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Careers in Chemical Engineering

A ChemE degree is a path to making a positive difference in the world

Many of the products we encounter in everyday life have chemical engineers behind them. Not only are ChemE’s involved in manufacturing large quantities of fuels, plastics, and food ingredients, but they also develop new formulations for complex products such as pharmaceuticals and battery materials. What’s more, ChemE’s design manufacturing processes to use less energy, make products last longer, and move us toward a cleaner and more sustainable world.

A degree in chemical engineering is versatile. Graduates are well prepared for professional and academic careers in a diverse array of fields — and even graduate study in medicine, law, or business. Explore where ChemE can take you.

spacecraft thermal image

Air and space

Chemical engineers work on many aspects of the manufacturing, materials and design that go into air and space travel. They solve problems around fuel efficiency, power and energy systems, and testing and manufacturing processes.

data science conceptual

Computing, data and digital technologies

When chemical engineers apply data science methods to data from high throughput instrumentation, simulations, gene sequencers, and more, they better understand how systems work and can solve problems more efficiently. Chemical engineering skills are also valuable in creating essential components of computers such as memory and processing chips.

solar cells

Environment, sustainability, and energy

Chemical engineers have a vital role to play in the shift to sustainability and decarbonization. They drive clean energy innovations in battery materials, solar power, and fuel cells. They also solve problems related to water treatment, air quality management, and sustainable consumer packaged goods.

students working at microscope

Health and medicine

Training in chemical engineering equips students with the skills to understand transport processes and chemical reactions within the body. ChemE’s work to improve drug delivery methods, imaging, diagnostics, biomaterials, and more.

electric bus charging station

Infrastructure, transportation, and society

Chemical engineers apply their abilities to understand complex systems and solve multifaceted problems to the development of fuels, electric vehicles, wastewater treatment processes, and other utility infrastructure.

distillation columns

Robotics and manufacturing

Chemical engineers design, build and analyze manufacturing processes ranging from nano- and molecular-scale systems to mass-production facilities the size of city blocks. In the lab, ChemE’s are increasingly employing robotic high-throughput instrumentation to streamline the development of new materials.

Advance your career opportunities while earning a degree

  • Participate in co-ops or internships. More than 45% of our students complete one. The ChemE advisers and the Career Center @ Engineering in Loew Hall can help. Some students opt for a 6-month co-op during the spring and summer of junior year. The curriculum is set up to accommodate this without delaying graduation. Talk with your ChemE adviser about planning for a co-op early!
  • Try undergraduate research. More than 75% of our students participate in undergraduate research in a field of their interest, which provides hands-on engineering experience and the chance to learn about creating new knowledge. Find a lab through the topic pages above, or by visiting the ChemE research page.
  • Participate in a design project. All ChemE students complete a capstone project. Students have the option of a standard capstone, one with an entrepreneurial focus or industry sponsor, or even one with clinical partners to innovate in the area of health. Make your education real and rewarding. The hands-on skills you learn will set you apart from other graduates.
  • Get involved. UW ChemE students participate in interdisciplinary and department-specific student organizations which allow them to build skills and shape their experience based on their interests. Learn more >>
  • Study abroad. More than 15% of ChemE students study abroad, where they learn and apply chemical engineering topics in a global context. Learn more >>
  • Build your network. Begin building your network through participation in the Leadership Seminar Series (CHEM E 301), career conversations, and info sessions with companies and alumni, held regularly virtually and on campus. Learn more >>