Chemical Engineering/Nuclear Engineering Joint Major

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Science (BS)

The joint major programs are designed for students who wish to undertake study in two areas of engineering in order to qualify for employment in either field or for positions in which competence in two fields is required. The joint majors contain comparable proportions of coursework in both major fields. While they require slightly increased course loads, they can be completed in four years. Both majors are shown on the student's transcript of record. Students in this joint major program are concurrently enrolled in both the College of Engineering and the College of Chemistry, but their college of residence will be the College of Chemistry.

The areas of nuclear technology that depend heavily upon chemical engineering training include isotope separation, fuel reprocessing, waste management, feed material preparation, fuel chemistry, effluent control, fusion reactor fuel processing, and new reactor types.

Admission to the Joint Major

Students may petition for a change to a joint major program after their first year. For further details regarding how to declare the joint major, please contact the College of Chemistry.

Other Joint Major Offered with the College of Engineering

Chemical Engineering/Materials Science Engineering

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in all courses undertaken at UC Berkeley, including those from UC Summer Sessions, UC Education Abroad Program, UC Berkeley in Washington Program, and XB courses from University Extension.
  2. A minimum GPA of 2.0 in all courses taken in the college is required in order to advance and continue in the upper division.
  3. A minimum GPA of 2.0 in all upper division courses taken at the University is required to satisfy major requirements.
  4. Students in the College of Chemistry who receive a grade of D+ or lower in a chemical and biomolecular engineering or chemistry course for which a grade of C- or higher is required must repeat the course at UC Berkeley.

For information regarding grade requirements in specific courses, please see the notes sections below.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Please note, the Academic Guide is updated only once a year. For the most current information on requirements please a look at the College of Chemistry website.

Lower Division Requirements 

MATH 1ACalculus4
MATH 1BCalculus4
MATH 53Multivariable Calculus4
MATH 54Linear Algebra and Differential Equations4
General Chemistry
and General Chemistry Laboratory
or CHEM 4A General Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis
CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry4
or CHEM 4B General Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis
PHYSICS 7APhysics for Scientists and Engineers4
PHYSICS 7BPhysics for Scientists and Engineers4
PHYSICS 7CPhysics for Scientists and Engineers4
ENGIN 7Introduction to Computer Programming for Scientists and Engineers4
MAT SCI 45Properties of Materials3
MAT SCI 45LProperties of Materials Laboratory1

Upper Division Requirements

CHEM 120APhysical Chemistry3-4
or PHYSICS 137A Quantum Mechanics
CHM ENG 140Introduction to Chemical Process Analysis4
CHM ENG 141Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics4
CHM ENG 142Chemical Kinetics and Reaction Engineering4
CHM ENG 150ATransport Processes4
CHM ENG 150BTransport and Separation Processes4
CHM ENG 154Chemical Engineering Laboratory4
CHM ENG 160Chemical Process Design4
or NUC ENG 170A Nuclear Design: Design in Nuclear Power Technology and Instrumentation
CHM ENG 162Dynamics and Control of Chemical Processes4
ENGIN 117Methods of Engineering Analysis3
NUC ENG 101Nuclear Reactions and Radiation4
NUC ENG 104Radiation Detection and Nuclear Instrumentation Laboratory4
NUC ENG 150Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Theory4
NUC ENG 162Radiation Biophysics and Dosimetry3
or BIOLOGY 1A General Biology Lecture
Nuclear engineering electives: select 6 units of upper division NUC ENG courses
Engineering electives: select 3-4 units of upper division engineering courses.

College Requirements

All students in the College of Chemistry are required to complete the University requirements of American CulturesAmerican History and Institutions, and Entry-Level Writing.  In addition, they must satisfy the following College requirements:

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College requires lower division work in composition.

  • Chemical Engineering majors: A-level Reading and Composition course (e.g., English R1A) by end of the first year
  • Chemical Biology and Chemistry majors: A- and B-level courses by end of the second year
  • R&C courses must be taken for a letter grade
  • 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

Humanities and Social Sciences Breadth Requirement: Chemistry & Chemical Biology majors

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

  • 15 units total; includes Reading & Composition and American Cultures courses
  • 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
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

Elementary-level courses may not be in the student's native language and may not be structured primarily to teach the reading of scientific literature.

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.

Foreign Language (Language Other Than English [LOTE]) Requirement

Applies to Chemistry and Chemical Biology majors only.

The LOTE requirement may be satisfied with one language other than English, in one of the following ways:

  • By completing in high school the third year of one language other than English with minimum grades of C-.
  • By completing at Berkeley the second semester of a sequence of courses in one language other than English, or the equivalent at another institution. Only LOTE courses that include reading and composition, as well as conversation, are accepted in satisfaction of this requirement. LOTE courses may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis.
  • By demonstrating equivalent knowledge of a language other than English through examination, including a College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) Advanced Placement Examination with a score of 3 or higher (if taken before admission to college), an SAT II: Subject Test with a score of 590 or higher, or a proficiency examination offered by some departments at Berkeley or at another campus of the University of California.

Humanities and Social Sciences Breadth Requirement: Chemical Engineering major

  • 22 units total; includes Reading and Composition and American Cultures courses
  • Breadth Series requirement: As part of the 22 units, students must complete two courses, at least one being upper division, in the same or very closely allied humanities or social science department(s).  AP credit may be used to satisfy the lower division aspect of the requirement.
  • Breadth Series courses and all remaining units must come from the following lists of approved humanities and social science courses, excluding courses which only teach a skill (such as drawing or playing an instrument):

Arts and Literature
Foreign Language1,2
Historical Studies
International Studies
Philosophy and Values

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

Elementary-level courses may not be in the student's native language and may not be structured primarily to teach the reading of scientific literature.

For chemical engineering majors, no more that six units of language other than English may be counted toward the 22 unit breadth requirement.

Class Schedule Requirements

  • Minimum units per semester: 13
  • Maximum units per semester: 19.5
  • 12 units of course work each semester must satisfy degree requirements
  • Chemical Engineering freshmen and Chemistry majors are required to enroll in a minimum of one chemistry course each semester
  • After the freshman year, Chemical Engineering majors must enroll in a minimum of one chemical engineering course each semester

Semester Limit

  • Students who entered as freshmen: 8 semesters

  • Chemistry & Chemical Biology majors who entered as transfer students: 4 semesters

  • Chemical Engineering and Joint majors who entered as transfer students: 5 semesters

Summer sessions are excluded when determining the limit on semesters. Students who wish to delay graduation to complete a minor, a double major, or simultaneous degrees must request approval for delay of graduation before what would normally be their final two semesters. The College of Chemistry does not have a rule regarding maximum units that a student can accumulate.

Senior Residence

After 90 units toward the bachelor’s degree have been completed, at least 24 of the remaining units must be completed in residence in the College of Chemistry, in at least two semesters (the semester in which the 90 units are exceeded, plus at least one additional semester).

To count as a semester of residence for this requirement, a program must include at least 4 units of successfully completed courses. A summer session can be credited as a semester in residence if this minimum unit requirement is satisfied.

Juniors and seniors who participate in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) for a full year may meet a modified senior residence requirement. After 60 units toward the bachelor’s degree have been completed, at least 24 (excluding EAP) of the remaining units must be completed in residence in the College of Chemistry, in at least two semesters. At least 12 of the 24 units must be completed after the student has already completed 90 units. Undergraduate Dean’s approval for the modified senior residence requirement must be obtained before enrollment in the Education Abroad Program.

Minimum Total Units

A student must successfully complete at least 120 semester units in order to graduate.

Minimum Academic Requirements

A student must earn at least a C average (2.0 GPA) in all courses undertaken at UC, including those from UC Summer Sessions, UC Education Abroad Program, and UC Berkeley Washington Program, as well as XB courses from University Extension.

Minimum Course Grade Requirements

Students in the College of Chemistry who receive a grade of D+ or lower in a chemical engineering or chemistry course for which a grade of C- or higher is required must repeat the course at Berkeley.

Students in the College of Chemistry must achieve:

  • C- or higher in CHEM 4A before taking CHEM 4B

  • C- or higher in CHEM 4B before taking more advanced courses

  • C- or higher in CHEM 12A before taking CHEM 12B 

  • GPA of at least 2.0 in all courses taken in the college in order to advance to and continue in the upper division

Chemistry or chemical biology majors must also achieve:

Chemical engineering students must also achieve:

  • C- or higher in CHM ENG 140 before taking any other CBE courses

  • C- or higher in CHM ENG 150A to be eligible to take any other course in the 150 series

  • 2.0 GPA in all upper division courses taken at the University to satisfy major requirements

Chemical engineering students who do not achieve a grade of C- or higher in CHM ENG 140 on their first attempt are advised to change to another major. If the course is not passed with a grade of C- or higher on the second attempt, continuation in the Chemical Engineering program is normally not allowed.

Minimum Progress

To make normal progress toward a degree, undergraduates must successfully complete 30 units of coursework each year. The continued enrollment of students who do not maintain normal progress will be subject to the approval of the Undergraduate Dean. To achieve minimum academic progress, the student must meet two criteria:

  1. Completed no fewer units than 15 multiplied by the number of semesters, less one, in which the student has been enrolled at Berkeley. Summer sessions do not count as semesters for this purpose.

  2. A student’s class schedule must contain at least 13 units in any term, unless otherwise authorized by the staff adviser or the Undergraduate Dean.

UC and Campus Requirements

University of California Requirements

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by satisfying the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR). The UC Entry Level Writing Requirement website provides information on how to satisfy the requirement

American History and American Institutions

The American History and Institutions (AH&I) requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

Campus Requirement

American Cultures

The American Cultures requirement is a Berkeley campus requirement, one that all undergraduate students at Berkeley need to pass in order to graduate. You satisfy the requirement by passing, with a grade not lower than C- or P, an American Cultures course. You may take an American Cultures course any time during your undergraduate career at Berkeley. The requirement was instituted in 1991 to introduce students to the diverse cultures of the United States through a comparative framework. Courses are offered in more than fifty departments in many different disciplines at both the lower and upper division level.


Plan of Study

For more detailed information regarding the courses listed below (e.g., elective information, GPA requirements, etc.), please see the Major Requirements tab.

CHEM 4A or 1A and 1AL5CHEM 4B5
English R1A or equivalent4PHYSICS 7A4
Breadth Elective3ENGIN 74
 16 17
MATH 534MATH 544
CHM ENG 1404CHM ENG 1414
Breadth Elective3CHM ENG 150A4
 15 16
CHM ENG 1424Breadth Electives6
CHM ENG 150B4 
Upper Division Engineering Elective3-4 
 18-19 17
NUC ENG 1044CHM ENG 160 or NUC ENG 170A3-4
Nuclear Engineering Electives6CHM ENG 1624
CHEM 120A or PHYSICS 137A3-4Breadth Electives6
CHM ENG 154 or C170L3-4 
 16-18 13-14
Total Units: 128-132

Student Learning Goals

Chemical Engineering


The goals of chemical engineering breadth requirements are to teach the arts of writing clearly and persuasively, to develop the skills to read carefully and evaluate evidence effectively, and to instill an awareness of humanity in historical and social contexts. The Berkeley American Cultures requirement affirms the value of diversity in acquiring knowledge.

The technical curriculum in chemical engineering seeks to provide students with a broad education emphasizing an excellent foundation in scientific and engineering fundamentals.


1-An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complx engineering problems by applying the principles of engineering, science, and mathematics

2-An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors

3-An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences

4-An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context

5-An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives

6-An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions

7-An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies

Nuclear Engineering


The mission of the Department of Nuclear Engineering is to maintain and strengthen the University of California's only center of excellence in nuclear engineering education and research and to serve California and the nation by improving and applying nuclear science and technology. The mission of the undergraduate degree program in Nuclear Engineering is to prepare our students to begin a lifetime of technical achievement and professional leadership in academia, government, the national laboratories, and industry.

Learning Goals

The foundation of the UC Berkeley Nuclear Engineering (NE) program is a set of five key objectives for educating undergraduate students. The NE program continuously reviews these objectives internally to ensure that they meet the current needs of the students, and each spring the Program Advisory Committee meets to review the program and recommend changes to better serve students. The NE Program Advisory Committee was established in 1988 and is composed of senior leaders from industry, the national laboratories, and academia.

Nuclear engineering at UC Berkeley prepares undergraduate students for employment or advanced studies with four primary constituencies: industry, the national laboratories, state and federal agencies, and academia (graduate research programs). Graduate research programs are the dominant constituency. From 2000 to 2005, sixty-eight percent of graduating NE seniors indicated plans to attend graduate school in their senior exit surveys. To meet the needs of these constituencies, the objectives of the NE undergraduate program are to produce graduates who as practicing engineers and researchers do the following:

  1. Apply solid knowledge of the fundamental mathematics and natural (both physical and biological) sciences that provide the foundation for engineering applications.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of nuclear processes, and the application of general natural science and engineering principles to the analysis and design of nuclear and related systems of current and/or future importance to society.
  3. Exhibit strong, independent learning, analytical and problem-solving skills, with special emphasis on design, communication, and an ability to work in teams.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the broad social, ethical, safety, and environmental context within which nuclear engineering is practiced.
  5. Value and practice life-long learning.


Chemical Engineering/Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear Engineering

Faculty and Instructors


Keith Alexander, Adjunct Professor. New Product Development, Technology Commercialization.

Nitash P. Balsara, Professor. Chemical engineering, synthesis and characterization of soft microstructured polymer materials, nucleation, neutron scattering, depolarized light scattering.
Research Profile

Alexis T. Bell, Professor. Understanding the fundamental relationships between the structure and composition of heterogeneous catalysts and their performance .
Research Profile

Elton J. Cairns, Professor. Electrochemistry and electrocatalysis.
Research Profile

Carlo Carraro, Adjunct Professor.

Douglas S. Clark, Professor. Biochemical engineering and biocatalysis.
Research Profile

David B. Graves, Professor. Plasma processing and electronic materials.
Research Profile

Teresa Head-Gordon, Professor. Computational chemistry, biophysics, bioengineering, biomolecules, materials, computational science.
Research Profile

Enrique Iglesia, Professor. Chemical engineering, catalytic materials, heterogeneous catalysis, chemical reaction engineering, methane and biomass coversion processes, refining processes, hydrogen generation, alkane activation deoxygenatiion and desulfurization catalysis, zeolites.
Research Profile

Alexander Katz, Assistant Professor. Chemical engineering, nanoengineering, catalytic imprinted silicas, catalysts in biological systems, catalysis, chemical sensing.
Research Profile

Jay Keasling, Professor. Microorganism metabolic engineering for environmentally friendly product .
Research Profile

Sanjay Kumar, Professor. Biomaterials, molecular and cellular bioengineering, stem cells, cancer biology, translational medicine.
Research Profile

Markita Landry, Assistant Professor. Nanomaterials, single-molecule fluorescence microscopy, biophysics.
Research Profile

Jeffrey R. Long, Professor. Inorganic and solid state chemistry, synthesis of inorganic clusters and solids, controlling structure, tailoring physical properties, intermetal bridges, high-spin metal-cyanide clusters, magnetic bistability.
Research Profile

Roya Maboudian, Professor. Surface and interfacial science and engineering, thin-film science and technology, micro-/nano-systems technology, harsh-environment sensors, silicon carbide, biologically-inspired materials synthesis.
Research Profile

Brian Maiorella, Adjunct Professor.

Kranthi K. Mandadapu, Assistant Professor. Statistical Mechanics, Continuum Mechanics — Polycrystalline Materials, Biological Membranes, Bacterial Motility.
Research Profile

Bryan D. McCloskey, Assistant Professor. Electrochemical energy storage, electrocatalysis, molecular and ionic transport through polymers .
Research Profile

Ali Mesbah, Assistant Professor. Process Systems and Control.
Research Profile

Susan J. Muller, Professor. Chemical engineering, fluid mechanics, Rheology, complex fluids, microfabrication processes, Genetic Engineering of Protein Polymers, Finite Element Modeling of Bubbles, Stress Fluids, Taylor-Couette instabilities.
Research Profile

John M. Prausnitz, Professor. Molecular thermodynamics of phase equilibria.
Research Profile

* Clayton J. Radke, Professor. Surface and colloid science technology.
Research Profile

* Jeffrey A. Reimer, Professor. Materials chemistry, applied spectroscopy, alternative energy, nuclear spintronics.
Research Profile

David Schaffer, Professor. Neuroscience, biomolecular engineering, bioengineering, stem cell biology, gene therapy.
Research Profile

Karthik Shekhar, Assistant Professor. Cellular and systems biology, statistical inference, single-cell genomics.
Research Profile

Berend Smit, Professor. Molecular simulations, multi-scale modeling, catalysts, soft-condensed matter, biological membranes, clays.
Research Profile

Rui Wang, Assistant Professor. Theoretical Polymer and Soft Materials, Electrostatics at Interfaces, Structure and Dynamics of Ion-Containing Polymers, Complex Polymer Networks towards the Design of Smart Materials.
Research Profile

Wenjun Zhang, Assistant Professor. Natural product biosynthesis and engineering for health and bioenergy applications.
Research Profile


Negar Beheshti, Lecturer.

Dean C. Draemel, Lecturer.

Sudhir Joshi, Lecturer.

Jason Ryder, Lecturer.

Gregory R. Schoofs, Lecturer.

Steve Sciamanna, Lecturer.

George Tyson, Lecturer.

Marjorie Went, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Harvey W. Blanch, Professor Emeritus. Biochemical Engineering.
Research Profile

Morton Denn, Professor Emeritus.

Jean M. J. Frechet, Professor Emeritus. Materials chemistry, catalysis, drug delivery, analytical chemistry, organic synthesis, polymer science, macromolecules, chiral recognition, control of molecular architecture at the nanometer scale, reactive surfaces.
Research Profile

Simon Goren, Professor Emeritus.

C. Judson King, Professor Emeritus. Separation processes, spray drying, and higher education.
Research Profile

Scott Lynn, Professor Emeritus.

John S. Newman, Professor Emeritus. Chemical engineering, electrochemical systems, lithium batteries, industrial electrochemical processes, methanol fuel cells.
Research Profile

* Michael C. Williams, Professor Emeritus.

Contact Information

Chemical Engineering Joint Major Program

Visit the Program website

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

201 Gilman Hall

Phone: 510-642-2291

Department Chair, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Bryan McCloskey, PhD

Phone: 510-642-2291

Nuclear Engineering

4155 Etcheverry Hall

Phone: 510-642-4077

Fax: 510-643-9685

Department Chair, Nuclear Engineering:

Peter Hosemann, PhD

Phone: 510-642-4077

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