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.



Chemical and biochemical engineers combine engineering principles with knowledge of mathematics, chemistry, biological sciences, and physics to develop and operate processes that convert raw materials into products that benefit the global community.

Chemical engineering relies on chemical reactions and physicochemical transformations to produce a wide variety of important materials and products. For example, biochemical engineers might develop and operate processes to mass-produce an antibiotic or generate products ranging from high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks to recombinant human insulin.

Chemical and biochemical engineers learn ethical design and a respect for the larger issues in any design, such as community health, employee safety, and global implications of the design. Iowa's curriculum emphasizes chemical process safety and environmentally conscious chemical engineering design. 

Why Iowa?

The BSE in chemical engineering is one of eight undergraduate Engineering Programs in the College of Engineering, which also 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. 

About 525 first-year students and 100 transfer students enroll each year. Women account for over 29 percent of Iowa's engineering students; the national average is 20 percent. 

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

 Information

Major(s)
Chemical Engineering
BSE
Focus Areas
Biochemical
Business
Chemical Process
Computation, Data Science, and Machine Learning
Energy and Environment
Entrepreneurship
Oil and Gas
Pharmaceuticals
Polymers
Pre-Medicine
Sustainability
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
  Selective Admission
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.  

Engineering is a well-respected profession that is used as a foundation for a variety of careers in industry, medicine, law, government, and consulting.

Chemical and biochemical engineers work in petroleum and specialty chemical production, polymer and plastic production, food processing, energy, microelectronics production, pharmaceutical production, biochemical processing, and environmental compliance. 

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 Career Services develops and promotes experiential education and professional opportunities for students. Professional staff coordinate the college's co-op and internship program, engage in employer outreach, and host an engineering career fair each semester.  

Student Opportunities

In addition to having more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Study Abroad Programs and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

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

  Scholarships

The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college.

Apply early for scholarships. The College of Engineering 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.  

Course Work

The major in chemical engineering emphasizes fundamental concepts, problem-solving, laboratory techniques, and communication skills.

The curriculum includes courses required for the major, mathematics, basic sciences, engineering topics, the general education component (humanities and social sciences), and an elective focus area. Students may choose an approved focus area or work with their adviser to customize an area that aligns with their interests or career objectives.

To learn about required course work and graduating with honors, see Chemical Engineering in the UI General Catalog

BSE/MS Fast-Track Degree Program 

This program is for eligible students who seek to complete both the BSE and MS degrees in chemical and biochemical engineering at Iowa. Students apply in the second semester of their junior year and, if admitted, enter the program in the first semester of their senior year. The fast-track program allows 12 credit hours to be counted toward both their BSE and MS degrees. This program may be especially attractive to students who are interested in product research, development, and design. 

BSE/MS Joint Degree Program 

The Departments of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering support a combined Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree program for students pursuing a BSE in Chemical Engineering and an MS in Environmental Engineering and Science.