Chemical engineering deals with the creation, design, operation, and optimization of processes that derive practical benefits from chemical or physical changes. The profession is quite broad and has traditionally provided the technology for: supplying energy and fuel; synthesizing materials such as plastics, chemicals, fertilizers, and pharmaceuticals; and managing environmental and safety concerns of physical and chemical processes.

Chemical engineers have a variety of traditional job opportunities in industries such as petroleum production and refining, chemical and petrochemical manufacturing, mining, pharmaceutical production, and equipment manufacturing. Job opportunities may involve research, development, design, manufacturing, sales, or teaching as professional activities. The chemical engineer can also move easily into environmental engineering, nuclear engineering, oceanography, biomedical engineering, pharmacology, medicine, or other multidisciplinary fields.

In chemical engineering, the student obtains a broad foundation in chemistry, mathematics, physics, communication skills, economics, and the humanities. Courses in material and energy balances, thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, process control, computer methods, safety, and design provide students with the background and learning skills required of the practicing chemical engineer. The curriculum includes elective courses that enable a student to prepare for immediate employment or further study at the graduate level. The chemical engineering program also serves as an excellent preparation for medical, dental, pharmacy, or law school.

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