Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, BSE

Chemical Engineers apply concepts from the physical sciences (chemistry and physics) and life sciences (biochemistry and microbiology) to the design and optimization of processes for the efficient production of products ranging from fuels and chemicals to pharmaceuticals to advanced materials. Penn’s chemical engineering department provides students with both a strong foundation in engineering fundamentals and exposure to modern chemical engineering technologies. The program's versatility allows our students to excel in diverse careers in the chemical industries, research, medicine, law, government, and education.

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) Major Requirements

37 course units are required.

ENGR 1050Introduction to Scientific Computing1
CBE 1600Introduction to Chemical Engineering1
CBE 2300Material and Energy Balances of Chemical Processes1
CBE 2310Thermodynamics of Fluids1
CBE 3500Fluid Mechanics1
CBE 3510Heat and Mass Transport1
CBE 3530Molecular Thermodynamics and Chemical Kinetics1
CBE 3600Chemical Process Control1
CBE 3710Separation Processes1
CBE 4000Introduction to Product and Process Design1
CBE 4100Chemical Engineering Laboratory1
CBE 4510Chemical Reactor Design1
CBE 4590Product and Process Design Projects1
Math and Natural Science
MATH 1400Calculus, Part I1
MATH 1410Calculus, Part II1
MATH 2400Calculus, Part III1
MATH 2410Calculus, Part IV1
or ENM 2510 Analytical Methods for Engineering
PHYS 0140Principles of Physics I (without laboratory) 11
or PHYS 0150 Principles of Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion
or PHYS 0170 Honors Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion
or MEAM 1100 Introduction to Mechanics
PHYS 0141Principles of Physics II (without laboratory) 11
or PHYS 0151 Principles of Physics II: Electromagnetism and Radiation
or PHYS 0171 Honors Physics II: Electromagnetism and Radiation
or ESE 1120 Engineering Electromagnetics
CHEM 1012General Chemistry I1
CHEM 1101General Chemistry Laboratory I0.5
CHEM 1022General Chemistry II1
CHEM 1102General Chemistry Laboratory II0.5
CHEM 2210Physical Chemistry I1
or MSE 2210 Quantum Physics of Materials
CHEM 2410Principles of Organic Chemistry I1
or CHEM 2411 Principles of Organic Chemistry I with Laboratory
CHEM 2420Principles of Organic Chemistry II1
or CHEM 2421 Principles of Organic Chemistry II with Laboratory
or CHEM 2425 Organic Chemistry II: Principles of Organic Chemistry with applications in Chemical Biology
or CHEM 2510 Principles of Biological Chemistry
Technical Electives 3
CBE Elective (3000 level or above)1
CHEM 2412
CHEM 2422
Principles of Organic Chemistry I Laboratory
and Principles of Organic Chemistry II Laboratory 2
or CHEM 2230 Experimental Physical Chemistry I
or CBE 4800 Laboratory in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering
Select 2 Math, Natural Science or Engineering courses2
General Electives 3
EAS 2030Engineering Ethics1
Select 4 Social Science or Humanities courses4
Select 2 Social Science or Humanities or Technology in Business and Society courses2
Total Course Units37

One less Technical Elective required if PHYS 0150 Principles of Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion/PHYS 0151 Principles of Physics II: Electromagnetism and Radiation taken.


CBE Majors taking the Organic Chemistry Lab sequence to satisfy the Lab Tech Elective requirement must take CHEM 2411, CHEM 2421 (Advanced Chemistry Elective) and CHEM 2412 and CHEM 2422, the two affiliated .5 CU lab sections.


Must include a Writing Seminar (a list of approved Writing Seminars can be found in the SEAS Undergraduate Handbook)


Students can select one of the following concentrations:

  • Energy and the Environment
  • Pharmaceutics and Biotechnology
  • Polymers and Soft Matter Science and Engineering

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.