Undergraduate Program

Molecular Engineering Major and Minors

Our molecular engineering curriculum is well-rooted in the physical sciences, which reflects our molecular mindset, our diverse faculty, and the convergence of science and technology in present-day research. Whether it's health care, information processing and storage, sustainable energy, or water resources, contemporary engineering challenges require molecular-level solutions. 

Any student admitted to the College may pursue either a major or a minor in molecular engineering—as long as they complete the course prerequisites. Majors in molecular engineering or related disciplines may also further specialize through formalized sequences of advanced courses to add one or more minors. 

Majoring in molecular engineering

The major in molecular engineering prepares you for a wide variety of careers in technology-focused industries. Molecular engineering students develop skills in engineering problem solving, quantitative analysis, computation, and technical communication throughout the coursework. 

The molecular engineering curriculum provides a strong background in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biological sciences fundamentals. The curriculum is also marked by a shared set of foundations courses that all molecular engineering majors take as a cohort. Included are seven courses on the topics of:

  • Engineering Principles I-II, which introduce engineering problem solving and principles of conservation, as well as numerical and computational methods
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Molecular Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
  • Molecular Transport Phenomena
  • Engineering Design I-II, the capstone course for the major, in which small teams of students utilize their engineering skills to tackle open-ended and challenging real-world problems selected by mentors from industry and the national laboratories

Another strength of our major program is the option to concentrate in one of three tracks—bioengineering, chemical engineering, or quantum engineering—to deepen your knowledge in the area that interests you most.

The major program's flexibility allows you to individualize your education—with further specializations in molecular engineering if you choose—and prepares you for diverse career paths. After you graduate, you’ll be successful as a practicing engineer or well-positioned for postgraduate study in fields such as engineering, science, medicine, business, and law.  

Minoring in molecular engineering: Formalized sequences of advanced courses

Students majoring in molecular engineering or other closely-related scientific disciplines have opportunities to further specialize their technical skills by pursuing the following molecular engineering minors, to be offered starting in the Autumn Quarter 2020: 

  • Quantum information science focuses on the theory of quantum information processing, as well as the physical systems and principles that comprise quantum technology
  • Immunoengineering applies engineering principles and methods to quantitatively study and manipulate the complex immune system important in the treatment of health conditions including cancer, infection, and autoimmunity
  • Molecular, cellular, and tissue engineering presents molecular innovation in the engineering areas of biomaterials, regenerative medicine, and stem cell bioengineering
  • Systems bioengineering focuses on quantitative methods in the analysis, manipulation, and computational modeling of complex biological systems such as gene networks, single cells, and multicellular systems
  • Molecular science and engineering of polymers and soft materials covers the properties, chemistry, physics, and modeling of polymers important in lightweight composites, smart or responsive materials, and bioinspired and biomedical materials
  • Molecular engineering of sustainable energy and water resources examines the science, conservation, and management of energy and water resources
  • Computational molecular engineering introduces materials modeling, ranging from electronic structure-level quantum mechanical calculations to molecular modeling methods at scales ranging from angstrom to meters

Other opportunities for minoring in molecular engineering

For those students not majoring in molecular engineering, the College offers two minors in molecular engineering. The minors complement your major program and, with our interdisciplinary approach, better prepare you for a variety of STEM fields, equipping you with basic engineering tools to discover new ways to think about science and problem solving.  

  • The minor in molecular engineering introduces the technical fundamentals of molecular engineering including in quantum mechanics, molecular thermodynamics, transport phenomena, and the application of such concepts to advanced technologies.  Primarily targeted to students majoring in the physical or biological sciences, this minor provides a strong preparation for careers or postgraduate studies in engineering fields
  • The minor in molecular engineering technology and innovation is intended for students majoring in economics, business, policy, or related fields, and presents basic engineering concepts as they relate to evolving technologies, scientific innovation and entrepreneurship, scientific policy, and the broader impacts of engineering in society

To see the full listing of the current undergraduate courses and requirements for the major and the minors, check out the College Catalog.