Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2018-2019

Chemical and life science engineering

College of Engineering

Concentration(s):
Chemical engineering, life science engineering
Program description

Chemical and life science engineering represents the formal interaction of chemical engineering with the life sciences.

Life science engineering — with interest areas including stem cell and stem cell-derived tissue engineering, biosciences/biotechnology, cellular engineering, biochips and biosensors, bioinformatics and molecular biocomputing, genetic and protein molecular engineering, environmental life science engineering, and molecular- and cellular-based therapeutics — is the fastest growing of all industries that currently employ engineers.

Chemical engineering and life science engineering share a broad range of common foundational knowledge bases, including the principles of mass and energy balances, transport phenomena and thermodynamics, surface and interfacial science, and reaction science and engineering. Strong academic and research programs in chemical and life science engineering will provide a wealth of exciting professional opportunities for successful graduates of the VCU program.

The bachelor’s program offers concentrations in chemical engineering and life science engineering, and a chemical and life science engineering concentration is also available in the Master of Science in Engineering program, as well as the Ph.D. in Engineering program. The CLSE concentrations in the graduate-level programs are designed primarily for students who are interested in applying chemical and engineering principles toward important contemporary topics including process design, metabolic engineering, biosensor and biochip development, high-performance polymers in medicine and energy conversion, polymer surface science, and environmentally benign polymer processing technologies. Major emphasis is placed on chemical and life science engineering fundamentals with additional emphasis on applied chemistry and life sciences.

Career opportunities

Chemical engineers work in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, design and construction, pulp and paper, petrochemicals, food processing, specialty chemicals, polymers, biotechnology, and environmental health and safety industries, among others.  Within these industries, chemical engineers rely on their knowledge of mathematics and science, particularly chemistry, to overcome technical problems safely and economically. And, of course, they draw upon and apply their engineering knowledge to solve any technical challenges they encounter.

Chemical engineers also work in a variety of manufacturing industries other than chemical manufacturing, such as those producing energy, electronics, food, clothing, and paper. Chemical engineers apply principles of physics, mathematics, and mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as chemistry. Some may specialize in a particular chemical process, such as oxidation or polymerization. Others specialize in a particular field, such as nanomaterials, or in the development of specific products.

Change of major requirements

VCU GPA of 3.0 or greater, with a minimum of 12 VCU credit hours earned. Completion of MATH 200, 201, and any of CHEM 101, CLSE 101, or ENGR 101, all with a grade of "B" or higher. If attempted, MATH 200, MATH 201, MATH 301, MATH 307, PHYS 207, PHYS 208, CHEM 101, CHEM 102, CHEZ 101, and CHEZ 102, must be completed with a GPA of 3.0 or greater. All attempted engineering courses must be completed with a GPA of 3.0 or greater.


Bachelor-level job titles
  • Biochemical engineer
  • Biofuels engineer
  • Business consultant
  • Manufacturing engineer
  • Patent examiner
  • Process engineer
  • Product development engineer
  • Project engineer
  • Research chemical engineer
  • Sales engineer
Professional associations and resources
Degree requirements in Bulletin
Highest level of math required
  • MATH 201 or higher
Science required
Foreign language requirements
  • No
Additional tuition/fees
  • Yes
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.0
Department name:
Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering
Building/room location:
601 West Main Street, Room 403
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
(804) 828-7789
Email:
chemicalengr@vcu.edu

Major map compass icon
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor each semester to discuss tutoring, course electives, and degree progression.
  • Register for CLSE 101, then CLSE 115.
  • Complete MATH 201, as it will determine your graduation date.
  • Attend SI sessions and tutoring as needed.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Meet your peers and make new friends and study buddies at the Welcome Week cookout.
  • Be mentored through AICHE.
  • Register to vote in Virginia and explore Richmond’s museums, parks, and festivals!
  • Apply to live in the ASPiRE, Globe, INNOVATE, or LEAD Living & Learning Programs.
  • Get involved with VCU Student Government or one of over 450 clubs and organizations.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Explore membership in NSBE, SHPE, SWE, VINE, or oSTEM (student organizations that are centered on a cultural community).
  • Learn about your study abroad options by visiting a study abroad fair and attending a First Advising Session in the Global Education Office.
  • Review the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs website for programs, events, and resources.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Explore engineering faculty webpages to learn about research in the College of Engineering.
  • Learn about research opportunities through V.I.P Teams, UROP and DURI.
  • Take ENGR 395 Professional Development and gain key skills for finding internships, co-op’s, or research opportunities.
  • Join an Engineering student org like AIChE.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Attend and volunteer at the Engineering Internship and Career Fairs.
  • Meet with Engineering Career Services to perform a “Gap Analysis and develop your career plan, starting with your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles and a resume.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Meet with your advisor to discuss forthcoming enrollment and scheduling.
  • Continue progression in engineering, math, chemistry, and physics.
  • Go to your professors’ “Office Hours” to discuss research interests, picking classes in your major, and strategies for success in your program.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Consider leadership roles in a student organization.
  • Consider working for the College of Engineering as a tutor in your strongest subjects.
  • Take service-learning classes, volunteer to address a social issue (ConnectVA & HandsOnRVA), or complete a service project.
  • Explore peer leadership opportunities or apply for I-LEAD Connect, Alternative Spring Break.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Attend Diversity Scholars in Research Week.
  • Consider short-term, semester, and year-long study abroad opportunities.
  • Join a culturally-focused organization.
  • Identify ways in which you are culturally uninformed. Begin to learn the historical and current events that have shaped cultures to which you have been underexposed.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Work with Advising and Career Services to incorporate a co-op, internship or VIP Team into your curriculum.
  • Conduct an informational interview or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Obtain a student organization leadership position.
  • Attend employer info sessions and events.
  • Volunteer to do research with a professor.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Mock Interview with an employer through Engineering Career Services.
  • Attend the Engineering Internship & Career Fair.
  • Consider attending a national career fair (SWE, SHPE, NSBE) to gain exposure to more employers.
  • Consider who you would like to have serve as professional and academic references.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • See your advisor to discuss degree progression and upcoming coursework, including track selection.
  • Conduct independent undergraduate research.
  • Attend lectures, meetings, and conferences. Consider applying to present a poster.
  • Volunteer, intern, earn credit or get paid to work in a faculty lab.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Create and complete a science related community-engaged research project.
  • Attend civic meetings, such as school board, neighborhood associations, city council, or state legislative sessions.
  • Consider working for the College of Engineering as a tutor in your strongest subjects.
  • Consider becoming a mentor through AICHE.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Apply for a Fulbright or other post-graduate international fellowship through VCU’s National Scholarship office.
  • Participate in culturally diverse events both at VCU and beyond.
  • Practice communication and interpersonal skills that embrace cultural differences, particularly in professional settings.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Gain experience in an internship, co-op or research.
  • Assess your professional experiences to date. Decide if you value continuity with an employer or breadth of experience.
  • Attend the Senior Capstone Expo in April.
  • Further develop your resume and professional online presence (LinkedIn, Handshake).
  • Apply for summer research funding through UROP.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Talk to your academic advisor, faculty, and/or career services about whether graduate school or a job will be the best step for you after graduation.
  • Research graduate programs to determine the competitive applicant profile, including GPA, prerequisite coursework, and entrance exam scores.
  • Attend the Engineering Internship & Career Fair.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose Engineering electives relevant to your preferred post-graduation opportunities.
  • Declare any possible outstanding minors for which you may already have credit (Math, Chemistry.)
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Consider applying for a year-long service opportunity after graduation through programs like VCU AmeriCorps, Literacy Lab, Peace Corps, Fulbright Student Scholars, Teach for America and City Year.
  • Participate in any civic organizations related to your academic or non-academic interests.
  • Volunteer at an organization devoted to the arts, environment, education, or policy.
  • Consider working as a tutor in your strongest subjects.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Continue to explore cultures beyond your own through scholarly and recreational avenues.
  • Visit the Museum District’s many offerings, such as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture (formerly the Virginia Historical Society).
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Continue to engage in research with a faculty mentor.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other discipline- specific conference.
  • Gain practical experience related to your career goal through internships, externships and skill building.
  • Complete necessary exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for the next steps beyond graduation.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Attend the Engineering Internship & Career Fair in both the Fall and Spring. These are the best opportunities to secure employment post-graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy in the fall.
  • Before graduation, attend the graduation meeting and complete the post-graduation survey.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2018-2019

Chemical and life science engineering

College of Engineering

Concentration(s):
Chemical engineering, life science engineering
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE GET REAL EXPERIENCE PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
Explore Year 1
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor each semester to discuss tutoring, course electives, and degree progression.
  • Register for CLSE 101, then CLSE 115.
  • Complete MATH 201, as it will determine your graduation date.
  • Attend SI sessions and tutoring as needed.
Experience Year 2
  • Meet with your advisor to discuss forthcoming enrollment and scheduling.
  • Continue progression in engineering, math, chemistry, and physics.
  • Go to your professors’ “Office Hours” to discuss research interests, picking classes in your major, and strategies for success in your program.
  • Consider leadership roles in a student organization.
  • Consider working for the College of Engineering as a tutor in your strongest subjects.
  • Take service-learning classes, volunteer to address a social issue (ConnectVA & HandsOnRVA), or complete a service project.
  • Explore peer leadership opportunities or apply for I-LEAD Connect, Alternative Spring Break
  • Attend Diversity Scholars in Research Week
  • Consider short-term, semester, and year-long study abroad opportunities.
  • Join a culturally-focused organization.
  • Identify ways in which you are culturally uninformed. Begin to learn the historical and current events that have shaped cultures to which you have been underexposed.
  • Work with Advising and Career Services to incorporate a co-op, internship or VIP Team into your curriculum.
  • Conduct an informational interview or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Obtain a student organization leadership position.
  • Attend employer info sessions and events.
  • Volunteer to do research with a professor.
  • Mock Interview with an employer through Engineering Career Services.
  • Attend the Engineering Internship & Career Fair.
  • Consider attending a national career fair (SWE, SHPE, NSBE) to gain exposure to more employers.
  • Consider who you would like to have serve as professional and academic references.
Year 3
  • See your advisor to discuss degree progression and upcoming coursework, including track selection.
  • Conduct independent undergraduate research.
  • Attend lectures, meetings, and conferences. Consider applying to present a poster.
  • Volunteer, intern, earn credit or get paid to work in a faculty lab.
  • Apply for a Fulbright or other post-graduate international fellowship through VCU’s National Scholarship office.
  • Participate in culturally diverse events both at VCU and beyond.
  • Practice communication and interpersonal skills that embrace cultural differences, particularly in professional settings.
  • Gain experience in an internship, co-op or research.
  • Assess your professional experiences to date. Decide if you value continuity with an employer or breadth of experience.
  • Attend the Senior Capstone Expo in April.
  • Further develop your resume and professional online presence (LinkedIn, Handshake).
  • Apply for summer research funding through UROP
  • Talk to your academic advisor, faculty, and/or career services about whether graduate school or a job will be the best step for you after graduation.
  • Research graduate programs to determine the competitive applicant profile, including GPA, prerequisite coursework, and entrance exam scores.
  • Attend the Engineering Internship & Career Fair.
Excel Year 4
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose Engineering electives relevant to your preferred post-graduation opportunities.
  • Declare any possible outstanding minors for which you may already have credit (Math, Chemistry.)
  • Continue to explore cultures beyond your own through scholarly and recreational avenues.
  • Visit the Museum District’s many offerings, such as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture (formerly the Virginia Historical Society).
  • Continue to engage in research with a faculty mentor.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other discipline- specific conference.
  • Gain practical experience related to your career goal through internships, externships and skill building.
  • Complete necessary exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for the next steps beyond graduation.
  • Attend the Engineering Internship & Career Fair in both the Fall and Spring. These are the best opportunities to secure employment post-graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy in the fall.
  • Before graduation, attend the graduation meeting and complete the post-graduation survey.