Resources for First Year Graduate Students (Updated February 14, 2017)

Faculty members in the CBE Department advise new graduate students on course selection for the first semester. For students entering with master's level coursework in chemical engineering, the advisor helps to determine which of our required courses may be met by previous work.

Our Department has a long history of successful graduate students entering our program with degrees in chemistry, physics, atmospheric science, environmental science, materials science, biological engineering, polymer chemistry, and other areas. We also, like many programs, have students entering graduate school after employment. For students coming into the department without a chemical engineering degree, or who have been away from courses for a while and need a refresher, additional course work may be needed.

While incomings students will have formal advising appointments for course selection right before classes start in August, some students find a list of information on likely classes helpful. So here it is below. In addition to consulting this list, we highly encourage incoming students to CONTACT DR. STANIER to discuss by email, phone, Skype, or in person.

Our policies on required courses can be found in our graduate handbook.

This is divided into three sections, required coursescommon electives, and refresher/prepatory coursework.

Part I. Information on courses required for a M.S. or Ph.D. in chemical and biochemical engineering.

CBE:5115 Transport Phenomenon

This is a course on mass, momentum, and heat transfer using the classic Bird, Stewart, and Lightfoot (2nd Edition) textbook entitled "Transport Phenomenon."
Next scheduled offering: Fall 2018
Instructor: Dr. David Rethwisch
Representative syllabus

CBE:5104/5105 Introduction to Literature Review & Technical/Proposal Writing

This is a course on research methods with a major emphasis on writing and oral presentation of technical reviews, literature reviews, and research proposals
Next scheduled offering: every Spring
Instructor: Dr. Jennifer Fiegel
Representative syllabus

ENGR:7270 Engineering Ethics

Required during your first fall semester at the University of Iowa, this course introduces students to practical issues associated with being a responsible scientist; topics in responsible conduct of research in engineering and the sciences using case studies, presentations, and discussions with visiting speakers.

Our students are required to have one course in chemical kinetics from the following list.

CBE:5205 Introduction to Biochemical Engineering

Biochemistry, cellular biology, recombinant DNA and hybridoma technologies; emphasis on engineering aspects of biotechnology, including enzyme kinetics, cell growth kinetics, transport phenomena in bioreactors, bioreactor design, bioseparations, formulation and sterilization of growth media, commercial applications of biotechnology. Uses Bioprocess Engineering: Basic Concepts, 2nd Ed. by Shuler & Kargi
Next scheduled offering: every Fall
Instructor: Dr. David Murhammer
Representative syllabus

CBE:5315 Polymer Chemistry

Monomer reactivity and polymerization reactions; step, radical, ionic, and specialty polymerizations.
Next scheduled offering: Fall 2018
Instructor: Dr. C. Allan Guymon

CBE:5425 Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

The primary goal of the class is to strengthen student knowledge of the fundamental and applied issues in atmospheric chemistry, through a combination of lectures, problem sets, and projects. Gas-phase and aerosol-phase problems are considered on urban, regional and global scales. Topics to be covered include global circulation, global biogeochemical cycles, synoptic meteorology, vertical transport of pollutants, sampling techniques for gas phase compounds, aqueous phase reactions, deposition, gas-particle partitioning, photolysis, atmospheric residence time, aerosol size distributions, dynamics of aerosol particles, dynamics of aerosol populations, radiative transfer involving aerosols, cloud formation, and sampling techniques for aerosols. Uses Seinfeld and Pandis, 2nd ed., Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.
Next scheduled offering: Spring 2018
Instructor: Dr. Charles Stanier
Representative syllabus

Additional requirements exist, such as safety training, completion of an online course covering sexual assault prevention (including sexual violence, sexual harassment, stalking, and dating violence), attendance of a Graduate research speaker series, and (based on language background and test scores) English speaking, reading, and writing course requirements may apply.


Part II. Information on popular electives for our graduate students.

​CBE:5210 Bioseparations

​Unit operations used to isolate and purify biologically-derived chemicals, including flocculation, filtration, centrifugation, extraction, adsorption, chromatography, precipitation, crystallization, electrophoresis and cell disruption for intracellular product recovery.
Next scheduled offering: Spring 2018
Instructor: Dr. Eric Nuxoll
Representative syllabus

CBE:5300 Drug Delivery Devices

Why drug delivery devices are needed and how they are regulated; review of several clinical device categories (inhalation, transdermal, implantable) and preclinical technologies on the horizon.
Instructors: Dr. Jennifer Fiegel, Dr. Eric Nuxoll
Representative syllabus

​CBE:5415 Satellite Image Processing & Remote Sensing Atmosphere

Introduction to principles of atmospheric radiation and techniques for satellite image processing; hands-on experience with data calibration, image registration and enhancement, noise filtering and (supervised and unsupervised) multi-spectral classification of satellite imageries; various satellite sensors used for monitoring of different atmospheric processes and constituents.
Instructor: Dr. Jun Wang
Representative syllabus

CBE:5152 Environmental Chemistry

Principles of general, physical, organic chemistry applied in water and air systems; emphasis on qualitative and quantitative understanding of chemical kinetics and equilibrium; acid-base reactions, complex formation, precipitation, dissolution, and oxidation-reduction reactions; organic nomenclature.
Instructor: Dr. David Cwiertny
representative syllabus

CBE:5140 Mathematical Methods in Engineering

Linear ordinary differential equations, series solutions of differential equations, special functions, Laplace transforms, Fourier series, matrices, linear systems, eigenvalue problems, second-order partial differential equations.
Prerequisites: Matrix Algebra and Ordinary Differential Equations
Next scheduled offering: Fall 2017
Instructor: Dr. K. Choi

CEE:5154 Environmental Microbiology

Fundamentals of microbiology and microbial ecology with application in water quality and biodegradation of priority pollutants; lectures and laboratory.
Next scheduled offering: Fall 2017
Instructor: Dr. Timothy Mattes
Representative syllabus

CHEM:5108 Spectroscopy

Principles of atomic and molecular absorption and emission spectroscopy in ultraviolet, visible, and infrared regions of the spectrum, including fluorescence, phosphorescence, Raman spectroscopy; applications to analytical problems, with emphasis on modern instrumentation and methodology.
Instructor: Dr. Max Geng

CHEM:5118 Nanomaterials

Basic principles associated with nanoscience and nanotechnology; fabrication and synthesis, size dependent properties, characterization, applications of materials at nanometer length scales, recent technological breakthroughs in the field.
Instructor: Dr. Amanda Haes

CHEM:4873 Atmospheric and Environmental Chemistry

Fundamental chemical processes of importance in the atmosphere, soil, and water, with emphasis on kinetics and photochemistry of homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions, atmospheric structure and dynamics, global geochemical cycling, chemistry-climate relationships, environmental remediation strategies; experimental methods in field and laboratory studies.
Instructor: Dr. Mark Young

OEH:6450 Aerosol Technology

Particle statistics and physics of aerosols, including inertia, diffusion, nucleation, evaporation, condensation, optics, electrical properties; relationship to fields such as agriculture, nanotechnology, environmental and occupational health, atmospheric chemistry, drug delivery.
Instructor: Dr. Tom Peters
Representative syllabus

Part III. Common classes that are (a) available in summer or fall 2014, and (b) taken as refresher, or for students entering without previous training in chemical engineering. These may be optional or required, depending on evaluation by the CBE faculty. Listing on courses available in summer and fall (common refresher/prepartory classes taken in spring include Chemical Engineering (undergraduate) Thermodynamics, Engineering Heat and Flow, and Chemical Reaction Engineering).

CBE:2105 Process Calculations

Fundamental principles of chemical process analysis, including material and energy balances for single-unit and multiple-unit processes, analysis of reactive and nonreactive systems, introduction to equations of state, thermodynamics of multiphase systems. Uses Elementary Principles of Chemical Processes with CD, 4th Ed. by Felder and Rousseau and Bullard.
Schedule: multiple options - see below
Instructor: Dr. Julie Jessop

Online course website
Representative syllabus

  • Schedule option 1: Take as regular (in person) class, offered every fall
  • Schedule option 2: Take as an online course (enrollment and tuition to Univ. of Iowa required) -- during spring periods.
  • Schedule option 3: Take as a non-graded refresher course. No enrollment required. Will not show on transcript.

CBE:3115 Mass Transfer and Separations

Mechanisms of diffusional mass transfer; solution of industrial problems, including the design of distillation, extraction, absorption, adsorption, drying, membrane processes; mechanical separations. Uses Separation Process Principles, 3rd Edition by Seader, Henley, & Roper
Next scheduled offering: every Fall

Instructor: Dr. Eric Nuxoll
Representative syllabus

MATH:2560 Engineering Math IV: Ordinary Differential Equations

Ordinary differential equations and applications, with integrated use of computing, student projects; first-order equations; higher order linear equations; systems of linear equations, Laplace transforms; introduction to nonlinear equations and systems, phase plane, stability.
Schedule: all semesters
Note: online and community college versions of this course may be useful preparation or refresher material. Online options are available from many outlets with paid options that include grading and credit, and free options that just have access to course materials and video lectures.