Chemical Engineering

Department of Chemical Engineering
Department Information
350 CB
Advisement Center
242 CB

The Discipline

Chemical engineering is the application of chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, computer skills, and economics to designing, developing, and implementing chemical processes that convert raw materials into more useful, valuable products. Engineering skills are required for design, testing, scale-up, operation, control, and optimization. Applications range in size from the molecular level to large chemical production facilities with objectives ranging from economic performance to protection of the environment and the safety of workers and consumers. Chemical engineers are engaged in developing and producing a diverse range of products from raw materials to commodity and specialty chemicals. These products include high-performance materials needed for aerospace, automotive, biomedical, electronic, environmental, and military applications. Chemical engineers work in a variety of industries, including chemical manufacturing, energy, biotechnology, electronics, food, clothing, paper, health care, and business services.

Educational Objectives

The Chemical Engineering Department's educational objectives apply to graduates in the years following their graduation. These graduates will:

  1. Remain committed to and exhibit lives of faith in Jesus Christ and service to family and community (including church).
  2. Exemplify a dedication to life-long learning beyond their degree, including staying abreast and informed of contemporary and global issues, to develop professionally and grow intellectually.
  3. Be effective and innovative in developing and implementing solutions to open-ended problems (technical and/or non-technical), and thereby contribute to the improvement of society. In doing this, graduates will draw on the foundation of a broad university education and of excellent preparation in mathematics, science, and engineering.
  4. Exemplify sound ethics, be professionally responsible, interact effectively with others, appreciate their contributions, and contribute to their growth and development.

These objectives will be achieved through the development of the following attributes in students graduating from the program:

  1. A knowledge of the requirements of the chemical engineering major, familiarity with professional opportunities, and a knowledge of contemporary issues.
  2. An ability to apply knowledge of fundamental principles of mathematics and science.
  3. An ability to apply knowledge of chemical engineering fundamentals.
  4. Practical experience with chemical process equipment, chemical handling, chemical analysis, and process instrumentation, including the ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
  5. An ability to use modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
  6. An ability to define and solve engineering problems, including the utilization of creative and innovative skills.
  7. An understanding of the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
  8. An ability to communicate ideas effectively in both oral and written form.
  9. An ability to work effectively with others from diverse backgrounds to accomplish common goals.
  10. An ability to apply chemical engineering fundamentals to design process units and systems of process units including multiple operations, within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.
  11. An appreciation for and a commitment to ethical, professional, and personal responsibilities.
  12. An appreciation for and a commitment to the continuing pursuit of excellence and the full realization of human potential in self and others.

Career Opportunities

The combination of knowledge about process engineering, math, and chemistry obtained in the chemical engineering curriculum is a versatile preparation that opens a wide variety of opportunities to graduates. This versatility is one reason why chemical engineers have traditionally been among the highest paid professionals in the engineering and science disciplines.

Chemical engineers make a significant difference in the quality of life. Some develop clean, new energy sources to power society. Some develop and produce fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals to feed mankind. Virtually all pharmaceuticals are produced by chemical engineers to enhance the life of millions. Others study and produce biomedical devices and artificial organs. Still others are involved in development and production of new materials for use in new high-tech products.

Chemical engineers produce chemicals ranging in use from cleaning products to medicines and from man-made fibers for clothing and textiles to plastics for construction and consumer goods. Another large employer of chemical engineers is the semiconductor industry. In work that involves significant knowledge of chemistry and related processes, chemical engineers assist in the design and manufacture of semiconductor chips and circuit boards. The petroleum industry also employs chemical engineers, requiring their expertise for the discovery, production, and refining of petro-chemicals, including fuels, chemicals, and oils.

Many chemical engineers are employed in environmentally related positions, working on ways to improve air and water quality, to reduce acid rain and smog, and to recycle and reduce waste. Additionally, chemical engineers are employed by universities as teachers and researchers and by government agencies to provide answers for energy, environmental, and defense concerns. Chemical engineers also train to work in the medical, business, and legal professions.

Though chemical engineering career opportunities are diverse, job functions can be categorized more easily. Chemical engineers are usually involved in research, design, development, production, technical sales, or management.

In research, they develop new ideas, new products, and new ways to produce existing products more economically and with less environmental impact.

In design, they create the processes that convert raw materials into finished products with emphasis on efficiency, safety, consumer needs, and environmental protection.

The development engineer improves existing processes and technology to better meet changing needs.

Production engineering involves supervision, quality control, and testing of production processes and operations.

Management and technical sales involve decision making with regard to consumer needs and technical capabilities.

Chemical engineers are creative problem solvers. Their careers are rewarding not only from an intellectual and financial view, but also from a personal perspective. Affecting the lives of millions, their solutions provide a better lifestyle for mankind.

General Information

The Chemical Engineering Department offers a professional program leading to the bachelor of science degree.

Any student who is admitted to the university may choose this program as a possible major. All students are urged to declare their intention to major in the department upon first entry to the university or as soon thereafter as possible by contacting the college advisement center (242 CB). The Chemical Engineering Department requires the student to meet with their department advisor upon completion of Ch En 273 and Math 302 or equivalent.

Transfer Students. Provisions have been made so that a qualified student transferring from a junior college or from another university, college, or department, who has completed the equivalent of the first two years of the academic program, can complete the BS degree requirements in another two years. Contact the department at the earliest date possible so that any variations can be accommodated with minimum loss of time.

Integrated Master's Program. At the end of the sophomore year or during the junior year, qualified students desiring a master's degree in chemical engineering may elect to enter the integrated master's program. The purpose of this program is to afford greater flexibility in scheduling course work than is normally available through the traditional BS degree followed by MS degree program. In this program students may work toward both the bachelor's and master's degrees simultaneously, either receiving the BS degree before or at the same time as the MS degree. At the end of the sophomore year students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or more. All credit to be counted toward the master's degree must carry a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.

Before completing the final 30 hours of undergraduate course work, students should submit a formal application for admission to the Office of Graduate Studies. Additional details may be obtained from the college advisement center.

Professional Registration. The Chemical Engineering Department encourages graduates to become registered professional engineers. General qualifications for becoming registered are explained in the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology section of this catalog. Some states require this status for consulting and practice in the private sector. Successful completion of the basic chemical engineering program outline prepares graduates to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination. Students who wish to become registered as professional engineers are also advised to talk to their advisor about developing their own professional engineering option, which may include additional FE preparation courses.

Professional Program Admission Policy. Admission to the professional program is available to all students in good academic standing with the university who have (a) passed the prerequisite courses for the first-semester professional courses, namely Ch En 273 and Math 302, and (b) submitted to the department an Application for the Chemical Engineering Professional Program.

The Application for the Chemical Engineering Professional Program requires the student to meet with their department advisor for direction and counseling with regard to performance in the preprofessional program courses and successful completion of the professional program.

Academic Standards and Continuance Policy. The student's academic standing with the university must be "Good" or "Previous" to enroll in professional program courses. Anyone who accumulates chemical engineering grades below C– in excess of 6 hours may not take further chemical engineering courses until he or she has reduced the unacceptable credits to 6 hours or less. A student may not graduate with more than 3 hours below C– in chemical engineering courses and courses used to fulfill the technical electives requirement. Since all grades earned for a course (original and any retakes) are retained in university records and GPA calculations, this policy applies to the most recent grades for retaken courses.

Graduation Requirements

To receive a BYU bachelor's degree a student must complete, in addition to all requirements for a specific major, the following university requirements:

  • The University Core, consisting of requirements in general and religious education. (For a complete listing of courses that meet university core requirements, see here.)
  • At least 30 credit hours must be earned in residence on the BYU campus in Provo as an admitted day student
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • Be in good standing with the Honor Code Office

Students should see their college advisement center for help or information concerning the undergraduate programs.

Graduate Programs Available

This department also offers graduate degree programs. For more information, see Graduate Studies.