Considering a Career In ChE?
The majority of students interested in chemical engineering as a major fall into three categories:
- They loved chemistry and math in high school and someone suggested they consider ChE as a major, or
- They were planning to major in biomedical engineering, until someone advised them to consider a more traditional discipline, or
- They think they might apply to medical school but want a back-up plan, and the ChE program overlaps well with the pre-med requirements.
... but none of them really know what chemical engineering is...
That's because it's a very broad program, with many opportunities beyond working in a chemical plant.
So how do we define chemical engineering?
The chemistry lover would look at chemical engineering and think, "Ah, they don't do chemistry, but they make the chemistry happen." We design the reactors, pipes, pumps, separation equipment, etc. for chemistry to take place.
The biomedical engineer and pre-med student would see that we offer courses in fluids and think, "OK, if I can understand the flow fluids through pipes, I can understand the flow of blood through veins, and reaction kinetics can apply to cell growth, OK, I see that.."
For a good description of chemical engineering, the "10 Greatest Achievements of Chemical Engineering" as compiled by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), visit http://www.pafko.com/history//h_whatis.html
But there is so much more to chemical engineering than this! Our graduates work in the pharmaceutical, biomedical, electronic, food, consumer product, chemical, petroleum, materials and environmental industries. Some also go to medical school, dental school or law school, focusing on environmental or patent law.