Chemical Engineering

Major: Chemical Engineering
Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering (BSCHE)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 184.0
Co-op Options: Three Co-op (Five years); One Co-op (Four years)
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 14.0701
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 17-2041

About the Program

The department of Chemical and Biological Engineering's chemical engineering curriculum is structured so that students progress through sequences in the fundamental physical sciences, humanities, engineering sciences, and engineering design.

Chemical engineers are concerned primarily with process engineering, the conversion of raw materials into valuable products. The products can include pharmaceuticals, specialized plastics, petrochemicals, materials for biomedical applications, and energy. The processes, which usually start out at a small laboratory scale, must be developed for production at a large chemical plant scale. The large change in scale requires careful engineering to minimize environmental contamination and to ensure public safety.

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering is responsible for equipping our graduates with the broad technical knowledge and teamwork skills required for them to make substantial contributions to society.

Sample Senior Design Projects

A special feature of the major is senior design. A group of students in the chemical engineering major works with a faculty advisor to develop a significant design project. Some recent examples include:

  • Design of a process to make petrochemical intermediates
  • Plastics recycling design
  • Process design for antibiotic products

Program Educational Objectives

The chemical engineering major has four goals for its students:

  • Our graduates will succeed in careers requiring strong skills in engineering, science, communication, and teamwork.
  • Our graduates will continue to upgrade their technological skills through life-long learning involving self- or group-study.
  • Our graduates will conduct their work with an understanding of its global impact and ethical consequences.
  • Our graduates will contribute to research and development at the forefront of chemical engineering and related fields.

To help students reach these goals, the curriculum is structured so that they progress through sequences in the fundamental physical sciences, humanities, engineering sciences, and design. 

The department’s student outcomes reflect the skills and abilities that the curriculum is designed to provide to students by the time they graduate. These are:

a) an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering;

b) an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;

c) an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability;

d) an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams;

e) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems;

f) an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility;

g) an ability to communicate effectively;

h) the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context;

i) a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning;

j) a knowledge of contemporary issues;

k) an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for chemical engineering practice.

Additional Information

The Chemical Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org.

For more information about this program, visit Drexel University's Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering web page.

Degree Requirements

General Education/Liberal Studies Requirements
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: Advanced Research and Evidence-Based Writing3.0
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Themes and Genres3.0
UNIV E101The Drexel Experience1.0
General Education Requirements *19.0
Foundation Requirements
BIO 141Essential Biology4.5
CHEM 101General Chemistry I3.5
CHEM 102General Chemistry II4.5
ENGR 100Beginning Computer Aided Drafting for Design1.0
ENGR 101Engineering Design Laboratory I2.0
ENGR 102Engineering Design Laboratory II2.0
ENGR 103Engineering Design Laboratory III2.0
ENGR 121Computation Lab I2.0
ENGR 122Computation Lab II1.0
ENGR 220Fundamentals of Materials4.0
MATH 121Calculus I4.0
MATH 122Calculus II4.0
MATH 200Multivariate Calculus4.0
MATH 201Linear Algebra4.0
MATH 210Differential Equations4.0
PHYS 101Fundamentals of Physics I4.0
PHYS 102Fundamentals of Physics II4.0
Professional Requirements
CHE 211Material and Energy Balances I4.0
CHE 212Material and Energy Balances II4.0
CHE 220Computational Methods in Chemical Engineering I3.0
CHE 230Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics I4.0
CHE 320Computational Methods in Chemical Engineering II3.0
CHE 330Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics II4.0
CHE 331Separation Processes4.0
CHE 341Fluid Mechanics4.0
CHE 342Heat Transfer4.0
CHE 343Mass Transfer4.0
CHE 350Statistics and Design of Experiments3.0
CHE 351Chemical Engineering Laboratory I2.5
CHE 352Chemical Engineering Laboratory II2.5
CHE 362Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design4.0
CHE 371Engineering Economics and Professional Practice3.0
CHE 372Integrated Case Studies in Chemical Engineering 3.0
CHE 453Chemical Engineering Laboratory III2.5
CHE 464Process Dynamics and Control3.0
CHE 466Chemical Process Safety3.0
CHE 471Process Design I3.0
CHE 472Process Design II3.0
CHE 473Process Design III3.0
CHEC 353Physical Chemistry and Applications III4.0
CHEM 241Organic Chemistry I4.0
CHEM 242Organic Chemistry II4.0
CHEM 356Physical Chemistry Laboratory2.0
Technical Electives **12.0
Total Credits184.0
*

General Education Requirements.

**

An optional concentration in Biological Engineering is available. If you elect to take that option, the 12.0 technical elective credits will count toward the concentration.

Biological Engineering Concentration
Core Courses
BIO 218Principles of Molecular Biology4.0
BIO 270Development Biology3.0
BIO 306Biochemistry Laboratory2.0
BIO 311Biochemistry4.0
BIO 214Principles of Cell Biology3.0
CHE 360BioProcess Principles3.0
Complete 5 credits from the following:5.0
Techniques in Cell Biology
Techniques in Molecular Biology
Microbiology
Microbiology Laboratory
Biology of Cancer
Stem Cell Research
Structure and Function of Biomolecules
Proteins
Virology
Human Genetics
Endocrinology
Independent Study in BIO
Immunology
Advanced Genetics and Molecular Biology
Transport Phenomena in Bioengineering Processes
Bioprocess Unit Operations
Independent Study in CHE
Graduate Course Options Require 3.0 GPA
Biochemistry I
Proteins
Virology
Independent Study in BIO
Total Credits24.0

Graduate-Level Electives

CHE 502Mathematical Methods in Chemical Engineering3.0
CHE 513Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics3.0
CHE 525Transport Phenomena I3.0
CHE 543Kinetics & Catalysis I3.0
CHE 554Process Systems Engineering3.0
CHE 562Bioreactor Engineering3.0
CHE 564Unit Operations in Bioprocess Systems3.0
CHE 614Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics II3.0

Writing-Intensive Course Requirements

In order to graduate, all students must pass three writing-intensive courses after their freshman year. Two writing-intensive courses must be in a student's major. The third can be in any discipline. Students are advised to take one writing-intensive class each year, beginning with the sophomore year, and to avoid “clustering” these courses near the end of their matriculation. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.

A "WI" next to a course in this catalog may indicate that this course can fulfill a writing-intensive requirement. For the most up-to-date list of writing-intensive courses being offered, students should check the Writing Intensive Course List at the University Writing Center. Students scheduling their courses can also conduct a search for courses with the attribute "WI" to bring up a list of all writing-intensive courses available that term. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.

Sample Plan of Study 

5 YR UG Co-op Concentration

Term 1Credits
CHEM 101General Chemistry I3.5
COOP 101Career Management and Professional Development0.0
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
ENGR 100Beginning Computer Aided Drafting for Design1.0
ENGR 101Engineering Design Laboratory I2.0
ENGR 121Computation Lab I2.0
MATH 121Calculus I4.0
UNIV E101The Drexel Experience1.0
 Term Credits16.5
Term 2
CHEM 102General Chemistry II4.5
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: Advanced Research and Evidence-Based Writing3.0
ENGR 102Engineering Design Laboratory II2.0
ENGR 122Computation Lab II1.0
MATH 122Calculus II4.0
PHYS 101Fundamentals of Physics I4.0
 Term Credits19.5
Term 3
BIO 141Essential Biology4.5
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Themes and Genres3.0
ENGR 103Engineering Design Laboratory III2.0
MATH 200Multivariate Calculus4.0
PHYS 102Fundamentals of Physics II4.0
 Term Credits17.5
Term 4
CHE 211Material and Energy Balances I4.0
CHE 220Computational Methods in Chemical Engineering I3.0
CHEM 241Organic Chemistry I4.0
MATH 201Linear Algebra4.0
 Term Credits15.0
Term 5
CHE 212Material and Energy Balances II4.0
CHE 230Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics I4.0
CHEM 242Organic Chemistry II4.0
MATH 210Differential Equations4.0
 Term Credits16.0
Term 6
CHE 330Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics II4.0
CHE 341Fluid Mechanics4.0
CHE 350Statistics and Design of Experiments3.0
ENGR 220Fundamentals of Materials4.0
 Term Credits15.0
Term 7
CHE 320Computational Methods in Chemical Engineering II3.0
CHE 342Heat Transfer4.0
CHE 343Mass Transfer4.0
CHE 351Chemical Engineering Laboratory I2.5
General Education Elective3.0
 Term Credits16.5
Term 8
CHE 331Separation Processes4.0
CHE 362Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design4.0
CHEC 353Physical Chemistry and Applications III4.0
CHEM 356Physical Chemistry Laboratory2.0
 Term Credits14.0
Term 9
CHE 352Chemical Engineering Laboratory II2.5
CHE 371Engineering Economics and Professional Practice3.0
CHE 372Integrated Case Studies in Chemical Engineering 3.0
CHE Technical Elective3.0
General Education Elective*3.0
 Term Credits14.5
Term 10
CHE 453Chemical Engineering Laboratory III2.5
CHE 464Process Dynamics and Control3.0
CHE 471Process Design I3.0
CHE Technical Elective3.0
General Education Elective*3.0
 Term Credits14.5
Term 11
CHE 472Process Design II3.0
General Education Elective*7.0
CHE Technical Elective3.0
 Term Credits13.0
Term 12
CHE 466Chemical Process Safety3.0
CHE 473Process Design III3.0
CHE Technical Elective3.0
General Education Elective*3.0
 Term Credits12.0
Total Credit: 184.0
*

 See degree requirements.


Co-op/Career Opportunities

Chemical engineers tend to work for large corporations with such job assignments as process engineering, design engineering, plant operation, research and development, sales, and management. They also work for federal and state government agencies on projects related to environmental problems, defense, energy, and health-related research.

Some major employers of Drexel’s chemical engineering graduates are DuPont, Merck, BASF, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, and Air Products. A number of graduates go on to pursue master’s and/or doctoral degrees. Graduate schools that Drexel’s chemical engineers have attended include the University of California at Berkeley and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others.

Co-op Experiences

Drexel is located in downtown Philadelphia with easy access to major pharmaceutical, chemical, and petroleum companies. When students complete their co-op jobs, they are asked to write an overview of their experiences. These brief quotes are taken from some recent student reports:

Research assistant, chemicals manufacturer: “Conducted research in a developmental polyamide process. Aspects included scale-up from bench-scale to batch demonstration, installation and calibration of on-line composition sensors, off-line analytical techniques to assess product quality, and interfacing with plant sites to define and standardize a critical quality lab procedure. Documented results in technical memos and in a plant presentation . . .I had a lot of freedom and responsibility. It was great interacting with other researchers and technicians. Everyone was so helpful. ”

Co-op engineer, chemicals manufacturer: “Created material safety data sheets, which involved chemical composition, hazard communication, occupational safety and health, emergency response, and regulatory issues for numerous products and wastes. Handled domestic and international regulatory reviews. Determined hazardous waste reporting requirements, handling and disposal procedures. Evaluated toxicological and ecological data for assessment of hazard ratings. Provided input on product safety technical reports.”

Visit the Drexel Steinbright Career Development Center page for more detailed information on co-op and post-graduate opportunities.

Facilities

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering occupies the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors of the Center for Automation Technology. Approximately 35,000 square feet (gross) are available for the department.

Two thousand square feet of laboratory facilities are designed for the pre-junior and junior year laboratory courses. Experiments in these laboratory courses focus on applying concepts in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, separations, and reaction engineering. Laboratory courses are run with class sizes of 18 students or less.

The department has two computer laboratories:

  • The senior design laboratory features nine booths designed for team projects. Each booth contains a work station loaded with the latest process simulation software produced by Aspen, Simulation Sciences and HYSIS. Seniors use the room heavily during their Capstone design experience, although pre-junior courses in separations and transport also include projects requiring use of the process simulation software.
  • A second computer lab contains over 30 individual work stations with general and engineering-specific software.

Many undergraduate students participate in research projects in faculty laboratories as part of independent study coursework or BS/MS thesis work. Chemical engineering faculty are engaged in a wide range of research activities in areas including energy and the environment, polymer science and engineering, biological engineering, and multi-scale modeling and process systems engineering. Further details can be found on the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering's Research Group web page.

Dual/Accelerated Degree

Accelerated Program

The accelerated program of the College of Engineering provides opportunities for highly-talented and strongly-motivated students to progress toward their educational goals essentially at their own pace. Through advanced placement, credit by examination, flexibility of scheduling, and independent study, the program makes it possible to complete the undergraduate curriculum and initiate graduate study in less than the five years required by the standard curriculum.

Bachelor’s/Master’s Dual Degree Program

Drexel offers a combined BS/MS degree program for our top engineering students who want to obtain both degrees in the same time period as most students obtain a Bachelor's degree. In chemical engineering, the course sequence for BS/MS students involves additional graduate courses and electives.

Chemical Engineering Faculty

Cameron F. Abrams, PhD (University of California, Berkeley). Professor. Molecular simulations in biophysics and materials; receptors for insulin and growth factors; and HIV-1 envelope structure and function.
Nicolas Alvarez, PhD (Carnegie Mellon University). Assistant Professor. Phototonic crystal defect chromatography; extensional rheology of polymer/polymer composites; surfactant/polymer transport to fluid and solid interfaces; aqueous lubrication; interfacial instabilities.
Jason Baxter, PhD (University of California, Santa Barbara). Associate Professor. Solar cells, semiconductor nanomaterials, ultrafast spectroscopy.
Richard A. Cairncross, PhD (University of Minnesota). Associate Professor. Effects of microstructure on transport and properties of polymers; moisture transport and degradation on biodegradation on biodegradable polymers; production of biofuel.
Nily R. Dan, PhD (University of Minnesota). Associate Professor. Design of synthetic gene and drug carriers; design of polymeric drug carriers; metal cluster formation in polymeric matrices; colloidal absorption in patterned surfaces.
Aaron Fafarman, PhD (Stanford University). Assistant Professor. Photovoltaic energy conversion; solution-based synthesis of semiconductor thin films; colloidal nanocrystals; electromodulation and photomodulation spectroscopy.
Vibha Kalra, PhD (Cornell University) Chemical and Biological Engineering. Assistant Professor. Electrodes for energy storage and conversion; supercapacitors; Li-S batteries; fuel cells; flow batteries; electrospinning for nanofibers; molecular dynamics simulations; Nanotechnology, polymer nanocomposites.
Kenneth K.S. Lau, PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Chemical and Biological Engineering. Associate Professor. Surface science; nanotechnology; polymer thin films and coatings; chemical vapor deposition.
Raj Mutharasan, PhD (Drexel University) Frank A, Fletcher Professor. Biochemical engineering; cellular metabolism in bioreactors; biosensors.
Giuseppe R. Palmese, PhD (University of Delaware) Department Head, Chemical and Biological Engineering. Professor. Reacting polymer systems; nanostructured polymers; radiation processing of materials; composites and interfaces.
Joshua Snyder, PhD (Johns Hopkins University). Assistant Professor. Electrocatalysis (energy conversion/storage); hetergeneous catalysis corrosion (dealloying nanoporous metals); interfacial electrochemical phenomena in nanostructured materials; colloidal synthesis.
Masoud Soroush, PhD (University of Michigan). Professor. Process systems engineering; polymer engineering.
John H. Speidel, BSHE, MCHE (University of Delaware; Illinois Institute of Technology). Teaching Professor. Chemical process safety; process design engineering.
Maureen Tang, PhD (University of California, Berkeley). Assistant Professor. Batteries and fuel cells; nonaqueous electrochemistry; charge transport at interfaces.
Michael Walters, PhD (Drexel University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Undergraduate laboratory.
Stephen P. Wrenn, PhD (University of Delaware) Assistant Dean of Graduate Affairs, College of Engineering. Associate Professor. Biomedical engineering; biological colloids; membrane phase behavior and cholesterol transport.

Emeritus Faculty

Charles B. Weinberger, PhD (University of Michigan). Professor Emeritus. Suspension rheology; fluid mechanics of multi-phase systems.
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