Gas storage spheres tank in petrochemical plant

Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering is a branch of engineering that applies the life sciences (biochemistry, microbiology, biology) and the physical sciences (physics and chemistry) together with economics and mathematics to processes that convert chemicals or raw materials into more useful forms. There are two broad subgroups: chemical process engineers and chemical product engineers. The first group looks at the operation and manufacture of machinery in industrial chemical and other processes. The second group looks at the development of new substances for products such as beverages, food, cosmetics and cleaners.

Program Information

The University of California Berkeley has one of the best Chemical engineering programs in the country. The Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering is intended as preparation for a future career in chemical engineering or any related disciplines. It contains a broad range of interdisciplinary options in areas such as chemical processing, biotechnology, environmental technology, applied physical science, and materials science and technology. A student must successfully complete at least 120 semester units to graduate, and must earn at least a C grade in all courses. Chemical engineering majors can also do research for credit (usually involving experimental, computational, or theoretical work within the context of funded research) under the direction of a department faculty member. MIT also has an excellent Chemical engineering program. The Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering is for students who want a broad education in the application of chemical engineering. It is applicable to many different areas, including surface science, energy and the environment, nanotechnology, systems and process design, and biotechnology. The Bachelor of Science in Chemical-Biological Engineering is another option. It is for students who are interested in the application of chemical engineering in areas of biomedical and biochemical technologies. Some of the requirements for completing the degree include the core chemical engineering subjects as well as additional subjects in applied biology and biological sciences. This program is great preparation for those students who are interested in medical school or a minor in biomedical engineering.

In the cleanroom

Pros & Cons

The average salary for a chemical engineer is high (in 2011 it was $93 000). Chemical engineers can also work in many industries, such as chemical manufacturing, energy and health care, biotechnology, and electronics. There are also many specializations, such as nanotechnology, sales, or specific substances and products. This wide range of industries and specializations is a huge benefit to Chemical engineer graduates, because it allows them to choose what area they want to work in, and also allows them to potentially change fields later in their career. Some jobs may require extensive post-secondary education however, which means more schooling and more tuition money. Chemical engineers may work in hazardous work environments, which can affect their health, and require drastic safety measures to be taken. The coursework can be difficult, as you will be required to take courses in all the sciences and mathematics, which will require a lot of hard work and studying.

Graduate School & Career

There are several focuses available for Chemical engineers. The Traditional Engineering focus involves aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, nuclear engineering, and mechanical engineering. The Energy Industry focus involves the natural gas and petroleum industries. Many engineers focus on refining petroleum products, such as diesel and gasoline fuels, while others focus on the environmental impacts of energy industries or pollution. The Pharmaceutical Industry focus relies heavily on chemical engineers. Chemical engineers in this focus develop their manufacturing processes for drug components and clinical drugs. Other Chemical engineers work in the Research and Development focus, in fields like nanotechnologies, electronics engineering and robotics. They can research focuses in fields like waste treatment, chemical plants, and paper manufacturing.