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Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Advising
Frequently Asked Questions

Last Revised 4/8/2013

Academic Advisers

How do I find my advisor?
Students are advised by Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering faculty. If you are unsure of your adviser's name, you can find it in your MYRED account.

Each undergraduate student is assigned an adviser when they are admitted to the College of Engineering. It is best to work with one adviser throughout your academic career to ensure a consistent plan for graduation. However, if your assigned adviser is not available when you need guidance, you may meet with any of the faculty advisers listed below:

Faculty advisers maintain their own schedules. You should contact your adviser directly to make and appointment either by email or telephone, or visit during their posted office hours.

How ofted should I meet with my academic advisor?
Take charge of your UNL career and meet with your adviser every semester before priority registration begins. You are encouraged to schedule additional appointments as issues arise throughout your program.

Can I change my adviser?
If you wish to change your assigned adviser, you must complete the College-Degree-Major-Advisor Change Form, available at the Department office, Room 207 Othmer Hall, or the College of Engineering Dean's Office, 114 Othmer Hall.

Academic Standing

What are the GPA requirements to stay in good standing?
Any student in the chemical and biomolecular engineering program whose grade point average in required chemical and biomolecular engineering courses is less than 2.4 will need special permission of the department to be admitted to the required CHME courses the following year.

ACE Electives

What are ACE elective courses?
Choose one course each from ACE outcomes 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 elective courses.  The list of approved courses can be found at http://ace.unl.edu/certifiedcourses.shtml.  Note that some courses can be used in more than one area, but they can only be used once.  For example, ECON 211 and 212 are ACE 6 and 8 courses.  So you can take ECON 211 to satisfy ACE 6, and ECON 212 to satisfy ACE 8.  But ECON 211 will not satisfy both ACE 6 and 8. 

ACE Advising & Students FAQs website
http://ace.unl.edu/ACEadvisingstudentfaq.shtml

Will courses transfered from community colleges and other four-year institutions count toward my ACE electives?
Yes. Students can transfer credit from other institutions that will satisfy ACE outcomes. For more information on this topic, review the ACE Policy for Transfer Students website.

Is there a minimum grade requirement for ACE courses?
The minimum grade requirement for an ACE course is a passing grade. However, some majors or programs do require a minimum grade better than a "D" in order for credit to be earned in a course. Students should check the requirements of their program and speak to their adviser.

Can I take my ACE 5-9 courses as Pass/Fail (P/F)?
For ACE 5-9 courses, students can take up to 6 credits P/F.  There is a deadline at about the mid-semester point for changing your grading option from A-F to P/F. 

AP Credit

I have a scholarship, and I want to transfer credits from another institution (or AP credits).  What else do I need to check on?
If you have a scholarship, you should confirm how your transfer/AP credits will count towards that scholarship.  Some scholarships are for a given time period (4 yrs or 5 yrs, or up to 8-10 semesters);  some scholarships are based on a total credit hour limit;  some scholarships include transfer credits from another institution in their credit hour limit;  some scholarships include transfer credits only from University of Nebraska institutions (UNK, UNO) in their credit hour limit.  The key point is – make sure you talk to the Financial Aid office about your scholarship and understand the basis of that scholarship.  You don’t want to reach your senior year and find that you have used up your eligibility and must pay a large and unexpected tuition bill if you want to graduate from UNL. 

Auditing a Class

How do I go about auditing a class?
Auditing gives a currently enrolled student (or currently admitted student) the privilege of attending class, but credit is not earned and a grade is not assigned when auditing a class.

All persons wishing to audit a course must be admitted and eligible to enroll in classes for the term in which they audit. Courses involving extensive laboratory work are generally not open to auditors.

If you wish to audit a course, take the following steps:

  1. Register for the class you wish to audit.
  2. Pick up a "Permit to Audit Card" at Registration and Records, 107 Canfield Administration Building South.
  3. Obtain the instructor's permission to audit the course by having them sign the "Permit to Audit Card".
  4. Turn in your signed "Permit to Audit Card" at Registration and Records, 107 Canfield Administration Building South, no later than the last day to add a class for the term. See: Academic Calendar
Audited classes carry no credit and do not count toward full-time status. All audit cards for a term must be returned to Registration and Records, 107 Canfield Administration Building South, no later than 5:00 p.m. on the last day to add a class. Audit cards turned in after the deadline will not be honored and the student will be subject to a grade. You cannot change a course to audit on MyRED.

The fee for auditing a course is the same as the regular resident or non-resident tuition for the term, and both UPFF and other course fees apply to the class.

Classes that are audited will have an "AU" designation on the student's transcript.

Changing Majors

What do I do if I want to change my major?
This is a very personal issue and is ultimately up to you.  Chemical Engineering is difficult and you can have a rewarding career, but it is not for everyone.  If you have any questions about what it will take to continue as a CHME major, you should talk to your advisor.  If you want to change your major, you need to talk to the Department of your new major and make sure you understand what you are getting into and that you get on track with their required courses as soon as possible.  If you have a scholarship/financial aid, you should also check on the requirements and limitations of that aid so that you understand how that will be affected also (some scholarships/aid have limits based on credit hours earned). 

Go to your new department and request a change-of-major form.  You can fill the upper portion of the form out yourself with your old major and new major.  You then need to take that form to the College of Engineering Office (Othmer 114) to get the Dean’s signature, and then take the form to your new department for their signatures.  The College of Engineering may give you your “advising folder”, or they may simply mail it to your new department.  You don’t have to get your old advisor to sign anything, but it would be a courtesy to let him/her know about your change of plans. 

Why should I consider Majoring in Chemical Engineering?
The Chemical Engineering curriculum is one of the most difficult majors at UNL.  We require more credits for the B.S. degree than any other department in the university.  The reason for this is that we expect our graduates to be well-trained in chemistry, mathematics, physics, and engineering. 

If you take a survey of chemical engineering graduates, you will quickly find that upon graduation you will have plenty of career options.  Many fields within chemical engineering are resistant to the typical business cycles of today’s economy, and demand for chemical engineers remains high and constant.  Chemical engineering graduates work in biotech, ag/bio, petroleum exploration and refining, commodity chemicals, specialty chemicals, materials, pharmaceuticals, technical sales, etc.  Some of our graduates prefer to attend graduate school for advanced training and research, some go to medical school, and some go to law school.  Some students prefer to work for an employer, some are entrepreneurial and start their own business.  Many graduates start as a technical engineer, and then transition to management (usually after getting an MBA through an executive-MBA program).  One of the great things about a chemical engineering degree is that you have a lot of options after graduation. 

Chemistry Classes

What Freshman Chemistry classes should I take?
For students entering UNL in Fall 2011 or earlier or using the 2011-2012 Bulletin, they should take CHEM 113, 114, and 116 (9 credits total).  Or, they can take CHEM 109, 110, and 221 (12 credits total).

For students entering UNL in Fall 2012 or using the 2012-2013 Bulletin, they should take CHEM 113, 114, and 221 or CHEM 109, 110, and 221. CHEM 113 and 114 are preferred since those are the courses chemistry majors take, and chances are the instructors will be better for those courses.  Students need to take CHEM 221 during their junior year after the completion of CHEM 261 and 262 (the organic chemistry sequence).   

Some students receive AP or transfer credit for CHEM 109 and/or 110.  These students will need to complete the sequence of CHEM 109, 110, and 221 in order to graduate. 

What Organic Chemistry sequence do I take?
All UNL CHME students MUST take CHEM 261 and 262 lecture courses and the accompanying lab courses.  We will not accept CHEM 251 and 252 towards a CHME degree.  This is not negotiable, and is required by our accreditation rules.    

Co-Ops, Internships, Full-time Employment

How do I go about looking for co-op, intern, or full-time jobs?
The first thing to do is take advantage of the services offered by UNL’s Career Services department (located in the Student Center).  They will offer invaluable help in drafting a resume, cover letters, and conducting practice interviews.  You are encouraged to use these resources.  Performing well in an interview is not always a natural ability – it takes practice.

UNL has a career fair in the Fall and in the Spring semesters.  Students are encouraged to attend these even if they are not actively looking for a job.  It is a good idea to learn which companies are recruiting at UNL and what types of positions they are looking to fill.  If you find that a company you like does not attend the UNL career fairs, then your options are (1) contact them directly on your own, or (2) attend a career fair at another institution.  In the past, our students have attended career fairs at Iowa State and the SWE career fair in Chicago.  The Big 10 Conference also holds a career fair in conjunction with the men’s conference basketball tournament in early March (held in Indianapolis in 2011).  Other Big 10 universities with large engineering programs are another option – those within one day’s driving distance would include Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue, and Michigan.

What is the difference between a co-op and an internship?
An internship is a part-time position usually just for the summer months, or possibly during the semester if the company is local.  Generally in an internship a student’s work is limited in scope and technical content.  All on-the-job experience is good, but you should try to make sure you are not just doing “grunt work” that has little technical or educational value. 

In a co-op job, the student is a full-time employee of the company for at least 5-6 months at a time.  Usually a co-op student works two terms with the company, and it should take 5 years to graduate.  For more information, see the co-op program web page. 

Double Major

What is a good double major for CHME students?
Students can major in two departments by consulting their advisors (one from each department) and completing all the requirements for the departmental majors.  The most popular second majors are Biochemistry and Chemistry; these programs have the most overlap with the CHME program.  Other students have earned a double major in Physics, Math, or another branch of engineering.  Make sure you talk to an advisor in the other department about the requirements of your second program.  Your CHME advisor will know very little about their requirements.

GPA

What are the GPA requirements to stay in good standing?
Any student in the chemical and biomolecular engineering program whose grade point average in required chemical and biomolecular engineering courses is less than 2.4 will need special permission of the department to be admitted to the required CHME courses the following year.

Graduate School

I’m interested in attending graduate school.  What should I do to prepare for that?
First, make sure you have good grades.  If you have <3.0 GPA, you will find that it is difficult to get accepted to a good school.  If your GPA is 3.0-3.5, you should be accepted by most schools in the top-50.  If your GPA is >3.9, then you have a chance at being accepted into the “elite” programs. 

Another good way to prepare for graduate school is to get involved in a professor’s research program by your junior year.  Students who get involved in research and who contribute to meeting presentations and peer-reviewed publications get special consideration by graduate programs.  Often, it is these students who get offered extra scholarships and fellowships. 

Another great preparation is to take part in summer undergraduate research opportunities offered by government agencies such as NIH, DOE, NSF, and NASA.

You will also need to take the GRE exam.  This is usually taken in the fall semester of your senior year (or earlier if you want to have more than one chance to take it). 

You should start narrowing down your choices of grad schools in the fall semester of your senior year.  Go to departmental web pages and look up faculty research groups, and prioritize your choices.  You should contact individual faculty members and ask them if they are recruiting new students – the faculty member needs to have funding lined up to pay you when you start your research position. 

It is best to start submitting your grad school applications by about the end of November to early December.  Make sure you get your references to submit their recommendation letters on time.  Many grad schools will accept students on a rolling basis – if they are impressed with you they will accept you right away.  Many grad schools also give out extra fellowships/scholarships on a first-come/first-serve basis (e.g., “signing bonuses”).

Grad schools will be giving acceptance/rejection notices by about February-March.  Many grad schools will offer campus visits (at their expense) in the month of March.  You should definitely take advantage of these visits, especially during your spring break – don’t attend a grad school blindly.  On these visits make sure you get a chance to talk to students in the research groups.  Professors often give a sunshiny view of what it is like to be in their group;  students have a more realistic view of academic life and social life in their location.  Most grad schools require a decision by April 15. 

One note - students who attend graduate school in chemical engineering should expect to be paid and supported by their university.  Often, new grad students start out as TA’s in their first year or two.  Then they transition to a Research Assistant (RA) position in the research group they join.  You should not accept admission to a school that does not pay you.  Make sure you also check on the school’s tuition payment policy – some schools pay your tuition outright with your TA or RA position; some schools expect you to pay tuition out of your stipend.  Get this information in writing before you commit so that you aren’t surprised later.

I’m thinking about attending medical school.  What should I do?
Of all the engineering disciplines, chemical engineering is probably the best for pre-med.  Many chemical engineers have gone on to extremely successful careers in medicine (either practice or research).  For more information go to http://admissions.unl.edu/discover/majors/228/pre-health.aspx

I’m interested in getting into business.  What courses can I take?  Should I get an MBA immediately after graduation?
There is a General Business Minor available to engineering students. 
General Business (Plan A only)
All courses must be taken for a letter grade.
Required Courses
ACCT 200
ECON 200

FINA 300
MRKT 300
MNGT 300
BLAW 300

Note that none of these classes can count towards your ACE electives or your Technical Electives, so these classes are all extra classes that will be tacked onto your course load.  

There are CBA courses that do count towards ACE electives.  Two courses that I would recommend are Microeconomics (ECON 212, ACE 6 or 8) and Macroeconomics (ECON 211, ACE 6 or 8).  Microeconomics in particular is a good class to take if you want to learn how very basic business decisions are made (supply/demand, marginal cost/revenue/utility, etc.).  You can go through the list of approved ACE courses yourself to find additional classes to satisfy your interest in business/management. 

Getting an MBA directly after your B.S. in chemical engineering is not the best pathway, unless maybe you want to go directly into finance or something similar.  A better pathway is usually to get an engineering job and learn the technical side of things with on-the-job training for several years.  Then if you are still interested in the business/management side, enroll in an Executive MBA program.  Almost every major university has one of these programs.  Participants will attend classes on weekends or nights, and take an accelerated path to an MBA.  Most companies will subsidize your tuition costs (which are very expensive) if you maintain adequate grades. 

Graduation

I think I might need 5+ years to graduate.  Is that common?
Yes, it is becoming more common for students to take more time to graduate.  The chemical engineering program requires more credits than any other major on campus.  Some students prefer to spread the course load over more semesters.  Some students take summer classes so they can reduce their semester course loads and graduate in 4 years.  Some students want to do a co-op session, which will require 5 years for graduation.  Some students will take advantage of a 5 year plan to add a minor or even another major.

What is a senior check?
A Senior Check is a requirement for graduation.. You must work with your adviser during your second-to-last semester (after you have registered for classes for your last semester prior to graduation). The form is available for download here, or you may pick up a hard copy in the Chemcial & Biomolecular Engineeirng Department office, 207 Othmer Hall.

Honors Program

What are the Honors Program requirements?
See the information from the Bulletin.  Note that you can not take 100- and 200-level CHME courses for honors credit:

  • University Honors Program
    For those students who have been admitted to the University Honors Program, junior- and senior-level chemical and biomolecular engineering classes are available as honors-designated classes (i.e., CHME xxxH) on a “contract basis” between the student and the instructor with approval by the department faculty. The requirement of an honors thesis research project is fulfilled by completion of a minimum of 3 credits of CHME 499H (Honors Thesis) under the direction of a department faculty member. Additional information on the University Honors Program, including admission requirements, can be found in the Honors Program section.

Is the Honors Program worth it?
This is a personal issue that each student should answer for himself/herself.  Some students find the challenge of taking honors classes rewarding.  Some students have used their Honors Thesis towards peer-reviewed publications in science and engineering journals.  Some students have found the requirements tedious and unnecessary.  The bottom line is that a student can have a very challenging course load with or without honors classes, and a student can get involved in research with or without the honors program. 

JGEN 200

Are there any substitute courses for JGEN 200?
Students can take ENGL 150 + ENGL 151 to substitute for JGEN 200. This often applies to students who enter UNL with transfer or AP credit for English classes. If you receive AP or transfer credit for ENGL 150, you can take either ENGL 151 or JGEN 200 to satisfy this communication requirement. If you are past the sophomore level, you can take the online versions of ENGL 150/151, or you can take ENGL 254 and 354.

Minor

What are some good minors for chemical engineers?
The Undergraduate Bulletin (College of Engineering) has a list of approved minors.  Follow these directions for declaring a minor.  The first step is to either get the list of required courses, or go talk to the department offering the minor and get their requirements. 

Approved Minors for College of Engineering Students

Policies
  1. A minor will not reduce or alter the existing course or degree requirements for students electing to pursue a minor.
  2. A student’s minor program(s) must be organized and approved by an adviser prior to the submission of the senior check to the department chair or head.
  3. The minor(s) must be approved by the adviser, the department chair or head, the Dean and the cognizant program offering the minor(s).
  4. The College of Engineering will follow the “A/B” format of the Arts and Sciences College in which a student pursuing a single minor must complete the “A” requirements. A student pursuing a double (or greater) minor must fulfill either the “A” or “B” requirements for both minors depending on which plan is offered by the cognizant department.
  5. Minors on the Lincoln or Omaha campuses may be added to the following list on approval of the College of Engineering Curriculum Committee and faculty.

Is it good to have an official minor?
Having an official minor is not required, and many CHME students do not have a minor. Using electives to focus on a particular area can be of help for your career goals. Taking several courses in chemistry, biochemistry, physics, mathematics, statistics, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, etc. can add value to your degree, without declaring an official minor. The Chemical Engineering page of the Undergraduate Bulletin has some suggested courses for a variety of concentrations.

Registration

I want to register for a course, recitation section, or lab section, but MyRed says the class is full.  What can I do?
Unfortunately, your advisor can do very little to help you in this matter.  In this case, you have to go talk to either the Instructor of that course or the Department Office that is offering the course.  Explain your situation to them and ask them if they can do a force-add for you. If they refuse to do anything to accommodate you, and this is a core course (not an elective), then go see your advisor or the Chair of the Dept. of Chemical Engineering. 

Repeating a Course

How many times can I repeat a course?
Students may repeat a maximum of three engineering courses. Students may take any one engineering course a maximum of two times

.So if you fail four different engineering courses, you will not be able to earn a degree from UNL.  If you fail one engineering course two times, you will not be able to earn a degree from UNL. 

Research

I want to work in a research lab at UNL.  How do I do that?
You have two options.  First, you can look at faculty/research group web pages and find those that interest you and then talk directly to the faculty member to see if they have any openings.  Second, you can participate in a program such as the UCARE program.   Don’t limit yourself to chemical engineering labs.  Many CHME students have been very successful working in research labs in chemistry, biology, biochemistry, materials engineering, etc. 

Senior Check

What is a senior check?
A Senior Check is a requirement for graduation.. You must work with your adviser during your second-to-last semester (after you have registered for classes for your last semester prior to graduation). The form is available for download here, or you may pick up a hard copy in the Chemcial & Biomolecular Engineeirng Department office, 207 Othmer Hall.

Student Organizations

What are some good engineering-related activities?
The best place to start is by attending the AIChE meetings.  From there you can learn about other engineering-related groups and societies.  There are numerous opportunities to expand your horizon at UNL. 

Technical Electives

What Technical Electives should I take?
For students using the 2012-2013 Bulletin:  The 9 hours of technical electives must include at least 3 credit hours of engineering science. All must be approved by the adviser.

For students using earlier Bulletins:  The 12 hours of technical electives must include at least 3 credit hours of engineering science. All must be approved by the adviser.

You should follow the guidelines provided in the Bulletin for selection of the courses.  The Bulletin also lists several tracks that students can take in areas such as biotechnology, environmental engineering, materials engineering, and math/statistics.

Technical Electives

The purpose of technical electives is to provide the student with an opportunity to gain new knowledge in an area of engineering or science beyond the basic undergraduate chemical engineering program. The technical electives may be in engineering design, engineering science, physical science, life science, and/or math.

  • All technical electives must be approved by a departmental academic adviser prior to registration for the course.
  • Students are expected to complete their technical elective requirements during their junior and senior years with corresponding level of courses.
  • With the pre-approval of the student’s academic adviser, a maximum of 3 credit hours of CHME 499 Senior Problems or CHME 499H Honors Thesis may be applied toward the technical electives requirement.
  • Introductory 100-level courses are not accepted as technical electives.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) high school classes are not allowed as technical electives.
  • Courses lacking a quantitative physical science foundation such as accounting, marketing, economics, or law are normally not acceptable as technical electives.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to select their technical electives from the following list. Course(s) may be taken outside of this list with approval of a departmental academic adviser prior to registration for the course.

Transfer Issues

I am a transfer student, whom should I talk to about getting my courses at my other school transferred into UNL?
Talk to your departmental advisor first and let him/her know what courses you are trying to get transferred.  The official list of transfer equivalencies is given here.  Do not rely solely on advice you get from someone in the Registrar’s Office, the General Studies Office, or even the College of Engineering Office.  Your advisor can not approve courses for transfer credit, but he/she can help you make sure you are getting credit for the right UNL courses (i.e., the courses in the Bulletin).  We have seen cases before where General Studies advisors transferred in the wrong courses for students, which meant that they had to re-take courses.  Once you talk to your advisor, then go to the College of Engineering office and talk to Lori Straatmann, and she can get you started on the process.  The College of Engineering facilitates and approves all credit transfers. 

I have a scholarship, and I want to transfer credits from another institution (or AP credits).  What else do I need to check on?
If you have a scholarship, you should confirm how your transfer/AP credits will count towards that scholarship.  Some scholarships are for a given time period (4 yrs or 5 yrs, or up to 8-10 semesters);  some scholarships are based on a total credit hour limit;  some scholarships include transfer credits from another institution in their credit hour limit;  some scholarships include transfer credits only from University of Nebraska institutions (UNK, UNO) in their credit hour limit.  The key point is – make sure you talk to the Financial Aid office about your scholarship and understand the basis of that scholarship.  You don’t want to reach your senior year and find that you have used up your eligibility and must pay a large and unexpected tuition bill if you want to graduate from UNL. 

I want to take a summer class at another university. How do I get credits transferred to UNL?
To see if your courses are already approved by UNL, go to http://admissions.unl.edu/nebraska/equivalency.aspx and look up your class.  Then go talk to the College of Engineering Office – Lori Straatmann is currently the contact person to talk to about transfer of credits, and she will get you started.  If you don’t find your college or courses, talk to Lori Straatmann before you take the class. 

Undergraduate Bulletin

What is the Undergraduate Bulletin?
The Undergraduate Bulletin is your roadmap for getting a CHME degree from UNL. If you follow it and pass your courses, you are guaranteed to get a CHME degree. If you ignore it and refuse to follow it, you will not get a CHME degree.

How do I access the Undergraduate Bulletin?
Go to http://bulletin.unl.edu/undergraduate/ and then navigate through the College of Engineering, or go directly to http://bulletin.unl.edu/undergraduate/major/Chemical+Engineering#toc_nav.

There are multiple years of the Undergraduate Bulletin available.  Which one do I use?
99.9% of the student will use the Bulletin from their freshman year.  The “Bulletin Rule” is as follows:

  • Students must fulfill the requirements stated in the bulletin for the academic year in which they are first admitted at UNL. In consultation with advisers, a student may choose to follow a subsequent bulletin for any academic year in which they are admitted to and enrolled as a degree-seeking student at UNL in the College of Engineering. Students must complete all degree requirements from a single bulletin year. The bulletin which a student follows for degree requirements may not be more than 10 years old at the time of graduation

If you want to use the bulletin from another year when you are attending UNL you should talk to your advisor.  You will need to make sure that the required courses will be offered.

X Course Policy

UNL Online Courses: Changes Impacting You

X Course Policy Changes:

  • The “X” suffix will no longer be listed after course numbers indicating an online course
  • X courses may now be offered during the summer sessions.
  • Students may now take more than one (1) X course per semester.
S Courses:
  • S courses (traditional completely online courses) will continue the policy that no on-campus testing is required. The entire course is completed online through Blackboard.
On-Campus Testing and Class Notes:
  • “S” online distance classes do not require on-campus testing. X courses still require on-campus testing in one of the on-campus testing centers. Students need to look in the class notes section of the course in MyRed for a statement that indicates the online class requires on-campus testing in a testing center.
For questions regarding online courses, please meet with an adviser in CBA 114 or contact the Office of Online & Distance Education at (402) 472-2175.

Dowload a PDF of the FAQs

Chemical Engineering Advising Frequently Asked Questions

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