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Best Chemical Engineering Schools?

Zeppelin7Zeppelin7 Registered User Posts: 408 Member
Hey CC,
I feel like there's been threads like this one so sorry if this is the millionth, but I couldn't find any good ones.
Anyways, I'm building my college list and was wondering what schools have the best Chem. engineering undergrad programs. I'm aware of the USNWR, but I was wondering if there was any other lists to corroborate USNWR.

Replies to: Best Chemical Engineering Schools?

  • LakeWashingtonLakeWashington Registered User Posts: 9,305 Senior Member
    The word "best" is very subjective and overused by prospective college applicants. Why not instead investigate the research interests of a given university Chemical Engineering department? Of course there are schools with excellent reputations in ChE, but different schools have different strengths. Here's an example; to my knowledge there are only two free standing 'School of Chemical Engineering' institutions in the U.S. Cal-Berkeley and Mississippi State University. Nearly everywhere else the ChE Department is a unit of the university's College of Engineering. Now everybody knows Cal-Berkeley is a powerhouse and probably has greater research and faculty assets (and $$$) than MSU. But would UCB be "best" for you? Chemical and energy (petroleum) companies maintain a significant recruiting operation at universities in the gulf states, including Mississippi. So I speculate that some ChE grads from MSU find careers in such companies. Similarly, the polymer industry does a whole lot of recruiting at Midwest universities; therefore grads from ChE departments at Minnesota, U Akron, Case Western etc. are considered strong candidates for new jobs at industrial chemical and manufacturing companies.

    In short, there are many top notch undergraduate ChE departments. Their quality does not necessarily relate to their ranking at USNWR. Check out the association of independent (private) engineering universities, which includes schools like Case Western, Illinois Tech, RPI and Northwestern U.
  • xraymancsxraymancs Forum Champion Graduate School Posts: 4,582 Forum Champion
    As @LakeWashington says, it is not a question of which ones are "good" but which are "good for you". Start by answering the questions at http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/1621234-before-you-ask-which-colleges-to-apply-to-please-consider.html#latest and thenask a more specific question. You will get better answers.
  • Zeppelin7Zeppelin7 Registered User Posts: 408 Member
    Sorry for the ambiguity @Lakewashington and @‌xraymancs

    I was hoping to work in sustainable energy with Chemical Energy. So would schools like Stanford or UCB be good in those fields? What field in ChemE would UMich be good at?
    Thanks for the other insight abour ChemE @Lakewashington
  • LakeWashingtonLakeWashington Registered User Posts: 9,305 Senior Member
    Many ChE Departments do a lot of research in sustainable energy like fuel cells and batteries (eletrochemistry, I think that's the field). A small private STEM university may be best for you in terms research opportunities, but ChE majors at schools with hundreds of students enrolled in the ChE department can find undergraduate research opportunities if they hustle. My son Lake Jr. has being doing undergraduate ChE/Materials research since his freshman year.

    Firstly, start with your home state university and investigate the ChE curriculum in their program. Engineering education/reputation is largely based on the rigor of the school, not prestige. Your career prospects will be based upon whether or not your alma mater has ABET accreditation and upon its rigor. Sure, several schools have a national reputation, but from what I understand recruiting and employment for new graduates can be very regional. And please understand that no Ivy League university is thought to possesses an engineering department that is stronger than the likes of Michigan, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Purdue or Texas-Austin, for example. Of course, your home-state university will be a financial bargain compared to other state universities and most private schools.

    Neverthelss, keep in mind that some private STEM schools provide enough scholarships/financial aid that will make their tuition comparable to the cost of your state university. You may want to investigate the ChE departments at:

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Cornell University
    U of Pennsylvania
    Princeton U
    Northwestern U
    Illinois Institute of Technology
    Case Western Reserve University

    These public schools tend to get overlooked on cc, but nevertheless have excellent ChE departments:
    U Akron, U Massachusetts-Amherst, Texas A&M, U Houston, Kansas State U, Colorado State U, U South Carolina, Penn State.
  • Zeppelin7Zeppelin7 Registered User Posts: 408 Member
    @Lakewashington Wow thank you for the lengthy and helpful response. Thanks for the input!
This discussion has been closed.