The chemical engineering profession is a close-knit group with a common background in chemical processes, systems analysis, and systems economics. Chemical engineering training occurs through course and laboratory work addressing mathematical, scientific, and engineering fundamentals. With a strong background in mathematics, chemistry, and physics, chemical engineering students study transport phenomena (the description of momentum, heat, and mass transfer in chemical processes); chemical kinetics and reaction engineering; process control and design; and optimization of chemical processes. These subjects are common throughout the traditional chemical industry, applying as well to other industries such as electronics manufacture and biological and biochemical engineering. Chemical engineers find industrial employment in areas of electronics, petroleum, consulting, chemical, automotive, forest products, biotechnology, and energy. Chemical engineers also find careers in academia and government and military service.
The Department of Chemical Engineering offers the following programs of study:
Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering
Suggested College Courses for First Five Quarters: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126, MATH 307, MATH 308, CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162, CHEM 237, CHEM 238, PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123, ENGL 131 (or equivalent), AMATH 301 (or CSE 142)
Department Admission Requirements ( For currently enrolled UW students applying for admission for Autumn 2018. All other students should follow the admission requirements effective Autumn 2018 below.)
Core courses within the department form a seven-quarter curriculum designed to start in spring quarter of the sophomore year. Admission is competitive. Completion of minimum requirements described below does not guarantee admission. Applicants not admitted under one admission group may subsequently apply to another admission group after completing more coursework. All applicants have the right to petition and appeal the department's admission decision.
Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option (NME): Admission to the NME option is competitive, and normally occurs upon completion of NME 220. Admission is based on grades, including NME 220 and any CHEM E courses already taken. A small number of students may be admitted into the NME option upon application to the department. Admission is based on the student's academic record and prior experience/work in the field of nanoscience and/or molecular engineering. Students applying for the NME option should so indicate on their chemical engineering application and discuss their interests and background in the essay.
The department enrolls up to 30 percent of its class from students who have taken one year of college-level coursework through the UW. The application is available at www.engr.washington.edu/uapp. Admission is for autumn quarter only. Application deadline is July 1.
Course Requirements:MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126; CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162; PHYS 121; and 5 credits of English composition, chosen from C LIT 240, ENGL 109-ENGL 110, ENGL 111, ENGL 121, ENGL 131, ENGL 197, ENGL 198, ENGL 199, or ENGL 281.
All courses must be completed prior to the July 1 application deadline.
Credit Requirements: Applicants must be completing their freshman year at the UW and must have completed a minimum 15 credits taken in residence at the UW.
Grade Requirements: Minimum 2.0 grade in each prerequisite course and minimum 2.50 GPA
Department Admission Requirements (Effective Autumn 2018)
Core courses within the department form a seven-quarter curriculum designed to start spring quarter of the sophomore year. Because the curriculum is cohort-based and all students start and proceed at the same pace, placement and admission to the major is designed to facilitate students starting the curriculum spring quarter.Engineering Undeclared Students
See section on College of Engineering Admission for additional details on Direct-to-College admission and the placement process for Engineering Undeclared students.
Deadlines for Engineering Undeclared students to request placement into Chemical Engineering: July 1 and January 15.
Requirements to request placement for July 1 deadline
Requirements to request placement for the January 15 deadline
If the number of Engineering Undeclared students requesting placement into the major exceeds the department capacity for Engineering Undeclared students, a competitive matching process is implemented. Factors considered include performance in prerequisite courses, quality of overall academic record, demonstrated ability to take at least 12 credits per quarter, record of honors, content of personal statement, applicable work or extracurricular activities, and other special circumstances as disclosed by the applicant.Other Current UW Students and Transfer Students
Current UW students without Engineering Undeclared status and transfer students may apply. Admission is competitive.
Factors evaluated for admission include performance in prerequisite courses, quality of overall academic record, demonstrated ability to take at least 12 credits per quarter, record of honors, content of personal statement, applicable work or extracurricular activities, and other special circumstances as disclosed by the applicant.
General Expectations of Academic Progress: Completion of all admission requirements listed for “Other Current UW Students and Transfer Students” as well as the following courses by the start of autumn quarter of the junior year: organic chemistry I and II (CHEM 237 and CHEM 238; or CHEM 223, CHEM 224; or CHEM 335 and CHEM 336), PHYS 123, AMATH 301 (or CSE 142), MATH 308, CHEM 310.
Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option (NME): Admission to the NME option is competitive, and normally occurs upon completion of NME 220. Admission is based on grades, including NME 220 and any CHEM E courses already taken. A small number of students may be admitted. Admission is based on the student's academic record and prior experience/work in the field of nanoscience and/or molecular engineering. Students applying for the NME option should so indicate on their chemical engineering application and discuss their interests and background in the essay.
180 credits, as follows:
General Education Requirements (97 credits)
Major Requirements (74 credits)
Unspecified Electives (9 credits): to reach 180 credits
Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option Major Requirements (77 credits)
Unspecified Electives (6 credits): to reach 180 credits.
A minimum 2.00 GPA in core chemical engineering courses, based on the first time each course is taken, is required for graduation.
Many engineers design new equipment and processes or design modifications to them. The design experience is integrated throughout the curriculum, with open-ended problems (sometimes involving economic constraints) in several courses: design of heat exchangers (CHEM E 340) and distillation towers (CHEM E 435), design of piping and pumping systems (CHEM E 330), design of chemical reactors (CHEM E 465). The design experience culminates in two capstone design courses (CHEM E 485 and CHEM E 486 or CHEM E 497) which involve the design of an integrated chemical system. An optional 9-credit specialty area allows each student to develop special competence in a selected subject by taking a minimum of three courses in that area. Engineering and free electives may be used for this purpose. The areas are biotechnology; fuel cells and energy; polymers, composites, colloids, and interfaces; computers applied to chemical engineering; environmental engineering; and nuclear engineering.
All students must make satisfactory academic progress in the major. Failure to do so results in probation, which can lead to dismissal from the major. For the complete continuation policy, contact the departmental adviser or refer to the department website.
Student Outcomes and Opportunities
Of Special Note:
Entrance into most chemical engineering courses is ordinarily limited to majors in chemical engineering and bioresource science and engineering. Other students who wish to take departmental courses must meet the prerequisites and obtain instructor approval (except for CHEM E 485 and CHEM E 486, which are open to majors only).
Graduate Program Coordinator
The department offers studies leading to the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Science in Chemical Engineering, and Master of Science in Engineering. The doctoral degree is centered on the dissertation with a foundation in coursework; it is generally completed in four to five years beyond the baccalaureate degree. In the master's program primary emphasis is placed on coursework, and the degree generally requires 21 months of study. Thesis and non-thesis options are available.
The program of study includes basic subjects of importance to all chemical engineers, such as thermodynamics, transport phenomena, kinetics, and applied mathematics. In addition, students are invited to take more-specialized courses in chemical engineering or in other departments. Students usually take three courses during their first quarter. In subsequent quarters, less time is spent on coursework, and more on research and independent study.
The department has about seventy full-time graduate students, most of whom are working toward a doctorate. They study and collaborate with faculty members in an atmosphere that is informal, friendly, and intellectually vigorous. Faculty interests are broad, so students become familiar with a variety of areas while receiving individual guidance in a specialty.
Master of Science in Chemical Engineering
Most students have a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. A student who has an undergraduate degree in chemistry, physics, mathematics, or another branch of engineering may obtain a graduate degree in chemical engineering by meeting certain additional requirements. To be competitive, applicants must:
39 credits to include:
Degree requirements can be completed in four quarters (completion in three is possible).
39 credits, and other requirements, to include:
Master of Science in Engineering
Most students applying for graduate admission have a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. A student who has an undergraduate degree in chemistry, physics, mathematics, or another branch of engineering may obtain a graduate degree in chemical engineering by meeting certain additional requirements.
To be competitive, applicants must:
Requirements are the same as for the MSChE thesis option, except that the research adviser tailors course requirements to the student’s background and research objectives (subject to Graduate Program Coordinator approval). Relative to the MSChE options, usually less emphasis is on chemical engineering, more on engineering science and related subjects.
Doctor of Philosophy
Most applicants have a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. A student has an undergraduate degree in chemistry, physics, mathematics, or another branch of engineering may obtain a graduate degree in chemical engineering by meeting certain additional requirements.
To be competitive, applicants must:
90-108 credits, as follows:
Benson Hall contains classrooms, offices, stockrooms, a machine shop, laboratories, and a variety of specialized research equipment. Each graduate student is provided desk space in a small laboratory or office as well as access to larger laboratories in the building. Students also may use the services of the Academic Computer Center, instrument-making shops, research centers (e.g., biomaterials, nanotechnology, chemical analysis), and the Chemistry and Engineering Libraries.
The department has various sources of support for qualified graduate students. Those interested in applying for admission and support should visit the department's website: www.cheme.washington.edu, which provides details on application procedures. Offers of admission with financial support are usually made from January through March.