Many of today’s most important creations are available thanks to the field of chemical engineering. A few of the many innovations that chemical engineers offer society include household appliances and cleaners, technological developments and pharmaceuticals.
Chemical engineers are the lifeblood of this diverse engineering field, which is comprised of chemistry, biology, economics, mathematics and physics. Their work has served to advance society and each person’s very well-being—many times empowering people in their everyday lives—for more than a century.
Considering how our society thrives on innovation, it probably comes as no surprise that the field of chemical engineering is showing no signs of slowing down, which means the need for chemical engineers remains strong. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites an eight percent projected rate of growth throughout 2026 for the field, making it a wise option for students with the necessary inclination and abilities.
The Top Schools for Chemical Engineering Studies
Students ready to commit to a career that offers a broad spectrum of diversity of disciplines will need to find just the right college or university to support such a path.
Explore the following five top-ranked schools to help narrow down the choices.
Set in the San Francisco Bay region of Santa Clara Valley—also part of the technology hub of Silicon Valley—Stanford University is frequently referred to as students’ “dream college.”
Stanford’s chemical engineering program consists of laboratory experimentation phase, followed by the implementation of technology in standard and practical production. Undergraduate studies focus on core engineering, mathematical and scientific studies to provide students with the foundation in the studies of biology, chemistry and physics, which are widely known as the three pillars of science. These core studies are essential to help students easily proceed throughout the rest of the program.
Key coursework in the chemical engineering tract includes the study of chemical reaction kinetics, reactor design, process design, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, separations technologies, and energy and mass transfer.
Students earning a Master of Science (MS) may select to work toward their degree with the Stanford Online Chemical Engineering Program. In order to meet the needs of today’s talented future chemical engineers, Stanford has launched a fully online, part-time master’s program. Students taking this route will take core chemical engineering courses in areas that include molecular thermodynamics, biochemical engineering and chemical kinetics. To round out each student’s education, the program also offers the opportunity to take elective courses in areas such as optimization, energy, applied mathematics and entrepreneurship. Students generally take an average of three-to-five years to complete the program.
Starting from the 2019-2020 school year, the quarterly tuition for Stanford $17,619 for traditional undergraduate students and $18635 for engineering graduate students. The average annual tuition, generally, comes to $46,320. For online MS students, the cost is $1,260/quarter unit, and each student must take at least three units per term. As far as tuition assistance, CNN Money reported in 2015 that Stanford University had expanded its financial aid to it accepted students with families having an annual income and total assets of less than $125,000, which was previously set at $100,000. These families do not pay anything to attend the highly prestigious West Coast university.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), Cambridge’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was founded in 1861 with the core purpose of furthering and bolstering industrialization in the United States. A private research university, MIT is most well-known for its school of engineering. More than 60 percent of students typically enroll in this cornerstone program.
The chemical engineering program offers three options: Bachelor of Science in Chemical-Biological Engineering, Bachelor of Science with Concentration, and Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. This offers students a chance to tailor their chemical engineering degree tract to best fit their aptitude and interests.
The classes available to students further show the flexibility that MIT offers its students, taking them past the fundamental requirements in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics. Students may choose to take course work in quantum mechanics, chemical kinetics, thermodynamics, energy conversion and many other diverse electives. An impressive league of 35 faculty members leading in cutting-edge research are set to guide chemical engineering students through the program and on to success.
The average annual cost of tuition for MIT comes to roughly $46,704. Focusing on the best talent, MIT is committed to helping bright students through its generous financial aid program. Any funding that helps finance college expenses falls under this category and comes in the form of scholarships, student work programs and student loans. Financial assistance is assessed on an individual basis, focusing on student and family need to ensure that the student can comfortably study and succeed, once accepted.
Johns Hopkins University
Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins University is a private research university and was modeled after the ancient Heidelberg University. Established as the first U.S. school to combine teaching and research, Johns Hopkins University opened 1876, and the school and its alumnae have received a variety of awards, honors and distinctions over the years. Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Johns Hopkins is home to 24,000 students on average, with the majority of those students working at the graduate level.
About one-quarter of the student population participates in the online study. The chemical engineering program places great emphasis on medically oriented chemical engineering studies since Johns Hopkins is a premiere medical school. Students may pursue a Master of Science in Applied Biomedical Engineering, choosing from three different concentration areas, which are Translational Tissue Engineering, Instrumentation and Imaging. Students have three years of rich and intensive study to complete the graduate studies program, and the program consists of six courses.
All students—even those studying online—have access to world-class research facilities associated with Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Institute for NanoBioTechnology, the Applied Physics Laboratory and much more.
The average annual tuition for Johns Hopkins University comes to $55,350, annually. The school offers a need-blind admissions process, meaning that they do not look at a student’s ability to pay as a condition of admission. Further, students who demonstrate financial need may receive loan-free financial aid packages to allow them to complete the program debt-free.
University of Pennsylvania
Also referred to as Penn, the University of Pennsylvania is set in the heart of Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. Founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin, Penn is steeped in a rich history of not only the nation’s education, but also its very history. Launched as a private Ivy League university, Franklin based his philosophy for the school on the principles of public service and classic education. Enrolling nearly 11,000 students each year, Penn has become a highly respected, multidisciplinary research institution.
The chemical engineering program at Penn is renowned and highly popular, but the school maintains its emphasis on small class sizes, making it easier for its world-class educators to work closely with students to ensure success.
The program itself allows for a number of different specializations to suit their strengths and interests. The possible program focuses include Electronic Materials Processing, Polymer Science and Engineering, Pharmaceutics and Biotechnology, and Environmental Engineering. Students are only allowed to claim their specialization after taking at least five courses within that concentration and taking on special research projects and internships. This approach allows students to dig deeper into the concentration to see if it truly suits their interests and academic aptitude. Students work in tandem with faculty to better steer their academic career toward success.
The average annual tuition at Penn comes to $48,977-$49,536. Ranked as one of the top universities, the University of Pennsylvania dedicates itself to offering its practical, flexible, powerful and empowering educational resources available to the best and brightest chemical engineering students. Economic circumstances should not be a hindrance to talented students, so the university extends generous financial aid to assist students of all socioeconomic backgrounds, so they can thrive academically and, later, as a part of the professional chemical engineering community.
University of Virginia
Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, history is brimming in Charlottesville, Virginia’s for the students at the University of Virginia (UVA). UVA is a public research university and was one the first member institution elected into the American Association of Universities. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, UVA serves a large average population of 24,000 students per year.
UVA features a healthy Bachelor of Science program in chemical engineering. The school regularly explores and emphasizes the vast array of professional opportunities available to its students upon graduation. The three different curricula available are the Broad Curriculum, the Pre-Med Curriculum, and the Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering Curriculum.
The online master’s program for Virginia Engineering offers students a rich background in chemistry to help them excel in careers involving energy, pharmaceuticals, plastics, or industrial or governmental positions, focusing studies surrounding catalysis, electrochemistry, environment, polymers, separation. Students participate in the program partially in Charlottesville and partially online. For the online portion, students are to sign in and watch the lectures in real-time. Classes required for this tract include chemical reactions, thermodynamics, and techniques for chemical engineering analysis and design.
The program requires about 30 hours of course work and a total of eight Chemical Engineering (ChE) courses, or 24 semester hours, offered video conferencing.
The average annual tuition at the University of Virginia comes to an average $29,174 per year, but the university believes in helping its talented students by offering various financial aid options for students at all levels, including graduate students for up to five years.
Students Can Find a Rich Chemical Engineering Learning Experience Throughout the Country
Spread throughout the United States, these five colleges are just a few of the many enriching and vibrant educational centers for talented chemical engineers to earn their degrees and prepare for an exciting career.