Brown University School of Engineering

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Sc.B. in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

The traditional role of a chemical engineer is to design and operate large-scale processes for producing chemicals. While this remains a cornerstone of the discipline, advances in nanotechnology (the ability to control matter at molecular scales) have transformed the role of the chemical engineer. Today, chemical engineers work on inter-disciplinary teams to design pharmaceuticals, artificial organs, biomedical devices, chemical sensors, and drug delivery systems. They work on energy technologies, such as batteries, fuel and solar cells. They are at the forefront of sustainable design and manufacturing.

The concentration has the following structure:

  • The interdisciplinary core program for the Sc.B, taken in the first four semesters
  • Five upper level engineering courses, one of which is the required capstone design course for CBE
  • One approved, upper level elective course in the natural sciences
  • Four approved humanities courses

Students may also elect to take specialized courses focusing on

  • Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology
  • Computer Applications in Chemical Processing
  • Electronics Applications in Chemical Processing
  • Energy Production and Conversion
  • Environmental Issues and Pollution Prevention
  • Materials Processing and Synthesis 

Additional information

Sample course plan (for requirements see the University Bulletin)

SEM. COURSE DESCRIPTION
I ENGN 0030 Introduction to Engineering
MATH 0190 AP Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
CHEM 0330 Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure
Elective †  
II ENGN 0040 Dynamics and Vibrations
MATH 0200 Intermediate Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
BIOL 0200 or CHEM 0350 The Foundation of Living Systems or Organic Chemistry
Elective  
III APMA 0330 Methods of Applied Mathematics I
ENGN 0510 Electricity and Magnetism
ENGN 0410 Materials Science
Elective  
IV APMA 0340 Methods of Applied Mathematics II
ENGN 0720 Thermodynamics
ENGN 0520 Electrical Circuits and Signals
Elective  
V ENGN 0810 Fluid Mechanics
ENGN 1130* (Fall 2015, Fall 2017) Phase and Chemical Equilibria
CBE Elective **  
Elective  
VI ENGN 1710 Heat and Mass Transfer
ENGN 1110 Transport and Biotransport Processes
Elective  
Elective  
VII ENGN 1120* (Fall 2014, Fall 2016) Chemical and Biochemical Reactor Design
Elective  
CBE Elective  
Elective  
VIII ENGN 1140 Physical Chemistry: Quantum Chemistry
CBE Elective  
Elective  
Elective  
† A minimum of four electives must be in the humanities and social sciences.
* ENGN 1120 and ENGN 1130 are offered in the fall semester in alternate years.
** Of the listed Electives, one must be an advanced chemistry course, one must be an upper level natural science course, and one must be either BIOL 0200 or CHEM 0350 (whichever was not taken in freshman year). In certain instances, some students elect to defer the ENGN 0510/0520 sequence until junior year (semesters V and VI) such that they may take the organic chemistry sequence CHEM 0350/0360 in semesters II and III; if you are considering this option, it should be discussed with your advisor.