Chemical Engineering Program Overview

The Chemical Engineering Program in the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa was first accredited in 1926 and has maintained accreditation since that time. We have continued to make appropriate revisions in the curriculum to better serve student needs and to ensure success in their chosen careers. In the spring of 2002, the faculty of the College of Engineering adopted a revised engineering core curriculum with three primary objectives: (1) to expose students to engineering design during the first semester of the freshman year; (2) to enact a three-semester common core for all programs in the College; and (3) to provide a flexible structure that allows students to tailor elective courses to their specific career goals. This college-wide curricular assessment and revision process has had a positive impact on the Chemical Engineering Program. For example, it has resulted in the creation of a new set of engineering mathematics courses that are more relevant and responsive to the needs of engineering students; it resulted in the establishment of the Center for Technical Communication; and it has led to the development of Chemical Engineering Elective Focus Areas in the fields of polymers, biochemical engineering, process engineering, environmental engineering, business, entrepreneurship, pre-medicine, and graduate studies. Other new college-wide educational initiatives include: the Certificate in Technological Entrepreneurship, the Program for Enhanced Design Experience, the Engineering and Business Student Leadership Seminar, the International Business in London Course, and the Regents Education Abroad Program.


The Chemical Engineering Program at The University of Iowa produces graduates with a strong foundation of scientific and technical knowledge and who are equipped with problem solving, teamwork, and communication skills that will serve them throughout their careers consistent with the following Educational Objectives:

Within a few years of graduation, our graduates will:

  1. Attain careers as practicing chemical engineers in fields such as pharmaceuticals, microelectronics, chemicals, polymers/advanced materials, food processing, energy, biotechnology, or environmental engineering;
  2. Attain advanced studies in disciplines such as Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Medicine, Law, or Business;
  3. Assume professional leadership roles.

The following methods and strategies are used in the Chemical Engineering undergraduate program to achieve these program educational objectives:

  1. Foster a personalized, supportive environment for all students by taking advantage of the unique combination of a small college atmosphere in a major research university;
  2. Enrich the undergraduate experience through cultural diversity and international opportunities or experiential learning;
  3. Provide a solid foundation and understanding of the fundamental principles of mathematics, science, and engineering;
  4. Provide students with experience in learning and applying tools (e.g., computer skills) to solve theoretical and open-ended chemical engineering problems;
  5. Provide students with opportunities to participate in multidisciplinary teams and to develop and practice written and oral communication skills, both within the team and to a broader audience;
  6. Provide students with opportunities to design and conduct chemical engineering experiments and to design systems, components, and chemical processes to meet specific needs and constraints;
  7. Provide a contemporary grounding in professional responsibility, including ethics, the global and societal impact of engineering decisions, and the need for lifelong learning.

The resources available at The University of Iowa play an important role in student development. Our students are able to choose from a wide variety of courses outside the program. This helps provide a strong foundation to allow pursuit of a variety of careers and also provides our students with an awareness of the diversity of the world and its cultures. Students also have opportunities to work in research labs across campus, often participating in multidisciplinary research groups.

Our small college, situated in a major research university, helps us provide students with some distinctive opportunities. For example, with small class sizes, each student has a much greater chance of assuming a leadership role at some time in the curriculum.


The Chemical Engineering Student Outcomes are characteristics that a successful chemical engineer should have at the time of graduation. These outcomes are patterned after the basic requirements identified by the engineering accreditation board (ABET) and the AIChE Program Criteria, and are listed below.

  1. Each graduate will have the ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering fundamentals.
  2. Each graduate will have the ability to design and conduct experiments, and to analyze and interpret experimental results.
  3. Each graduate will have the ability to design systems, components, or processes to meet specified objectives within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability in chemical engineering.
  4. Each graduate will have the ability to work as a member of multidisciplinary teams, and have an understanding of team leadership
  5. Each graduate will have the ability to identify, formulate, and solve chemical engineering problems.(1)
  6. Each graduate will have an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
  7. Each graduate will have the ability to communicate effectively in written, oral, and graphical forms.
  8. Each graduate will have an education that is supportive of a broad awareness of the diversity of the world and its cultures, and that provides an understanding of the impact of engineering practice in the global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
  9. Each graduate will recognize the need for and have the ability to engage in lifelong learning.
  10. Each graduate will have knowledge of contemporary issues.
  11. Each graduate will have the ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
  12. Each graduate will have a thorough grounding in chemistry and a working knowledge of advanced chemistry, including organic and physical and either inorganic or analytical, depending upon their individual educational goals.
  13. Each graduate will have a working knowledge of chemical process safety.
  14. Each graduate will have a working knowledge of biochemical engineering.

(1) As an integral aspect of this outcome, each graduate will demonstrate a working knowledge, including safety and environmental aspects, of material and energy balances applied to chemical processes; thermodynamics of physical and chemical equilibria; heat, mass, and momentum transport; chemical reaction engineering; continuous and stage wise separation operations; process dynamics and control; and chemical engineering design.

Updated 04/2010