Chemical engineers develop processes that transform raw materials into useful chemicals that enhance our quality of life. In addition to chemicals found in products used by consumers every day, chemical engineers create novel materials such as nanoscale composites, pharmaceuticals, plastics, fibers, metals, and ceramics. Chemical engineers are trained to design and control chemically reactive processes to achieve desired chemical purity. However, they also use their intricate knowledge of chemistry, engineering principles, and applied mathematics to work in a variety of other applications. These include applied energy systems, biomedical materials and therapies, and strategies to minimize the environmental impact of technological advancements.
A common question that many ask is, “How is chemical engineering different from chemistry?” Typically, chemists create new molecules via chemical reactions, examine the underlying mechanisms involved, and make precise chemical measurements on a bench scale in small volumes. Chemical engineers utilize the initial work of the chemists, but often need to modify the reactions themselves, as they can be too slow to be useful. Additionally, chemical engineers examine how the size of a system affects the chemistry, as both heat transfer and mixing processes get more difficult with increased system size—and the scale needs to be larger to meet demand for chemicals. The interaction between size and chemistry is non-trivial and requires bench top and larger scale experimentation in which key parameters are measured. Such parameters are, in turn, inserted into mathematical models to predict larger scales. This is an iterative process and requires the intensive training that RIT chemical engineering provides.
The BS degree in chemical engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org. For Enrollment and Graduations Data, Program Educational Objectives, and Student Outcomes, please visit the college’s Accreditation page.
A chemical engineering BS prepares you to advance nano-scale composites, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, plastics, fibers, metals, and ceramics and develop alternative energy systems, biomedical materials and therapies, and more.
In addition to the doctorate programs offered by the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, our faculty members are actively involved in advising students in doctoral programs across RIT, including Mathematical Modeling Ph.D. and Sustainability Ph.D..
The chemical engineering master’s degree prepares you to develop new, high-tech materials for use across a range of critical industries, including semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy systems, battery and alternative energies, and more.
Conduct research in nano-engineering, design methods, and technologies for micro- and nano-scaled systems. This microsystems engineering doctorate is a multidisciplinary program that addresses the technical challenges of micro- and nano-systems.
The minor in chemical engineering systems analysis provides students with a sophisticated understanding of the application of scientific knowledge to the solution of a vast array of practical problems in which chemistry plays a critical role. Students are taught the systems methodologies that chemical engineers employ to analyze and solve real world problems involving distinct chemical components, chemical reaction, multiple phases, and mass transfer.
Brian Landi and Katie McConky have been named department heads of the chemical engineering and industrial and systems engineering programs in the college. Both bring extensive teaching, research, and company experience to the academic leadership positions in the engineering college.
The student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) promotes the chemical engineering program at RIT to current students, prospective students, professionals, and the community. To accomplish this mission, we have made it our goal to give students insight into the expansive field of chemical engineering by hosting guest speakers and organizing tours of both plants and research facilities in the area. Alexander Roth serves as AIChE Chapter Advisor.