Rochester Institute of Technology

Academic Program Overviews

Student Skills & Capabilities, Salary Data, Career Information 

Chemical Engineering BS

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 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. A special focus 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 and emerging chemical engineering applications. They also learn to tie together phenomena at small scales (micro- and 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 provides training to address this emerging need.

Degrees Awarded

  • Bachelor of Science Degree
  • Dual Degree: BS Chemical Engineering/Master of Science (MS) in Material Science or Public Policy


  • Approximately 55 BS students per year; approximately 10-15 BS/MS students per year

Cooperative Education & Experiential Education Component

  • Co-op is Mandatory for this program.
  • Minimum co-op requirement: 48 weeks
  • Co-op availability: Third year fall, summer; Fourth year spring-summer, summer, summer-fall

Salary Information

Co-op:     $18.45          $11.00 - $31.00
BS:           $67,500

Student Skills & Capabilities

Graduates will:
  • Analyze traditional chemical engineering unit operations and systems, such as chemical reactors and separators of various configurations.
  • Understand underlying principles and measurement techniques associated with the core of a chemical engineering process.
  • Design chemical engineering processes incorporating science occurring across many length scales.
  • Design chemical engineering processes within specified constraints that involve one or more process units, assembly and disassembly of components.
  • Identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems and validate their solutions with self-consistency checks and well-designed experiments.
  • Use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.  This includes proficiency in MATLAB, EXCEL, CHEMCAD, and LABVIEW.
  • Be skilled and hands-on at the lab, bench, and larger scales, and will be able to utilize commonly encountered equipment ranging from tri-clover fittings to Brookfield viscometers.
  • Communicate effectively by written, verbal, and graphical means.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context, the professional and ethical responsibilities associated with the practice of engineering, and contemporary issues facing chemical engineers.


Rochester Institute of Technology is fully accredited by the Middle States Association (MSA) of Colleges, as well as the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Equipment & Facilities

Chemical Engineering Unit Operations Lab:
Chemical engineering students integrate chemistry training with expertise in fluid flow and heat transfer to enable the scale up of test-tube chemistry to full-scale processes that meet society’s needs. The Unit Operations Lab provides students with hands-on training with processes and equipment they will encounter in industry. This lab is the home to two 6 hour per week courses in the chemical engineering curriculum and consists of a series of small pieces of equipment/measurement devices that are modules to serve small groups of students. Here, students work with pumps, valves, pressure sensors, flow meters, temperature sensors, heat exchangers, viscometers, spectrometers, and other key components of industrial processes. Ultimately, students become proficient at assembling delivery systems as well as equipment essential to the scale up of chemical systems. Chemical Engineering Processes Lab (Fall, 4th year students), students work with major process equipment and integrate their knowledge from fundamental and applied chemical engineering courses to gain in-depth comprehension of reaction and separation processes. These processes include distillation, absorption, adsorption, continuous and batch reactors, and ultrafiltration.

Training / Qualifications

Engineers typically enter the occupation with a bachelor's degree in an engineering specialty, but some basic research positions may require a graduate degree. A bachelor's degree in engineering is required for almost all entry-level engineering jobs. Engineers offering their services directly to the public must be licensed. Continuing education to keep current with rapidly changing technology is important for engineers. College graduates with a degree in a natural science or mathematics occasionally may qualify for some engineering jobs, especially in specialties that are in high demand.

Job Titles

Chemical Engineer, Process Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Quality Engineer, Water Engineer, Systems Engineer, Project Engineer, Operations Engineer, Brewery Engineer, Continuous Improvement Engineer

Significant Points

  • 41% of chemical engineering students are women
  • 60% of all chemical engineering students are on the Deans List
  • Before student’s first co-op, students are fully capable of assembling delivery systems, taking apart and re-assembling pumps, and know how to use Brookfield Viscometers. They have training in the basics of rheology, such as shear thinning, elasticity,
  • As scale-up in a lab is a key function of chemical engineers, we do not want to turn students off to lab work. Different from many other programs around the country, students appreciate the importance of our lab courses and they like them. Multiple de
  • Many of our students are taught to do research with professors through independent studies and faculty-sponsored co-ops, and appear as co-authors on many peer reviewed papers. Such students are well-positioned to work in industrial research and develop

Selected Employer Hiring Partners

OLEDWorks, Global Tungsten and Powders, Briggs of Burton, Bausch and Lomb, Rich Products, Sun Chemical, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, The Boston Beer Company, Vicor, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Eastman Kodak, Appvion, Precision Cast Parts Corporation, Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation, Momentive Performance, Michelin, Dupont, Rovisys, LORD Corporation, Bristol-Myers Squibb

Contact Us

We appreciate your interest in your career and we will make every effort to help you succeed. Feel free to contact Kate Caliel, the career services coordinator who work with the Chemical Engineering program. You can access information about services through our web site at

Kate J. Caliel , Sr. Associate Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 585.475.5459
Rochester Institute of Technology . Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
Bausch & Lomb Center
57 Lomb Memorial Drive . Rochester NY  14623-5603