BS in Chemical Engineering

Students graduating from the BS program in chemical engineering will have a firm and practical grasp of engineering principles and underlying science associated with traditional chemical engineering applications, and will also learn to tie together phenomena at the nano-scale with the behavior of systems at the macro-scale. While chemical engineers have always excelled at analyzing and designing processes with multiple length scales, modern chemical engineering applications require this knowledge to be extended to the nano-scale, and our program addresses this emerging need.

Computer Recommendations

DreamSpark is a Microsoft Program that supports technical education by providing access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes. Students and faculty with an RIT account and password can access Dreamspark here.

The basic Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) are not available through Dreamspark. RIT offers Microsoft Office at a significant discount for students at the RIT Digital Den.


The chemical engineering BS degree is a five-year program consisting of the following course requirements: chemical engineering core (49 credit hours), professional technical electives (6 credit hours), science and mathematics (41 credit hours), liberal arts (27 credit hours), free electives (6 credit hours), wellness education and First-Year Enrichment (0 credit hours), and 50 weeks of cooperative education.

The core of the program consists of courses that provide students with a solid foundation in engineering principles and their underlying sciences and mathematics. The program culminates in the 5th year with two terms of multidisciplinary design, a capstone design experience that integrates engineering theory, principles, and processes within a collaborative environment that bridges engineering disciplines. Students also choose two professional technical electives to form a concentration in one of five key application domains: biomedical, alternate energy systems, advanced materials, semiconductor processing, and environmental issues. Other concentration areas are also possible with guidance of faculty adviser, and can be chosen to reflect current societal needs and student interest. Students choose professional technical electives from a department-approved list of courses offered throughout the university in addition to those offered by the chemical engineering department.

Rounding out the program are courses in mathematics and science, which help to develop students' knowledge of science and its significance in the field of chemical engineering. Free electives provide students the opportunity to choose additional coursework to enhance a personal or professional interest, and liberal arts courses help to develop students' broader understating of society, the humanities, and the arts.

Cooperative education is a key component of the chemical engineering program. The 50-week requirement is met with co-op blocks that alternate with academic terms. These full-time, paid experiences enable students to apply what they've learned in the classroom to real work scenarios. Students will also have the chance to network with professionals in the field and learn in a hands-on environment.

BS Chemical Engineering and MS Science, Technology & Public Policy

Throughout history, technology has been a major driver of social, political, and economic change. Societies around the globe employ public policies to solve problems and achieve their social, economic, and environmental objectives. The spheres of public policy and technology overlap as society is challenged to consider not only the role of new technologies in its quest for improved quality of life, but also how policies affect the development, emergence, and choice of new technologies. Because of the role engineers play in creating new technology, they increasingly have an important role in helping to shape public policy. Moreover, policies affecting how we as a society live and work—such as environmental, industrial, energy, and national security policy, to name a few—demand that engineers be prepared to integrate policy issues into their engineering practice. 

In its recent report, Educating the Engineer of 2020, the NAE stated that engineering curricula that integrate public policy “could serve as a recruiting tool … [and] an optimum launch pad to challenging and rewarding professions – engineering first and foremost, but also medicine, law and business.” In noting the increased convergence between engineering and public policy, the NAE found:

This new level of interrelatedness necessitates that engineering, and engineers, develop a stronger sense of how technology and public policy interact. To date, engagement of engineers in public policy issues has been limited at best. It is both the responsibility of engineers and important to the image of the profession that engineers increase their ability to eloquently articulate the relevance of engineering to many public policy issues.

This degree creates such an integrated engineering/public policy curriculum through the BS/MS in Chemical Engineering/Science, Technology, and Public Policy. The program is supported by faculty in both the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Science, Technology, & Society/Public Policy.

This program is a natural fit that enables qualified students enrolled in Chemical Engineering who also have an interested in public policy issues the opportunity to pursue a graduate level degree in a field that combines their engineering and public policy interests.

The program is designed as an integrated dual degree program where qualified students begin taking MS courses in their fourth year. In the proposed program a total of 150 semester credit hours are required, which allows students to earn both a BS and MS degree in the same time normally required for just the BS degree. 

A student will typically apply to the BS/MS degree program in their second year. Students are allowed to pursue the BS/MS option as long their GPA remains above a 2.5. Students must take the Policy Analysis I-III sequence and use these courses to meet their College of Liberal Arts concentration requirement.


Students who complete this BS/MS will be highly sought after by many public and private sector organizations.  Government entities with science and technology program activities, such as the US Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Transportation, NASA, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will find our BS/MS students attractive because they can effectively maneuver in both the world of the engineer and the world of the policy analyst. Companies, particularly consulting firms, will find our BS/MS students desirable, as these students will be able to "bridge the gaps" between the engineering, policy, and business worlds.  Graduates will be able to understand how policies shape product markets, and how policies can be developed that will lead to new scientific advances and markets for goods and services. Lastly, our BS/MS graduates will be uniquely prepared for continued training in professional schools, law and business, as well as Ph.D. programs.

For more information, see the website , or contact

Ron Hira, Ph.D., P.E.

Public Policy Director