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Best Chemical Engineering Schools: The Top Colleges and Universities for Chemical Engineering Programs

Shodipe-Dosunmu Ademilade - June 21, 2022

The chemical industry has grown tremendously over the years to facilitate our need for new materials, energies, and engineering solutions. With 3.8 trillion dollars in global revenue since 2005 according to Statista, the demand for education in this lucrative field has grown. If you’re on a school search, you’ll want to know about the best schools for chemical engineering.

This article will cover some of the best chemical engineering schools for programs at all academic levels, including the best chemical engineering colleges for online programs. It also lists job prospects, program prerequisites, and everything else you need to know before you apply to the best chemical engineering universities to advance your studies.

Best Chemical Engineering College and University Rankings: Top 10 Chemical Engineering Schools at a Glance

School State Formats Available US News Ranking
Columbia University NY In-person, Online, Hybrid #2
Cornell University NY In-person #17
Massachusetts Institute of Technology MA In-person #2
Purdue University IN In-person #49
Rice University TX In-person #17
Stanford University CA In-person, Online #6
University of Delaware DE In-person #93
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor MI In-person #23
University of Southern California CA In-person, Online #27
University of Washington WA In-person #59

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Chemical Engineering School Rankings: Best Chemical Engineering Colleges and Universities

Chemical engineering is a popular engineering discipline offered at many institutions, with enough variance between individual universities that it’s almost guaranteed that there’s a fit for everyone.

This section will go over 10 of the best schools offering degrees in chemical engineering, featuring private research institutions and public universities. It will also provide details on a wide range of factors such as location, tuition, and student populations.


Columbia University

Graduation Rate: 97%

Founded in 1754, Columbia University is a private institution with a stellar academic reputation. It offers an exceptional quality of core courses and students also get to choose from a myriad of electives to customize their curriculum. Columbia offers a wide range of courses at all levels to its student body of 6,170. The six-to-one student-to-faculty ratio makes for comfortable class sizes.

Columbia University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 4%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, PhD
  • US News Ranking: 2
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 11

Best Columbia University Chemical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering . The Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering is awarded to students who complete 128 units of compulsory and elective coursework. It usually takes four years or eight academic terms to complete. Columbia University also offers an online version of this course.
  • Master of Science in Chemical Engineering . The Master of Science in Chemical Engineering program offered at Columbia is open to a wide range of candidates, even those without degrees in chemical engineering. The program includes different concentrations, enabling students to specialize in their areas of interest.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering . A full-time program with a Master of Science prerequisite, the Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering is the capstone of academic achievement. It is a gateway into the most advanced theoretical and industrial research in the field.
  • Doctor of Engineering Science . This program has the same course requirements and student outcomes as the other doctorate on offer. However, it is granted by the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, which has differing residential and administrative requirements for students.

Columbia University Chemical Engineering Key Takeaway

Columbia University provides an exciting mix of prestige, research capabilities, and academic flexibility for students at all levels.


Cornell University

Graduation Rate: 94%

Known for having the highest acceptance rate amongst Ivy League schools and for its strong alumni network, Cornell University has been in operation since 1865. The school boasts a very comfortable campus life with a beautiful campus, a current student population of 14,743, and an eight-to-one student-to-faculty ratio.

Cornell University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 9%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, PhD
  • US News Ranking: 17
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 22

Best Cornell University Chemical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering . This program is offered by the Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and is one of Cornell’s best undergraduate majors. This program is an intensive one, with an early focus on chemistry. It requires 131 credits of coursework to graduate within four years of study.
  • Master of Science in Chemical Engineering . With 30 credits of coursework, this program has a distinct focus on academia and is geared toward future PhD candidates. It features several areas of concentration, including advanced materials processing and biochemical engineering.
  • Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering . This program is more focused on technical skills than the Master of Science program and is intended for people that want to work in the industry rather than academia. It is otherwise similar in scope and distinction.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering . This program starts with a year of preliminary courses, after which candidates are tested on chemical engineering basics and applications. After two more years of study and testing, candidates choose a research topic and the fifth and final year is spent on a thesis project.

Cornell University Chemical Engineering Key Takeaway

Cornell is a reputable university with a great environment and a strong, close-knit alumni network that benefits students in academic and social life.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Graduation Rate: 96%

The dream of many STEM students, Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university with a heavy focus on science and technology. Open since 1861 and known for its excellence, MIT currently has a student population of 4,361 and a student-to-faculty ratio of three-to-one. Campus life is enhanced by splendid views of the surrounding landscapes and nearby historic locations.

Massachusetts Institute Of Technology Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 4%
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, PhD
  • US News Ranking: 2
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 5

Best Massachusetts Institute Of Technology Chemical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. This undergraduate program is offered as a standard Bachelor of Science, as a Bachelor of Science in Chemical-Biological Engineering, and as a more flexible Bachelor of Science in Engineering. The program requires 186 to 195 units to graduate and consists mainly of core chemistry courses.
  • Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Practice . This program spans two academic semesters and one extra semester in a Practice School. It is designed to ensure world-class education in this specialized field. Students can choose to complete the program within a year, with the practicum standing in for a thesis.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering Practice . Unique to MIT, this program takes advantage of the special features and facilities at MIT to offer a course that prepares students for industry leadership, management, and excellence. This program takes five to six years to complete.
  • The Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering . These two distinctions are identical and it is up to the student-to-pick one. This is a standard graduate program for those interested in academia and research. The program takes between five and six years of study and does not require a Master of Science degree as a prerequisite.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Chemical Engineering Key Takeaway

With unmatched prestige in the industry and all the benefits expected from such an institution, MIT assures a great start for a career in chemical engineering.


Purdue University

Graduation Rate: 83%

Purdue University is a public research university that was founded in 1869. It has a student population of 34,920 undergraduate students and a thirteen-to-one student-to-faculty ratio. It is a popular public school with over 30 sports teams and many extracurricular activities that fuel both athletic excellence and vibrant student life.

Purdue University Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, PhD
  • US News Ranking: 49
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 105

Best Purdue University Chemical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering . Spanning four years, this program requires 130 units of coursework and prepares students for work in the field of chemical engineering. The degree covers core courses, communication skills, and ethics in the field.
  • Professional Master of Science in Chemical Engineering . In this 12-month program, postgraduate-level students will undergo advanced technical and managerial training, choosing one of six areas of concentration based on their interests. This is a non-thesis program and serves as an alternative to a traditional Master of Science degree.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering . This program usually encompasses four to five years of coursework and preparation. It requires students to submit and defend a written thesis at the end of their studies. Students are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher during the non-research section of the course.

Purdue University Chemical Engineering Key Takeaway

Purdue University offers unique academic programs that are particularly fitting for students seeking a balance between academia and industry.


Rice University

Graduation Rate: 92%

Rice University is a private institution with a student population of 4,075 and a six-to-one student-to-faculty ratio. The university prides itself on its diversity, excellent academic records, and vibrant campus life. Students at this university get hands-on exposure to cutting-edge research within the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department.

Rice University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 9%
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, PhD
  • US News Ranking: 17
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 136

Best Rice University Chemical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering . This course offers four years of training to aspiring chemical engineers. It requires 127 credit hours and allows students to choose one area of specialization. These areas are Biomolecular Engineering, Computational Engineering, Sustainable Energy, Materials/Nanotechnology, and Engineering Breadth.
  • Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Chemical Engineering . This flexible degree in chemical engineering allows students to stray from the standardized path offered by the Bachelor of Science degree. It requires 120 credit hours and allows for minors and extra courses that align with a student’s personal goals and interests.
  • Master of Chemical Engineering Degree . This non-thesis graduate program requires the completion of 30 credits. The program encourages specialization and supports students as they pursue research topics they started exploring during the undergraduate phase of their education.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering . For those looking to reach the pinnacle of academic achievement in the field, Rice offers a thesis Master of Science degree in conjunction with their PhD program for chemical engineering. The Master of Science has the same course load as the Master of Chemical Engineering degree, while the doctorate itself takes 24 credit hours to complete.

Rice University Chemical Engineering Key Takeaway

Rice University offers many course options and gives students agency to focus their studies as they see fit while learning and growing in a purposely diverse environment.


Stanford University

Graduation Rate: 96%

Stanford University is a world-renowned school that boasts an undergraduate population of 6,366 and a student-to-faculty ratio of five-to-one. Offering a wide range of programs to both locals and international students, Stanford marries academic excellence with exceptional athletic programs and high-quality student life.

Stanford University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate:4%
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, PhD
  • US News Ranking: 6
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 4

Best Stanford University Chemical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering . This undergraduate degree prepares students to seamlessly enter the chemical engineering industry. It provides them with the necessary tools to work with emerging technologies and create modern solutions.
  • Chemical Engineering Graduate Certificate . This is an online program specially designed for working professionals who want to expand their knowledge and prepare for further academic work. To be eligible, you must have a Bachelor of Science from a science or engineering program and a university-level understanding of chemistry. Completing the program earns you Stanford graduate credits.
  • Master of Science in Chemical Engineering . This is a fully online program for graduate studies that covers 45 units over a period of two to five years. The Master of Science in Chemical Engineering is a convenient option for those already in the industry. It also serves university graduates looking to further their academic careers.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering . This program does not require applicants to have a Master of Science. Instead, applications are individually reviewed and those who lack traditional qualifications but show the aptitude and drive that Stanford embodies.

Stanford University Chemical Engineering Key Takeaway

Stanford is a world-class school with unique flexibility that can offer students from all walks of life the education they require to succeed academically and professionally.


University of Delaware

Graduation Rate: 82%

The University of Delaware is a public institution with a student population of 18,420 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 12-to-one. Founded in 1743, it hosts a bright and active student body who refer to themselves as the Blue Hens. It offers a wide range of programs, from traditional business degrees to cutting-edge research and development.

University of Delaware Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 72%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Associate, Bachelor's, Master’s, PhD
  • US News Ranking: 93
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 301-350

Best University of Delaware Chemical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering . This undergraduate program is consistently rated top 10 in the nation for undergraduate chemical engineering education. Students learn problem-solving and teamwork skills in addition to technical skills in quantitative analysis.
  • Master of Chemical Engineering Degree . The University of Delaware offers both standard and non-thesis options for graduate chemical engineering education. This program offers a combination of core engineering courses, applied mathematics classes, and electives.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering . The PhD program at the University of Delaware offers capstone teaching and research opportunities for those in the field. Students enrolled in this program must serve as TAs for academic or lab courses as part of their education.

University of Delaware Chemical Engineering Key Takeaway

Featuring world-class labs and research opportunities, the University of Delaware is a good choice for anyone with a passion for academia.


University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Graduation Rate: 94%

The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor was founded in 1817 and has been a standout institution ever since. It currently has a student population of 31,329 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 14-to-one. This prestigious institution provides top-notch research facilities and an enabling learning environment that encourages students to pursue various academic paths.

University of Michigan Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 20%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, PhD
  • US News Ranking: 23
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 24

Best University of Michigan Chemical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering . This 128-unit degree is a flexible four-year academic program with many different concentrations that allow for specialization in areas of interest.
  • Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Study. This program allows undergraduate seniors to apply for a parallel Master of Science program if they hold a GPA of 3.2 or higher and are willing to take both programs in tandem. This program is an excellent tool for bright students with an eye on research or academia.
  • Master of Science in Chemical Engineering . This non-thesis program requires 30 units and allows the student to customize some of the coursework to suit their interests.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering . This advanced research program has a rigorous selection process. All accepted candidates are supervised by a unique panel throughout their studies. This ensures that the students’ final projects have world-class research prowess.

University of Michigan Chemical Engineering Key Takeaway

The University of Michigan has one of the most carefully curated PhD programs available and helps to develop a high perpetual work ethic in students and alumni.


University of Southern California

Graduation Rate: 92%

The University of Southern California boasts a higher number of academic opportunities than any other American university. It was founded in 1880 and has a current population of 19,606 students. With a nine-to-one student-to-faculty ratio and a holistic view of admissions and assessment, USC provides a wide range of unique opportunities.

University of Southern California Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 13%
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, PhD
  • US News Ranking: 27
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 63

Best University of Southern California Chemical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering . This foundational program is designed to prepare students for both industry work and academia. It requires 141 units of study. There are six concentrations for undergraduate students available to ensure that students can specialize in their areas of interest.
  • Master of Science in Chemical Engineering . Offered both in-person and online, this Master of Science program requires 28 units of study, completed over three years. The course is offered in both thesis and non-thesis options and requires a cumulative 3.0 GPA for completion.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering . Requiring 60 units of graduate study, this PhD is carefully curated by faculty. An individual approach ensures that every candidate gets the best out of the program. The curation includes suggesting electives and reviewing research topics.

University of Southern California Chemical Engineering Key Takeaway

With a holistic view of admissions, reduced focus on traditional grading, and a carefully assisted PhD program, USC offers an equitable academic journey.


University of Washington

Graduation Rate: 56%

Founded in 1861, the University of Washington is a large school with a population of 35,582 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 20-to-one. As a local favorite, it draws representatives from all 39 counties in Washington. It’s also known for having a large capacity for undergraduate research.

University of Washington Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 83%
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, PhD
  • US News Ranking: 59
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 29

Best University of Washington Chemical Engineering Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering . This program requires that you complete 180 units during four years of study. During this program, students are prepared for industry jobs or further academic study. It features optional specialization courses and many opportunities for undergraduate research.
  • Master of Science in Chemical Engineering . This intermediate course of study facilitates advancements in industry or academics. It offers a thesis option for those focused on academics and a non-thesis option for others who prefer to work in the field.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering . The PhD option at the University of Washington is a solid program that accommodates academic research while keeping track of industry applications. This program usually takes five years to complete, but there is accommodation for flexible pathways.

University of Washington Chemical Engineering Key Takeaway

Ensuring that the balance between research and application is as equal as possible, the University of Washington is a great option for those looking for versatility in their education.

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The Best Schools for Chemical Engineering: Types of College Degrees and University Programs Offered

Due to the vast and complex nature of chemical engineering, there are several qualifications available at different levels. Whether you are looking for a foundational certificate or a doctorate, top chemical engineering schools will have a program for you.


Chemical Engineering Community College Certificate

Community colleges are public institutions of higher learning, usually funded by local taxes. They generally offer open admissions and can be a very accessible start to tertiary education. Community colleges offer certificates, associate degrees, and other basic qualifications that can act as steppingstones to bachelor’s and master’s programs.


Chemical Engineering Associate Degree

An associate degree is an undergraduate degree that requires two to three years of study. It usually encompasses the basics of the discipline with a curriculum that is equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. For chemical engineering, this will usually constitute a focus on chemistry and math courses with additional general and elective courses.


Chemical Engineering Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree is designed to prepare students to enter the workforce. During their degree, undergraduate students will take core courses and choose electives based on specific goals and interests. Over four or five years, students will build industry-relevant skills and subject knowledge.


Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree

Master’s degrees are graduate-level qualifications offered by most institutions. The programs are generally shorter than bachelor’s degrees, taking one to two years to complete. A master’s degree is intended to be specialized and can be structured to achieve different academic and professional goals.

Some master’s programs have a focus on academic development with a research trajectory. Other types of programs offer focused training for specialization within the industry. A master’s degree can even be an avenue to change from one related discipline to another.


Chemical Engineering Graduate Certificate

A graduate certificate is designed to deliver specialized knowledge and training in a specific area or sub-category of a field. Students in graduate certificate programs take graduate-level courses but can complete the training in just six months to a year.

Unlike a master’s degree, a graduate certificate is not a full degree, but it offers an efficient option for students to obtain skills and training at a lower cost and with a smaller time commitment. A graduate certificate is a great tool for those who want to advance in the industry, take on new roles, or progress in academia or research fields.


Chemical Engineering Doctorate

A doctorate , also known as a PhD, is the pinnacle of academic achievement within a field. It is often focused exclusively on advanced research and requires extensive experience and prerequisite knowledge. Doctoral degrees are bestowed on advanced students that make relevant and even groundbreaking contributions to the field.

Usually completed in four to five years, doctoral programs are also an exercise in academic networking. They often involve pairing students with experienced mentors to bolster their knowledge and ensure solid research. Any instruction delivered at this level is extremely specialized.

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Best Chemical Engineering Schools: Other Chemical Engineering University Rankings

So far this article has covered rankings for traditional chemical engineering programs. There are also alternative institutions and learning methods that might be better suited for your individual needs. We cover details on online chemical engineering degrees, community college chemical engineering options, and graduate programs below.

Best Online Chemical Engineering Schools

  1. Columbia University. Columbia is a prestigious school that offers its world-class chemical engineering degree via online classes. This means that it’s possible to get an Ivy League education while studying remotely.
  2. University of North Dakota. The University of North Dakota offers an online bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering with the goal of making it as non-intrusive as possible. With the framework offered, students can take up to six years to complete the program and can have certain courses waived if they can demonstrate appropriate ability or knowledge in that area.
  3. Clarkson University. Clarkson University offers an online doctorate program that is a good choice for those already working in the industry. It allows chemical engineering students to complete their academic qualifications without taking a leave of absence from work.

Best Community Colleges for Chemical Engineering

  1. Tacoma Community College. This community college offers students an Associate of Science in Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering degree. Through this program, students can transfer into the third year of a chemical engineering bachelor’s program.
  2. Mesa Community College. Mesa Community College offers several transfer programs that start with two years at Mesa and transition to a traditional college for the final years of study, including one in chemical engineering that transitions to Arizona State University.
  3. South Seattle College. This community college features an associate degree program that has a science track with a focus on chemical engineering. This program allows for an easy transition into the junior level of any bachelor’s degree program in the field.

Best Undergraduate Schools for Chemical Engineering

  1. University of Pennsylvania. The University of Pennsylvania is a private institution and a great first step into the industry. The school has a record number of graduates with above-median pay in chemical engineering jobs.
  2. The University of Texas at Austin. The University of Texas at Austin is a public university with a large community of students. It has a stellar undergraduate chemical engineering program that is geared towards industrial excellence.
  3. Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt University is a great place to start for anyone with a passion for research and plans for higher education beyond the undergraduate level. It has a focus on research and its mandate is to fulfill students’ potential.

Best Graduate Schools for Chemical Engineering

  1. Princeton University. This Ivy League school offers both Master of Science and Master of Engineering programs in chemical and biological engineering. This allows for either a research-focused approach for future academics or a coursework-focused approach for industry practice.
  2. California Institute of Technology. Known for its focus on science and technology, CalTech hosts one of the most innovative and research-driven chemical engineering graduate programs in the world. It is a great choice for those with a passion for academic research.
  3. Northeastern University. Northeastern University’s College of Engineering offers thesis and non-thesis options for graduate programs in chemical engineering, both with a focus on solution-driven industry applications. This makes Northeastern University a great choice for those looking to step up their knowledge for use in the workforce.

Best Chemical Engineering Schools With Dual Degree Programs

  1. Rice University | Master of Chemical Engineering Degree / Master of Business Administration Degree. This dual degree program offers an option for students more interested in the management of industry resources than research or field work. It boosts your resume with a double qualification, making you competitive in the job market.
  2. University of Michigan | Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering Dual Degree Program. This program combines two closely-related courses to produce a dual qualification. Students will work with research on materials development and the optimization and manipulation of existing materials.
  3. University of California, Berkeley | Chemical Engineering/Nuclear Engineering Joint Major. This dual degree investigates safe and reliable energy optimization to power the industry’s future. Students will cover topics like waste management, fuel processing, and reactor design innovations.

Best Schools With Accelerated Chemical Engineering Programs

  1. Arizona State University | 4+1 Accelerated Program in Chemical Engineering (BSE-MS). This program gives students who have a 3.0 GPA and a desire to advance quickly in academia the chance to start working on a graduate degree early. Students can start taking master’s level classes after completing 65 credit hours of undergraduate work. This allows both degrees to be earned in five years.
  2. Cleveland State University | Accelerated Master of Chemical Engineering Program. This program at Cleveland State is nearly identical to the Arizona State program in terms of requirements and outcomes, and students have to apply for the program before they begin the last 30 credits of their undergraduate degree.
  3. University of Arizona | Chemical Engineering – Accelerated Master’s Program. This program allows students to obtain both an undergraduate and a graduate degree within five years. It has a heightened focus on interdisciplinary cooperation with the environmental engineering program.

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Is Graduate School for Chemical Engineering Worth It?

Yes, graduate school for chemical engineering is worth it for both academic advancement and professional development. Many schools offer a focus on one or the other and you can specialize based on your goals. According to PayScale, there is a $22,000 difference in salary between professionals with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and those with a PhD in Chemical Engineering .

What Jobs Can You Do With a Chemical Engineering Degree?

The jobs you can do with a chemical engineering degree span a wide range of applications. Chemical engineering has proven to be both versatile and in constant demand. This field offers opportunities ranging from manufacturing and trade to high-level pharmaceutical work. It is also possible to work in other branches of engineering like nuclear power.

How Much Can I Earn With a Degree in Chemical Engineering?

You can earn between $126,000 and $69,000 with a degree in chemical engineering , according to PayScale. This is higher than the average income of all engineering fields, and usually includes benefits and other job incentives. Your salary as a chemical engineer will depend on your experience and level of qualification.

It is important to note that most high-level jobs in chemical engineering are awarded based on experience rather than academic qualification. As such, most jobs only require a bachelor’s degree and a specific amount of experience and accomplishment in the industry. Salaries will vary based on experience, location, and company, and fluctuate even among the top companies hiring chemical engineers .

Highest-Paying Chemical Engineering Careers

Profession Minimum Education Average Salary
Director of Engineering Bachelor’s Degree $147,211
Senior Principal Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $144,137
Principal Process Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $125,740
Process Engineering Manager Bachelor’s Degree $117,354
Senior Process Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $104,005
Senior Manufacturing Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $94,907
Research and Development Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $77,468
Process Engineering Bachelor’s Degree $75,745
Manufacturing Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $72,149
Service Engineer Bachelor’s Degree $69,637

Best Jobs With a Chemical Engineering Degree

The best jobs for a chemical engineering degree are generally subject to your level of qualification and experience. As such, your prospects are dependent on what degrees you hold, as well as how long you’ve been in practice. Examples of positions in this field include process engineering, service engineering, and manufacturing engineering.


Best Chemical Engineering Associate Degree Jobs

An associate degree is usually required for auxiliary or support roles in the field. This kind of degree can serve as a qualifier for jobs that require an applicant to have basic higher education as part of the requirements.

Top Chemical Engineering Careers With an Associate Degree


Best Chemical Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Jobs

Bachelor’s degree holders are eligible for entry-level positions. This is the most common starting point for a career in the chemical engineering industry and provides a solid foundation with room for advancement.

Top Chemical Engineering Careers With a Bachelor’s Degree


Best Chemical Engineering Master’s Degree Jobs

A master’s degree can either enhance your professional qualifications or prepare you for a shift into the research and development sides of the industry. Both of these choices can be avenues for better-paying jobs and more rewarding work.

Top Chemical Engineering Careers With a Master’s Degree


Best Chemical Engineering Doctorate Jobs

The height of qualification in the field, a doctorate will usually see a candidate placed at the head of operations or in critical roles in research and development. As most PhD holders are academics rather than industry professionals, few people in the general workforce hold this qualification.

Top Chemical Engineering Careers With a PhD


Best Internships for Chemical Engineering Students

Internships are a good way to learn practical skills that cannot be conveyed in a classroom. Chemical engineering is a practical field, so internships are vital. They build your knowledge base and are a stepping stone to more opportunities. Even high school engineering internships can be greatly beneficial.

Top Chemical Engineering Internships

  • Jacobs Chemical Process Engineering Intern: $49,943
  • Redwood Materials Chemical Engineering Intern: $41,997
  • Tesla Cell Materials Engineering Internship: $33/hour

How Can I Pay for Chemical Engineering School?

You can pay for chemical engineering school in several ways, including direct financing. Paying out of pocket may not be practical for everyone, so there are alternatives. Available options are based on the education level and other factors, there’s always a way.

  • Student loans. The most common form of financing for higher education is student loans. These are awarded to undergraduate and some graduate students. Loans need to be paid back but can be the best option for getting a bachelor’s in a high-paying discipline like chemical engineering.
  • Work-study programs/teaching assistantships. These are generally only open to graduate students with qualifications in the field. Work-study programs allow graduate students to assist members of faculty within the institution while earning compensation and academic work experience in the process.
  • Employer financing. For those already employed, your employer may finance an advanced degree. This will usually become available after a period of stellar service and with some form of guaranteed loyalty. This can be a mutually beneficial arrangement for employers that want to appoint management from internal talent.
  • Scholarships. Applying for a scholarship is a blanket opportunity available to almost everyone at every level of study. While scholarships are generally competitive, there are several scholarship programs with diverse criteria available at the institutional and federal levels.

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Choosing the Best Chemical Engineering School for You

To choose the best chemical engineering school for you, you should consider what you want from your degree. Things like cost, teaching format, and curriculum should inform your choice of school. Chemical engineering is a very broad discipline with several applications and academic opportunities. As such, your choice should depend on your capabilities and preferences.


A great school is only a viable option if you can afford to attend it. Looking at the financing options available to you and comparing them to the economic implications of enrollment is a key step in ensuring that you make the right choice. This is especially important in a field that values experience over a prestigious alma mater.

Continuing Education

If you are striving for academic development or want to land leadership positions in the industry, you’ll need to pick a school that caters to these goals. This means that you’ll want to choose a program with a thesis option and research opportunities, even at the undergraduate level.

Specialization or Concentration Options

Concentration is important in a field as wide and versatile as chemical engineering. A good choice of school will have concentrations and electives that align with your interests. This will open doors for future preferential admission in areas of industry or academia aligned with that interest.

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Does It Matter What College I Go to for Chemical Engineering?

No, it does not matter what college you go to for chemical engineering. In the chemical engineering field, experience and qualifications are more important than the prestige of your alma mater. This is the case because it is a largely practical, industry-driven field. However, it is important to check that your university is accredited to ensure that you are receiving a quality education that will be respected by employers.

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Chemical Engineering University Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Schools for Chemical Engineering

We ranked the best chemical engineering schools by consulting the university rankings conducted by US News & World Report and Times Higher Education. To further refine our chemical engineering university ranking methodology, we gave special consideration to factors like reputation, graduation rate, student-to-faculty ratio, and range of chemical engineering degree program offerings.

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Best Chemical Engineering Schools FAQ

Is chemical engineering a good choice for international students?

Yes, getting a chemical engineering education is a great choice for international students. It is a popular major in part because of its universal applicability in any industrialized nation. Furthermore, most institutions offer additional courses that help to align your studies with region-specific needs.

Is it possible to get a PhD in Chemical Engineering without a master’s degree?

Yes, it is possible to get a PhD in Chemical Engineering without a master’s degree. While a master’s degree is the standard prerequisite for a doctorate program, some schools have flexible admission criteria. These usually involve evaluating your research prowess in some other way. Getting an undergraduate degree with undergraduate research options can increase your chances of being admitted to a PhD program without a master’s degree.

Is physics important in getting a chemical engineering degree?

Yes, physics is important in getting a chemical engineering degree. Like all engineering and applied science courses, chemical engineering requires knowledge of physics and an aptitude for mathematics and chemistry. This is true up to the graduate level, however, anything required beyond high school knowledge will be taught as part of the program.

Can I work while earning a degree in chemical engineering?

Yes, you can work while earning a degree in chemical engineering. However, this may be difficult. While many programs allow you to work while you learn, especially at the graduate level, chemical engineering students tend to have a very heavy course load at the undergraduate level. As such, it won’t be in your best interest to work while pursuing your undergraduate degree unless you can request a lightened course load.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Shodipe-Dosunmu Ademilade

About the author: Ademilade is a content writer, ghostwriter, and mentor based in Lagos, Nigeria. He is currently finishing his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Lagos. He holds a Scrum Master Basic Certification and has completed a course on Intermediate Python Programming. Ademilade has ghostwritten over 10 books on topics like space travel, technology, cryptocurrency, and business. Along with his technical writing experience, he has also mentored many writers through their careers. At Career Karma, Ademilade wants to use his knowledge to impact a wide audience of students. His goal is to one day create an academy for budding writers to help them start their careers. When he’s not writing, you can find him playing his favorite FPS game (Valorant) or watching a movie with a friend.

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