Undergraduate Studies

BS in Chemical Engineering

What is Chemical Engineering?

Also see History of Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering is concerned with the analysis and design of processes that deal with the transfer and transformation of energy and material. The practice of chemical engineering includes the conception, development, design, and application of physicochemical processes and their products; the economic development, design, construction, operation, control, and management of plants for these processes; and activities relating to public service, education, and research. Traditional employment areas in the chemical process industries include industrial chemicals, petroleum and petrochemicals, plastics, pharmaceuticals, metals, textiles, and food. Chemical engineers are also working in increasing numbers in the areas of energy engineering, pollution abatement, and biochemical and biomedical engineering; in addition, they are employed by many government laboratories and agencies as well as private industries and institutions.

Curriculum Description

The chemical engineering curriculum trains students to enter the diverse areas of employment or graduate study. The considerable number of electives in the curriculum provides flexibility for individuals to design programs that fulfill their needs and interests. They also provide an opportunity for students to elect departmental options or interdisciplinary minors.
Graduates from the program have the ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering to identify, formulate, and solve chemical engineering problems as well as to design and conduct experiments safely and analyze and interpret data. They are prepared to pursue advanced studies in chemical engineering. Program graduates gain a sense of professional and ethical responsibility with the ability to apply environmental, safety, economic, and ethical criteria in the design of engineering processes. They learn to function in individual and group working environments, and learn skills in written and oral communication and the effective use of computers for engineering practice, including information search in the library and on the Internet. They also understand the need for lifelong learning and the significance of societal and global issues relevant to chemical engineering.
A minimum of 129 credits is required for graduation with the degree of bachelor of science in chemical engineering. There are nine electives in the chemical engineering curriculum. Five of these are for the general education requirements. The remaining four electives should consist of three chemical engineering electives and one additional technical elective.

Students are required to obtain a minimum 2.00 grade-point average in CHE 501-502 and in overall standing at the end of the sophomore year in order to continue in the major.

Starting Salaries

Top-Paid Majors for the Class of 2012

Among the college Class of 2012, engineering tops the list of highest-paid majors, according to results of a new survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

“As a group, engineering majors currently have the highest reported overall average salary at the bachelor's level.  Their current average salary stands at $60,639, up 1.9 percent from $59,496," as reported by the NACE Salary Survey September 2012 Executive Summary.

Chemical engineering graduates experienced a 3.4 percent increase over the 2011 average salary, which raised the overall average salary for graduates of chemical engineering to $66,200.

Source: NACE September 2012 Salary Survey Executive Summary. Data represent job functions for which the most data were reported; all data are for bachelor’s degree candidates.