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Chemical Engineering

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Engineering

Freshmen applying to the Columbus campus must submit their complete admission application by November 1 to be considered for this major. 

The chemical engineering program in the William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering educates engineers to design, develop and operate chemical processes by which chemicals, petroleum products, food, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods can be produced economically and safely. Products and processes must be environmentally friendly and safe. Chemical engineering processes usually involve chemical reactions and separations to produce more useful and valuable products.

Chemical engineering students study changes in the composition, energy content or state of aggregation of materials and take into consideration the fundamentals of the nature of matter and its properties (chemistry); the forces that act on matter (physics); and the relationships between them (mathematics). Chemical engineering differs from chemistry in its emphasis on commercial applications of chemical reactions and separations and techniques for designing, operating and controlling processes. Chemistry, on the other hand, emphasizes development of new compounds that may become useful products and the determination of their structures and properties.

Upon admission to the university, students may directly enroll as pre-engineering students; however, direct enrollment is selective. Factors used to determine eligibility to directly enroll include ACT/SAT scores (emphasis on math), strong college prep curriculum (emphasis on math, science and rigorous courses), and class rank or GPA. The middle 50 percent of directly enrolled pre-majors (autumn 2016) had ACT score ranges of 29–33 and 98 percent were in the top 25 percent of their high school classes.

Students not eligible to directly enroll in engineering may enroll in Science, Technology and Environment Exploration (see

All engineering students have a similar first-year plan of study, the college core, that provides fundamental courses in math, science and engineering. View a sample first-year plan of study.

In addition to the college core, engineering students also take select core courses, major courses and general education courses.

Chemical engineering students can complete interdisciplinary programs to receive an environmental option, polymer option or biomolecular engineering certificates.

Engineering students have several opportunities for global education, including service learningsemester abroad, international internships, engineering-specific study abroad programs or the Global Option in Engineering program

Whether it be installing solar panels on Haitian schools, researching biomedical optics in China, devising solutions for sustainable food production in Honduras, or setting speed records on the Isle of Man, Ohio State engineering students venture beyond classrooms and labs to find success in every corner of the globe. 

Students work with Engineering Career Services (ECS) to find both paid internships and co-op jobs across the United States and around the world. Nearly 90 percent of career-employed graduates complete at least one semester of engineering-related experience before they graduate. 

Honors and scholars offer students an opportunity to pursue academic rigor (Honors) or foster passion through community (scholars). Engineering students can enhance their experience by getting involved with one of the following engineering-based programs.

Engineering Honors

The Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program is an optional course sequence that is offered to University Honors-designated engineering students. This accelerated program is designed to challenge students and provide them with a foundation in engineering principles that are necessary for success throughout their academic careers.

Engineering Scholars

Engineering Scholars presents students with a new lens through which to view engineering through two available tracks:

  • Green Engineering Scholars have a community theme of green engineering, innovation and social responsibility. Students examine areas such as alternative energy development, sustainable products and systems, and green manufacturing and building. 
  • Humanitarian Engineering Scholars learn about and engage in engineering activities that impact underserved areas by addressing pressing problems. 

At Ohio State, engineering students conduct research alongside top faculty from across the university—doctors, physicists, designers, artists and experts in many other fields—to advance our knowledge and improve the world around us. Students enjoy multiple outlets to share their work, including Ohio State's annual Denman Undergraduate Research Forum each spring. Learn more about engineering research.

Chemical engineering research topics:

  • bioengineering, biotechnology, membranes
  • fluid mechanics, multiphase flow
  • polymers, nanomaterials
  • reaction engineering, catalysis
  • sustainability, energy, environment, process engineering

Chemical engineering students choose from more than 50 engineering student organizations, including American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Asian Association for Chemical Engineering, National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, and OhioMOD Biomolecular Design Team.

Chemical engineers are responsible for commercial applications of chemistry. These applications often involve processes that provide the basic necessities of life—food, clothing, shelter, energy, transportation and communications. Chemical engineers often do on a large scale what chemists may do on a test tube scale. For example, a team can design, build and operate a process that produces millions of pounds per year of a polyester resin used for soft-drink bottles. Chemists who formulate that resin may produce only a few grams per day. Chemical engineers may help produce, purify and even determine appropriate dosage for pharmaceuticals. Chemical engineers are able to succeed in such diverse activities because of their education in a variety of scientific subjects.

Some employers of chemical engineering graduates include Abbott, Anheuser-Bush, Cargill Inc., Dow, ExxonMobil, General Mills, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., L’Oreal USA, Marathon Petroleum Co., Nestle, Procter & Gamble, Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., and Toyota.