The degree program in chemical engineering was established in 1898 at the University of Michigan, one of four schools to introduce the profession in the United States. The University of Michigan student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers was established in 1922. Chemical engineering, among all branches of engineering, is the one most strongly and broadly based upon chemical and life sciences. Chemical engineers use their knowledge of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, mass transfer, reaction kinetics, and process control to develop processes that change raw materials to more useful forms.
The work of the chemical engineer encompasses many industries, from the manufacture of chemicals and consumer products and energy generation, to biotechnology, food and polymer manufacturing and the production of pharmaceuticals. In addition, thanks to a broad and fundamental education, chemical engineers can work in a wide range of roles beyond process engineering, such as research and development, environmental protection, health and safety, marketing and sales, software development, data science, education, law, medicine, public health, and government work. More information on careers for chemical engineers is available at the AIChE career page.
The program allows 12 credits of general electives, 4 credits of biology/life science electives, 3 credits of engineering electives, and 16 credits of Intellectual Breadth electives. A student may use this elective freedom to develop individual abilities and interests, or to prepare to continue their studies in engineering, medicine, law, business, education, public health, or public policy, among many options. The electives also provide the opportunity for combined degree programs or for preparation in fields within or related to chemical engineering such as polymers, pharmaceuticals, environmental engineering, energy and fuels, and biotechnology. Students can choose to focus their elective courses by selecting a concentration within their Chemical Engineering degree.
Prof. Sharon Glotzer, PhD, NAS, NAE
Anthony Lembke Department Chair of Chemical Engineering, John Werner Cahn Distinguished University Professor of Engineering, Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering
North Campus Research Complex, Bldg 28, Room G066W
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