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University Catalog

Department of Chemical Engineering

Vladmir Alvarado, Department Head
4055 Engineering Building
Phone: (307) 766-2500


VLADIMIR ALVARADO, B.Sc. Universidad Central de Venezuela 1987; M.S. Institut Francais du Pétrole 2002; Ph.D. University of Minnesota 1996; Professor of Chemical Engineering 2017, 2006.
B.S. Colorado School of Mines 1984; M.S. Cornell University 1989; Ph.D. 1993; Professor of Chemical Engineering 2011, 2005.
DAVID A. BELL, B.S. University of Washington 1976; M.S. Rice University 1979; Ph.D. Colorado State University 1992; Professor Chemical Engineering 2019, 1993.
B.S. The Pennsylvania State University 1997; M.S. Colorado School of Mines 1999; Ph.D. 2003; Professor of Chemical Engineering 2019, 2010.
B.S. University of Missouri-Columbia 1986; M.S. 1987; Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin 1992; Professor of Chemical Engineering 2015.

Associate Professors:

KATIE DONGMEI LI-OAKEY, B.S. Shandong University of Technology 1994; M.S. Tianjin University 1997; M.S. University of Colorado at Boulder 1999; Ph.D. 2003; Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering 2018, 2011.
JOSEPH HOLLES, B.S. Iowa State University 1990; M.E. University of Virginia 1998; Ph.D. 2000; Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering 2010.
PATRICK JOHNSON, B.S. Lehigh University 1992; M.S. University of Virginia 1994; Ph.D. Columbia University 2004; Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering 2012, 2006.

Assistant Professors:

SAMAN ARYANA, B.S. University of Texas at Arlington 2003; M.S. 2006; Ph.D. Stanford University 2012; Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering 2013.
KAREN WAWROUSEK, B.S. The College of St. Rose 2001; Ph.D. California Institute of Technology 2009; Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering 2014.

Adjunct Professors:

John Ackerman, Morris Argyle, Youqing Shen, John Schabron

Professors Emeriti:

Chang Yul Cha, H. Gordon Harris, Henry W. Haynes

Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering is one of the most versatile of the engineering programs. It prepares students for employment in many diverse fields, such as production of pharmaceuticals, polymers and plastics, semiconductors, heavy industrial chemicals, synthetic fuels, petrochemicals and petroleum refining. Chemical engineers also work in biologial engineering, environmental engineering, enhanced oil recovery, corrosion control, metallurgy and microelectronics. Undergraduate chemical engineering training has been found to be an excellent background for graduate work not only in engineering, but also in a number of other fields, including medicine, law, business, and the natural sciences.

The chemical engineering curriculum is based on a sound background in chemistry, mathematics, physics, and biology. The essentials of engineering are added to this foundation, including fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. In order to develop the individual's social consciousness and to broaden the student's educational background, an integrated program of study in the humanities and social sciences is included in the curriculum. Chemical engineering courses in multicomponent thermodynamics, transport phenomena, kinetics, process control and process design are concentrated in the junior and senior years. This program provides training for engineers to enter production, research, product and process development, process design, technical sales and engineering management positions. Training in chemical engineering equips the graduate to solve many of the problems facing society today: human health, energy shortages, synthetic fuels production, water and air pollution, toxic chemical control, and food production. Furthermore, our program prepares students interested in a career in medicine or the life sciences and is suitable for pre-medical and pre-dental students.

The department offers an 18-credit-hour block of approved technical electives. Students can select an emphasis in Biological Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Chemical Process Industry, Petroleum Engineering, Graduate School Preparation, and Pre-Medicine. Students can also pursue a concurrent major in Chemistry, minors in Physics, Chemistry, Math, Computer Science, Molecular Biology and Business. See department for details. Students are required to take a minimum of 3 credits of Chemical Engineering Technical electives. The Chemical Engineering Program requires that the number of credits of upper division courses be satisfied (ie.,. 10 credits of Technical electives must be 3000+). The Chemical Engineering program requires 48 hours of 3000 and 4000-level coursework. This is fulfilled by required courses and approved technical electives.

Chemical Engineering degree candidates must meet the academic requirements of the college and, in addition, must have a GPA of 2.000 in Chemical Engineering courses attempted at UW that are applied toward graduation for the B.S. degree from the department. Students must achieve a C- or better in all chemical engineering courses serving as a prerequisite for another chemical engineering course.

Chemical Engineering Program Educational Objectives

Three to six years after graduation, graduates who choose to practice in Chemical Engineering should:

  • Successfully practice the profession of Chemical Engineering;
  • Demonstrate successful career growth

Chemical Engineering Program Outcomes

During the course of study in Chemical Engineering, the student should demonstrate:

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering;
  • an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
  • an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sutainability;
  • an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams;
  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems;
  • an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility;
  • an ability to communicate effectively;
  • the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context;
  • a recognition of the need for, and ability to engage in life-long learning;
  • a knowledge of contemporary issues;
  • an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

Chemical Engineering Curriculum

For students entering UW Fall 2015 or later.

Freshman Year: Fall Hours
First-Year Seminar (FYS) 3
MATH 2200 (Q) 4
CHEM 1050 (PN) 4
LIFE 1010 4
Total Hours 15
Freshman Year: Spring Hours
MATH 2205 4
CHEM 1060 4
PHYS 1210 4
ENGL 1010 (COM1) 3
CHE 1005 1
Total Hours 16
Sophomore Year: Fall Hours
MATH 2210 4
CHEM 2420 4
CHE 2005 3
PHYS 1220 4
COM2 3
Total Hours 18
Sophomore Year: Spring Hours
MATH 2310 3
CHEM 2440 4
CHE 2060 3
CHE 2070 3
CHE 2080 3
Total Hours 16
Junior Year: Fall Hours
CHE 3015 3
CHE 3026 3
CHEM 4507 3
Technical electives 6
Total Hours 15
Junior Year: Spring Hours
CHE 3028 3
CHE 3070 3
CHE 4060 3
Human Culture (H) 3
Technical elective 3
Total Hours 15
Senior Year: Fall Hours
CHE 3040 3
CHE 4070 4
CHE 4090 3
Human Culture (H) 3
Technical elective 3
Total Hours 16
Senior Year: Spring Hours
CHE 4050 3
CHE 4080 4
U.S. & Wyoming Constitutions (V) 3
Technical elective 3
Technical elective 3
Total Hours 16

Transfer Coursework: All Wyoming Community College equivalent courses will be evaluated for acceptance into the CHE program. For upper-division coursework, no more than two CHE 3000+ courses can be transferred and applied to the CHE degree, however, CHE 4070 Process Design I and CHE 4080 Process Design II cannot be transferred to UW.

In addition, all CHE transfer courses must be completed with a grade of C- or better.

The upper-division rules may be waived for classes taken during Study Abroad and National Student Exchange Programs with pre-approval.

Minor in Process Control and Instrumentation

The goal of the Process Control and Instrumentation Minor is to provide students obtaining Bachelor of Science majors in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Wyoming with enhanced education to better meet industry's needs. This minor will be particularly useful for students majoring in Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Petroleum Engineering.

Minor Requirements

The Minor in Process Control and Instrumentation will require a minimum of 18 hours of coursework. No more than 6 hours of coursework taken for the minor may also count as required (non-elective) coursework toward a student's major.

Required Courses Hrs
CHE 2005 3
CHE 2090 2
CHE 3090 1
CHE 4092 3
One of CHE 4090, EE 4620, or EE 4621 3
Approved Elective Courses
At least 6 hours of the following: EE 2210,
EE 2220, EE 3220, ME 4020, COSC 4450,
COSC 4765, or CHE 4972
Minor Total Hours 18


BS/MS CHE Quick Start Program

The BS/MS Quick Start program in Chemical Engineering (CHE) is designed to present highly qualified UW students with the opportunity to begin graduate study while they complete their Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Chemical Engineering. These students may apply for admission to the Quick Start program during the second semester of their junior year or during their senior year.

This program allows for early planning of the graduate portion of a student's education and provides more flexibility in the number of required courses and the order in which they are taken. The more efficient and better-planned use of time should result in reduction of the time required for obtaining the Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (M.S. CHE) degree. Students who enter the Quick Start program must accept the primary responsibility for actively planning their programs of study to assure timely completion of their coursework and research programs.

The Quick Start program contains two essential elements:

Qualified students may receive provisional admission to the Chemical Engineering graduate program prior to completing the normal application process. This provisional admission will permit students to make their long-term educational plans earlier in their studies, thus providing enhanced opportunities for course selection and involvement in research.

Students in the program may apply up to 6 credit hours of 5000-level courses toward both the B.S. and M.S. degree programs. By completing successfully up to 6 credit hours of graduate classes during their senior year, these students will have demonstrated their ability to do graduate-level coursework as undergraduates, easing their transition to the Chemical Engineering graduate program.

For additional information and an application form, please contact the CHE graduate program coordinator at (307) 766-2500 or stop by 4055 Engineering Building.

Graduate Study

The Department of Chemical Engineering offers graduate programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering. The M.S. degree is offered under Plan A and Plan B. In addition, an environmental engineering program, run jointly by the Department of Chemical Engineering, the Department of Petroleum Engineering, and the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, offers graduate programs leading to an M.S. in environmental engineering under either Plan A or Plan B.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

A. Admission Process and Requirements

Standard Admission

Admission is open to students with at least a bachelor's degree who meet the minimum requirements:

1. A GPA of 3.000 (A = 4.000), or equivalent;
2. A GRE score of 305 (combined verbal and quantitative sections)
3. For international applicants who did not attend an English-speaking program in an English-speaking country for all years of their highest degree:
A TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based), or 80 (Internet based) or an IELTS score of 6.5.

Unofficial transcripts of all prior college-level coursework, test scores and recommendations from three references must be uploaded as parts of the application.

If admission is granted, then official transcripts, GRE and TOEFL scores are required.

The deadline to submit application credentials is February 1 (to be considered for Fall semester).

The application will not be processed until all the necessary documents have been uploaded.

B. Graduate Study Guidelines

All incoming Ph.D., M.S. Plan A and M.S. Plan B students must have an adviser. The student is responsible for contacting faculty members in order to find an adviser.

All Chemical Engineering graduate students must take the following Chemical Engineering Core courses:

1. Thermodynamics (CHE 5020)
2. Transport Phenomena (CHE 5010)
3. Reaction Kinetics (CHE 5030)
4. Mathematical Methods in Chemical Engineering (CHE 5355)

M.S. Program
Plan A

Credit Hours

Total (from above)


CHE 5960 Thesis Research






Plan B (non-thesis)

The coursework requirements are the same as the M.S. Plan A requirements except that Thesis Research (CHE 5960) is not required. Plan B students take an additional 4 hours of elective course credits (total of 30 hours required).

M.S. Plan B students must write a paper on a topic assigned by the adviser. This paper must be submitted to the student's graduate committee for approval. A final presentation is then required.

Doctoral Program

Credit Hours
M.S. Plan A list (except CHE 5960) 26
Graduate Teaching and Research: Theory and Methods (CHE 5090) 3
Dissertation Research (CHE 5980) 30
Electives (no internship 5990) 13
Total 72

M.S. and Ph.D. Seminar Requirements

All chemical engineering graduate students must enroll in CHE 5890, Chemical Engineering Seminar, every semester. All seminars, including the required presentations described below, must be scheduled by the seminar coordinator. Registered off-campus graduate students can be exempt from having to enroll in CHE 5890.

Ph.D. Preliminary Examination

All Ph.D. students must pass a preliminary examination no later than the end of the student’s fifth full semester in the graduate program and a least 15 weeks prior to the dissertation defense. Prior to attempting the Ph.D. preliminary examination, students must have completed all required core classes no later than the end of their fourth semester in the graduate program. Students must file a program of study prior to attempting the preliminary examination.

The goal of the preliminary exam is for the student to demonstrate his or her research progress to-date and present the research proposition that will be investigated and lead to his or her final dissertation. The preliminary exam consists of three components: a written document provided to each member of the student’s graduate committee at least one week prior to the oral presentation; a public oral presentation; and a private examination by the student’s graduate committee immediately following the oral presentation.

The written document may be in any format but must concisely provide a survey of the relevant literature, a summary of the student’s progress to-date, and a clear, detailed plan for the successful completion of the proposed work. The preliminary exam oral presentation should be consistent with the written document. It should provide an appropriate literature background, demonstrate proficiency with proposed experimental/computational techniques, identify details of the experiments to be performed, and provide a timeline to final defense.

The student’s committee will pass or fail the student on the strength of the preliminary examination, with an option to conditionally pass the student while requiring an interim committee meeting prior to the final Ph.D. examination. A form sent by the student’s adviser to the Office of the Registrar reports the results of the examination.

M.S. Thesis or Ph.D. Final Examination (Dissertation Defense)

All M.S. Plan A and Ph.D. students must orally defend their thesis or dissertation at a public final examination. If, for any reason, a student’s Ph.D. research goals are substantially changed after successful completion of the preliminary examination, the student must arrange a subsequent meeting to provide their committee with an accurate and current overview of their proposed work. The final examination consists of a public thesis defense in oral presentation format. At least two weeks before the examination, the student must provide cach member of the graduate committee with a copy of the written thesis of Ph.D. dissertation and provide the department an announcement of their defense for advertisement by bulletin board, e-mail, or other means. The results of the examination are reported on the Report of Final Examination form. Often, graduate committee members request changes in the thesis or dissertation, and they may postpone signing the form until they are satisfied that those changes have been made.

Publication of Thesis or Dissertation

After the defense, an electronic copy (in PDF format) of the thesis or dissertation must be uploaded in accordance with the directions provided on the Graduate Student Resources web site. This copy will be rejected if the format standards specified by the Thesis and Dissertation Format Guide are not met. This guide allows for a publication-ready format. If required by the department and/or committee, additional printed copies should be delivered to the University Store for binding. Students should consult with the adviser to determine if the adviser wants a copy of the thesis, dissertation, or other research documentation. 

Chemical Engineering (CHE) Courses

Environmental Engineering

3074/4055 Engineering Building, 766‑5255/766-2500
Web site:

A master of science in environmental engineering is available in the College of Engineering through a joint effort of the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and the Department of Chemical  Engineering and the Department of Petroleum Engineering in cooperation with the School of Environment and Natural Resources. This interdisciplinary degree offers students an engineering perspective for solutions to environmental problems. Emphasis is on minimization, monitoring, control, and processing of waste products as well as treatment and disposal associated with point and non-point pollution sources. Integration of engineering with science, regulatory, and policy aspects of environmental engineering is an important component of this unique program. Further information is available from the environmental engineering graduate studies program office and/or departments involved.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

Admission is open to students with at least a bachelor’s degree who meet the minimum requirements:

  1. A GPA of 3.000 (A=4.000), or equivalent;
  2. A GRE score of 291 (combined verbal and quantitative sections);
  3. For international applicants who did not attend an English-speaking program in an English-speaking country for all years of their highest degree: A TOEFL score of 76 (Internet based) or an IELTS score of 6.0.

Complete official transcripts of all prior college-level coursework and recommendations from three references must be submitted as parts of the application.

The deadline to submit application credentials is February 1 (to be considered for fall semester), and October 1 (to be considered for spring semester).

Program Specific Degree Requirements

All Environmental Engineering M.S. students must take the following Core courses (9 hrs):

  1. Environmental Engineering Microbiology (ENVE 5425)
  2. Environmental Engineering Chemistry (ENVE 5430)
  3. Environmental Transport Processes (CE 5435)

Students should also take at least one of the following Recommended courses (3 hrs):

  1. Advanced Biological Wastewater Treatment (ENVE 5410)
  2. Advanced Physical Chemical Treatment (ENVE 5450)

Plan A (Thesis) students complete another 14 hours of Approved Elective coursework, at least 4 hours of Thesis Research (ENVE 5960), and write and defend their thesis. Plan B (Project) students complete another 18 hours of Approved Elective coursework and write and present their project.

Early in the program, the student must submit a program of study listing coursework for approval by the departmental graduate studies committee, the department head, and subsequently, the Office of the Registrar.

Environmental Engineering (ENVE) Courses

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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