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Exploring Engineering: Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering is a branch of engineering that focuses on the creation of chemicals, food, and other products using physics, biology, chemistry, and math. Delving into the field of chemical engineering involves understanding how engineering and chemistry can develop, design and manufacture materials that are transformed through chemical reactions and physical means.

Through constant analysis and verification of data and hypotheses, chemical engineering also teaches its students how to experiment on chemical processes until they formulate a conclusion.

Aside from learning how to apply theoretical concepts to the production of chemical material, chemical engineering majors will also learn how to manage, develop and operate industrial plants.

How long is this course?

Bachelor of Science majors in Chemical Engineering (also known as BSCE) are expected to take this course for five years.

But before you can work as a professional chemical engineer, you will first need to take the Chemical Engineering Board Exams after graduation, which the Professional Regulatory Board of Chemical Engineering issues twice a year. The board exam lasts for three days and mainly covers topics such as physics, general engineering, chemical engineering and its principles.

Board exam reviews would also demand an additional 4-12 months from you, depending on whether you’ve passed the exam or not.

Once you’ve passed the exams and gotten your license, you may now practice as a chemical engineer.

What traits and skill sets would you need?

Aside from being well-versed in mathematics and chemistry, you’re going to need these set of skills in order to cope with the workload:

  • Abstract Thinking – chemical engineering also involves a lot of data gathering and analysis, so learning how to understand and decipher given information from laboratory experiments and relate them to chemical theories are vital skills.
  • Analytical Skills – given that chemistry is involved, you will need a strong amount of analytical skills since chemical engineering deals with various chemical processes, along with ways on how to solve problems using whatever knowledge you’ve gained from chemistry.
  • Attention to Detail – to make sure that each formula and equation are correct, you have to be extremely meticulous in your work, and that includes refining the data you’ve been given. A single mistake might either lead to a wrong answer to a formulaic equation or even a lab accident.
  • Logical Skills – arguably the most important skill when taking up Chemical Engineering, logical skills are essential because you have to follow step-by-step methods through lab experiments and mathematical computations. You’ll have to think of numbers and patterns in order to survive this course.
  • Love for Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics – both math and science go hand in hand as the foundations of chemical engineering, and you’ll have to learn how to best use them in chemical problems. Mathematics is especially crucial in this course as most of its major subjects deal with simple and complex mathematical problems.
  • Problem-Solving Skills – in a course filled with mathematical and chemical equations and data, knowing how to approach problems, learning how to check various hypotheses, doing  experiments, analyzing and interpreting data, and drawing conclusions from the results of these experiments are all must-have skills.

What’s the Difference Between BS Chemical Engineering and BS Chemistry?

Unlike BS Chemistry, which is a four-year course, BS Chemical Engineering is a five-year course, unless the school happens to follow a trimestral system.

In terms of available subjects, BS Chemistry only has pure Chemistry subjects, while BS Chemistry Engineering subjects are composed of a diverse mix among Chemistry, Engineering and Mathematics subjects.

The career options for BS Chemistry Engineering majors are bigger than that of BS Chemistry majors.

Both courses, however, have corresponding licensure examinations that graduates can take after graduation.

What subjects would you expect from this?

Given that this is an engineering course, expect a LOT of math and science classes! Chemical engineering, after all, requires a great deal of theoretical knowledge in mathematical and scientific matters in order to manufacture chemical-powered material.

Some of the subjects include the following:

    • Algebra (college and advanced)
    • Calculus (differential and integral)
    • Chemistry (general)
    • Differential Equations
    • Geometry (analytical)
    • Physics 1 and 2
    • Probability and Statistics
    • Solid Mensuration
    • Trigonometry (Plane and Spherical)
    • Basic Engineering Sciences (e.g. Computer Fundamentals and Programming, Engineering Management, Environmental Engineering, Safety Management, Statics of Rigid Bodies)
    • Allied Courses (Analytical Chemistry, Basic Electrical and Electronics Engineering, General Chemistry Calculations, Industrial Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Quantitative Methods in Management, Safety in the Process Industry)
    • Professional Courses (Advanced Engineering Mathematics in Chemical Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, Chemical Engineering Calculations, Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics, Physical Chemistry for Engineers)
    • Basic Engineering Subjects (e.g. Dynamics of Rigid Bodies; Engineering Management; Computer Fundamentals and Programming)
    • Core Electrical Engineering Subjects (e.g. Electrical Circuits; Electrical System Design; Power Plant Engineering)
    • Non-Technical Subjects (e.g. English; Social Sciences; Humanities; Languages)
    • Technical Electives (e.g. Biotechnology, Emerging Technologies, Energy Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Management, Food and Drug Manufacturing, Packaging Technologies, Paints and Coating Technology, Petrochemical Engineering, Semiconductor Technology)

Expect that most of your lessons in the Chemical Engineering program will be held through laboratory and classroom discussions, educational talks or seminars.

What career can you pursue with an Electrical Engineering degree?

There’s a pretty sizable number of career options you can take with this course! Graduates can pursue the following:

  • Chemical Engineer
  • Chemical Engineering Professor
  • Energy Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Instrumentation Engineer
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Plant Process Engineer
  • Process Design Engineer
  • Process Safety Engineer
  • Product/Process Development Scientist
  • Production Manager
  • Project Engineer
  • Quality Control Engineer
  • Research and Development Engineer
  • Reservoir Engineer
  • Technical Manager
  • Technical Services Engineer

If you haven’t passed the board (or you choose not to take the board exams), there are still career options for you:

Is BS Chemical Engineering the right course for you?

Like all branches of engineering, chemical engineering is not for the faint of heart. You’ll have to have a strong grasp of numbers and logic in order to survive this course.

Is chemical engineering good for you? Ask yourself this question: do you enjoy chemistry and mathematics? Do you love experimenting with numbers and watching results from those numbers come to life? Not many students do, but if you’re one of the special people who find both subjects fascinating, then this course is definitely your calling!

So are you dead-set on taking up chemical engineering for college? Are you ready to pick the right school with this course for you? Or are still thinking of learning more about the other engineering courses that you’re considering on getting? If so, check out more engineering schools at Edukasyon.ph!


Stanford Engineering (n.d.) Retrieved on August 10, 2018, from https://cheme.stanford.edu/admissions/undergraduate/what-chemical-engineering