Chemical engineering involves applications of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and, increasingly, biology and biochemistry. In addition to these disciplines, the chemical engineering curriculum includes the study of applied and computational mathematics, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, thermodynamics, chemical kinetics and chemical reactor design, and process control. A chemical engineer may work in the manufacture of inorganic products (ceramics, semiconductors, and other electronic materials); in the manufacture of organic products (polymer fibers, films, coatings, pharmaceuticals, hydrocarbon fuels, and petrochemicals); in other process industries; or in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, or biomedical industries.
The Chemical Engineering option at Caltech provides a choice of five tracks: Biomolecular track, Sustainability track, Process Systems track, Materials track, and Computational track.
Chemical Engineering Coursework at a Glance
ChE 128. Chemical Engineering Design Laboratory. Short-term, open-ended research projects targeting chemical processes and materials. Each student is required to design, construct, and troubleshoot her/his own process, then use chemical engineering principles to experimentally evaluate and optimize process metrics or material attributes. Where possible, cost analysis is performed.