Undergraduate Admissions - The University of Iowa

The University of Iowa

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Chemical Engineering


Chemical Engineering (BSE)
Honors Courses
Four-Year Graduation Plan
Selective Admission

Chemical engineering involves the industrial application of chemicals to new inventions or to improve the world. Chemical engineers use microbes to produce pharmaceuticals and chemicals, develop new sources of energy, create artificial organs, and design the next generation of polymers. They construct synthetic fibers to make clothes more comfortable; develop methods to mass-produce drugs so that they may be more affordable; and create safer and more efficient methods of refining petroleum products to make energy more productive and cost effective.

Why Study at Iowa? 

The Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering is small enough for daily interaction with faculty members and other students. You’ll know about your professors’ research, and you’ll be encouraged to participate in it. The BSE in chemical engineering is one of six Undergraduate Engineering Programs in the College of Engineering, which offers excellent opportunities for students to participate in internships, study abroad, and student organizations.

Students choose to study engineering at Iowa because of the college's academic excellence, individual attention, small-college environment, camaraderie, and tremendous opportunities. U.S. News & World Report ranks Iowa's undergraduate program in the top 20 percent of engineering programs nationwide.

Iowa admits incoming first-year students directly into engineering. About 525 first-year students and 100 transfer students enroll each year. Women account for over 21 percent of Iowa's engineering students; the national average is 17 percent.

BS/MS Fast-Track Degree Program

The BS/MS fast-track degree program is for eligible students who seek to complete both the BS and MS degrees in chemical engineering at Iowa. Students interested in this program apply in the second semester of their junior year and, if admitted, enter that program in the first semester of their senior year. The fast-track program allows for 12 hours to be counted toward both their BS and MS degrees.

Course Work 

The chemical engineering program at Iowa provides graduates with a scientific and technical knowledge and equips them with problem-solving, teamwork, and communication skills that will serve them throughout their careers.

The program emphasizes both a broad education in chemical engineering fundamentals and the opportunity for in-depth learning. Focus area options in chemical engineering include:

  • Biochemical engineering
  • Business
  • Chemical process engineering
  • Energy and environment
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Polymers
  • Pre-medicine
  • Sustainability

All chemical engineering students will complete at least one of the following enriching activities as a requirement to receive a BS degree:

  • Three-semester-hour equivalent of an approved research experience
  • Cooperative education experience
  • Internship experience
  • Study abroad
  • Entrepreneurial program (i.e., receive the corresponding certificate)
  • Other approved multidisciplinary experience approved by the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering curriculum committee

See Chemical Engineering in the UI General Catalog for more information.

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities 

Engineering student support services include free tutoring for your first two years of math, science, and engineering courses.

Engineering student organizations, fraternities and sororities, and national honorary societies offer many opportunities to develop your leadership abilities.

In addition to nearly 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Living-Learning Communities, Study Abroad Programs, and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Engineering students may enjoy the People in Engineering Living-Learning Community or the Be WISE: Women in Science and Engineering Living-Learning Community in the residence halls.


On average, 93-98 percent of our graduates are employed in their field of study or pursuing advanced education within seven months of graduation.

Engineering is a well-respected profession that is used as a foundation for a variety of careers in industry, medicine, law, government, and consulting. Engineering majors hold eight of the top ten spots on the list of top-paid majors for bachelor's degree graduates, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Engineering Professional Development (EPD) develops and promotes experiential education and professional opportunities for students in the College of Engineering. Professional staff coordinate the college's co-op and internship program, engage in employer outreach, and provide opportunities for students to network with employers, including an engineering career fair each semester and other programming related to career development.

EPD also offers individual advising and class presentations on resume and cover letter preparation, job and internship search strategies, interviewing skills, and job offer evaluation.


Apply early for scholarships. The college offers Engineering First-Year Scholarships as well as many other scholarship opportunities for sophomore, junior, and senior students. To learn more, visit College of Engineering Scholarships.

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Application Process

Apply to the College of Engineering.

Application Process Tabs