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Is Chemical Engineering That Hard

Caruso707Caruso707 Registered User Posts: 581 Member
edited December 2012 in Engineering Majors
I have heard horror stories about Chem Eng and that is my desired major as a junior in HS. I pulled off a mid B in AP Chem, though have not yet taken the AP exam. I also have a 700 SAT I in the math section, and I am willing to put in the work. Should I be concerned about it or switch majors?
Post edited by Caruso707 on

Replies to: Is Chemical Engineering That Hard

  • NihilityNihility Registered User Posts: 611 Member
    I am also considering ChemE.
    I am a senior with a 670 SAT I Math (my lowest section score). Currently taking college Calc I as my last math before I go to a university. I have my first B of my life in it -_-

    I'm interested to see the replies in this thread...
  • GLOBALTRAVELERGLOBALTRAVELER Registered User Posts: 2,886 Senior Member
    Chemical Engineering is a breeze....

  • Caruso707Caruso707 Registered User Posts: 581 Member
    Good one Globe, obviously no engineering major is easy, how would you rate it as far as difficulty goes?
  • ele902ele902 Registered User Posts: 274 Junior Member
    I'm a biochemical engineer (same as a chemical engineer but with additional biology/biochemistry courses). It is tough only in that it has tons of workload, just to weed out most of the students. The math and science ain't too bad. Difficulty compare to other engineering discipline depends on the school.

    Once you're actually a chemical engineer, the stuff you do is much easier than the stuff you learned. Mostly process designs, research, and mass and energy balances. I haven't really even touch calculus that much as a biochemical engineer while working for a pharmaceutical company.
  • RacinReaverRacinReaver Registered User Posts: 6,608 Senior Member
    I am willing to put in the work.

    If this is true then you should be fine. The people I generally saw having the biggest problems with engineering were those not willing to put in the hours necessary to understand the subject matter.
  • JamieBrownJamieBrown - Posts: 401 Member
    Is Chemical Engineering That Hard


    typically is has been, for years, the top 2 or 3 toughest majors in any university
  • JamieBrownJamieBrown - Posts: 401 Member
    ^^^is has been = it has been
  • epirote901epirote901 Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    i think chemical engineering is the hardest engineering major. unless you really like chemistry, don't do it. i dropped it after two days.
  • RMGsmomRMGsmom Registered User Posts: 514 Member
    IMO hard work alone won't do it. You need a strong math/science aptitude. Without this, you might get through the first 2 years working your tail off and passing classes where instructors have generous curves -but eventually you will be in over your head. So a 700+ SAT math section is a good sign, but a B in high school calculus is not so good.
  • RacinReaverRacinReaver Registered User Posts: 6,608 Senior Member
    First two years with generous curves? Generally that's when all the weed-out courses are and the last two years, when you hit more interesting material, become much easier.

    (And, for the record, I got a B in my Calc AB class and still somehow manged to get into a number of top 10 engineering grad schools.)
  • RMGsmomRMGsmom Registered User Posts: 514 Member
    Yep -plenty are weeded out in the first 2 years. However, I get the impression that third year classes like thermodynamics are harder than more general early classes like general chemistry. If you can barely manage the first two years, I don't feel it gets easier. Getting a B in AP calculus is obviously not a death sentence, and it won't prevent you from getting into a great program. However, IMO a really strong math aptitude is essential especially at a tough school so getting a B in AP calc is not as good a sign as getting an A.
  • yodeloyodelo Registered User Posts: 1,074 Senior Member
    It all depends on your study habits and how hard you're willing to work
  • TB54TB54 Registered User Posts: 249 Junior Member
    800 SAT I Math
    800 SAT II Math
    780 SAT II Chem

    AP Calc AB 5

    I work for an oil company. I'm a licensed civil engineer, graduated chemical though. I found chemical engineering to be more physics based (momentum, shear, statistics thermodynamics)

    The classes were tough (average 40% on midterms/finals), a lot of the math I had never seen or used before (I received all As in my math and chemistry class - sans biochem, premeds really mess up the curve with previous tests).

    I never learned about Euler's cut principle / tensor till my second class of BSL (Bird, Stewart, Lightfoot, infamous ChemE book). Had to learn both BSL and tensors in addition to a tight class load. You definitely need time management.


    ChemE is more physics based than chemistry based. I took civil classes on the side (hence the Civil PE) - 3.89 Civil GPA, can't say the same for my ChemE GPA.

    Your mileage may vary as I went to a theoretical school / graduate school emphasis versus a practical school / industry focused.
  • geo1113geo1113 Registered User Posts: 1,427 Senior Member
    I graduated from Florida in the early 90s. ChemE had the reputation of being the hardest major on campus.

    And I disagree with an earlier poster who said the last two years are easier. Hardest classes I ever took were Organic Chem 1 and 2 which we took our 3rd year.
  • Plut0niumPlut0nium Registered User Posts: 213 Junior Member
    Long story short, yes it is hard. I'm an engineering major but not chemical and they by far have the toughest course load of any other engineering concentration. Our dean likes to say that all engineering majors are hard but there's different degrees of difficulty. Don't let his hinder your decision though if chemical engineering is what you want to do.
This discussion has been closed.