Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

What Is It?:

Chemical engineering is the study and practice of transforming substances at large scales for the tangible improvement of the human condition. Such transformations are executed to produce other useful substances or energy, and lie at the heart of vast segments of the chemical, petroleum, pharmaceutical and electronic industries.

Chemical engineering differs from chemistry mainly in the focus on large scales. The definition of "large" is a bit arbitrary, of course, but is set mainly by the scale of useful commercial production. Typically, this scale ranges from barrels to tank cars, whereas the chemist tends to be concerned about sizes ranging from vials to beakers.

For more information, please visit the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


  • Chemical Engineering: designed to prepare students for careers in the chemical, food, energy, pharmaceutical, semiconductor processing, personal care, fiber, and materials industries where chemical processes are coupled with heat, mass, and momentum transfer.
  • Biomolecular Engineering: builds upon the traditional principles of Chemical Engineering, but specializes in biological and biotechnological systems in order to better prepare students who seek employment in the food, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries.

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • CHBE 121—Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Profession
  • CHEM 202/203—Accelerated Chemistry I / Accelerated Chemistry Lab I
  • CHEM 204/205—Accelerated Chemistry II / Accelerated Chemistry Lab II
  • MATH 221—Calculus I

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period. 

Possible Career Opportunities:

  • Advanced Materials
  • Biochemical and Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Process Design and Construction
  • Chemical Process Industry
  • Electronics
  • Energy and Fuels
  • Environmental, Safety, and Health
  • Food Processing

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Chemical Engineer
  • Development Engineer
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Process Engineer
  • Production Engineer
  • Reliability Engineer

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

Related Skills:

  • ability to communicate effectively through oral presentations and written reports
  • ability to engage in structured research
  • ability to successfully participate in teams
  • apply knowledge of chemical engineering fundamentals to identify and solve chemical engineering problems
  • apply mathematics and the physical and chemical sciences to identify and solve technical problems
  • broad knowledge to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context
  • design and conduct experiments, as well as analyze and interpret data
  • identify and solve problems in specialized areas related to chemical engineering
  • identify engineering problems and propose appropriate solutions
  • knowledge of computers and information technology
  • motivation to engage in life-long learning, including conducting research using resources beyond the undergraduate curriculum
  • perform step-by-step design of engineered systems and chemical processes
  • understand current technological issues related to chemical engineering
  • understand professional and ethical responsibilities

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.  These organizations include American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Society for Molecular Imprinting.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, visit Undergraduate Programs.