University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Future (and current) Students

Undergraduate Program

img At UMass Amherst, undergraduate students learn how to build analytical, experimental, and innovation skills necessary for a successful career in the chemical engineering profession. We offer a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering and, within the four-year degree program, an optional concentration in Biochemical Engineering. We are currently developing exciting initiatives in the fields of energy and materials. Our students take courses from Chemical Engineering faculty from their very first semester, becoming part of a close-knit group of scholars. Going beyond the traditional educational environment, our students hone their skills in model computer classrooms, innovative student-driven laboratory experiences, and faculty-supervised research.

Tami Paluca 
Undergraduate Academic Advisor
112E Goessmann Laboratory

Wei Fan 
Director of the Undergraduate Program
157B Goessmann Laboratory

Links of Interest


Commonwealth College and Departmental Honors

  • CHC Curriculum for Chemical Engineers (pdf)
  • Departmental Honors rules
  • Click here for Forms for the Independent Capstone Contract, Independent Capstone Completion Form, Petition for Exception and other useful information and forms.

For further information and advice, please contact Professor Jungwoo Lee, Honors Faculty Coordinator

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kind of computer should I have for Chemical Engineering?

    The College of Engineering expects every student to have a laptop, and it’s a good idea to get the most powerful laptop you can afford, to maximize the longevity of your machine:    

    OIT has recommendations for minimum hardware here:

  • I am still listed As Pre-Engin, What Gives?

    In order to be formally enrolled in the major, you must declare your major by filling out a Change of Major Form. You will need to complete the first line of the form with your student information and fill out the second line with your Primary Plan (Chemical Engineering) and your subplan, if you have one (Biochemical Engineering for example.) These forms are available on the wall outside 112E Goessmann, and must be handed to the Office of Student Affairs, Marston 126.

    NOTE, effective May 1, 2018, to be eligible to enter a BS degree program in engineering, a student must have a grade of C or better in the following classes (requirements listed for all the engineering majors, not necessarily chemical engineering):

    EnglWrit 112
    Math 131 &  Math 132
    Engin 100, 110, 111, 112, 113 or 114
    Physics 151
    Chem 111 or Physics 152
    2nd Semester Engineering Intro Course Satisfying Major Requirement (i.e., ChE 120 or CEE 121 or ECE 122 or MIE 124)
    Cumulative and most recent regular semester, a GPA of 2.0

    ** Chem 111 and Chem 112 may be satisfied by taking the Honors equivalents:  Chem 121H and 122H.
  • How Many Credits can I Take without Getting Permission for a Credit Overload?

    All college of engineering students may take up to 19 credits before they need permission for a credit overload. If you and your faculty advisor agree that it makes sense for you to take over 19 credits, then you should visit the Office of Student Affairs to fill out the paperwork to request an overload.
  • How Many Technical Electives Do I Need to Take?

    You must take at least four technical electives (pdf) to satisfy the requirements of a major in chemical engineering. At least two of these must be in engineering, but as many as all four can be engineering courses. Please see the reverse side of your curriculum flowchart for more specific information on this requirement.
  • I Have to Take Bio 152 as a Requirement of my Pre-Med Studies. Does It Count as a Technical Elective?

    Sorry, Bio 152 is not a technical elective because technical electives have to be at the 200 level or above.
  • Can I Fulfill my Bio Requirement with Bio 106 or Microbio 160?

    The Chem Eng Department will accept neither Bio 106 (Human Biology) nor MicroBio 160 (Biology of Cancer & Aids) in place of the Bio requirement in our degree plan. These courses are designed for non-science majors and do not adequately cover the content we feel is important for ChE majors.
  • How many ChE Independent Studies Can I Count Toward My Required Technical Electives?

    One. Unless you are in the departmental honors program, in which case you will need to take both ChE 499Y and ChE 499T during your senior year and these will both count towards your Engineering technical electives.
  • When Can I Declare My Major in Chemical Engineering?

    To be admitted to the major, applicants are required to have earned an overall cumulative grade point average of C (2.0) or better in each of the following courses: Math 131, Math132, Chem 111**, Chem 112**, Physics 151*, Engin 110 (or 111, or 112, or 113), and Chem-Eng 120 .

    * Physics 151 (4 credits) for students who entered the University after June 2010.
    ** Chem 111 and Chem 112 may be satisfied by taking the Honors equivalents:  Chem 121H and 122H.
  • I Would Like to Retake My Class and Replace the Grade I Earned Originally. How Low Would My Original Grade Have to Be to Do This?

    Your grade would need to be a C- or below.
  • May I take a requirement pass/fail?

    No course taken on a pass/fail basis may be applied to General Education, major or PR-ENGIN requirements.
  • I received AP credit for BIO 152. Can I use this to satisfy the Bio requirement for the major?

    Sorry, this course is not equivalent.  However, AP credit for BIO 110 does count as a valid substitute for the Bio requirement.  Please see Tami Paluca in 112E Goessmann Lab to request an exception.
  • I received transfer credit for Bio 151.  Can I use this to fulfill the Bio requirement for the major?    

       Yes, we will accept transfer credit for Bio 151 to satisfy the Bio requirement for the major.
  • Where can I get Information on Internship, Co-Op, and Job Opportunities?

    Cheryl Brooks is the Director of Career and Student Development for the entire College of Engineering. She regularly updates an online job board and e-recruiting website where both co-op and full time employment opportunities are posted. All of these links and more, including contact information for getting advice and guidance on developing an effective resume and interviewing successfully, are available on the website for the College of Engineering Career and Student Development Center.
  • When should I apply for admission to the Engineering Management Minor (EMM)?
    • Students in their second semester freshman year who meet the requirements may apply.
    • Applications are available online or in the Office of Student Affairs in 126 Marston Hall.
    • Submit completed applications to the David McLaughlin, Assistant Dean, Office of Student Affairs, 126 Marston Hall.
  • I'm told I need to meet with the Director of the Undergraduate Program. Who is that?

    Professor Wei Fan is the Director of the Undergraduate Program. If you need his signature, please remember to bring the required form with you. If you are meeting with him for advising, please print out your ARR (Academic Requirement Report) from Spire and bring it with you.
  • What Do I Need to Do in order to get Credit for an Independent Study?

    You will need to complete an Undergraduate Student Contract for Independent Studies.  You can pick up a copy of this form outside Tami’s office in 112EGoessmann.  Among other things, this contract requires your signature, the approval and signature of the cooperating faculty member (with whom you are doing the research) and the approval and signature of the Undergraduate Program Director (UPD). Please bring the form to Tami Paluca in 112EGoessmann to arrange for the UPD's signature.
  • I Need Advice on What Classes to Take. Who Should I Talk To?

    A good place to start is with the Academic Advisor for Chemical Engineering is Tami Paluca in 112E Goessmann. You could also go to your official faculty advisor (see SPIRE to find out who this is) or see Prof. Wei Fan, the Director of the Undergraduate Program.
  • How Do I Find Out Who My Faculty Advisor Is?

    You can find out who your faculty advisor is by logging onto SPIRE. There is a box on the lower right hand side of the main page that states who your advisor is. If you do not have a faculty advisor within the department of chemical engineering (ChE), please let Tami know so we can change this as soon as possible. If you do not have a ChE advisor, you should sign up for an advising appointment with Professor Fan, the director of the undergraduate program.
  • So...Biochem 275 is easy, right? I mean, it's a 200 level class...

    Biochem 275 is not necessarily an easy course; in fact, some students find it quite challenging, and it should not be taken lightly just because it is a 200-level course.
  • Oh, can I get into BIOCHEM 275 without ChE 220 or BIO 151?

    No. You will not be admitted to Biochem 275 without having completed the prerequisite ChE 220 or Bio 151 course.
  • Do I Need to Take Extra Classes to Fulfill the Requirements of the Biochemical Engineering Concentration?

    Not normally. The concentration is set up to fit into the requirements of the major without the need to take any extra courses. The requirements of the Biochemical Engineering Concentration include taking the following three classes...

    Biochem 275 - Cellular and Molecular Biology (You could, for example, count this as a non-engin tech elective)

    Chem 423 - Biochemistry (And you could count this as your advanced chemistry elective)

    ChE 592 - Introduction to Biochemical Engineering (and this could be an engin tech elective in the fall of senior year)

    ...and you must also take six credits of advanced coursework or research in special topics in Bioengineering. These courses must be engineering courses.
    Here are the courses that have already been approved for the biochemeng concentration:

    Biochem 657 - Drug Design

    Biology 383H - Gene and Genome Analysis

    ChE 220 - Principles of Biological Systems

    ChE 575 - Tissue Engineering

    ChE 589 - Nanostructured Biomaterials

    ChE 590E - Microfluidics and Microscale Analysis in Materials and Biology

    ChE 597B - Soft Materials and Biomaterials

    ChE 597C - Introduction to Biomolecular Engineering


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