Chemical engineers are involved in the transfer of scientific discoveries to modern technologies and novel products that benefit society and minimize the impact on the environment. They deal with multi-scale aspects of generating clean energy, producing novel and superior materials, and utilizing the biological revolution to manufacture new products. They are involved in the development and manufacture of consumer products, as well as in design, operation, and control of processes in a variety of industries (e.g. petroleum, petrochemical, chemical, consumer products, food, feed and pharmaceuticals).
School of Engineering & Applied Science
As an engineering school, we aspire to discover the unknown, educate students and serve society. Our strategy focuses intellectual efforts through a new convergence paradigm and builds on strengths, particularly as applied to medicine and health, energy and environment, and security. Through innovative partnerships with academic and industry partners—across disciplines and across the world—we will contribute to solving the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.
The Washington University Advantage
As the country’s first Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering (EECE), our programs attract students interested in developing renewable energy sources, alleviating the shortage of clean water, improving air quality and understanding climate change. Washington University is also home to the International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES), the McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environmental Partnership (MAGEEP), the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization (CCCU), and a DOE Solar Energy Center (PARC).
Introduction to EECE and Freshman Engineering Seminar
An introductory class in Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering exposes the students to exciting areas in the discipline. A weekly freshman engineering seminar, organized and run by upper-class students, will introduce you to engineering and will help you identify the specific area of engineering that matches your long-term interests and aspirations. In addition, the seminar helps develop your leadership, collaboration, and communication skills—all of which will help you succeed throughout your undergraduate education.
Undergraduate students have numerous opportunities to participate with faculty on research projects ranging from the synthesis of nanomaterials for use in energy and environmental technologies to cell and tissue engineering to developing biosensors; aerosol science and engineering, reaction engineering and aquatic processes. 60 percent of our current students participate in an undergraduate research or independent study project with faculty. All of our students participate in some form of internship program.
International Study Opportunities
Experiencing an academic program in another country and culture can be both career-enhancing and life-transforming. Each summer, our faculty lead an international experience in Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering where students visit a partner university abroad and engage in team projects. In addition, students have the opportunity to study abroad through the College of Arts & Sciences Overseas Program, but there are also many opportunities available only to engineering students—including summer, semester- or year-long study programs, and other specialized programs. For a complete list of opportunities, visit our website.
Career Opportunities in Chemical Engineering
A degree in chemical engineering is highly interdisciplinary. Graduates can continue studies in another area of engineering or cross disciplines to study sciences, law, medicine or business.
Chemical engineers can find industry careers in a wide variety of areas, including:
- planning new manufacturing plants and facilities as a design engineer
- employment in materials, electronics, bioprocessing, pharmaceutical, energy, chemical, food, agriculture, and biomedical industries
- developing energy and environmental technologies or nanotechnology
- developing processes to manufacture new materials as a research engineer
- working in policy related arenas, including consulting companies, think tanks, and the government