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Chemical Engineering Program

2020-21 Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Program (CHEME-BS, BSH, BASH, or MIN)

UG Program Director: Andy Spakowitz -- Shriram Center 129,
Student Services: John Whitney, Shriram Center 129,
Chair: Zhenan Bao

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:

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

1B) Little preparation in math; strong chemistry: This plan starts with MATH 19, 20, 21 and CHEM 31M.

2) No AP math credits, prepared to start with MATH 40 series, then move to CME math series. Strong chemistry preparation; start with CHEM 31X.

3) AP math credits, prepared to start with the CME math series (CME 100 & 102), which is recommended instead of the MATH 50 series. 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 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 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 monthly departmental advising sessions.

ePS Planning Sheets (This link is to the ePS; or use Program sheet in Excel or pdf version)

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

Chemical Engineering Program Requirements

Mathematics and Science (47-53 Units)

Course Description Units Quarter Year
MATH 19, 20, 21 or 10 units AP Calculus Single Variable Calculus 10 A,W/A,W,S,Sum/A,W,S,Sum Fr
CME 100* or Math 51 AND 52   Vector Calculus for Engineers 5 A,W,Sum Fr, So

CME 102* or

Math 53  

Ordinary Differential Equations for Engineers

Ordinary Differential Equations with Linear Algebra





Fr, So

CME 104 or

CME 106

Linear Algebra & Partial Diff Eqs for ENGRs

Intro to Probability and Statistics for Engineers




W, Sum


CHEM 31M (formerly 31X) or 


Chemical Principles

Chemical Principles (two-quarter sequence)





Fr (or AP credit)


CHEM 33 Structure & Reactivity 5 A,W Fr
CHEM 121 (formerly 35) Organic Chemistry of Bioactive Molecules 5 A,W Fr


PHYSICS 41E (by application)


Mechanics, Concepts, Calculations, and Context




Not this year

So (or AP credit)
PHYSICS 43 Electricity & Magnetism 4 W,Sum So (or AP credit)
  • CME 100 and 102 are the recommended math courses 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 minimum)

  • ENGR 20, Intro to Chemical Engineering, 4 units, (W), Fr/So (same as CHEMENG 20)
  • ENGR Fundamentals elective from list of approved options

Engineering Depth (51 units)

Course Description Units Quarter Year
CHEMENG 100 Chem Process Modeling, Dynamics, & Control 3 A Jr
CHEMENG 110A Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics 3 A Jr
CHEMENG 110B Multi-Component and Multi-Phase Thermodynamics 3 W Jr
CHEMENG 120A Fluid Mechanics 4 W Jr
CHEMENG 120B Energy & Mass Transport 4 S Jr
CHEMENG 130A Microkinetics - Molecular Principles of Chemical Kinetics 3 S Jr
CHEMENG 130B Kinetics and Reactor Design 3 A Sr
CHEMENG 150 Biochemical Engineering 3 W Sr
CHEMENG 180 Chemical Engineering Plant Design 4 A Sr
CHEMENG 181 Biochemistry  I 4 A Jr
CHEMENG 185A Chemical Engineering Lab A (satisfies WIM) 4 W Sr
CHEMENG 185B Chemical Engineering Lab B 4 S Sr
CHEM 171 Physical Chemistry I 4 S So/Jr

Depth Electives: Choose one

Course Description Units Quarter Year
CHEMENG 140 or Micro & Nanoscale Fabrication Engineering 3 not offered 20-21 Sr
CHEMENG 142 or Catalysis with Applications in Energy Transformations 3 not offered 20-21 Sr
CHEMENG 160 or Polymer Science and Engineering 3 A Sr
CHEMENG 162 or Polymers for Energy & Environmental Sustainability 3 not offered 20-21 Sr
CHEMENG 174 or Environmental Microbiology I, 3 A Jr
CHEMENG 177 or Data Science & Machine Learning in Chemical & Materials Engineering 3 S Sr
CHEMENG 183 or Biochemistry II 3 W Jr

CHEMENG 190 or




Undergraduate Research in Chemical Engineering

Undergraduate Honors Research in Chemical Engineering

Entrepreneurship in Engineering & Science-based Industries










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 John Whitney

11/02/20 for Win 20-21

02/22/21 for Spr 20-21

08/2/21 for Aut 21-22

Additional Resources

Chemical Engineering
American Institute of Chemical Engineers