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Undergrad FAQ

  • Find out why by clicking here.

  • We recommend declaring it as soon as possible to lock in the current program requirements. For more information see this link.

  • A credit load of 14-16 credit hours is generally a healthy full-time academic load for a semester, and we recommend not exceeding those numbers. (Note: for Spring or Summer terms, which compress a semester into half the time, 7-8 credits is a recommended maximum.) Further, you will learn that technical courses (e.g. science, math, and engineering) require more work and time than many other courses, so the full-time loads recommended above should usually include at least one non-technical class per semester.

  • A full academic load in chemical engineering requires a great deal of your time and effort. In fact, when considering the time for classes, studies, assignments, and the daily activities of life (sleep, hygiene, meals, exercise, and spiritual food), it's a full-time life! Depending on the number of credit hours that you take in a semester, the remaining "free" time available for such activities as a job are very limited (usually less than 10 hours/week). If your financial situation requires you to work, you may need to reduce your academic load accordingly. The following formula provides an approximate guideline for the maximum number of hours you should commit to a job (it may need to be reduced to accommodate job preparation and travel time):

    Maximum Work Hours per Week = 60 - 3.5 x Credit Hours

    Caution! Don't let your experience in high school and/or a community college tempt you to underestimate the time you will need to be successful in chemical engineering at BYU. It is a common (and painful) mistake made by many new students. Adhere to the above formula for at least your first year. Then, you will know better how to adjust this formula for your own personal circumstances.

  • Registration in the correct classes is important to avoid delaying graduation by a year or two. The class schedule in the BYU Chemical Engineering Department is very full, and requires four full years of course work. Meet with your Academic Advisor to help avoid unnecessary delays in graduation. You should also look at the course planning worksheets to help you plan your classes.

    As a freshman, the most important classes to take are below.

    • Chemical Engineering (ChEn 170 and 191)
    • Chemistry (Chem 111 and 112 or Chem 105, 106, and 107)
    • Calculus (Math 112 and 113)

    To graduate in four years, you must take four semesters of chemistry and four semesters of math in the first two years at the university (before you start junior year). If you do not take Math 112 and Chem 111 (or Chem 105) your first semester, it will likely take longer than 4 years to graduate.

  • Many of our incoming students have AP credit for Math, Chemistry, English, and/or Physics. If you received AP Chemistry credit, please note the instructions on our webpage for required chemistry classes. More generally, you should look at the BYU website explaining AP credits. Having AP credit in required classes allows students to take other classes normally not taken until later, thereby reducing the otherwise-heavy course loads in later semesters. Your advisor can help you decide which classes to take early.

  • The university's general education program (University Core) is designed to broaden your education and enrich your experience at the university. However, because of the large number of courses required for graduation in chemical engineering, it is desirable to be as efficient as possible in fulfilling course requirements. A full description of the current GE program can be found here and should be studied carefully. However, the following guidelines show the most efficient plan for satisfying the GE core:

    GE Requirements Satisfied by Major Requirements

    GE Requirement Major Requirement
    Quantitative Reasoning Math 112
    Languages of Learning Math 302
    Advanced Writing WRTG 316 (formerly ENGL 316)
    Biology Bio 100
    Physical Science Physics 121 and Chem 111
    Social Science Econ 110


    Note: Bio 130, MMBio 221, MMBio 240, or PDBio 120 can also be taken. Bio 100 counts but is not recommended. See here for more information.

    Tips for Double Counting GE Requirements

    GE Requirement Tip
    History of Civilization, Arts, Letters, GCA

    For catalog years F2017 and later, the four GE requirements for CIV II, ARTS, LTRS, and GCA can be satisfied by taking only two courses if carefully choses as explained below. This approach works because most CIV II courses also fulfill either ARTS or LTRS and some ARTS and LTRS courses count for GCA.

    - Take a CIV II/LTRS course (like CL CV 202) AND an ARTS/GCA course (like MUSIC 203)

    - Take a CIV II/ARTS course (like ARTHC 202) AND a LTRS/GCA course (like IHUM 242)

    You can also fulfill GCA by taking certain religion coures such as REL 352, 357, and 358.

    See here for the official university list on GE course counting.

    History of Civilization, Arts, Letters

    For catalog years F2010 - Su2017, GCA was fulfilled with EngT 231. With careful planning, students graduating on one of these prior catalog years can fulfill the remining three requirements (CIV II, ARTS, LTRS) by taking only two courses as explained below.

    - Take a CIV II/ARTS course AND any LTRS course.

    - Take a CIV II/LTRS course AND any ARTS course.

    Again, this can only be done if you take EngT 231.

    See here for the official university list on GE course counting.


    In addition to the requirements listed in the previous two tables, the following GE core requirements must be met:

    1. English 150 (or English 115 if using AP, transfer, or independent study credit)
    2. American Heritage
    3. History of Civilization I
    4. Religion (7 total courses including 2 Book of Mormon, 1 Doc. & Cov., and 1 New Testament, and any course used to double count with GCA -- see above)
  • If you have one or more semesters of college credit (not just AP credit) and you are being admitted to BYU as a transfer student, then you probably wonder what classes to take your first semester or two at BYU. Actually, to answer that question it may be necessary to plan out additional semesters. Some of your academic credit from courses taken at your previous university will satisfy major and general requirements at BYU, creating a very customized schedule for your individual case. Furthermore, chemical engineering is a busy program with less flexibility than you might imagine, and every semester affects the others. So, not taking a critical course in a particular semester may end up delaying your graduation.

  • The university's Course Catalog contains detailed information about each of the available courses and their specific times.

  • Apply for Deferment

    Those planning to serve a mission must apply for a "deferment," which suspends your enrollment at BYU while preserving your status as an admitted student. (Students leaving campus for an extended period without a deferment are required to re-apply for admission in order to resume study.)

    Apply for Scholarships

    Several department scholarships are available for returning missionaries, but their application deadlines are April 1 for the following fall and winter semesters. However, many missionaries will still be on their missions on April 1 of the year they plan to return to BYU and, therefore, will find it difficult to submit a scholarship application that year. If you anticipate being in that category, you should apply for scholarships before leaving. If you do so, your application will be evaluated and the results communicated to you before you even leave for your mission. The payments for awarded scholarships will then be deferred to the fall semester that you return to BYU.

    Descriptions of the department scholarships for returning missionaries and continuing students are presented in Department Scholarships.

  • Meet with Your Advisor

    We urge you to meet with the department academic advisor (Lavdie Huff), as soon as possible. This is important; we may be able to help you avoid costly registration mistakes that will prolong graduation by as much as one year.

    Apply for Scholarships

    Several departmental scholarships are available for returning missionaries, but their application deadlines are April 1 for the following fall and winter semesters. Departing missionaries (particularly those leaving for 2 years) were encouraged to apply for these before leaving. If you didn't apply before you left but have returned from your mission before April 1, be sure to submit your scholarship applications by that deadline. If you are still on your mission on April 1, and you did not submit scholarship applications before leaving on your mission, your family may be able to prepare and submit applications for you. If you are returning from your mission and were not a ble to submit applications by April 1 of the year you are returning to BYU, be sure to submit applications as soon as possible to become eligible to receive the returning missionary scholarships the year after you return to BYU. Descriptions of department scholarships for returning missionaries and continuing students are found at Undergraduate Department Scholarships.

    Math Help

    There are several ways to brush up on your math skills:

    Internet Reviews

    The internet contains many resources to review the principles of mathematics that are important in engineering. The links represent only a small portion of those which are available.

    Mathematical Tables

    Mathematical Computer Tools

    When problem solving, chemical engineers often solve complex mathematical problems. Several computer tools, including Python and Excel, can be used to aid these calculations. ChEn 263 notes and tutorials may be found here.