Master's Degree Requirements

Summary of MSE in CBE Core Requirements

Math Requirement: 1 Course
CBE Core Requirement: 3 Courses
CBE Electives Requirements: 2 Courses
General Electives Requirement: 4 Courses

Total = 10 Courses


To earn an MSE degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE), a student must complete 10 graduate level courses made up of 4 Core, 2 CBE Electives, and 4 Free Electives.

  • 4 Core: Students are required to take 3 core CBE courses (CBE 618, 621, 640) and one math course (usually ENM 510).
  • 2 CBE electives: Students will take two 500-level or higher courses in CBE.
  • 4 Free electives: Electives may be chosen from any courses at a level of 500 or above. Of the 4 elective courses, at least one must be in an Engineering or Science Discipline. Students may take up to one course in the Wharton School.  Non-technical classes will be allowed at the discretion of the Graduate Chair.
  • Independent Study: With permission, students may take up to two Independent Study (599) course units with a letter grade or two written Thesis (597) course units with an S grade, with a CBE faculty member, which are counted as Free electives.
  • Students are free to take other classes (non-technical, Interdisciplinary, or below 500-level) to round out their education, but such will not count towards their ten required credits. See suggested lists for elective courses in different concentration areas below.

*Requirements for students entering before Fall 2013 can be found here.

CBE Core Requirements

Course number Title Offered
ENM 510 Foundations of Engineering Mathematics I Fall
CBE 618 Advanced Molecular Thermodynamics Fall
CBE 621 Kinetics and Reactor Design Spring
CBE 640 Transport Processes I Fall
Electives Departmental courses are recommended. Fall/Spring
*Two Elective Courses are required  to be from CBE*

For the latest course information, including syllabi and scheduling, visit Penn InTouch (login required). If you do not have a PennKey, you can view the CBE course list, provided by the university registrar. Please note that the registrar site may not reflect the most current information.


CBE Elective Interest Areas

Past and Current MSE students have put together a list of electives they have taken which should help incoming and current students choose something of interest to them. Click the title link to explore the CBE Elective Interest Areas.


Program Duration:

  • MSE students must register for at least three course units per semester to maintain full-time status.  This is especially important for international students to maintain their visa status.
  • Full-time master’s students can complete their degrees in one to two years.  In order to complete the degree in one year, it is necessary to take four course units in both the fall and spring semesters, with two course units during the summer session.

GPA Requirement

Grades given in graduate engineering courses are A, B, C, D, F, and I. The I (Incomplete) is a temporary grade which is changed to a letter grade when the course requirements have been completed. A grade average of at least B must be kept to remain in good standing. Students with an undergraduate degree in a field other than chemical engineering receiving a grade of C or below in any required undergraduate course will be asked to withdraw. It should be emphasized that merely passing all graduate courses does not obligate the University to grant a degree. Successful candidates for the MSE degree must be recommended as such by the Graduate Group Committee.


Upon Completion

When you complete the requirements and are ready to graduate, you must complete the Application for Graduation and submit the form to the Academic Programs Office in 109 Towne building.