science

Adv T: Chemistry and Physics at the Nanoscale
Technical Electives  
Technical Elective 3
Technical Elective (Engr) 3

Semiconductor Manufacturing

There is an increasing demand for chemical engineers in high technology oriented semiconductor manufacturing companies like Intel, Motorola, IBM, etc. This concentration is designed to prepare the student in the fundamental unit operations used in semiconductor manufacturing (oxidation, diffusion, lithography, plasma etch, CVD, ion implant and metalization) and statistical methods used extensively in the industry to optimize the performance of these unit operations. The continuing revolution occurring in computer technology virtually insures there is a strong future demand for engineers with the background needed for semiconductor manufacturing. The goal of this concentration is to introduce students to the specific chemical engineering tools used in micro-chip fabrication.

Advanced Chemistry and Science Electives  
CHEM **311 Physical Chemistry 3
CHEM **312 Physical Chemistry 3
CHEM *431 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry 3
Technical Electives
ECE **371 Materials and Devices 4
Technical Elective 3

Chemical Engineering Laboratory

The chemical engineering laboratory is equipped with pilot plant equipment for the study of heat and mass and momentum transfer including the unit operations: liquid-liquid extraction, multitube heat exchangers, evaporation, distillation and absorption. Experiments also exist for the engineering sciences: thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, fluid mechanics and process control. Automated engineering workstations for data acquisition and control are an integral part of the laboratory. For juniors and seniors, opportunities exist for research projects in the following areas: catalysis, semiconductor manufacturing, fuel cells, biosensors, aerosol synthesis of materials, chemical vapor deposition and plasma etching. Students undertaking individual research projects gain exposure to state-of-the-art analytical equipment such as ellipsometry, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, Auger spectroscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, IR and UV spectroscopy, and x-ray scattering.

Computer Facilities

Computers provide the basic computational tool for today’s modern engineer. The department maintains a computer pod equipped with state-of-the-art computers. Additional computers are available in the many University of New Mexico computer pods maintained by the University of New Mexico’s Computer and Information Resources and Technology division. Freshman engineering students are introduced to the many computer facilities and to programming. Numerical analysis is an important part of each year’s instruction in chemical engineering, and by the senior year students make extensive use of sophisticated process simulation codes, and learn to write digital process control programs. Students interested in working in the semiconductor industry or advanced materials can gain extensive experience with software tools for statistical design of experiments. In addition to these technical software packages, students also gain experience with mathematical packages such as spreadsheets and symbolic manipulation software.

Honors Program

Eligible freshmen and upperclassmen in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering are urged to enroll in the Honors Program. Chemical and Biological Engineering students may graduate with Baccalaureate Honors, Departmental Honors, or both. Information is available from departmental advisors and the University Honors Center.

Cooperative Education

Chemical engineering students may participate in the cooperative education program or in summer industrial internship programs. Excellent opportunities exist throughout the southwest for undergraduate chemical engineering students. For further information, refer to the Section III: Cooperative Education Program section of this Catalog, or contact the Director of Career Services.


CBE 101. Introduction to Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering. (1)

CBE 213. Laboratory Electronics for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Engineers. (3)

CBE 251. Chemical Process Calculations. (3)

CBE 253. Chemical and Biological Engineering Computing [Chemical Process Calculations II]. (3)

CBE 302. Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics. (3)

CBE 311. Introduction to Transport Phenomena. (3)

CBE 312. Unit Operations. (3)

CBE 317. Numerical Methods for Chemical and Biological Engineering. (2)

CBE 318L. Chemical Engineering Laboratory I. (1)

CBE 319L. Chemical Engineering Laboratory II. (1)

CBE 321. Mass Transfer. (3)

CBE 361. Biomolecular Engineering. (3)

CBE 371. Introduction to Materials Engineering. (3)

CBE 403 / 503. Heterogeneous Catalysis Seminar. (2 to a maximum of 20 Δ)

CBE 404 / 504. Nanomaterials Seminar. (2 to a maximum of 20 Δ)

CBE 406 / 506. Bioengineering Seminar. (2 to a maximum of 20 Δ)

CBE 412 / 512. Characterization Methods for Nanostructures. (3)

CBE 417 / 517. Applied Biology for Biomedical Engineers. (3)

CBE 418L. Chemical Engineering Laboratory III. (1)

CBE 419L. Chemical Engineering Laboratory IV. (1)

CBE 447 / 547. Biomedical Engineering Research Practices. (3)

CBE 451. Senior Seminar. (1)

CBE 454. Process Dynamics and Control. (3)

CBE **461. Chemical Reactor Engineering. (3)

CBE 472 / 572. Biomaterials Engineering . (3)

CBE 477 / 577. Electrochemical Engineering. (3)

CBE 479 / 579. Tissue Engineering. (3)

CBE 486 / 586. Introduction to Statistics and Design of Experiments. (2)

CBE 491 - 492. Undergraduate Problems. (1-3 to a maximum of 6 Δ, 1-3 to a maximum of 6 Δ)

CBE 493L. Chemical Engineering Design. (3)

CBE 494L. Advanced Chemical Engineering Design. (3)

CBE 495 - 496. Chemical and Biological Engineering Honors Problems I and II. (1-6 to a maximum of 6 Δ, 1-6 to a maximum of 6 Δ)

CBE 499. Selected Topics. (1-3, no limit Δ)

CBE 501. Chemical and Biological Engineering Seminar. (1, no limit Δ)

CBE 502. Chemical and Biological Engineering Research Practices. (3, no limit Δ)

CBE 503 / 403. Heterogeneous Catalysis Seminar. (2 to a maximum of 20 Δ)

CBE 504 / 404. Nanomaterials Seminar. (2 to a maximum of 20 Δ)

CBE 506 / 406. Bioengineering Seminar. (2 to a maximum of 20 Δ)

CBE 512 / 412. Characterization Methods for Nanostructures. (3)

CBE 515. Special Topics. (1-3, no limit Δ)

CBE 517 / 417. Applied Biology for Biomedical Engineers. (3)

CBE 521. Advanced Transport Phenomena I. (3)

CBE 525. Methods of Analysis in Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Engineering. (3)

CBE 530. Surface and Interfacial Phenomena. (3)

CBE 542. Advanced Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics. (3)

CBE 547 / 447. Biomedical Engineering Research Practices. (3)

CBE 551 - 552. Problems. (1-3, no limit Δ; 1-3)

CBE 561. Kinetics of Chemical Processes. (3)

CBE 572 / 472. Biomaterials Engineering . (3)

CBE 575. Selected Topics in Material Science. (1-3, no limit Δ)

CBE 576. Selected Topics in Aerosol Science. (3 to a maximum of 6 Δ)

CBE 577 / 477. Electrochemical Engineering. (3)

CBE 579 / 479. Tissue Engineering. (3)

CBE 586 / 486. Introduction to Statistics and Design of Experiments. (2)

CBE 599. Master's Thesis. (1-6, no limit Δ)

CBE 699. Dissertation. (3-12, no limit Δ)

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Office of the Registrar

MSC 11 6325
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Phone: (505) 277-8900
Fax: (505) 277-6809