Undergraduate FAQs

CBE Student Services has created this list of frequently asked questions to help you get quick answers and assistance:

The following questions, with answers, are listed on this page. Click on an individual question to jump directly to the answer.

How do I drop a course after the first week of classes but before the drop deadline?

You will need a pink drop/add slip, which you can obtain from 2162 Sweeney. The pink slips can be found on the wall rack to your right when you step inside the main door.  To drop a class you will need your instructor’s signature before you can get your adviser to sign the form.  Once you have all the appropriate signatures, take the form to 10 Enrollment Services to have the course manually dropped on your record.

See the Registrar’s website for more info: http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/students/add-drop.

 

How do I add a course after the first week of classes?

This is a similar procedure to dropping a class. Have your pink drop/add slip filled out with the class you want to add, obtain the instructor’s signature, and then get your adviser’s signature.  You will take the form to 10 Enrollment Services to have the course manually added to your record.

See the Registrar’s website for more info: http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/students/add-drop

 

Can I take a course pass/not pass?

A maximum of nine Pass-Not Pass semester credits may be used to meet graduation requirements. Courses offered on a Satisfactory-Fail basis may not be taken on a Pass-Not Pass basis.

Pass-Not Pass credits can be applied toward requirements for a B.S. degree in chemical engineering only if the course is specified in the curriculum as a social science and humanities elective or is a course not used in the degree program.  Pass-Not Pass credits are not acceptable for technical elective courses or for courses used to satisfy the U.S. Diversity or International Perspectives requirements.

The procedure is similar to adding or dropping a class.  You will need to use a pink drop/add slip and obtain the appropriate signatures.  For more information, find the policy in the CBE Handbook.

 

Can I take a course for which I do not have the listed prerequisite(s)?

If you do not have the necessary prerequisite(s) for a course, then you need to complete a Prerequisite Waiver Form and explain in detail how you have learned the material taught in the prerequisite course. Your adviser and instructor have to approve this form in order for you to stay in the course.

 

How many credits can I take per semester?

During the fall and spring, students can take up to 18 credits (21 for Honors students). During the summer, students can take up to 12 credits.  In certain situations, it may be possible for students to increase their credit limit; students must consult with their adviser to see if this is possible.

A typical schedule for a full-time student is between 12-16 credits.  It is a good idea to make sure your schedule is balanced and to ask your adviser for help with that.

http://catalog.iastate.edu/registration/#limitsholdstext.

 

What is the minimum grade I need to pass a course?

There is no official minimum or “passing” grade for our program, although there are some caveats.  Technically, a “D-” or higher is considered passing, while an “F” is failing. While a “D-” may be a passing grade, you will want to consider your success moving forward or if you might be better off retaking the course. If you receive a grade of “C-” or below, make sure to consult with your adviser about retaking the course.

Please note the following caveats:

  • The Math department requires at least a “C-” to progress from one course to the next.
  • ChE students must earn at least a 2.0 GPA in the Basic Program and ChE Core.
  • Transfer courses must be a “C” or higher in order to count towards your degree.

 

What are academic warning and academic probation?

A student may end up on Academic Warning (W) or Academic Probation (P) based on their fall or spring semester GPA. See the Catalog for more information on these academic policies.

See the following links for more information on College of Engineering policies:

Current Engineering Students Academic Policies

Academic Warning and Academic Probation Guidelines

 

What is academic dismissal and how do I get reinstated?

A student on Academic Probation who fails to meet the semester requirements may be academically dismissed. The College of Engineering Academic Standards Committee handles academic dismissals. If you are dismissed, you may apply for reinstatement.  Please see the links below for more information on reinstatement policies and procedures.  If you have an extenuating circumstance that contributed towards your dismissal, then you may be eligible to apply for immediate reinstatement. If you are considering immediate reinstatement, then please speak with an academic adviser as soon as possible.

Reinstatement Procedure

Reinstatement and Renewal

 

I am interested in doing research. How do I begin?

First, start browsing the CBE Faculty Research pages to get a better idea of the area of interest you would like to research further. Identify a few professors with whom you’d like to work and contact them via email, in person, or by phone.  Discuss the opportunity with them and whether they have space available in their research lab.  Select one of your options and work with that professor to complete a ChE 490 Proposal Form.  You may find this form on the CBE webpage under Current Students, Forms, and then on the lefthand side of the page under Undergraduate Student Forms.  Submit this form to your adviser for approval and to get a reference number to register for the class.

 

How do I transfer a course I took at another school to ISU?

If you wish to transfer a course that you took at another institution to ISU, then you will need to request that institution to send your transcript to ISU’s Office of Admissions. Transcripts can be sent by mail to:

Office of Admissions

100 Enrollment Services Center

2433 Union Drive

Ames IA 50011-2011

Or you can have your transcripts sent electronically as a PDF to admstrns@iastate.edu.

Please note that only transfer grades of “C” and higher are accepted for curriculum requirements.  Additionally, the last 32 credits of the degree program must be earned at Iowa State University. Exceptions to the last 32 credit requirement may be granted in special cases.  Please consult with your academic adviser if you have questions.

 

What is my degree audit?

Your degree audit is a report that shows your academic progress towards your specified major as well as any declared minors or certificates.

 

How do I access my degree audit?

Students can generate their degree audits from AccessPlus. See the Registrar’s website for directions.

 

How do I know what courses count as a technical elective?

Approved technical electives can be found by checking your CBE Handbook. Additionally, check your Degree Audit to make sure that courses you have taken or are registered for show under the Other Remaining Courses section in the correct requirement.

 

How do I know what courses count as a SSH elective?

Approved SSH electives can be found by checking your CBE Handbook. The handbook will list all of the approved SSH electives for ChE students.  Additionally, check your Degree Audit to make sure that courses you have taken or are registered for show under the SSH section.

 

What is done with student evaluations at the end of each semester?

Student evaluations are collected and reviewed for each course by the department.  Each set of course evaluations are reviewed by the department chair and provided to the instructor.  If there is ever a concern about a class or its structure, changes can be made, but these changes take time to process through the appropriate curriculum committees at the University and may take up to two years to be reflected in the new course catalog.  Your input is valuable to the department and we are always working to make your education meaningful and beneficial to prepare you for a career after graduation.

 

How do I know which courses count toward the US Diversity (US DIV) or International Perspective (IP) requirements?

The Office of the Registrar keeps a listing of all US DIV and IP courses. You can also check your CBE Handbook to see which courses also count towards the SSH elective requirement.

 

How do I prepare for medical school, law school, or graduate school?

If you are considering continuing on to medical school or a professional school in a medically related field, then you should consider meeting with a pre-med or pre-health adviser from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: https://las.iastate.edu/students/academics/pre-med-health/.

If you are considering law school, then you should consider meeting with a pre-law adviser:  https://las.iastate.edu/students/academics/pre-law/

If you are considering getting your masters or Ph.D in chemical engineering, then you should speak with your ChE faculty mentor.  Faculty mentors are assigned to students during ChE 202.

 

How do I find a study abroad program?

When searching for a study abroad program, you can start with either Engineering International Programs or the Study Abroad Center.

 

What types of learning communities does the department offer?

First-year Learning Community (Fall and Spring Semester)—This learning community is for new, incoming freshmen. You will register for the learning community with your advisor during summer orientation.  For more information visit the Learning Community

Transfer Student Learning Community (Fall semester only)—This learning community is for incoming, first-year transfer students to Iowa State University. You will register for this learning community with your advisor during orientation.  To learn more about the community, visit the Learning Community

Upper-Division Learning Community (Fall and Spring semester)—This learning community is for junior and senior Chemical Engineering students. With this learning community, you will have the opportunity to link together ENGL 314 and ChE 325.  To register for this learning community, you will want to watch your e-mail for more information around registration time.  For more information about this learning community, please visit the Learning Community

 

How do I register for the First-Year Learning Community during spring semester?

Before course registration begins for spring semester, you will receive an e-mail with a link to a survey. If you want to be a part of the spring learning community, you will want to fill out the survey within the time frame given.

Shortly after you fill out the survey, you will receive another e-mail with instructions about how to actually register for the learning community. This e-mail has a lot of important information and you will need to follow this step-by-step for it to work in the registration system.

Your peer mentors from fall semester learning community will give you more detail when it is close to registration time.

Notes: Make sure you enter the L TM Reference Number given in the e-mail first. After you enter that number, you will then be able to select the courses you want from the grid and register for those courses.

If you are still struggling with registration, please contact the person listed on the e-mail.  During registration it is a busy time for everyone, so you will want to be patient when trying to get a response.

 

How do I register for the Upper-Division Learning Community?

Before course registration begins for the semester, you will receive an e-mail with a link to a survey. If you want to be a part of the upper-division learning community, you will want to fill out the survey within the time frame given.

Shortly after you fill out the survey, you will receive another e-mail with instructions about how to actually register for the learning community. This e-mail has a lot of important information and you will need to follow this step-by-step for it to work in the registration system.

Notes: Make sure you enter the L TM Reference Number given in the e-mail first. After you enter that number, you will then be able to select the courses you want from the grid and register for those courses.

If you are still struggling with registration, please contact the person listed on the e-mail.  During registration it is a busy time for everyone, so you will want to be patient when trying to get a response.

 

How do I register for courses on AccessPlus?

Follow along with the video provided by the Office of the Registrar for step-by-step instructions.