Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Undergraduate Overview

Chemical Engineering  

Chemical engineering is concerned with processes in which matter and energy undergo change. The range of concerns is so broad that the chemical engineering graduate is prepared for a variety of interesting and challenging employment opportunities. 

Chemical engineers with strong background in sciences are found in management, design, operations, and research. Chemical engineers are employed in almost all industries, including food, polymers, chemicals, pharmaceutical, petroleum, medical, materials, and electronics. Since solutions to energy, environmental, and food problems must surely involve chemical changes, there will be continued demands for chemical engineers in the future.

The department received in 2005 a three-year $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) entitled " Pillars of Chemical Engineering: A Block Scheduled Curriculum." Led by Associate Professor Joseph J. McCarthy, the curriculum team—composed of 11 faculty from chemical as well as industrial engineering—completed the reform of the undergraduate chemical engineering curriculum into a series of six "pillar" courses. This plan was developed as part of NSF's program for Department-Level Reform of Engineering Curricula (2002), and is the basis for the larger implementation project completed in 2009.

The undergraduate chemical engineering program offers course in the following areas: thermodynamics; mass and energy balances; energy, mass, and momentum transfer; unit operations; process dynamics and control; process design; and chemical reaction engineering. These areas are covered in the student's last six terms. The first two terms of the engineering curriculum are common to all departments and are administered by the Freshman Program Office.

In addition, the curriculum offers the undergraduate student earning a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering the opportunity to enhance their education by obtaining a minor or concentration in one of several specialty areas, participating in the cooperative education program, or by performing undergraduate research.


Educational Objectives

1. Graduates will gain employment in professional careers (often in positions of technical expertise in chemical engineering, but also including professions such as medicine, law, business, finance, non-profit organizations, government, education, etc.) and/or enroll in graduate studies.

2. Graduates will be committed to lifelong learning throughout their careers.

3. Graduates will assume positions of leadership.

4. Graduates will recognize the importance of utilizing their knowledge, skills, and initiative for the benefit of society and demonstrate that understanding through their interactions within their community, in government, or in society as a whole.

Student Outcomes

1. Ability to identify, formulate and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science (chemistry and/or biology) and mathematics

2. Ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental and economic factors

3. Ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences

4. Ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgements, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental and social contexts

5. Ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks and meet objectives

6. Ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions

7. Ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.  



Chemical Engineering Enrollment and Graduation Numbers

Academic Year Enrollment Graduates
2012-2013 323 74
2013-2014 370 99
2014-2015 437 97
2015-2016 467 108
2016-2017 459 136


Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.