Chemical Engineering

Major: Chemical Engineering
Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering (BSCHE)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 181.5
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 offers a rigorous curriculum grounded in the fundamental physical sciences, integrating practical engineering design and modern computational techniques throughout, and including expansive opportunities to explore the humanities. An extensive, hands-on laboratory experience rounds out a dynamic program that prepares our graduates for rewarding careers in chemical engineering as well as other quantitative disciplines.

Chemical engineers are dedicated to designing devices and processes that convert input materials into more valuable products and to the design of those products. Such end products include pharmaceuticals, plastics and other materials, fine chemicals, integrated circuits, electrical energy, petrochemicals, biologically derived fuels, and much more. Chemical engineering often begins with small laboratory scale processes that must be scaled up to production levels through carefully integrated design, optimization, economic, environmental and safety analyses.

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

Sample Senior Design Projects

A special feature of the major is senior design. Teams of chemical engineering seniors work with a faculty or industrial advisor over an entire academic year to develop a realistic, practical industrial design project of their choosing. Some recent examples include the start-to-finish design of production processes for:

  • Low-cost solar cells, manufactured by printing
  • Scaled-up synthesis of MXene, a novel nanomaterial for energy storage discovered at Drexel
  • Biotechnologically derived antibiotic medicine
  • Jet fuel derived from bioethanol

Program Educational Objectives

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has four goals pertaining to student outcomes within a few years of graduation:

  • Our graduates will succeed in careers requiring strong skills in engineering, science, creative problem solving, communication, teamwork, and appropriate leadership.
  • Our graduates will continue their professional development through life-long learning involving self- or group-study and on-the-job training.
  • Our graduates will hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public. They will conduct their work ethically and understand its global impact and sustainability.
  • Our graduates will be thought leaders in their area of expertise who are prepared to contribute to research, development, and industrial innovation at the forefront of chemical engineering and related fields.

Student Outcomes*

  1. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  2. An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  3. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  4. An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of the engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  5. An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  6. An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  7. An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies

Additional Information

*Adapted from The Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

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

Degree Requirements

General Education/Liberal Studies Requirements
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
COOP 101Career Management and Professional Development1.0
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
or ENGL 111 English Composition I
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: Advanced Research and Evidence-Based Writing3.0
or ENGL 112 English Composition II
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Themes and Genres3.0
or ENGL 113 English Composition III
UNIV E101The Drexel Experience1.0
General Education Requirements *18.0
Foundation Requirements
BIO Elective **3.0
Chemistry Requirements ***3.5-7.5
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I
General Chemistry I
CHEM 102General Chemistry II4.5
Engineering (ENGR) Requirements
ENGR 220Fundamentals of Materials4.0
ENGR 111Introduction to Engineering Design & Data Analysis3.0
ENGR 113First-Year Engineering Design3.0
ENGR 131Introductory Programming for Engineers3.0
or ENGR 132 Programming for Engineers
Math Requirements 4.0-10.0
Algebra, Functions, and Trigonometry
and Calculus I
Calculus and Functions I
and Calculus and Functions II
Calculus I
MATH 122Calculus II4.0
MATH 200Multivariate Calculus4.0
MATH 201Linear Algebra4.0
MATH 210Differential Equations4.0
Physics Requirements 4.0-8.0
Preparation for Engineering Studies
and Fundamentals of Physics I
Fundamentals of Physics I
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 Processes3.0
CHE 341Fluid Mechanics4.0
CHE 342Heat Transfer4.0
CHE 343Mass Transfer4.0
CHE 350Statistics and Design of Experiments3.0
CHE 351 [WI] Chemical Engineering Laboratory I2.5
CHE 352 [WI] Chemical 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 453 [WI] Chemical Engineering Laboratory III2.5
CHE 464Process Dynamics and Control3.0
CHE 466Chemical Process Safety3.0
CHE 471Process Design I4.0
CHE 472 [WI] Process Design II3.0
CHE 473 [WI] Process 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 Electives12.0
Total Credits181.5-195.5

Graduate-Level Electives

CHE 502Mathematical Methods in Chemical Engineering3.0
CHE 513Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics I3.0
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 Program. 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.

Sample Plan of Study 

 4 year, 1 co-op

First Year
CHEM 101*3.5CHEM 1024.5ENGL 102 or 1123.0VACATION
COOP 101**1.0CIVC 1011.0ENGR 1133.0 
ENGL 101 or 1113.0ENGR 131 or 1323.0MATH 2004.0 
ENGR 1113.0MATH 1224.0PHYS 1024.0 
MATH 121***4.0PHYS 101***4.0General Education elective3.0 
UNIV E1011.0   
 15.5 16.5 17 0
Second Year
CHE 2114.0CHE 2124.0CHE 3304.0CHE 3203.0
CHE 2203.0CHE 2304.0CHE 3414.0CHE 3424.0
CHEM 2414.0CHEM 2424.0CHE 3503.0CHE 3434.0
MATH 2014.0MATH 2104.0ENGR 2204.0CHE 3512.5
   ENGL 103 or 1133.0
 15 16 15 16.5
Third Year
CHE 3624.0CHE 3713.0  
CHEC 3534.0CHE 3723.0  
CHEM 3562.0CHE Technical elective3.0  
BIO elective††3.0General Education elective3.0  
 16 14.5 0 0
Fourth Year
CHE 4532.5CHE 4723.0CHE 4663.0 
CHE 4643.0CHE Technical elective3.0CHE 4733.0 
CHE 4714.0General Education electives6.0CHE Technical elective3.0 
CHE Technical elective3.0 General Education elective3.0 
General Education elective3.0   
 15.5 12 12 
Total Credits 181.5

5 year, 3 co-op

First Year
CHEM 101*3.5CHEM 1024.5ENGL 102 or 1123.0VACATION
COOP 101**1.0CIVC 1011.0ENGR 1133.0 
ENGL 101 or 1113.0ENGR 131 or 1323.0MATH 2004.0 
ENGR 1113.0MATH 1224.0PHYS 1024.0 
MATH 121***4.0PHYS 101***4.0General Education elective3.0 
UNIV E1011.0   
 15.5 16.5 17 0
Second Year
CHE 2203.0CHE 2304.0  
CHEM 2414.0CHEM 2424.0  
MATH 2014.0MATH 2104.0  
 15 16 0 0
Third Year
CHE 3414.0CHE 3424.0  
CHE 3503.0CHE 3434.0  
ENGR 2204.0CHE 3512.5  
 ENGL 103 or 1133.0  
 15 16.5 0 0
Fourth Year
CHE 3624.0CHE 3713.0  
CHEC 3534.0CHE 3723.0  
CHEM 3562.0CHE Technical elective3.0  
BIO elective††3.0General Education elective3.0  
 16 14.5 0 0
Fifth Year
CHE 4532.5CHE 4723.0CHE 4663.0 
CHE 4643.0CHE Technical elective3.0CHE 4733.0 
CHE 4714.0General Education elective6.0CHE Technical elective3.0 
CHE Technical elective3.0 General Education elective3.0 
General Education elective3.0   
 15.5 12 12 
Total Credits 181.5

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.

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 Accelerated 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.


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.

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). 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.
Aaron Fafarman, PhD (Stanford University). Associate Professor. Photovoltaic energy conversion; solution-based synthesis of semiconductor thin films; colloidal nanocrystals; electromodulation and photomodulation spectroscopy.
Vibha Kalra, PhD (Cornell University). Associate 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) Associate Department Head. 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). George B Francis 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). 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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