Undergraduate FAQ

How do I apply to the IME for the undergraduate major?
Do I have to apply to declare the Molecular Engineering major?
Are there required classes I must have taken to be able to pursue the major?
Is there a minimum GPA I must have to declare the major?
What are the required classes/electives for the major?
Are there specific advisors for the major?
Are undergraduate research projects required for the major?
Is there an option to receive the BS with Honors?
How can undergraduate students get involved in research?
How do the three tracks differ?
What do jobs look like for students who graduate with a Molecular Engineering major?


How do I apply to the IME for the undergraduate major?

The undergraduate program in Molecular Engineering, unlike programs at many schools of engineering, is a major within the liberal arts curriculum in the College at the University of Chicago. High school students interested in pursuing the BS in Molecular Engineering should apply for admission to the College. They should also familiarize themselves with the information available about the major in the College Catalog.

Do I have to apply to declare the Molecular Engineering major?

No. There is not an application to be able to declare the major. However, students who plan to declare a major in Molecular Engineering must complete the Intent to Pursue Molecular Engineering questionnaire at the end of the Autumn Quarter of their second year of study. The questionnaire will be available on the IME website toward the end of each Autumn Quarter. At present there is no limit on the number of students who may pursue the major.

Are there required classes I must have taken to be able to pursue the major?

Yes. Because the major program in Molecular Engineering requires students to have a strong and broad background in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology; students must satisfy their general education requirements in the mathematical, physical and biological sciences at or above a specific level. These requirements are detailed in the College Catalog. In addition, we strongly recommend that students who place into higher levels of math not delay taking math, but rather begin working immediately in their first quarter to complete the math requirements for the major. Students who wait tend to lose accumulated knowledge and do not perform as well as anticipated in their quantitative courses.

Is there a minimum GPA I must have to declare the major?

While there is not a minimum GPA to declare the major, there is the expectation that prospective majors have mastered the content in our required STEM courses, e.g. general chemistry, general physics, and calculus. There is a minimum GPA in order to qualify for the BS degree, as well as minimum grade requirements for all courses required in the major. See the College Catalog for details.

What are the required classes/electives for the major?

Information on the courses required for the major is available in the College Catalog.

Are there specific advisors for the major?

No. There are not specific college advisors assigned to the major. All college advisors are trained to discuss and review our major requirements with students in the college.

Are undergraduate research projects required for the major?

No. While an undergraduate research project is not required for the major, we do anticipate that many Molecular Engineering students will receive advanced laboratory experience pursuing undergraduate research projects.

Is there an option to receive the BS with Honors?

Yes. Students who pursue a substantive research project with a faculty member of the Institute for Molecular Engineering are encouraged to write and defend an honors thesis based on their work. For detailed information and eligibility requirements for receiving honors please see the College Catalog.

How can undergraduate students get involved in research?

Students interested in research opportunities with the IME should first take the time to familiarize themselves with our faculty and their particular areas of research. Inquiries should be made directly with the faculty. For more detailed information please see our undergraduate research opportunities page.

How do the three tracks differ?

One is aimed at preparing students oriented towards biological engineering, the second towards chemical and soft materials engineering, and the third is aimed at preparing students oriented towards engineering of quantum-based materials, devices, and processes. The latter track is offered in close collaboration with the Department of Physics. The main difference in the tracks relates to a choice between two sequences of three courses under the heading of quantitative engineering analysis. Further information is available in the College Catalog.

What do jobs look like for students who graduate with a Molecular Engineering major?

The major in Molecular Engineering prepares students for a wide variety of careers in a technology-based society and positions graduates for further study in such fields as science, engineering, medicine, business, or law. The major curriculum is offered in such a way as to allow for considerable flexibility for students to tailor their programs along individualized trajectories, with help from faculty advisors. Not only can students choose between two tracks, but they can further build breadth or depth through their choice of a materials course and advanced electives. Moreover, we anticipate that our students will use their general electives outside of the major requirements to strengthen their backgrounds in specific areas of interest, also in consultation with Molecular Engineering advisors, to achieve desired outcomes such as preparation for graduate school in more traditional engineering disciplines.

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