Foundations in Chemical Engineering

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Foundations in Chemical Engineering, CHE804, CHE805, CHE806

students in computer labChemical engineering offers exciting job opportunities, and the curriculum is well-known for producing graduates with cross-disciplinary skills. The Michigan State University (MSU) Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CHEMS) is pleased to offer three specialty online courses, CHE 804, CHE 805, and CHE 806, that cover the foundational concepts from the chemical engineering undergraduate curriculum. The courses serve multiple roles:

  1. Bridging/Continuing Ed Program: Each of these three courses covers important elements of the chemical engineering undergraduate program.  For decades, these courses have provided accelerated “bridging” training that has enabled graduates of other disciplines to broaden their knowledge base or enter chemical engineering M.S. or Ph.D. programs at MSU and many other Tier 1 universities.  Course certificates are awarded to students earning a grade of 3.0/4.0 or better in one of these courses. Course certificates do not appear on the MSU transcript.

  2. Audit/Visitor Option: Students who desire a casual overview of chemical engineering principles may enroll in any of these bridging courses with audit/visitor status. Audit/Visitor students are not required to submit homework and quizzes and do not receive a course grade.

For over two decades, many students who have performed well in MSU’s bridging courses have earned graduate degrees in chemical engineering at MSU and other Tier 1 universities.

Read testimonials from former students


Collectively, the three courses provide an overview of the following MSU undergraduate courses that represent the foundations of technical content of chemical engineering:

  • Material and Energy Balances (CHE 804)
  • Thermodynamics for Chemical Engineering (CHE 804)
  • Chemical Reaction Engineering (CHE 804)
  • Fluid Flow (CHE 805)
  • Heat Transfer (CHE 805)
  • Mass Transfer and Separations (CHE 805)
  • Principles of Process Control and Dynamics (CHE 806)
  • Chemical Process Design and Optimization (CHE 806)

Students completing these courses should understand foundational chemical engineering principles and be able to apply those principles by performing common chemical engineering calculations covered in undergraduate chemical engineering programs.


CHE 804 Foundations in Chemical Engineering I (3 semester credits)

Mass and energy balances in batch, continuous and open systems. Process thermodynamics. Cryogenics. Properties of substances and mixtures. Phase equilibria. Chemical reaction equilibria. Chemical kinetics and reactor modeling. Process design orientation.


CHE 805 Foundations in Chemical Engineering II (3 semester credits)

Momentum, energy, and mass transfer. Laminar and turbulent flow. Fluid friction. Dimensional analysis. Heat transfer in stationary and flowing materials. Heat exchangers. Condensation. Boiling. Binary and multicomponent distillation, absorption, extraction.


CHE 806 Foundations in Chemical Engineering III (3 semester credits)

Process Dynamics, Linearization of Dynamics, Control Strategies, Controller Tuning, Process Economics, Process Design


Description of Mechanics of Course Delivery for both courses.

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CHE804, CHE805, and CHE806 are 3-credit, semester courses that are offered online. Each course covers foundational principles of two or more courses at an expedited pace. 

Students should enroll at least two weeks before classes start. Courses with less than five enrollees two weeks prior to the first day may be cancelled.

ChE 804 will be offered in the Spring 1/09 - 5/5/2023, Academic Calendar

ChE 805 will be offered in the Summer 5/15 - 8/18/2023, Academic Calendar

ChE 806 will be offered in the Fall 8/28 - 12/15/2023, Academic Calendar

We plan to repeat the Spring/Summer/Fall sequence each year.

See How to enroll in the courses below.

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CHE 804, CHE 805, and CHE806 were created to help graduates from science and engineering programs other than chemical engineering bridge into MSU’s graduate program in chemical engineering. MSU does not offer an on-line graduate degree in chemical engineering, but students may take its bridging courses online before matriculating to MSU for graduate training.

Students who have completed a BS degree in a science discipline, such as chemistry, biochemistry, mathematics, physics, etc., or another engineering discipline, may be eligible for admission into MSU’s graduate program in chemical engineering . Information about our program is available at Online application materials and other Graduate School information are available at

Bridging students must meet all requirements and provide all supporting documents specified in the application materials. The Chemical Engineering Graduate Committee will review the applications and notify students if they are conditionally admitted. Such students will then need to earn a grade of at least 3.5/4.0 in CHE 804 and CHE 805 during the Spring and Summer semesters, respectively, before beginning the program in the Fall semester. CHE806 can be taken by bridging students after they have begun the graduate program.

Some other Tier 1 academic institutions have accepted students who have taken MSU’s bridging courses into their graduate chemical engineering programs. Examples include North Carolina State University, Kansas State University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Akron, Ohio University, the University of Tennessee, Auburn, the University of Alabama, and the University of Toronto. Individuals interested in bridging into a school’s chemical engineering graduate program should contact that school’s chemical engineering graduate advisor about their bridge-training recommendations.

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The accelerated pace of CHE 804, 805 and 806 is ideal for busy technical professionals who are interested in developing additional expertise in chemical engineering principles related to chemical and biochemical processing, fluid flow, heat transfer, mass transfer, separations, reactor design, process controls, process design, and process economics.

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Course eligibility and prerequisites are listed on the course outlines. If you have questions about the suitability of your background, contact one of the professors for the courses:

CHE 804 - Professor Carl Lira,, (517)355-9731

CHE 805 - Professor Mark Worden,, (517)353-9015

CHE 806 - Contact either Professor Lira or Professor Worden


There is no formal application process or screening of enrollees. However, deficiency in a course prerequisite will require greater student time commitment, and possibly dropping of the course. Prospective students should review the course mechanics to see an example lesson, instructor expectations for student time commitment, procedures for homework, quizzes and the final exam, and methods to order textbooks.

Enrolling: Students should ideally enroll at least two weeks before a course’s start date. Please see the information on MSU enrollment and course setup.

After enrolling, students should acquire any required textbook(s) and confirm the suitability of their computer system.

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MSU tuition costs are available here. Each course the three credit hours. (For more detailed access to the controller’s office, click here).

TUITION IS TYPICALLY LESS FOR OFF-CAMPUS, LIFELONG EDUCATION STUDENTS THAN FOR ON-CAMPUS STUDENTS ENROLLED IN A DEGREE PROGRAM.  Individuals don’t need to be Michigan residents to enroll in MSU courses as a Lifelong Education student.

Required textbook(s) for the courses (see course outlines) are typically purchased through online bookstores.

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For more information:

Michigan State University    
Department of Chemical Engineering      
428 S. Shaw Lane                     
2100 Engineering Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1226
Phone: (517)-355-5135                    
CHEMS Homepage