CENG Area of Specialization and Technical Electives

In choosing your technical electives, you should keep in mind that these classes are meant to broaden your educational background. You can select courses in different areas, to enhance your breadth of knowledge. However, if you have a specific career objective in mind, you may choose an area of specialization and select three electives within the same discipline. Keep in mind that several classes outside of the NanoEngineering Department (biotechnology, microelectronics, and materials), need additional prerequisites and may extend your program completion time.

If you are planning for graduate school, you may want to consider the general, but more fundamental, area of Engineering Sciences. In all cases, we also accept graduate level courses that pertain to each area. A petition must be submitted for undergraduate and graduate courses not on the pre-approved list below. Undergraduate students who would like to enroll in graduate level courses must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or above.

The courses listed here other than NANO and CENG are under the control of other departments. All departments strictly enforce the course prerequisites for all students. Each student is responsible for determining the prerequisites, when the courses are to be offered, and making a schedule of taking the courses that fits into his or her own graduation plan.

Biotechnology/Biochemical Engineering

NANO 103, 242, 244, 262
CENG 160, 207, 254, 256
BENG 100, 110, 112A, 112B, 130, 186A

Microelectronic Devices and Materials

Fabrication of electronic materials or microelectronics devices involves many chemical engineering principles and processes. Selections from the following courses would give a sound background for understanding basic physics and device technology. With this option, virtually all ECE classes require petition with the ECE Department. WebReg would not work. These classes require at least PHYS 2D as a prerequisite. As a substitute for PHYS 2D, CHEM 130 may be taken as part of advanced chemistry requirement.

NANO 107
CENG 157
ECE 103, 134, 135A, 136L

Engineering Mechanics

This is an area with emphasis on mechanical engineering, which like chemical engineering, is also a broad-based engineering discipline.

NANO 141A, 141B
MAE 104, 131A, 149, 160

Engineering Science

This is a general area with emphasis on fundamental engineering sciences. This area is intended for those who are serious about graduate research. In addition to the following suggestions, students are free to choose other classes, especially graduate level courses.

MAE 104, 105, 107, 140, 149
NANO 114B, 141A

Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineering is one of the industrial sector that makes extensive use of chemical engineering. In addition to the development of technologies for hazardous waste treatment, there is also need for the design of new processes with low waste emission. Government agencies also need chemical engineers for various monitoring and regulatory activities. (The following MAE courses are only offered on a sporadic basis.)

ESYS 103
MAE 119, 121, 122, 123, 125, 126A, 126B, 127

Materials Science and Engineering

Materials science and engineering rest heavily on physical chemistry. While there are more traditional applications in polymer processes, new areas of development are in composite and advanced materials. With a firm background in physical chemistry, chemical engineering major should have no problem with the listed graduate level materials science courses. You are recommended to take Chem 130 as part of your advanced chemistry requirement courses.

CENG 134/ NANO 134/ CHEM 134
NANO 100L,159, 174, 174L
ECE 134
MATS 201A, 201B, 201C, 205A, 227

*Credit cannot be given for more than one course between CENG 134, NANO 134, and CHEM 134


These courses address the fundamental chemical and physical issues that arise when engineers work at the nanoscale.

NANO 102, 103, 104, 106, 108, 110, 111, 112, 140, 145, 146, 148, 150, 156**, 158, 159, 161, 162, 164, 168, 175***, 201, 243*,253
CENG 134 (NANO 134/CHEM 134),157, 175***, 207*, 208, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215

*Credit cannot be given for both CENG 207 and NANO 243
**NANO 156 and MAE 166 are cross-listed courses. CENG majors must enroll in NANO 156
***NANO 175 and CENG 175 are cross-listed courses and credit cannot be given for both.

Process Dynamics and Control

The chemical process industries were among the first to be automated. Process control has become an integral part of process design and operation. The modeling of the dynamics of chemical and biochemical processes is crucial to their understanding and control.

MAE 140, 142, 143A, 144, 149, 180A

To fulfill the basic process control requirement for the B.S. degree, students can take one of the following three courses: CENG 120* or MAE 143B, or ECE 171A. (*CENG 120 can be replaced by MAE 143B or ECE 171A only if a student chooses Process Dynamics and Control as the Area of Specialization). The basic process control requirement course above that you take does not fulfill one of the 3 AS course requirements.

Thermal Engineering and Systems

This is an area that offers opportunities for energy conversion and thermo-sciences in the aerospace, utility and other energy-related industries.

MAE 110, 113, 118, 119, 120

Independent Research


CENG 199. Independent Study for Undergraduates (4-4) Research project as equivalent to a "senior thesis" can be approved for two Technical Elective courses (eight units total). This course is taken as an elective on a P/NP basis. It must be done in consecutive quarters and the student must find a faculty member who will oversee the research project. Eligible students must have completed at least 90 units and must have a UC San Diego cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Detailed policy and procedures may be obtained from the Student Affairs Office. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor. Click here to learn how to enroll in CENG 199.


Global TIES and Engineering Leadership (Effective Spring 2015) Students can choose one of the options as one approved Technical Elective:

  • ENG 100D (4 units): Design for Development
  • ENG 100L (2 units) and ENG 100L (2 units): Design for Development Lab (total of 4 units) - can take in two quarters
  • ENG 100B (2 units) and 100L (2 units): Engineering Leadership and Design for Development Lab (total of 4 units) - can take in two quarters