Chemistry vs Chem Eng vs Mat Eng

<p>What are the differences b/t these three as far as an undergraduate major? Are the job outlooks different? What would be the best major if you want to work in the alcohol distillery business?</p>

<p>As much of a materials science person as I am, I can't say a MSE degree would be the best one for you. I imagine chemical engineering would be the best bet since it's the field where you'd learn about handling large quantities of materials, unlike chemistry which tends to focus on smaller, laboratory-sized amounts.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Are the job outlooks different? What would be the best major if you want to work in the alcohol distillery business?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>If that's what you want to do, then ChemE is clearly the best way to get there. </p>

<p>
[quote]
What are the differences b/t these three as far as an undergraduate major?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>They all lie on a spectrum so it's hard to give you definitive boundaries amongst them. But in general, chemists work on smaller scales, material scientists work on medium-size scales, and ChemE's work on large scales. </p>

<p>
[quote]
Are the job outlooks different?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>They are clearly different and ChemE is by far the best among the 3 if, for no reason, because the oil/petrochemical industry is booming and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Hence, even if you don't want to go into that field, having a ChemE degree will give you bargaining leverage with employers, for you could credibly threaten to work in oil if you don't get a competitive salary offer.</p>

<p>But there is no real differnce?</p>

<p>They're extremely different in the content that you'll cover in class. Amazon</a> Online Reader : Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction Read through the table of contents for that book to get a good look at the material you'd cover in four years of a MSE degree. Most MSE programs will have around one class covering each chapter in that book.</p>

<p>There are some pretty substantial differences. For alcohol distillery I'd definitely go with ChemE. I'm in MSE and I don't see way too much stuff that overlaps with that.</p>

<p>So what the real diff. b/t Chemistry and ChemE? It was stated that Chem uses small amounts and chemE uses bigger amounts, but is this it.</p>

<p>Chemistry is a pure science. You can think of it in terms of discovering how to create new compounds and manipulating energy by taking advantage of differences in reactivity, as well as understanding the general properties of chemicals. Hence, it's really about a pure pursuit of knowledge.</p>

<p>Chemical engineering, on the other hand, is concerned with taking that body of chemical knowledge and converting it into profits. For example, it's not just a simple matter of understanding how to create compounds, but doing so at the lowest possible cost. For example, ExxonMobil is not concerned with just how to convert crude oil into gasoline, but, more importantly, how to do so profitably. Most chemical engineering operations are characterized by large economies of scale, which is why they usually tend to work with 'larger amounts'. For example, an oil refinery can produce millions of gallons of gasoline per day. </p>

<p>Where the line gets truly fuzzy is at the research level, where some chemists and chemical engineers are arguably doing the same work, and indeed, some Professors of Chemistry actually hold PhD's not in chemistry, but in ChemE, and vice versa, and similarly, some articles that appear in the Chemistry literature are actually written by ChemE's, and vice versa. Pure research tends to draw upon multiple disciplines which henceforth makes it quite difficult to draw sharp distinctions. The line between ChemE and MatSci is similarly inchoate at the research level, as many papers could arguably appear in either a ChemE or a MatSci journal. </p>

<p>But for what you want to do (distillery ops), ChemE is the closest choice amongst the three.</p>

<p>So ChemE is more concerned about the money/cost of things?</p>

<p>no, chemical engineering is concerned more with the application of chemistry+mechanics of fluids (at undergrad level)</p>

<p>I have educational training in all areas of chemical engineering / materials science/ and chemistry. So here's my take.</p>

<p>ChemE is right for you if you solely want to work in the distillation business on a manufacturing scale.</p>

<p>Chemistry is right for you if you want to work on the bench scale for the distillation process.</p>

<p>Materials Science Engineering is for you if you want to develop catalyst materials which will increase the efficiency of a distillation process.</p>

<p>I guess sakky has it right chemistry (small scale), materials science (medium scale), chemE (large scale). Although I would say materials science engineering is sometimes very large scale engineering also, depending on your line of work because a lot of my colleages went into manufacturing industries... ChemE has strong foundations in petrochemicals and crude oil processing (they sometimes work in materials-related fields). Materials Science is founded on materials processing and design (this may translate to a substantial amount of ChemE line of work also.) But chemistry is kind of out of the loop here because the training doesn't include engineering.</p>

<p>oh, about the cost question: yes all engineers are highly concerned with costs...</p>