Major: Chemical Engineering

What colleges offer a Major in Chemical Engineering?

Suppose you have this great recipe for chocolate ice cream. You like to make it at home for your family and friends. You make it in a little one-gallon machine that goes into your freezer. But what if you sell your recipe to a big food company? Now they have to be able to make thousands of gallons a day. Each gallon of ice cream needs to taste exactly the same and look exactly the same.

What kind of equipment could they use? How would the recipe change? How can the factory make the ice cream at low cost? These are all questions for the chemical engineer.

Chemical engineering majors learn how to put chemicals to work. Classes cover such topics as improving the way factories use chemicals to make products and solving problems such as rust and pollution.

“The neatest class I took was a class in heat transfer, which was basically on how things heat and cool ... I could tell my mom how long it would take her to cook a turkey.”Tim, senior, chemical engineering, Case Western Reserve University

Are You Ready To...?

  • Take few classes outside your major
  • Take a heavy course load
  • Take possibly five years to earn your degree
  • Complete a senior research or lab project
  • Find a specialty, such as the environment or materials
  • Spend your summer or a semester doing an internship

It Helps To Be...

A creative, curious, logical math fan who loves solving problems. Engineering majors often do projects as teams, so build teamwork skills now.

College Checklist

  • Is the program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology?
  • Will you be able to choose a specialization?
  • Will the department help you find internships or co-ops?
  • Where have students recently interned?
  • What are the computer and lab facilities like? Are they big enough for everyone to get their work done?
  • Is there a chapter of Omega Chi Epsilon, the chemical engineering honor society, on campus?
  • What are recent grads doing now?

Did You Know?

Andrew Grove, the founder of Intel, majored in chemical engineering.

Course Spotlight

As a chemical engineering major, you’ll leave campus to complete a co-op, or internship. As an intern, you'll learn how business and government use the principles you’ve been learning in the classroom.

You might work in a plant and troubleshoot problems on the assembly line. You might work in a lab comparing different plastics. Or you could be part of an environmental firm, traveling to factories with a team of consultants. The possibilities are many.