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Chemical Engineering BS

Steven Weinstein, Department Head
(585) 475-4299, steven.weinstein@rit.edu

http://www.rit.edu/kgcoe/chemical

Program overview

Chemical engineering applies the core scientific disciplines of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics to transform raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms, invariably in processes that involve chemical change. All engineers employ mathematics, physics, and engineering art to overcome technical problems in a safe and economical fashion. The chemical engineer provides the critical level of expertise needed to solve problems in which chemical specificity and change have particular relevance. They not only create new, more effective ways to manufacture chemicals, they also work collaboratively with chemists to pioneer the development of high-tech materials for specialized applications. Well-known contributions include the development and commercialization of synthetic rubber, synthetic fiber, pharmaceuticals, and plastics. Chemical engineers contribute significantly to advances in the food industry, alternative energy systems, semiconductor manufacturing, and environmental modeling and remediation. The special focus within the discipline on process engineering cultivates a systems perspective that makes chemical engineers extremely versatile and capable of handling a wide spectrum of technical problems.

Students develop a firm and practical grasp of engineering principles and the underlying science associated with traditional chemical engineering applications. They 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. The program addresses this emerging need.

Educational objectives

Graduates of the bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering are expected, within a few years of graduation, to have:

  • demonstrated an ability to draw upon the fundamental knowledge, skills, and tools of chemical engineering to develop scale-appropriate system-based engineering solutions that satisfy constraints imposed by a global society.
  • demonstrated an ability to enhance their skills through formal education and training, independent inquiry, and professional development.
  • demonstrated an ability to work independently as well as collaboratively with others, and to have demonstrated leadership, accountability, initiative, and ethical and social responsibility.
  • demonstrated the ability to successfully pursue graduate degrees at the master's and/or doctorate levels for those with relevant qualifications.

Accreditation

The BS program in chemical engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org/.

Curriculum

The core curriculum of the chemical engineering major provides students with a solid foundation in engineering principles and their underlying science. Students choose professional technical electives that provide them with more depth in the chemical engineering field or breadth in other engineering disciplines. These electives may be chosen from those offered within the major, as well as from a department-approved list of engineering courses offered throughout the college. A captsone design experience in the fifth year integrates chemical engineering theory, principles, and processes in a collaborative team environment. Mathematics and science courses, free electives, and liberal arts courses round out the curriculum.

Cooperative education

Students are required to complete 48 weeks of cooperative education, which is full-time, paid work experience that enables students to apply what they have learned to co-op positions in companies around the country and the world. This work experience, coupled with the professional networks created by our students and alumni, often translates into jobs after graduation. Additionally, for those students who develop an interest in research and demonstrate aptitude in the classroom, a limited number of co-op opportunities are possible in which students will work alongside professors as they conduct research in the chemical engineering field.

Electives

Professional technical elective courses offered include:

  • CHME-421 Interfacial Phenomena
  • CHME-422 Introduction to Applied Rheology
  • CHME-431 Advanced Separation Processes
  • CJME-489 Special Topics: Topics in Process Dynamics and Control

Chemical engineering, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CHME-181 Chemical Engineering Insights I 1
CHMG-141 General and Analytical Chemistry I 3
CHMG-145 General and Analytical Chemistry Lab I 1
MATH-181 Project-based Calculus I 4
  LAS Foundation 1: First Year Seminar† 3
  LAS Foundation 2: First Year Writing 3
CHME-182 Chemical Engineering Insights II 1
CHMG-142 General and Analytical Chemistry II 3
CHMG-146 General Chemistry Lab II 1
PHYS-211 University Physics I 4
MATH-182 Project-based Calculus II 4
  LAS Perspective 1 3
  YearOne 0
  Wellness Education* 0
Second Year
CHME-230 Chemical Process Analysis 3
CHMO-231 Organic Chemistry I 3
CHMO-235 Organic Chemistry I Lab 1
MATH-231 Differential Equations 3
  LAS Perspective 2, 3 6
CHME-310 Applied Thermodynamics 3
CHME-320 Continuum Mechanics I 3
CHME-391 Chemical Engineering Principles Lab 2
CHMI-351 Inorganic Chemistry I 3
MATH-221 Multivariable and Vector Calculus 4
EGEN-099 Engineering Co-op Preparation 0
Third Year
  Cooperative Education (fall) Co-op
CHME-330 Mass Transfer Operations 3
CHME-321 Continuum Mechanics II 3
CHME-301 Analytical Tech. for Chemical Engineers I 3
CHMA-221 Instrumental Analysis 3
  LAS Perspective 4 3
  LAS Immersion 1 3
Fourth Year
CHME-350 Multiple Scale Material Science 3
CHME-340 Reaction Engineering 4
CHME-302 Analytical Techniques for Engineers II 3
CHME-491 Chemical Engineering Processes Lab (WI) 2
  LAS Immersion 2, 3 6
  Cooperative Education (spring) Co-op
Fifth Year
CHME-451 Analysis of Multi-Scale Processes 3
CHME-489 Special Topic: Advanced Design Capstone 3
CHME-490 Design With Constraint 3
  Professional Technical Electives 9
PHYS-212 University Physics II 4
CHME-401 System Dynamics and Control 3
  Free Electives 6
Total Semester Credit Hours 129

Please see New General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two Wellness courses.

† The First Year Seminar requirement is replaced by an LAS Elective for the 2014-15 academic year.

Accelerated dual degree option

A five-year accelerated, cross-disciplinary degree is available for motivated, qualified chemical engineering students who are interested in earning a BS in chemical engineering and an MS in science, technology, and public policy (offered by the College of Liberal Arts). The science, technology and public policy program emphasizes the creation and understanding of engineering, science, and technology policy. It enables students to interact with faculty members and researchers who are working on scientific developments and technological innovations that drive new public policy considerations.

Chemical engineers are ideal candidates to augment their education with in-depth knowledge of public policy. The breadth and depth of chemical engineering, as evidenced by the large range of application domains in which they play a role, provides an opportunity for chemical engineers to influence public policy over a broad range of issues of relevance to society. Additionally, as chemical engineers are often called on to mitigate problems of societal importance such as environmental remediation, an in-depth knowledge of government regulations and their origin is often essential for engineering practice.

Chemical engineering, BS degree/Science, technology and public policy, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CHME-181 Chemical Engineering Insights I 1
CHMG-141 General and Analytical Chemistry I 3
CHMG-145 General and Analytical Chemistry Lab I 1
MATH-181 Project-based Calculus I 4
  LAS Foundation 1: First Year Seminar† 3
  LAS Foundation 2: First Year Writing 3
CHME-182 Chemical Engineering Insights II 1
CHMG-142 General and Analytical Chemistry II 3
CHMG-146 General and Analytical  Chemistry Lab II 1
PHYS-211 University Physics I 4
MATH-182 Project-based Calculus II 4
  LAS Perspective 1 3
  YearOne 0
  Wellness Education* 0
Second Year
CHME-230 Chemical Process Analysis 3
CHMO-231 Organic Chemistry I 3
CHMO-235 Organic Chemistry I Lab 1
MATH-231 Differential Equations 3
  LAS Perspective 2, 3 6
CHME-310 Applied Thermodynamics 3
CHME-320 Continuum Mechanics I 3
CHME-391 Chemical Engineering Principles Lab 2
CHMI-351 Inorganic Chemistry I 3
MATH-221 Multivariable and Vector Calculus 4
EGEN-099 Engineering Co-op Preparation 0
Third Year
  Cooperative Education (fall) Co-op
CHME-330 Mass Transfer Operations 3
CHME-321 Continuum Mechanics II 3
CHME-301 Analytical Tech. for Chemical Engineers I 3
CHMA-221 Instrumental Analysis 3
  LAS Perspective 4 3
  FLAS Immersion 1 3
Fourth Year
CHME-350 Multiple Scale Material Science 3
CHME-340 Reaction Engineering 4
CHME-302 Analytical Techniques for Engineers II 3
CHME-491 Chemical Engineering Processes Lab (WI) 2
PUBL-700 Readings in Public Policy 3
PHYS-212 University Physics II 4
  LAS Immersion 2, 3 6
PUBL-702 Graduate Decision Analysis 3
CHME-451 Analysis of Multi-scale Processes 3
PUBL-703 Program Evaluation and Research Design 3
Fifth Year
  Professional Electives 9
CHME-401 System Dynamics and Control 3
CHME-451 Analysis of Multi-scale Processes 3
CHME-489 Special Topic: Advanced Design Capstone 3
CHME-490 Design with Contraint 3
PUBL-701 Graduate Policy Analysis 3
  Graduate Electives 9
STSO-710 Graduate Science and Technology Policy Seminar 3
PUBL-790 Thesis 6
Total Semester Credit Hours 150

Please see New General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two Wellness courses.

† The First Year Seminar requirement is replaced by an LAS Elective for the 2014-15 academic year.

[arrow] Click to view program requirements in the Quarter Calendar

Quarter Curriculum - For Reference Only

Effective fall 2013, RIT will convert its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. The following content has been made available as reference only. Currently matriculated students who began their academic programs in quarters should consult their academic adviser for guidance and course selection.

Program overview

Educational objectives

The bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering prepares graduates to:

  • draw upon the fundamental knowledge, skills, and tools of chemical engineering to develop system-based engineering solutions that satisfy constraints imposed by a global society.
  • enhance their skills through formal education and training, independent inquiry, and professional development. 
  • work independently as well as collaboratively with others, and demonstrate leadership, accountability, initiative, and ethical and social responsibility.
  • successfully pursue graduate degrees at the master’s and/or doctoral levels.

Chemical engineering applies the core scientific disciplines of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics to transform raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms, invariably in processes that involve chemical change. All engineers employ mathematics, physics, and engineering art to overcome technical problems in a safe and economical fashion. The chemical engineer provides the critical level of expertise needed to solve problems in which chemical specificity and change have particular relevance. They not only create new, more effective ways to manufacture chemicals, they also work collaboratively with chemists to pioneer the development of high-tech materials for specialized applications. Well-known contributions include the development and commercialization of synthetic rubber, synthetic fiber, pharmaceuticals, and plastics. Chemical engineers contribute significantly to advances in the food industry, alternative energy systems, semiconductor manufacturing, and environmental modeling and remediation. The special focus within the discipline on process engineering cultivates a systems perspective that makes chemical engineers extremely versatile and capable of handling a wide spectrum of technical problems.

Students in the program develop a firm and practical grasp of engineering principles and the underlying science associated with traditional chemical engineering applications. They 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. The program addresses this emerging need.

Curriculum

Chemical engineering is a five-year program consisting of 50 weeks of cooperative education and the following course requirements: chemical engineering core, professional technical electives, science and mathematics, liberal arts, free electives, wellness education, and First-Year Enrichment. 

The core of the program provides students with a solid foundation in engineering principles and their underlying science. Students choose three professional technical electives to form a concentration in one of five key application domains: advanced materials, alternate energy systems, biomedical, environmental issues, and semiconductor processing. Other concentration areas can be chosen to reflect current societal needs and student interest. Professional technical electives from a department-approved list of courses are offered in addition to electives from the chemical engineering department. A capstone design experience in the fifth year integrates engineering theory, principles, and processes within a collaborative environment that bridges multiple engineering disciplines. Mathematics and science courses, free electives, and liberal arts courses round out the curriculum.

Cooperative education

Cooperative education is a key component of the program. Fifty weeks (five co-op blocks of 10-week duration) of full-time, paid work experience enables students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real work scenarios. Students will also network with professionals in the field and learn in a hands-on environment.

Semester conversion
Effective fall 2013, RIT will convert its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. Each program and its associated courses have been sent to the New York State Department of Education for approval of the semester plan. For reference, the following charts illustrate the typical course sequence for this program in both quarters and semesters. Students should consult their academic advisers with questions regarding planning and course selection.

Chemical engineering, BS degree, typical course sequence (quarters)

CourseQtr. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
0309-051 Discovery Chemical Engineering 1
1720-052 Pathways‡ 1
0309-181, 182, 183 Chemical Engineering Insights I, II, III 3
1011-215, 216, 217 General Chemistry I, II, III 10
1011-205, 206, 227 General Chemistry Lab I, II, III 3
1017-311, 312 University Physics I, II and Labs 10
1016-281, 282, 283 Calculus I, II, III 12
  Wellness Education† 0
  Liberal Arts* 8
Second Year
0309-230 Chemical Process Analysis 4
0309-310 Thermo I: Single Component 4
0309-410 Thermo II: Multiple Component 4
0309-320, 420 Fluid Mechanics I, II 8
0309-301 Math Tech for Chemical Engineers 3
1013-431, 432 Organic Chemistry I, II 6
1013-435, 436 Organic Chemistry Lab I, II 2
1016-305 Multiple Variable Calculus 4
1016-306 Differential Equations 4
  Wellness Education† 0
  Liberal Arts* 12
Third Year
0309-340, 440 Reaction Engineering I, II 8
0309-421 Heat Transfer 4
0309-330 Mass Transfer Operations 4
0309-391 Chemical Engineering Principles Lab 2
0309-302 Math Tech for Chemical Engineers II 2
1017-313 University Physics III and Lab 4
  Liberal Arts* 8
  Cooperative Education§ Co-op
Fourth Year
0304-344 Materials Science 4
0309-401 System Dynamics and Controls 4
0309-450 Micro-scale Phenomena 4
0309-550 Analysis of Micro-scale Processes 4
0309-392 Chemical Engineering Processes Lab 2
  Professional Technical Elective 4
1014-442 Quantum Chemistry 4
1014-446 Quantum Chemistry Lab 1
  Liberal Arts* 8
  Cooperative Education§ Co-op
Fifth Year
0309-591, 592 Multidisciplinary Design I, II 8
0309-590 Design with Constraint 4
  Professional Technical Electives 8
  Free Electives 12
  Cooperative Education§ Co-op
Total Quarter Credit Hours 198

* Please see Liberal Arts General Education Requirements for more information.

† Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information.

‡ Students are required to complete one Pathways course. Students may choose from Innovation/Creativity (1720-052), Leadership (1720-053), or Service (1720-054). These courses may be completed in the winter or spring quarter.

§ Students are required to complete five quarters of cooperatuve education.

Chemical engineering, BS degree, typical course sequence (semesters), effective fall 2013

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CHME-181 Chemical Engineering Insights I 1
CHMG-141 General and Analytical Chemistry I 3
CHMG-145 General Chemistry Lab I 1
MATH-181 Calculus I 4
ENGL-150 LAS Foundation: Writing Seminar 3
  LAS Foundation: First-Year Seminar 3
CHME-182 Chemical Engineering Insights II 1
CHMG-142 General and Analytical Chemistry II 3
CHMG-146 General Chemistry Lab II 1
PHYS-211 University Physics I 4
MATH-182 Calculus II 4
  LAS Perspective 1 3
  Wellness Education* 0
Second Year
CHME-230 Chemical Process Analysis 3
CHMO-231 Organic Chemistry I 3
CHMO-235 Organic Chemistry I Lab 1
MATH-231 Differential Equations 3
  LAS Perspective 2, 3 6
CHME-310 Applied Thermodynamics 3
CHME-320 Continuum Mechanics I 3
CHME-391 Chemical Engineering Principles Lab 2
CHMI-351 Inorganic Chemistry I 3
MATH-221 Multivariable and Vector Calculus 4
  Wellness Education* 0
Third Year
  Cooperative Education (fall) Co-op
CHME-330 Mass Transfer Operations 3
CHME-321 Continuum Mechanics II 3
CHME-301 Analytical Tech. for Chemical Engineers 3
CHMA-221 Instrumental Analysis 3
  LAS Perspective 4 3
  LAS Immersion 1 3
Fourth Year
CHME-350 Material Science 3
CHME-340 Reaction Engineering 4
CHME-450 Micro-Scale Phenomena 3
CHME-491 Chemical Engineering Processes Lab 2
  LAS Immersion 2, 3 6
  Cooperative Education (spring) Co-op
Fifth Year
CHME-497 Multidisciplinary Senior Design I 3
CHME-451 Analysis of Multi-Scale Processes 3
CHME-490 Design With Constraint 3
  Professional Technical Elective 3
PHYS-212 University Physics II 4
CHME-498 Multidisciplinary Senior Design II 3
CHME-401 System Dynamics and Control 3
  Professional Technical Elective 3
  Free Electives 6
Total Semester Credit Hours 129

Please see New General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information.

Electives

Students are encouraged to focus their professional technical electives in one of five key application areas: 

  • Advanced materials: nano-scale composites, biocompatible materials, specialized coatings, self-assembled materials, colloidal systems
  • Alternative energy systems: fuel cells, renewable energy (i.e., biodiesel and fuels derived from cellulose based feedstocks), and the hydrogen economy
  • Biomedical and biochemical systems: biocompatibility; artificial organs; cellular growth (in vitro and in vivo), including the scaffolding environments that are needed to culture cells to differentiate into replacement organs; and biochemical processes (i.e., manufacture of pharmaceuticals and purification of biological materials)
  • Environmental applications: toxic waste remediation, contemporary environmental policy issues, and the integration and application of knowledge from the above subject areas with a focus on sustainability
  • Semiconductor processing: traditional and novel methods for manufacturing microsystem-based products, including the development and application of advanced materials for this application domain

Additional information

BS, Chemical engineering/MS, Science, technology, and public policy

A five-year accelerated, cross-disciplinary degree is available for motivated, qualified chemical engineering students who are interested in earning a BS in chemical engineering and an MS in science, technology, and public policy (offered by the College of Liberal Arts). The MS program in science, technology and public policy emphasizes the creation and understanding of engineering, science, and technology policy. The program enables students to interact with faculty members and researchers who are working on scientific developments and technological innovations that drive new public policy considerations.

Chemical engineers are ideal candidates to augment their education with in-depth knowledge of public policy. The breadth and depth of chemical engineering, as evidenced by the large range of application domains in which they play a role, provides an opportunity for chemical engineers to influence public policy over a broad range of issues of relevance to society. Additionally, as chemical engineers are often called on to mitigate problems of societal importance such as environmental remediation, an in-depth knowledge of government regulations and their origin is often essential for engineering practice.