Author: Katie Torrey

What are Judy’s office hours?

For Fall 2023 semester, I am in 310 A for walk-ins and appointments. If you can’t find me or get a time that works, email me at Room 310A is inside the CMLC Learning Center, 310.

Tuesdays 10am – 3pm
Wednesdays 12:30am – 3pm
Thursdays 10:30am – 3p

If you are looking for the flowchart or elective lists, these are available on the Degree Requirements page.

If you are having problems registering for courses that are not chemical engineering courses, contact the Registrar’s Office at

Also check out our FAQ’s for answers to many common questions.

Individual Meetings

I am available for one-on-one meetings. Schedule a time to meet in Chem Sci 310A HERE, or Email me at if you have a question. Let me know ahead of time if you would like a Zoom meeting.

Can I use the new 2024 technical elective rules?

Yes, you can! The faculty approved these new rules in March 2023, and we want you to be able to take advantage of them.  This will be especially helpful if you are working towards certain minors.  

If there is a course you’d like to take that is on the new list but not the old, then email Request the course to be added to your degree audit.  

I’ve been placed into organic chemistry (CH 2410). Should I stay in it or move back to university chemistry?

It’s up to you. If you are receiving AP/CLEP/IB or dual enrollment credit for university chemistry I and II then you will be placed into organic chemistry.

It may be worth your time to review U chem topics, even if it’s been awhile since you’ve had chemistry because it will pay off in the future. The advantage of staying in organic chemistry is that you can have a lighter credit load in future semesters or use the space to complete a minor or do a co-op.

If you decide to stay in organic chemistry then I recommend signing up for one-on-one or group tutoring time at the chemistry learning center.

Another option would be to simply wait until fall of your second year to take organic chemistry and not repeat university chemistry. This will give you a lighter credit load in your first year.

Contact me if you’d like to discuss these options.

I’ve been placed into University Chemistry II (CH 1160). Should I stay in it or move back to University Chemistry I?

It’s up to you. If you are receiving AP/CLEP/IB or dual enrollment credit for University Chemistry I then you will be placed into University Chemistry II.

It may be worth your time to review U Chem I topics, even if it’s been awhile since you’ve had chemistry because it will pay off in the future. The advantage of staying in University Chemistry II is that you can have a lighter credit load the next semester. Many students find spring semester harder than fall because the classes have less review of topics you saw in high school, and the winter is long. Unless you are a skier or snowboarder, in which case the winter is too short, and a lighter credit load can leave you more time to spend on the hill or trails.

If you decide to stay in U Chem II then I recommend adding the optional recitation class (CH 1163) to your schedule. In this class you are with a smaller group of students working on graded homework assignments. It can count towards your free electives.

If you’d like to make a change to your schedule, either to add CH 1163 or drop down to U Chem I then email your request to the Registrar’s Office at

How much does it cost to go to grad school in chemical engineering?

That depends on what degree you’ll be pursuing.

PhD study in chemical engineering

A PhD is often paid for by research funds obtained by your grad-school faculty advisor. In addition to a tuition award, you will also typically receive a stipend for your living expenses. If you obtain this support then it won’t cost you anything. 

When you apply to graduate school, you will automatically be considered for support, either in the form of a research assistantship, a teaching assistantship, or a fellowship.  These assistantships usually include full tuition and fees.  It’s a great deal for which good students will often qualify, and it is usually based on merit, not need. 

There are also very prestigious graduate research fellowships offered by the National Science Foundation for the best students in the country.  If you are able to obtain an NSF graduate research fellowship, you will be highly courted by all the top graduate schools.  You must apply directly to NSF for these fellowships.

MS study in chemical engineering

A masters degree can be done either in coursework mode (never supported; you are charged tuition and fees) or thesis mode (may be supported; may include a living stipend).  The coursework masters has the advantage of being straightforward to complete. You take the necessary courses to get your degree.  There is no research project.  The thesis path requires a research project in place of some of the elective courses and this must be completed before the degree is awarded.  There are sometimes funded research projects for thesis Masters students.

You can reduce the cost of a Masters degree at Michigan Tech by taking advantage of two programs that allow you to start your graduate studies while completing your undergraduate degree.

  • Accelerated BS/MS degree. This program allows you to double count up to six credits towards both your BS and MS degree.
  • Senior Rule. This program allows you to take up to six credits towards your graduate degree in the last year of your BS degree.

If you have the space in your schedule to do both then you can earn up to 12 credits towards your graduate degree while still an undergraduate. Graduate tuition is charged on a per credit basis.

For more on graduate school, visit the Department’s website on graduate studies.

I’m interested in bioengineering. What technical electives do you recommend?

We recommend an intro to cell biology course as early as possible because this will allow you to take more advanced courses later. If you received AP biology credit then this is already done.

  • BL 1200 General Bio II: Intro to Cellular Biology AND BL 1210 General Bio II Lab: Into to Cellular Biology. (spring semesters, preferred course)
  • or BL 1400 Principles of Biology AND BL 1410 Principles of Biology Lab. (fall and summer semesters)

We also recommend our bioprocessing lab because it’s a good introduction to the entire manufacturing process for making products using microorganisms.

  • CM 3025 Bioprocessing Lab (spring semesters, can be taken anytime after University Chemistry I)

After that, you have lots of choices, depending on your interests. Dr. Ong has put together a list of possible courses. This information was accurate as of the 2023-24 academic year, so be sure to look in the current catalog of classes and schedule of classes for the most up-to-date information.

Course Title Credits Type of Course Prerequisites Semester
CM 4710 Biochemical Processes 3 lecture CH 2410 fall of odd years
CM 4780 Biomanufacturing and Biosafety 3 lecture CH 4710 or CM 4710 or (CM 3110 (C) and Intro to Bio) or undergrad research in bio or bioengineering fall of even years
BE 4200 Cellular & Molecular Bio II 3 lecture BE 2400 spring and summer
BE 2200 Genetics 3 lecture Intro to Bio spring
BL 2210 Genetics Lab 1 lab BL 2200 (C) concurrently spring
BL 2700 Principles of Computational Biology 3 lecture Intro to Bio fall
BL 3020 Biochemistry I 3 lecture Intro to Bio and CH 2410 fall and summer
BL 3210 General Microbiology 4 lecture and lab Intro to Bio fall and summer
BL 3300 Intro to Genomics 3 lecture BL 2200 or FW3320 fall
BL 3310 Environmental Microbiology 3 lecture and lab Intro to Bio spring
BL 3820 Biochemical Lab Techniques I 2 lab BL 3020 (C) or CH 4710 (C) or BL 3025 (C) concurrently spring
BL 4020 Biochemistry II 3 lecture BL 3020 spring and summer
BL 4030 Molecular Biology 3 lecture BL 3020 or CH 4710 or BL 3025 fall and summer
BL 4153 Applied Genome Editing 3 lecture and lab BL 2200 or FW 3230 fall of odd years
BL 4200 Microbial Physiology 3 lecture BL 3210 or BL 3310 fall of even years
BL 4300 Applied Bacterial Genomics 3 lecture BL 2200 fall of odd years
BL 4310 Applied Eukaryotic Genomics 3 lecture BL 2200 and BL 2210 fall of even years
BL 4805 Molecular Diagnostics 5 lecture and lab BL 2200 and BL 3025 spring
BL 4840 Molecular Biology Techniques 3 lecture and lab BL 2200 and BL 4030 (C) concurrently fall
CH 3200 Chemistry and Biology of Brewing 2 lecture and lab CH 1150 and CH 1151 spring
CH 3540 Biophysical Chemistry 3 lecture Intro to bio and CH 1160 and CH 1161 and MA 2160 spring
CH 3541 Biophysical Chemistry Lab 2 lab CH 3540 (C) concurrently spring
CH 4110 Medicinal Chemistry: Mechanism of Drug Action 3 lecture CH 2410 spring
CH 4120 Medicinal Chemistry: Drug Design 3 lecture CH 2420 fall
CH 4140 Intro to Pharmaceutical Analysis 3 lecture and lab CH 2410 spring
CH 4710 Biomolecular Chemistry I 3 lecture CH 2420 fall
CH 4720 Biomolecular Chemistry II 3 lecture BL 3020 or CH 4710 spring

What opportunities are there to do undergrad research off campus?

There are two large programs that sponsor undergraduate research:

  • Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, sponsored by the National Institutes of Science and Technology (NIST)

NSF through the REU program sponsors summer research programs at many universities.  These are competitive programs and an excellent way to check out if you are interested in graduate school.  You may obtain more information about the REU program from the NSF website.  Undergraduate students sponsored with NSF funds must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its possessions.

NIST sponsors an undergraduate research program (SURF) that brings students to their Gaithersburg, MD location (near Washington D.C.) or Boulder, Colorado location to do research with government scientists.  For more information see the NIST SURF website.

How do I sign up to take the FE exam?

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is maintained by the NCEES, National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Go to the NCEES webpage to register for the exam. Once you have paid the fee you will be able to choose your testing site. The Michigan Tech testing center will be one option. If none of the Michigan Tech testing center dates work for you then contact the testing center directly and ask if other dates can be made available.

The Chemical Engineering department will help you pay for a portion of the test if you request the reimbursement prior to graduating. Drop off or email your receipt to the department office to request reimbursement.

How does doing Enterprise for senior design work?

If you are involved in Enterprise, you may use an Enterprise project as your capstone design project, pending departmental approval. You need to be taking an Enterprise project work course (ENT 2950, 2960, 3950, 3960, or 3980) during the Spring semester before your senior classes to qualify for this.

Students choosing this option will take the following design classes senior year.

Fall Semester

CM 4855 Process Analysis and Design I. 3 credits. All ChE students take this course.

ENT 4950 Enterprise Project Work V Capstone. 2 credits. You will need departmental permission to enroll in this class. This class can count towards your technical or free electives.

Spring Semester

CM 4860 Process Analysis and Design II. 2 credits. All ChE students take this course.

ENT 4960 Enterprise Project Work VI Capstone. 2 credits. This course will substitute for CM 4861 Capstone Design Project (1 credit) on your online degree audit. The additional credit can count towards your technical or free electives.

What is graduate school?

After your Bachelors degree you can continue going to school to get an advanced degree. In engineering this would be a Masters or PhD.

In our program you can get a coursework Masters, thesis Masters, or PhD. The coursework Masters is just like it sounds. It’s where you take additional advanced engineering classes. You can complete a coursework Masters in a year.

The thesis Masters and PhD are both research degrees. There is a coursework component to them, but you will also work on a research project with a faculty member. A thesis Masters usually takes 1.5-2 years to complete. A PhD takes several years to complete.

If you’d like to work at a university, national lab, or in research and development for a company then you will likely need a PhD.

You can change disciplines. Your graduate degree can be in a different or more specialized discipline than your undergraduate degree.