The Undergraduate Program in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Maryland
- Why are there three sets of curriculum information on this site, based on when I entered or will enter your program?
- What is chemical and biomolecular engineering?
- What will I learn if I major in chemical and biomolecular engineering?
- What courses will I have to take?
- What kinds of projects do ChBE majors get to work on?
- Will I be able to get research experience as an undergraduate?
- What kinds of jobs can I get with a B.S. in chemical engineering?
- Learn more about the A. James Clark School of Engineering
Why are there three sets of course information on this site, based on when I entered or will enter your program?
The requirements of the chemical and biomolecular engineering major and the general education requirements of University of Maryland have changed over the past several years, resulting in slightly different plans of study for advanced and newer students. It is very important that you refer to the menu that applies to the timeframe in which you entered or will enter our program so you receive the correct information.
Chemical engineers have always been involved in bioengineering through work in pharmaceutical production, wastewater treatment, food and beverage engineering, and environmental engineering. Over the past 10 years their involvement in bioscience and bioengineering fields such as metabolic engineering, biomaterials, biomedical devices and the modeling of biological processes, has rapidly increased. Whereas chemical engineering was traditionally based on three fundamental sciences (chemistry, physics and mathematics), chemical and biomolecular engineering is based on four fundamental sciences (chemistry, physics, mathematics and biology).
This shift in the discipline of chemical engineering has led our department to modify the requirements for the B.S. in chemical engineering. The new curriculum emphasizes fundamental biology as well as biological applications in chemical engineering, while maintaining a strong education in the core competencies of chemical engineering. Students entering the University of Maryland as freshmen during or after Fall 2010 will follow the new curriculum. Students entering in Spring 2010 of before will complete the degree using the previous curriculum.
Traditionally, chemical engineers were—and still are—concerned with research and process development that can lead to new means of materials production or a better understanding of existing techniques. These materials and processes may be chemical, petrochemical, or biochemical. On-the-job challenges include the efficient operation of a chemical plant, its equipment, or subunits; quality control for products we use every day, like food, cosmetics, soap, paper, and paint; the technical services plants require to stay operational; the sale and distribution of products; and general management or executive direction.
Over the last 20 years, biology has taken its place alongside chemistry as one of the sciences forming the basis of the chemical engineering discipline. The profession has now expanded to include creating biochemical products such as pharmaceuticals, materials for biomedical applications, and new fuel sources from agricultural waste. Chemical and biomolecular engineers are also creating products at the nonoscale, including advanced drug delivery systems and "smart" fluids that respond to light and electrical signals.
Students in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Maryland learn to use a combination of mathematical, physical, chemical, and biological science concepts within a rigorous engineering design framework, graduating with a unique set of skills highly valued by a wide range of employers in industry, academia, and the government.
For more information about our program's goals, see:
As explained above, your exact requirements and plan of study will depend on when you entered or will enter our program. Below are links to information about the curricula:
- For students entering the program in Fall 2012 or LATER:
- For students who entered the program from Fall 2010 to Spring 2012:
- For students who entered the program in Spring 2010 or EARLIER:
Projects in undergraduate courses are diverse. For example, a course in particle science could include studying aerosol drug delivery systems, powder production for cosmetics or alternative energy applications, or means of reducing of particulate air pollutants such as diesel soot. A course on the engineering of soft nanostructured materials, or "soft condensed matter", introduces students to materials used in the production of everyday products like toothpaste and shampoo, and foods like Jello, yogurt, and ketchup. Students might also explore bioremediation, the process of using biological agents, especially bacteria, to remove or neutralize contaminants from polluted soil or water; tiny computer circuitry built using chemical reactions; biosensors for human health and safety; and alternative energy sources such as solar cells.
Research experience for undergraduates is an important part of our program, and an opportunity many ChBE departments do not or cannot offer. Approximately half of our students graduate with significant lab experience and most find it to be one of the high points of their undergraduate education.
Typically, students spend several semesters working closely with a faculty member on an individual research project—real research that involves developing and experimentally testing new chemical and biomolecular engineering technologies using state-of-the-art laboratory and computational facilities. Recent projects include developing a process to make metal powders for microelectronics applications, applying green chemistry concepts, and the development of tiny, biocompatible capsules to be used for targeted drug delivery.
Student research can be arranged to count toward class credit, or as on-campus employment, providing the student with extra financial support. Some of our students have even been invited to present findings at seminars and national chemical engineering conferences, while others have been published!
Chemical and biomolecular engineering has a wide range of applications, which makes it a great choice for people who want career flexibility. Out department’s unique strengths in nanotechnology and biotechnology prepare our students for outstanding careers in many fields, including energy, pharmacy, food processing, home care and personal producs, petroluem, biofuels, electronics, biomedical research (including tissue enginerring and understanding and diagnosing disease) environmental safety, papers and fabrics, and education.
To learn more about career paths for chemical and biomolecular engineers, and some of the places our graduates have gone to work for, see:
Our students also benefit from the Clark School's office of Engineering Co-op & Career Services, which gives students 24-hour access to engineering co-op, internship, summer, post-graduation, and part-time job listings. It also runs free resume clinics, career fairs, and other workshops for job seekers! Visit them online at www.coop.eng.umd.edu to learn more.
- An introduction to the Clark School for prospective undergraduates »
- Friday Engineering Information Sessions for undergraduates »
- The Clark School's Engineering Preview Program for Prospective Students »
- Clark School academic programs, honors programs, and services »
The Clark school offers a wide variety of multi-year research, living/learning, professional development, entrepreneurial, honors, and internship programs; as well as career services, study abroad, and academic support.
- Clark School Research Opportunities »
- Clark School Facilities »
- Visit the Clark School homepage »
Questions about the undergraduate program in chemical and biomolecular engineering may be sent to email@example.com.