The Chemical and Biological Engineering Department offers two different degrees: Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. A student seeking the latter degree graduate as fully qualified Chemical Engineers but have additional training in bioprocessing technologies that are interest in renewable energy. Generally, the fields of chemical and biochemical engineering are extremely broad, and encompass all technologies and industries where chemical processing is utilized in any form. Students with baccalaureate (B.S.) chemical engineering or chemical and biochemical engineering degrees from CSM can find employment in many and diverse fields, including: advanced materials synthesis and processing, product and process research and development, food and pharmaceutical processing and synthesis, biochemical and biomedical materials and products, microelectronics manufacture, petroleum and petrochemical processing, and process and product design.
The practice of chemical engineering draws from the fundamentals of biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Accordingly, undergraduate students must initially complete a program of study that stresses these basic fields of science. Chemical engineering coursework blends these three disciplines into a series of engineering fundamentals relating to how materials are produced and processed both in the laboratory and in large industrial-scale facilities. Courses such as fluid mechanics, heat and mass transport, thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, and chemical process control are at the heart of the chemical engineering curriculum at CSM. In addition, it is becoming increasingly important for chemical engineers to understand how microscopic, molecular-level properties can influence the macroscopic behavior of materials and chemical systems. This somewhat unique focus is first introduced at CSM through the physical and organic chemistry sequences, and the theme is continued and developed within the chemical engineering curriculum via material and projects introduced in advanced courses. Our undergraduate program at CSM is exemplified by intensive integration of computer-aided molecular simulation and computer-aided process modeling in the curriculum, and by our unique approach to teaching of the unit operations laboratory sequence. The unit operations lab course is offered only in the summer as a six-week intensive “field session”. Here, the fundamentals of heat, mass, and momentum transport and applied thermodynamics are reviewed in a practical, applications-oriented setting. The important subjects of teamwork, critical thinking, and oral and written technical communications skills are also stressed in this course.
Facilities for the study of chemical engineering or chemical and biochemical engineering at the Colorado School of Mines are among the best in the nation. Our modern in-house computer network supports over 50 workstations, and is anchored by a large mass storage device and a 1.1 Teraflop Beowulf Cluster. Specialized undergraduate laboratory facilities exist for the study of polymer properties, and for reaction engineering and unit operations. In 1992, the department moved into a new $11 million facility which included new classroom and office space, as well as high quality laboratories for undergraduate and graduate research. Our honors undergraduate research program is open to highly qualified students, and provides our undergraduates with the opportunity to carry out independent research, or to join a graduate research team. This program has been highly successful and Mines undergraduate chemical engineering students have won several national competitions and awards based on research conducted while pursuing their baccalaureate degree.
Baccalaureate/Masters Degree Program
The Chemical and Biological Engineering Department offers the opportunity to begin work on a Master of Science (with thesis) while completing the requirements of the Bachelor’s degree. These combined BS/MS degrees are designed to allow undergraduates engaged in research to apply their experience to an advanced degree. An advantage of the combined BS/MS program is that students may apply 2 classes (6 credit hours) to both their BS and MS degrees. These two classes must be chemical engineering elective courses at the 400-level or higher. The remaining MS curriculum consists of the four core graduate courses (ChEN507, ChEN509, ChEN516, and ChEN518) and 18 thesis credits. It is expected that a student would be able to complete both degrees in 5–51/2 years. To take advantage of the combined, program students should be engaged in research and taking graduate coursework during their senior year. For that reason students are expected to apply to the program by the end of their junior year. Students must have a GPA greater than 3.0 to be considered for the program. Interested students are encouraged to get more information from their advisor and/or the current faculty member in charge of Graduate Affairs.