Chemical Engineering Major Lower Division Requirements

Humanities and Social Sciences Breadth Requirement (19/22 units)

  • Students who have completed CBE 185 by Spring 2017 need 19 units of breadth electives
  • Students who have not yet completed CBE 185 by the end of Spring 2017 need 22 units of breadth electives

The College of Chemistry’s humanities and social sciences breadth requirement promotes educational experiences that enrich and complement the technical requirements for each major.

The Breadth Requirement includes the Reading & Composition and American Cultures requirements.

Reading and Composition. Students must demonstrate reasonable proficiency in English composition by completing with a C- or higher a first-level course (e.g., English R1A) selected from the list of approved Reading and Composition courses

  • R&C courses must be taken for a letter grade and must be completed by end of first year
  • English courses at other institutions may satisfy the requirement(s); check with your Undergraduate Adviser
  • After admission to Berkeley, credit for English at another institution will not be granted if the Entry Level Writing requirement has not been satisfied

American Cultures. A requirement specific to the Berkeley Campus, American Cultures courses explore a broad range of topics through the lens of race and ethnicity.

Additional Breadth and Breadth Series. As part of the 22 units, students must complete a two-course Breadth Series requirement, at least one being upper division, in the same or a very closely allied humanities or social science department(s).

  • Advanced Placement credit may be used to satisfy the lower division aspect of the Breadth Series requirement
  • Students may continue fulfilling the 22-unit Breadth requirement in the junior or senior year
  • Courses that satisfy the American History and Institutions or American Cultures requirements also count toward the 22-unit breadth requirement
  • Breadth courses may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis
  • Courses used to satisfy the humanities and social sciences breadth requirement may not be used to satisfy other major requirements (e.g. Anthro 1 cannot be used as both a breadth elective and a science elective).

Remaining units must come from the following L&S breadth areas, excluding courses which only teach a skill (such as drawing or playing an instrument):

Arts and Literature
Foreign Language1,2,3
Historical Studies
International Studies
Philosophy and Values
Social and Behavioral Sciences

To find course options for breadth, go to the Berkeley Academic Guide Class Schedule, select the term of interest, and use the 'Breadth Requirements' filter to select the breadth area(s) of interest.

  • Breadth courses may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis (excluding Reading and Composition)
  • AP, IB, and GCE A-level exam credit may be used to satisfy the breadth requirement

1Elementary-level courses may not be in the student's native language and may not be structured primarily to teach the reading of scientific literature.
2 For chemistry and chemical biology majors, elementary-level foreign language courses are not accepted toward the 15 unit breadth requirement if they are used (or are duplicates of high school courses used) to satisfy the Foreign Language requirement.
3For chemical engineering majors, no more than six units of foreign language may be counted toward the 22 unit breadth requirement.

Chemistry 4A, 4B, 12A+

Students study general chemistry and quantitative analysis in a two-semester series (4A-4B) in the first year, and organic chemistry (12A+) in the Fall of the second year.

  • A grade of C- or better is required in Chemistry 4A before taking 4B, in 4B before taking more advanced courses, and in 12A+ if students wish to continue with 12B+.

Chem 12A = 112A and Chem 12B = Chem 112B for Spring 2017 or earlier.

CBE 140, 141, 150A

  • Students must complete 140 with a grade of C- or better before enrolling in any other course in CBE.
  • A grade of C- or better in 141 is required before taking 142.
  • A grade of C- or better in 150A is required before any additional course in the 150 series may be taken.

Engineering 7 (W7 ok) or CS 61A

Must be taken before, or concurrently with, CBE 141 and before 150B.

CS 61A vs. Engineering 7: CS 61A is a foundational programming course that teaches important concepts like debugging code, persistence in debugging code, and writing clean code that minimizes bugs and is reproducible. Eng 7 places a greater emphasis on numerical methods. Since some of the material in Eng 7 is covered in CBE 130, the Chemical Engineering faculty recommend taking CS 61A. They note that CS 61A will teach students how to think critically about and design a project before you start coding. This foundation will provide a good transition to CBE 130 and other upper-division CBE classes, which will cover the scientific aspects of coding. The faculty also note that CS 61A will likely be more work than Eng 7, but that CS 61A will help build proficiency in coding which will pay off in the future.

Mathematics 1A, 1B, 53, 54

This program should start in the first semester of the freshman year.

Physics 7A, 7B

This program should start in the second semester of the freshman year.

Biology 1A (lecture only) or Bioengineering 11

Biotechnology-concentration students are required to take Bioengineering 11 or Molecular and Cell Biology 102 or Chemistry 135 in place of Biology 1A. Students who do not have a background substantially equivalent to Biology 1A may want to take Biology 1A as a prerequisite to Molecular and Cell Biology 102 or Chemistry 135.

Please note that students must achieve a 2.0 GPA in College of Chemistry courses to continue in the Chemical Engineering major. Students wishing to take a lighter load during their first two years may take courses such as Math 53 or 54, Physics 7B, and breadth courses in the summer session.