The Department of Chemical Engineering offers Bachelor of Science degrees in three fields. Follow the links for descriptions and details:
- Bioprocess Engineering
- Paper Engineering
- Renewable Materials Science
The bioprocess engineering program is a chemical engineering-based program with an emphasis on system sustainability, providing a broad base of study in the field of biological transformation, chemical transformation, biotechnology, environmental engineering, separation, transport, and optimization. The program prepares graduates to advance their studies and for professional positions in the bioprocess, bioenergy, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. The College pioneered instruction for bioprocess engineering education in 2006, one of the first of its kind in the United States.
The paper engineering and paper science programs provide a broad base of study in the field of pulp, paper, and biobased products to prepare graduates for professional positions in the pulp, paper, and allied industries. This biobased industry is the fifth largest in the nation and is very strong internationally. The College pioneered instruction for the pulp and paper industry in 1920 with the formation of the department originally called pulp and paper manufacture. The PBE department has maintained a leading position in this area of professional education with recent efforts leading to new biorefinery technologies.
These programs have longstanding reputations for preparing graduates for such rewarding positions as research chemists, biotechnology scientists, process engineers, technical service representatives, and managers. Graduates have advanced to positions of leadership in research, management, technical operations, and sales in the pulp and paper industry as well as allied industries of heavy equipment manufacture, process chemicals, and other biobased industries. Other graduates have gone on to successful careers in medical, chemical and other varied fields.
The programs provide education in the physical sciences and chemical engineering, with specific emphasis on those aspects that relate to the sustainable manufacture of pulp, paper, and other products from wood and other lignocellulosic materials. This includes the chemistry, anatomy and components of wood; the conversion of wood to pulp, paper, and other products; the chemistry and physics of paper and paper formation; and the industrial utilization of biological processes and sustainable raw materials. The engineering programs include the basics of chemical engineering with a foundation of unit operations and specialized courses, for example, in air and water pollution abatement from an industrial perspective. The paper engineering program extends this foundation to present a chemical engineering education tailored specifically to the pulp and paper industry. The bioprocess engineering program extends a chemical engineering education with a focus on biomass feedstocks and biological processes rather than a focus on petroleum. The industry is now using advanced chemistry and biotechnology to improve its utilization of renewable carbon and hydrogen in lignocellulosic materials. The paper science program takes a more science-based (e.g., chemistry or biology) approach to the study of pulp and paper systems. With the science program, students are able to more deeply explore a particular aspect of the industry. The paper engineering and paper science programs have identical first years, allowing students to switch between programs without loss of course credits. Similar lower-division schedules among all three programs allow students to switch programs with only minimal disruption.