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Chemical Engineering Program

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2023-24 Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Program (CHEME-BS, BSH, BASH, or MIN)

Chemical Engineering is a discipline that relates to numerous areas of technology. In broad terms, chemical engineers are responsible for the conception and design of processes for the purpose of production, transformation, and transport of biochemicals, chemicals, energy, and materials.

More recently, chemical engineers are increasingly involved in the design of new products that are enabled by emerging process technologies. These activities begin with experimentation in the laboratory and are followed by implementation of the technology to full-scale production. The mission of the Chemical Engineering department at Stanford is to provide professional training, development, and education for the next generation of leaders in chemical sciences and engineering.

The large number of industries that depend on the synthesis and processing of chemicals and materials place the chemical engineer in great demand. In addition to traditional examples such as the chemical, energy and oil industries, opportunities in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, electronic materials and device fabrication, and environmental engineering are increasing. The unique training of the chemical engineer becomes essential in these areas whenever processes involve the chemical or physical transformation of matter. For example, chemical engineers working in the chemical industry investigate the creation of new polymeric materials with important electrical, optical, or mechanical properties. This requires attention not only to the synthesis of the polymer, but also to the flow and forming processes necessary to create a final product.

In biotechnology, chemical engineers have responsibilities in the design of production processes and facilities to use microorganisms and enzymes to synthesize new drugs. Chemical engineers also solve environmental problems by developing technology and processes, such as catalytic converters and effluent treatment facilities, to minimize the release of products harmful to the environment.

To carry out these activities, the chemical engineer requires a complete and quantitative understanding of both the scientific and engineering principles underlying these technological processes. This is reflected in the curriculum of the chemical engineering department, which 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, biochemical engineering and process design. Courses are built on a foundation in the sciences of chemistry, physics, and biology.

The individual student’s mathematics and science course preparation for the chemical engineering major depends on his or her previous background in these areas. Following are five representative sequences or 4-year plans. Plan 5 is representative of the schedule of courses for students approved for honors research, which requires a minimum of 12 units in addition to the normal requirements for the major.

Representative programs:

1) Little preparation in math and chemistry: This plan starts with MATH 19, 20, 21, and CHEM 31A & 31B, with study abroad.

2) No AP math credits, prepared to start with MATH 19/20/21 series, then move to CME math series. Strong chemistry preparation; start with CHEM 31M.

3) AP math credits, prepared to start with CME 100 (which is recommended instead of MATH 51 and 52). Start with CHEM 31M.

4) Same preparation as #3, but with a quarter abroad.

5) Same preparation as #3, but with a degree goal of a B.S. with Honors in Chemical Engineering. This departmental Honors Program is by application only; see departmental student services. This plan is for students interested in an in-depth research experience in addition to the normal coursework for the major.

Check our Departmental website or Intranet website. Our faculty, staff, and students would be glad to talk with you about majoring in Chemical Engineering. If you would like more information about this major, please contact our departmental student services staff in Shriram Center, room 129 or email at

CHEME Program Sheet

CHEME 4-Year Plans

CHEME Flowcharts

Objectives and Outcomes for Chemical Engineering


  1. Graduates will be effective in applying the basic chemical engineering principles along with analytical problem-solving and communication skills necessary to succeed in diverse careers including chemical engineering practice and academic research.
  2. Graduates will be effective life-long learners especially in a field whose focus areas, tools, and professional and societal expectations are constantly changing.
  3. Graduates will be equipped to successfully pursue postgraduate study whether in engineering or in other fields.
  4. Graduates will consider the broader context of social, environmental, economic and safety issues and demonstrate high standards of professional and ethical responsibility to become responsible citizens and leaders in the community and in the field of chemical science.


  • (a) An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.
  • (b) An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  • (c) An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
  • (d) An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
  • (e) An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • (f) An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  • (g) An ability to communicate effectively
  • (h) The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context
  • (i) A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  • (j) A knowledge of contemporary issues
  • (k) An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

Instructions for Finding Out More About the Chemical Engineering Major

  1. Contact Chemical Engineering Student Services at Drop-in visits are encouraged in Shriram Center, room 129. We encourage you to let the department know that you are considering the major so we can give you an opportunity to ask questions and get more information about chemical engineering, our advising program, summer internships, year-round research opportunities, etc.
  2. Attend the annual ChemE advising symposium in autumn quarter.
  3. Attend monthly departmental advising sessions.
  4. Check 4-Year Plans and Flowchart for ways to negotiate requirements in four years.

Find current major requirements for this and all other School of Engineering major programs at Explore Degrees

Chemical Engineering Program Requirements

Mathematics and Science (38-43 Units)

MATH 19, 20, 21Single Variable Calculus (or 10 units AP BC credit AND placement into CME 100/MATH 51 via the Math Diagnostic)10A,W/A,W,S/A,W,SFr
CME 100* or Math 51 AND 52  Vector Calculus for Engineers5A,W,SFr, So

CHEM 31M or 


Chemical Principles (or AP credit and placement via the Chemistry Diagnostic)

Chemical Principles (two-quarter sequence)







CHEM 33Structure & Reactivity5W,SFr
CHEM 121 (formerly 35)Organic Chemistry of Bioactive Molecules5A,SFr
PHYSICS 41 orMechanics (or AP credit and Physics Diagnostic placement)4A,WSo
PHYSICS 43Electricity & Magnetism (or AP credit and Physics Diagnostic placement)4W,S,Sum So
  • CME 100 is the recommended math course for ChemE majors.

Technology in Society (3-5 units)

Select one course from the approved TiS List; the course chosen must be on the SoE Approved List the year it is taken.

Engineering Fundamentals  (2 courses, 8 units minimum)

  • ENGR 20, Intro to Chemical Engineering, 4 units, (W), Fr/So (same as CHEMENG 20)
  • CHEMENG 55, Foundational Biology for Engineers, 4 units, (A), Fr/So (same as ENGR 55)

Engineering Depth (46 units)

CHEMENG 100Chem Process Modeling, Dynamics, & Control4WSo
CHEMENG 105Applied Mathematics in Chemical Engineering4SSo
CHEMENG 110AIntroduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics4AJr
CHEMENG 110BMulti-Component and Multi-Phase Thermodynamics4WJr
CHEMENG 120AFluid Mechanics4WJr
CHEMENG 120BEnergy & Mass Transport4SJr
CHEMENG 130AMicrokinetics - Molecular Principles of Chemical Kinetics4SJr
CHEMENG 130BKinetics and Reactor Design4ASr
CHEMENG 180Chemical Engineering Plant Design4SSr
CHEMENG 185AChemical Engineering Lab A (satisfies WIM)5WSr
CHEMENG 185BChemical Engineering Lab B5SSr

Instructions for Declaring a Major in CHEME

  1. Log onto Axess and request to major in Chemical Engineering
  2. Print or download your unofficial Stanford transcript from Axess
  3. Download a CHEME program sheet in Excel and complete it electronically. You must choose and follow the requirements from a year you were enrolled at Stanford. Enter "AP" instead of a course grade for any course waived due to AP credit.
  4. Save the electronic file for your records
  5. Send your unofficial transcript and completed Program Sheet to the Chemical Engineering Services Specialist.

Coterm Application Deadlines and Contacts

Visit the Coterm website or contact Andrew LeMat at

  • 6/30/23 for Aut 22-23 
  • 11/3/23 for Wtr 23-24 
  • 02/9/24 for Spr 23-24 
  • 5/17/24 for Aut 23-24

Additional Resources

Chemical Engineering
American Institute of Chemical Engineers