In engineering science, you d be among students who want more than a degree:
they want to be challenged and stretched. The average entry grade is over 90%, and the program is designed to prepare students for the rigors of further education. Some graduates go on to a Masters or Ph. D. program at the top engineering schools while others pursue higher degrees in fields such as business administration, law or medicine. Others enter professional practice, often as entrepreneurs, especially in the advanced new technologies.
It is true that chemical engineers are extremely good at chemistry, but they do much more with this knowledge than just make chemicals. In fact, the term chemical engineer isn t even supposed to describe the type of work a chemical engineer performs. Instead, it is intended to reveal what makes it different from the many other branches of engineering.
All engineers employ advanced math, physics, and the engineering art to overcome technical problems in a safe and economic way. It is the chemical engineer alone who uses the vast and powerful science of chemistry to solve a world of problems. The strong technical and social ties that bind chemistry and chemical engineering are unique to the fields of science and technology. The relationship between chemists and chemical engineers has been helpful to both sides and has brought envy of the other engineering fields.
The depth of scientific and technical knowledge used in the profession has caused some to describe the chemical engineer as the universal engineer. Despite a title that suggests a profession composed of narrow specialists, chemical engineers are actually extremely versatile and able to handle a wide range of technical problems. During the 20th century, chemical engineers have made tremendous contributions to our standard of living. To celebrate these accomplishments, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers has compiled a list of the 10 Greatest Achievements of Chemical Engineering : the atom, the plastic age, the human reactor, wonder drugs for the masses, synthetic fibers, liquefied air, saving the environment, fertilizers, petrochemicals, and synthetic rubber.
The four big engineering fields consist of civil, mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineers. Of these, chemical engineers are the smallest in number. However, this small group holds a very prominent position in many industries, and chemical engineers are the highest paid of the big four, on average. Also, many chemical engineers have found their way into upper management. A chemical engineer is either currently, or has before, occupi9ed the CEO position for: 3M, Du Pont, General Electric, Union Carbide, Dow Chemical, Exxon, BASF, Gulf Oil, Texaco, and B.F. Goodrich. Even a former director for the C.I.A., John M. Deutch, was a chemical engineer by training.
Typically, chemical engineers concern themselves with the chemical processes that turn raw materials into valuable products. The necessary skills encompass all aspects of design, testing, scaleup, operation, control, and optimization, and require a detailed understanding of the various unit operations, such as distillation, mixing, and biological processes. Chemical engineering science utilizes mass, momentum, and energy transfer along with thermodynamics and chemical kinetics to analyze and improve on these unit operations.
Today there are around 70,000 chemical engineers in the U.S. During the entire history of the profession there have only been about 135,000 American chemical engineers. This means that more than a half of all the chemical engineers who have ever existed are still contributing to society today. Chemical engineering is not a profession that has to dwell on the achievements of the past for comfort, for its greatest accomplishments are yet to come.