Many ChBE undergraduate students conduct research while at CU. This may be through:

  • Independent Student (class credit)
  • Senior Thesis (class credit)
  • Research for Pay (DLA, UROP, BURST, REU)
  • Volunteering in the lab  

You can find open undergraduate research positions on our Careers page.

Read more about these different opportunities below.  

Independent Study

Undergraduates may register for an independent study project under the supervision of one of our faculty (CHEN 2840, 3840, or 4840). As a general rule of thumb, a three-credit-hour project will require 9 hours of research work per week; this research work cannot be paid. The independent study course counts as a technical elective. These opportunities allow for individual contact with faculty and graduate students, and they provide a hands-on educational experience that cannot be obtained in the traditional classroom setting. Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities, especially if interested in graduate school or a career in scientific research.

Note that independent studies require:

  • Weekly or biweekly meetings with your supervisor/mentor
  • A 3-5 page report/paper turned in by the end of the independent study
  • Not required but recommended: an oral or poster presentation

The Independent Study Agreement and Application can be found under the "Forms" section of the College of Engineering and Applied Science Academic Advising website. Please download the form and type in your information (do not hand write).

Senior Thesis

The department offers a Senior Thesis Option as part of its course work. Senior Thesis students conduct research for 10 hr/wk for two consecutive semesters at 2 credit hours per semester on a research project under the supervision of a faculty member. The Senior Thesis is listed as CHEN 4010 (first semester) and CHEN 4020 (second semester). Students complete a poster and oral presentation during CHEN 4010; they write a thesis report and give a final oral presentation in CHEN 4020.

Important note: a student CANNOT be paid for Senior Thesis research hours, whether it be pay through UROP, BSI, DLA, the research advisor, or some other source.

In order to qualify for Senior Thesis, students must:

  1. Develop a project that is endorsed by a faculty research advisor.
  2. Be a senior and have completed the junior-level CHEN courses.
  3. Compute your cumulative major GPA (computed using only CHEN/BIEN classes) by the end of junior year to determine which category below applies to you.
    • Students with a major GPA greater than or equal to 3.7 will be administratively enrolled and can opt out of UG Lab (CHEN 4130 or BIEN 4810).
    • Students with a major GPA below 3.7 must take UG Lab (CHEN 4130 or BIEN 4810). If they wish to also take Senior Thesis for Tech Elective credit, they can submit the two documents below to their academic advisor. The Associate Chair for Undergraduate Education will decide whether or not the student can enroll in Senior Thesis based on the strength of these two documents.
      1. A personal statement about why you wish to complete a Senior Thesis and how it will help in your professional development.
      2. A strong letter of recommendation from your research advisor advocating for you to complete a Senior Thesis.

If you are interested in taking Senior Thesis, please do the following:

  1. Visit a faculty research advisor to talk about doing Senior Thesis.
    1. Make sure the faculty member supports your doing a Senior Thesis.
    2. Determine the rough aims for the project.
    3. Ensure the research advisor knows they will need to help grade a progress report and the final thesis report.
    4. If you wish to work for someone outside the department, please email the Senior Thesis Advisor or if they are unavailable Wendy Young.
  2. Once you have obtained a commitment from the faculty member to serve as the research advisor, complete the Senior Thesis Application.
  3. Once your Senior Thesis Application has been approved, Dr. Renshaw will register you for the class.

Questions? Contact the Senior Thesis Advisor or if they are unavailable Wendy Young.

Research for Pay and Volunteering

Please see the Undergraduate Research webpage.

Working as a course assistant is a great way to master critical academic material, work directly with faculty and earn valuable teaching and leadership experience. Check our Careers page for open positions.

Carry out part of your studies in another country!

Study Abroad encourages ChBE students to consider this opportunity, given the international nature of most large chemical and engineering corporations and international cooperation in scientific and engineering research. Many faculty members have significant international experience.

Because of the more specialized courses later in the curriculum, we advise considering a semester abroad as early as possible. 

If you are interested in studying abroad, please read more about the study abroad program discuss your options with the ChBE undergraduate advisor.

Bachelor's-Accelerated Master's Degree Program(s)

The Bachelor’s–Accelerated Master’s (BAM) degree program options offer currently enrolled CU Boulder undergraduate students the opportunity to receive a bachelor’s and master’s degree in a shorter period of time. Students receive the bachelor’s degree first, but begin taking graduate coursework as undergraduates (typically in their senior year). Because some courses are allowed to double count for both the bachelor’s and the master’s degrees, students receive a master’s degree in less time and at a lower cost than if they were to enroll in a stand-alone master’s degree program after completion of their baccalaureate degree. In addition, staying at CU Boulder to pursue a bachelor’s–accelerated master’s program enables students to continue working with their established faculty mentors.

BS in Chemical Engineering or Chemical and Biological Engineering, MS in Chemical Engineering

Admissions Requirements

In order to gain admission to our BAM program, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.00 is required
  • Have no MAPS deficiencies
  • Have at least junior class standing
  • Completion of the following five CHEN core courses with a minimum grade of B- in each course: CHEN 2120, CHEN 3200, CHEN 3210, CHEN 3320, CHEN 3010

Program Requirements

Master’s degree requirements: A total of 30 course credit hours is required to receive a non-thesis Master’s degree. This includes nine CORE Chemical Engineering course credit hours and the remaining 21 course credits must be department approved technical electives.  ChBE will allow BAM students to include 12 hours of coursework (as an undergraduate and at undergraduate tuition rates) which can later be applied to the accelerated Master’s degree (a maximum of six credit hours of 3000/4000 level electives may count toward the Master’s degree).  Pass/fail courses do not count towards our graduate degrees. Only those courses for which the student receives a grade of ‘B-‘ or better will count toward the MS degree. The student must maintain a 3.00 GPA at all times.

The following CORE course and seminar are required for any Master’s degree plan in Chemical Engineering.

  • CHEN 5210: Transport Phenomena
  • CHEN 5370: Intermediate Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
  • CHEN 5390: Chemical Reaction Engineering

Applying to the BAM Program

BAM Policies and procedures are found on the Registrar’s website. The following application material must be included in the BAM intent application.

  • The GRE is not required.
  • Provide a resume.
  • Provide an unofficial transcript.
  • Provide a one-page Statement of Purpose. The statement should describes briefly your past work in the field, including non-course educational experiences, teaching, or other relevant employment, publication, theses, research in progress, other scholarly activities, and your plans for graduate study and a professional career.

Applications will not be accepted that do not meet the minimum requirements for admission.

The application deadline for fall admission is February 1. The deadline for spring admission is October 1

Once admitted to the program, the student must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.0 in all CHEN undergraduate and graduate courses to remain in good academic standing. Students must be enrolled full-time.


Undergraduate students should contact their undergraduate academic advisor to learn more about the BAM program. Students are also welcome to contact ChBE Graduate Program Coordinator ( to learn more about the master’s program and to determine their eligibility for admission to the BAM program.

More information about BAM programs, policies, and forms may be found on the Registrar's Office web site as well as the Graduate School's web site.

General College Information

The College of Engineering and Applied Science has a website discussing the Engineering Honors Program. To learn more, visit the Engineering Honors Program's Main Page.

Being part of the Honors Program means:

  • being part of a community of talented and dedicated students
  • living in Andrews Hall at least during your first year
  • participating in special honors courses, including the basic Calculus through Differential Equations sequence, in Andrews Hall
  • having the opportunity to do advanced research
  • having exposure to students involved in international development work
  • having greater access to internships 
  • completing an Honors ePortfolio   

Academic Enrichment Programs

The University offers a variety of Academic Enrichment Programs.

Honors Program Contact Information

Mary Rader
EHP Program Assistant

Scot Douglass
Associate Professor
Faculty Director, Engineering Honors Program