Areas of Study (Major Options)
Although the Department offers one Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in Chemical Engineering, students may choose from among three diverse areas of study that reflect new directions in the broader field of chemical engineering. These major options include Chemical Engineering, Chemical-Materials Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering.
The most common major, it prepares students for employment or further study in traditional areas of chemical engineering (described above).
Chemical engineers have extensively developed and studied the molecular structures and dynamics of materials - including solids, liquids, and gases - in order to develop macroscopic descriptions of the behavior of such materials. In turn, these macroscopic descriptions have allowed the construction and analysis of unit processes that facilitate desired chemical and physical changes. This constant interplay between molecular scale understanding and macroscopic descriptions is unique and central to the field of chemical engineering.
Biomedical engineering concerns the application of chemical engineering principles and practices to large scale living organisms, most specifically human beings. As one of the newest sub-disciplines of chemical engineering, the field is a rapidly evolving one involving chemical engineers, biochemists, physicians, and other health care professionals. Biomedical research and development is carried out at universities, teaching hospitals, and private companies, and it focuses on conceiving new materials and products designed to improve or restore bodily form or function. Biomedical engineers are employed in diverse areas such as artificial limb and organ development, genetic engineering research, development of drug delivery systems, and cellular and tissue engineering. Many chemical engineering professionals are engaged in medical research to model living organisms (pharmacokinetic models), and to make biomedical devices (e.g., drug delivery capsules, synthetic materials, and prosthetic devices). Because of increasing interest in this field of study, the major in Biomedical engineering also provides an avenue for students interested in pursuing a career in medicine, biotechnological patent law, or biomedical product sales and services.