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Undergraduate FAQ

Technology Requirements

Q. Does the Chemical Engineering department require incoming students to have their own laptop computer?

A. Yes, The Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering Department requires all incoming students to have their own laptop. The following CBEE Laptop Recommendation was approved by CBEE Faculty vote on 3/15/20.

Various software packages (e.g., Matlab, Aspen, Excel) will be critical tools to support your classroom activities, homework, and projects. Word processing and presentation applications will also be important. Some courses will require that you bring your laptop to work on assignments during class. Student versions of various software packages are available for free or at highly discounted prices. A list is available here: UMBC Software for Download.

While the latest laptops will be sufficient for most purposes, some of the software packages students will use can be particularly demanding so we recommend that you consult software manufacturers’ websites for their current computer specification recommendations. The Division of Information Technology website also provides useful information about campus computing resources.
DOIT Recommended Minimum Requirements (approximately $1000).

Windows 10 64-bit (latest OS for Mac)
i5 or i7 Processor (or equivalent)
8GB Memory (16GB suggested)
250GB Solid State Hard Drive
802.11ac Wireless Card
Software Requirements
MS Office (available for UMBC Student download, details here)
MATLAB (free student version or use VMware client to run virtually from a campus machine)

For student financial aid eligibility, the laptop requirement can be figured into the total Financial Aid need calculations. Students are recommended to contact the UMBC Financial Aid Office for more details.

Undergraduate Advising

Q. How do I get an advisor?

A. Students in Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering are advised in the College of Engineering and Information Technology until they pass both the gateway requirements and ENCH 215. Once students have passed the above requirements, their advising folders are automatically sent to the CBEE department where they are assigned an advisor.

Q. I’ve passed the gateway requirements and ENCH 215. Who is my CBEE advisor?

A. The advisor lists are posted in the hallway outside of ENG 314. Students should consult the bulletin board to find out who they should see for advising.

Q. Do I really have to see an advisor to register for classes?

A. YES! Students must meet with their academic advisor each semester to get permission to register for the upcoming semester. Sign up sheets are posted in the hallway outside ENG 314 for students to make an appointment with their advisor.

Q. Who should I contact if I have questions?

A. The best person to start with is your advisor. He/she will be able to answer most of your questions and if not, can direct you to the appropriate resource.

Q. What are the differences between the Traditional, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, and Environmental Engineering and Sustainability tracks?

A. All tracks lead to the B.S. in Chemical Engineering and require the same chemical engineering core classes. The primary differences are in the science courses and technical electives that are taken. Your advisor can help you decide which track is right for you.

Q. Can I switch between Tracks?

A. Yes, however switching tracks may result in delayed graduation depending on when the switch is made. Talk with your advisor if you are considering a change in tracks.

Q. Can I get a minor outside of chemical engineering?

A. Yes. The most common minors our students get are Math, Chemistry and Biology. These minors require an extra three to four classes beyond the major requirements depending on the track you are in. Refer to the Undergraduate Catalog for minor requirements and talk with your advisor for more information.

Q. Can I take a class at another university or community college?

A. Yes, but you must follow the UMBC guidelines for doing so. Refer to the Undergraduate Catalog for details.

Q. What if I am missing a prerequisite for a class?

A. The Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering Department strictly adheres to the prerequisite policy. You must earn a “C” or better in all prerequisites before you may enroll in an ENCH designated course. If you are missing a prerequisite or have not earned a “C” or better in the prerequisite class, you will not be given permission for the subsequent course.

Scholarships, Internships, Research, Graduate School and Careers

Q. What scholarship opportunities exist for CBEE Majors? 

The following scholarships are the most common scholarships that Chemical, Biochemical & Environmental Engineering students are awarded. Students are strongly encouraged to contact UMBC’s Office of Financial Aid for detailed information on the opportunities available to them.

Q. How do I get a summer internship in industry?

A. The Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering Department STRONGLY encourages ALL students to seek summer employment related to the major. There are many industrial opportunities for students at all levels. University employment fairs and the Career Center are good places to start. There are also numerous web sites to aid you in finding summer employment.

Q. I want to do undergraduate research. How do I make this happen?

A. Undergraduate research is encouraged and is especially important for students who may choose to continue on to graduate school. Research can be performed on campus either for pay or for credit and can be done throughout the calendar year. You should talk with your advisor for more information. Undergraduate research can also be done off campus at another university during the summer. The National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) sites are highly recommended. UMBC’s Office of Undergraduate Research is also a great resource for finding off campus research opportunities.

Q. I want to go to graduate school. What can I do to prepare?

A. To get into graduate school, you will need strong grades (most universities require a minimum of 3.0 GPA), GRE scores and recommendations. Thorough preparation for the GREs is strongly encouraged. Most universities require three recommendation letters, so get to know your professors. The better a professor knows you, the better letter he/she can write. Undergraduate research is a great way to get to know a professor and also provides invaluable experience.

The Journal of Chemical Engineering Education (2019-10-09) published an article to guide students through the decision making process about whether or not graduate school is a good nex a choice about graduate school. The article is available online.

Q. I’m getting ready to graduate. How can I find a job?

A. START EARLY. Most employers begin the hiring process early in the fall semester for employment starting the following summer. If you wait until spring to look for a job, many opportunities will have passed you by. You should take advantage of on campus resources such career fairs and the Career Services Center. Visit the Career Resources page of this site to learn about the many web sites designed to help you find employment.

Q. What kind of starting salary can I expect?

A. In 2013, Chemical Engineering average starting salaries were among some of the highest paid majors at $67,600 according to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Starting salary will vary depending on location and type of industry. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Salary Center is a good resource for finding location specific salary statistics and is highly recommended.