Author: Katie Torrey

What can I do to prepare myself for graduate school in chemical engineering?

There are things you can do now to prepare for graduate school.

Participate in undergraduate research

This is most important. A PhD or thesis masters is a research degree, and doing research as an undergraduate can open many doors. This is true even if you eventually decide to do a coursework masters. We recommend doing research at Michigan Tech during the school year, and off-campus at another university, business, or research lab during the summer.

Take additional math classes

Graduate engineering classes are very math intensive and so additional math courses work can help prepare you. Statistics is useful in almost all areas. Dr. Morrison also has some recommendations.

Practice your writing and presenting skills

You need these skills to be successful in graduate school and your career. If you participate in undergraduate research there are opportunities to present a poster of your research during department events, campus events, and professional conferences.

Keep your books

Your books and notes will be useful for reviewing core engineering topics when you’re taking the more advanced graduate courses.

Attend research seminars and graduate defenses

These events happen on campus throughout the year and are open to the public. Look for posters and emails announcing them. Seek out presentations on areas that interest you, even if they are in other departments. Research is interdisciplinary and the things you learn and people you meet could help you in the future.

What chemical engineering electives are being offered next semester? next year?

We plan to offer the following chemical engineering electives in future semesters.

Fall 2022

  • CM 2200  Intro to Minerals and Materials (3 credit)
  • CM 3450  Computer-Aided Problem Solving (3 credits)
  • CM 3979  Alternative Energy Technology and Processes (1 credit)
  • CM 4610  Intro to Polymer Science (3 credits)
  • CM 4780  Biomanufacturing and Biosafety (3 credits) This is an alternate-year class and will not be offered next year.
  • plus the undergraduate research courses

Spring 2023

  • CM 3025  Bioprocessing Lab (1 credit)
  • CM 3830  Mineral Processing and Extraction Lab (1 credit)
  • CM 4510   Interfacial Engineering (3 credits) This is an alternate-year course and will not be offered next year.
  • CM 4620  Polymer Chemistry (3 credits)
  • CM 4740  Hydrometallurgy/Pyrometallurgy (4 credits)
  • plus the undergraduate research courses

Fall 2023

  • CM 2200  Intro to Minerals and Materials (3 credit)
  • CM 3450  Computer-Aided Problem Solving (3 credits)
  • CM 3979  Alternative Energy Technology and Processes (1 credit)
  • CM 4610  Intro to Polymer Science (3 credits)
  • CM 4710  Biochemical Processes (3 credits) This is an alternate-year class and will not be offered next year.
  • plus the undergraduate research courses

Spring 2024

  • CM 3025  Bioprocessing Lab (1 credit)
  • CM 3830  Mineral Processing and Extraction Lab (1 credit)
  • CM 4505   Particle Technology (3 credits) This is an alternate-year course and will not be offered next year.
  • CM 4620  Polymer Chemistry (3 credits)
  • CM 4740  Hydrometallurgy/Pyrometallurgy (4 credits)
  • plus the undergraduate research courses

Undergraduate Research Courses

These classes are always offered. You will need special permission to enroll in it. There is more information on how this works on our undergraduate research page.

  • CM 4000  Undergraduate Research (1-3 credits)
  • CM 4020  Undergrad Research in Mineral Proc Engineering (1-3 credits)
  • CM 4040  Undergrad Research in Bioengineering (1-3 credits)
  • CM 4060  Undergrad Research in Polymer Engineering (1-3 credits)
  • CM 4080  Undergrad Research in Biofuels Engineering (1-3 credits)

How do I figure out which classes to take next semester?

You need two items to figure this out:

  • Your transcript. Go to Banweb to see your unofficial transcript.  It is extremely important to look at it and know exactly what classes are on it.
  • A flowchart or sample schedule for your catalog year.  All of our advising handouts are available on the Degree Requirements page, sorted by catalog year.

Start by crossing off the classes that you have completed and are currently enrolled in. Run your online degree audit on Banweb to see if it matches. If you see anything that doesn’t match then see your academic advisor to find out why.

Choose classes that are next on the flowchart/sample schedule. It’s usually useful to plan for several semesters out. Review your plan with your academic advisor. It really helps to have a second set of eyes look at your plan.

What do I need to know to plan out a minor in Bioprocess Engineering?

Here is some additional scheduling information to help you plan. Go to the Registrar’s Office minor page for the most current list of requirements.

Engineering Course

Select one course below.

  • CM 2110 Material and Energy Balances is usually offered every fall and summer. In the summer there is usually both an in-person and an online section.
  • CM 2200 Intro to Minerals and Materials is usually offered every fall.
  • CEE 3501 Environmental Engineering Fundamentals is usually offered every fall.
  • CEE 3503 Environmental Engineering is usually offered every spring.

Biochemistry Course

Select one course below. ChE students need to plan ahead because of time conflict issues.

  • BL 3020 Biochemistry I is usually offered every fall and occasionally in the summer. For ChE students, this course has a time conflict with senior classes.
  • CH 4710 Biomolecular Chemistry I is usually offered every fall. For ChE students, this course has a time conflict with senior classes.

Applied Biochemistry Course

Select one or more of the courses below.

  • BL 4070 Environmental Toxicology is usually offered every spring. For ChE students, this course has a time conflict with senior classes.
  • BL 4120 Environmental Remediation is usually offered fall of odd years. For ChE students, this course has a time conflict with senior classes.
  • CM 4710 Biochemical Processes is usually offered fall of odd years.

Elective Courses

Select remaining credits from the list below.

  • BL 3210 General Microbiology is usually offered every fall.
  • or BL 3310 Environmental Microbiology is usually offered every spring.
  • BL 4020 Biochemistry II is usually offered every spring.
  • CH 4110 Medicinal Chemistry: Mechanism of Drug Action is usually offered every spring.
  • CH 4120 Medicinal Chemistry: Drug Design is usually offered every fall.
  • CH 4140 Introduction to Pharmaceutical Analysis is usually offered every spring.
  • CH 4720 Biomolecular Chemistry II is usually offered every spring.
  • CM 3025 Bioprocessing Laboratory is usually offered every spring.
  • CM 4780 Biomanufacturing and Biosafety is usually offered fall of even years.
  • Undergraduate research BL 4000 Research in Biology, BL 4995 Research in Biochemistry, CM 4040 Research in Biological Engineering, CM 4080 Research in Biofuels Engineering are offered on demand. If you are interested in doing this then you’ll need to talk to the faculty who are doing research in these areas to see if they have a project you can work on with them. The chemical engineering faculty currently doing research in bioprocessing and biofuels are Dr. Heldt, Dr. Ong and Dr. Shonnard.
  • Enterprise Project Work in the bioprocessing area may be used towards the minor. Email a brief description of your project to the chemical engineering advisor for approval.

What are the requirements for a minor in mathematics?

The minor in mathematics is easy to fit in because you just need to take two more math classes. These classes can double count towards your technical electives.

Go to the Registrar’s Office minor page for the most current list of requirements.

Choose one course in Calculus I

You are already required to take calc I.

Choose one course in Calculus II, Linear Algebra, or Statistics

You are already required to take calc II (and linear algebra, but calc II works better for completing the minor.)

Choose at least one of the following

You are already required to take multivariable calculus, which is on this list. This works best for completing the minor because then you only need 6 more credits.

Choose at least one course that emphasizes mathematical logic and reasoning

You’ll need to pick one of these classes. Brush off your mathematical proof skills!

  • MA 3202 Introduction to Coding Theory
  • MA 3210 Introduction to Combinatorics
  • MA 3310 Introduction to Abstract Algebra
  • MA 3450 Introduction to Real Analysis
  • MA 3924 College Geometry with Technology
  • MA 4908 Theory of Numbers with Technology
  • MA 4330 Linear Algebra
  • MA 4760 Mathematical Statistics I

Elective Course

For this last requirement you need to choose either another course from the mathematical logic and reasoning list or any 3 credit, 4000-level MA course (except not MA 4945 which is History of Math).

Dr. Morrison’s Recommendations

Among the mathematical logic and reasoning choices Dr. Morrison recommends:

  • MA 3210 Introduction to Combinatorics
  • MA 4760 Mathematical Statistics I, if you have the prereq which is MA 3720 Probability.

For the elective requirement, Dr. Morrison likes:

  • MA 4525 Applied Vector and Tensor Mathematics
  • MA 4515 Introduction to Partial Differential Equations

Two more possibilities recommended by Prof. Todd King are on the numerical side: 

  • MA 4610 Numerical Linear Algebra
  • MA 4620 Numerical Methods for PDEs

In general, vector and tensor mathematics and PDEs have applications in transport phenomena; statistics is always a practical engineering subject; and combinatorics is a class that is accessible for chemical engineers.

How can I get involved in research?

You just need to ask. You’ll need to find a faculty member who has a project you can work on with them. A good place to start is to look at the department faculty page and read about their research topics.

Find two or three who are doing research in an area that sounds interesting to you. Don’t worry about the jargon. You’ll be taught what you need to know as part of the project. Then reach out to them and ask if they have a project you can work on with them.

Introduce yourself and share what interests you about their work. If you’re willing to do the research for credit then you can begin work even if there isn’t funding to pay you. If the first person doesn’t work out then ask some else. You may need to talk to several faculty before finding someone.

There is also a great video on finding a research mentor on the Pavlis Honors College research workshop page.

What should I minor in?

Asking what you should minor is like asking what you should major in.  The answer is:  whatever you like.

To help you explore your options, here is a list of minors that other chemical engineering majors have found appealing.  Go to the Registrar’s Office minor page for the most current requirements.

Chemical Engineering Minors

These minors are offered by our department.  They are matched with our faculty’s areas of expertise.

Minors in Related Fields

  • Business or Economics – if you’re interested in engineering management.
  • Foreign Languages – if you’re interested in international business or manufacturing.
  • Mathematics – if you’re interested in graduate studies in engineering or science.
  • Statistics – if you’re interested in almost any area including business, manufacturing, and research.
  • Data Acquisition and Industrial Control – if you’re interested in process automation and control.
  • Sustainable Biomaterials or Environmental Studies – if you’re interested in sustainability and environmental stewardship.
  • Chemistry – if you’re interested in deepening your chemistry knowledge.
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry – if you’re interested in pharmaceutical manufacturing (but also look at the bioprocess engineering minor).

We’ve also had students minor in unrelated fields because it interested them, like art, music, history, psychology, and others. That’s fine too.

Browse through the full list of minors available at Michigan Tech.