Chemical Engineering

Department of Chemical Engineering


Chair: Dean R. Wheeler

Department Information: 

330 EB



Advisement Center: 

246 EB




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 Program Educational Objectives refer to what graduates are expected to attain within a few years after graduation. These graduates will:

  1. Exhibit enduring faith in Jesus Christ and His teachings through meaningful service to family, church, and community

  2. Have vision, high impact, and positive influence in their chosen profession and responsibilities

  3. Be excellent leaders, colleagues, and learners who respect and appreciate others, their viewpoints, and their contributions

  4. Apply critical thinking and scientific and engineering principles in innovative and safe ways to meet the difficult challenges of society

The achievement of these Program Educational Objectives is supported through attainment of the following Student Outcomes which are what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation.

  1. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics

  2. An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors

  3. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences

  4. An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts

  5. An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives

  6. An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions

  7. An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Chemical Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

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 department advisor (330A) or by declaring online in MyMap. 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 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 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 faculty advisor for direction and counseling with regard to performance in the preprofessional program courses and successful completion of the professional program.

Academic Standards Policy. To help students 1) identify if chemical engineering is a good academic fit, 2) successfully complete the chemical engineering program, and 3) become technically competent engineers capable of performing professional duties in the field, the department has set the academic standards enumerated below.  For this policy, major courses are defined as those used to fulfill the Program Requirements listed for a BS in Chemical Engineering in the Undergraduate Catalog and are found under subheadings preprofessionalprofessionalsupporting, and technical electives.  Since all grades earned for a course (original and retakes) are retained in university records and GPA calculations, only the most recent grades for retaken courses are considered for purposes of this policy. Also, this policy only applies to those courses used to fulfill graduation requirements.

  1. To ensure proper preparation for and successful completion of the chemical engineering program, students must meet the following criteria to register for any upper-division professional courses (i.e. Ch En courses 300 level and above),

    • Have no more than 4 total hours of less than C- credit in any preprofessional or supporting course(s) satisfying program requirements, only 3 of which can be from chemical engineering courses.

    • Pass Ch En 273 with a C- or above.

  2. To help correct technical weaknesses as soon as they are identified, a student who accumulates grades below C- in excess of 6 hours in any course(s) satisfying major requirements (preprofessionalprofessionalsupporting, and technical electives) may not take further chemical engineering courses until the unacceptable credits have been reduced to 6 hours or less.

  3. To demonstrate that graduates from the chemical engineering department are technically competent to perform professional duties in the field, a student may not graduate with more than 4 total hours below C- in any course(s) satisfying major requirements (preprofessionalprofessionalsupporting, and technical electives), only 3 of which can be from chemical engineering.  

  4. A professional program course may not be retaken more than once.

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.

  • 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.