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 energy sources, 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 they are more affordable; and create safer, 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 seven undergraduate Engineering Programs in the College of Engineering, which also offers excellent opportunities for students to participate in internships, study abroad, and student organizations.

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 26 percent of Iowa's engineering students; the national average is 20 percent. 

Course Work

Focus area options in chemical engineering include:

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

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 skills. 

In addition to having 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.


Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.


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

Application Process

Application Process Tabs

Apply to the College of Engineering.


Chemical Engineering (BSE)
Chemical Process
Energy & Environment
Honors Courses
Four-Year Graduation Plan
Selective Admission