Chemical Engineering, B.S.

Program Code: CHE_BS

Entrance to Major

This program currently has administrative enrollment controls. Administrative Enrollment Controls are initiated when limitations of space, faculty, or other resources in a major prevent accommodating all students who request them. Students must follow the administrative enrollment controls that are in effect for the semester that they enter the university.

First-Year Students Entering Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, students must satisfy the following requirements:

Students Who Entered Prior to Summer 2020

Students who entered the University from Summer 2018 through Spring 2020 should view the administrative enrollment controls in the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin archive. Students who entered the University prior to the summer 2018 semester should view the administrative enrollment controls for the semester that they entered the university on the Academic Advising Portal.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, a minimum of 133 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 115

27 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 9 credits of GN courses; 6 credits of GQ courses; 3 credits of GS courses; 9 credits of GWS courses.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
BMB 251Molecular and Cell Biology I3
CHE 230Computational Tools for Chemical Engineering1
CHE 300Professional Development Seminar1
CHE 340Introduction to Biomolecular Engineering3
CHE 452Chemical Process Safety3
CHE 470Design of Chemical Plants3
CHE 480WChemical Engineering Laboratory3
CHEM 111Experimental Chemistry I Keystone/General Education Course1
CHEM 112Chemical Principles II Keystone/General Education Course3
CHEM 113Experimental Chemistry II Keystone/General Education Course1
CHEM 210Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 212Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 213Laboratory in Organic Chemistry2
CHEM 457Experimental Physical Chemistry2
MATH 231Calculus of Several Variables2
MATH 251Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations4
PHYS 212General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism Keystone/General Education Course4
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CHE 210Introduction to Material Balances3
CHE 220Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics3
CHE 320Phase and Chemical Equilibria3
CHE 330Process Fluid Mechanics3
CHE 350Process Heat Transfer3
CHE 410Mass Transfer Operations3
CHE 430Chemical Reaction Engineering3
CHEM 110Chemical Principles I Keystone/General Education Course3
EDSGN 100Cornerstone Engineering Design3
ENGL 202CEffective Writing: Technical Writing Keystone/General Education Course3
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 141Calculus with Analytic Geometry II Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 211General Physics: Mechanics Keystone/General Education Course4
Additional Courses
Select 1 credit of First-Year Seminar1
Select one of the following:3
Principles of Economics Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy Keystone/General Education Course
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CAS 100AEffective Speech Keystone/General Education Course3
or CAS 100B Effective Speech Keystone/General Education Course
ENGL 15Rhetoric and Composition Keystone/General Education Course3
or ENGL 30H Honors Rhetoric and Composition Keystone/General Education Course
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 3 credits of physical chemistry from departmental list3
Select 3 credits of materials elective from departmental list3
Select 6 credits in 400-level chemical engineering electives from departmental list6
Select 3 credits of approved engineering electives from departmental list3
Select 6 credits of professional electives from department list 16

Program Educational Objectives

The undergraduate program in chemical engineering at Penn State has been designed so that students can identify and pursue their personal and professional goals while obtaining a strong foundation in the principles and practice of chemical engineering.  The program aims to produce graduates who will attain one or more of the following:

  • Careers as practicing chemical engineers in traditional chemical and energy-related industries as well as in expanding areas of materials, environmental, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries.
  • Advanced degrees in chemical engineering (or a related technical discipline), medicine, law, or business.
  • Positions that provide the technical, educational, business, and / or political leadership needed in today's rapidly changing, increasingly technological, global society.

Student Outcomes

Student outcomes describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. The Chemical Engineering program is designed to enable students to:

  1. Identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  2. 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. Communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  4. 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. Function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  6. Develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  7. Acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Angela Dixon
Undergraduate Staff Assistant
121 Chemical & Biomedical Engineering Building
University Park, PA 16802

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Chemical Engineering, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

If you are starting at a campus other than the one this plan is ending at, please refer to:

First Year
CHE 100 (or First Year Seminar )1CHEM 112 (GN)3
CHEM 110 (GN)*#†3CHEM 113 (GN)1
CHEM 111 (GN)1ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 15 (GWS)3
ECON 102 or 104 (GS)3MATH 141 or 141E (GQ)*‡#†4
EDSGN 100*#3PHYS 211 (PHYS 211L and PHYS 211R (GN))*#†4
MATH 140 or 140E (GQ)*‡#†4General Education Course3
 15 18
Second Year
CHEM 2103CHE 210*3
MATH 2312CHE 220*3
MATH 251*4CHE 2301
PHYS 212 (PHYS 212L & PHYS 212R (GN))*†4CHEM 2123
General Education Course3CHEM 2132
 General Education Course3
 General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 16 16.5
Third Year
BMB 251 or MICRB 2513CAS 100A or 100B (GWS)‡†3
CHE 320*3CHE 3001
CHE 330*3CHE 3403
Professional Elective3CHE 350*3
General Education Course3CHEM 4572
General Education Course3Physical Chemistry Elective3
 General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 18 16.5
Fourth Year
CHE 4103CHE 4703
CHE 4303CHE 480W3
CHE 4523Chemical Engineering Elective3
ENGL 202C (GWS)‡†3Engineering Elective3
Chemical Engineering Elective3Professional Elective3
Materials Elective3 
 18 15
Total Credits 133

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

College Notes:

  • CHE 210 & CHE 220: The Department of Chemical Engineering requires that students complete both MATH 231 and MATH 251 before taking CHE 210. Please plan accordingly if you cannot take both MATH 251 & MATH 231 before the 4th semester. Courses require a grade of 'C' or better before enrolling in the next higher course.
  • CHE Elective: Select from department list.
  • Engineering Elective: Select from department list. However, some courses on the department list may be controlled by the department that is offering the course and will not be able to be scheduled. Students who complete the Cooperative Education Program may substitute 3 co-op credits for an engineering elective.
  • Health and Physical Activity Elective: Students who complete the ROTC Program may substitute 3 ROTC credits for the GHW requirement and 3 ROTC credits for a professional elective.
  • Professional Elective: The six (6) credits of Professional Elective courses are required and should help you toward your career goals. These courses must generally be at the 200 level or above. Students who complete the ROTC Program may substitute 3 ROTC credits for the GHW requirement and 3 ROTC credits for a professional elective.
  • This course offered at University Park in fall semester only:
  • This course offered at University Park in spring semester only:

Career Paths


Graduates go onto careers in technical roles across a wide variety of industries, including in chemical production, fuels and energy technology, microelectronics, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, materials, design and construction, food processing, environmental health, and safety industries. Students take roles in large and small companies as engineers in production, process development, product development, process automation, among others, as well as consulting and sales positions.


Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Our undergraduate curriculum prepares students for graduate studies at the master’s or doctoral level in chemical engineering and related engineering and science fields. Fundamental classwork as well as computational and experimental research experiences help students progress towards graduate studies, and eventual research positions in industry, academia, and national laboratories. Graduates are trained to be independent researchers with the ability to solve some of today's most challenging real-world issues. As trained problem solvers, students completing the chemical engineering bachelor of science degree also progress to further studies in medicine and business.


Professional Resources


The baccalaureate program in Chemical Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,


Professional Licensure/Certification

Many U.S. states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.


University Park

121 Chemical & Biomedical Engineering Building
University Park, PA 16802