Why Illinois

Illinois is a leader in producing leaders

Our Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering Leadership program builds upon our department's long legacy of producing industry leaders. Among our notable alumni are Arnold Beckman (BS ’22), founder of Beckman Instruments; Robert S. Stuart (BS '43), President and CEO of the National Can Corporation (a Fortune 500 company) from 1967 to 1973; John Georges (BS '51), President and COO from 1981 to 1984 and then CEO and Chairman from 1984 to 1996; Jack Welch (PhD ’60), Chairman and CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001; Steven L. Miller (BS '67), CEO of Shell from 1999 to 2002; and Bob Dudley (BS ’78), CEO of bp from 2010 to 2020 — just to name a few.

Choose Illinois and hone your technical skills alongside our expert faculty who are pioneering chemical engineering research in cutting-edge areas such as carbon dioxide conversion, hydrogen fuel, battery storage, plastic upcycling, tissue engineering, and much more.

Life on the Silicon Prairie

Urbana-Champaign is a place where people come together to bring big ideas to life. We're home to the tech incubator University of Illinois Research Park and surrounded by some of the richest farmland in the world. Our campus community is home to a wide range of exceptional research and scholarship, but what truly sets us apart is a collaborative environment that leads to groundbreaking discovery, innovation, and partnerships that invite new ways of thinking and working.

We're on an accelerated development track, emerging as a leading example of a "micro-urban" community—a population center of less than 250,000 with a set of highly desirable attributes commonly found in larger cities. Our vibrant arts/culture/nightlife scene, internationally diverse population, strong technology base, and commitment to societal issues coupled with a world-class university make this an ideal place to live, study, and work. Plus, we are just a few hours away from three metropolises: Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. Easy commutes, a designated "bike-friendly" community, and an award-winning mass transit system (free with campus ID) make it quick and simple to get from here to there.

Better Living, Less Hassle

#2 on American Institute of Economic Research's Best College Towns based on demographics, quality of life, and economics

#2 among national peer institutions for cost-of-living

80 parks spanning nearly 1,000 acres in Urbana-Champaign alone (and many more within a short drive)  provide an abundance of swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, camping, and biking opportunities

19 intercollegiate sports programs keep the excitement of Big Ten athletics ever-present on campus

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Points of Interest

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts is a nationally renowned venue, attracting theater, musical, and dance performances from entertainers from around the globe. 

The Illinois Marathon offers races for all skill levels from 5K to a full 26.2-mile race. This scenic course takes you through Champaign-Urbana, and can even help you qualify for the Boston Marathon. 

PYGMALION Festival brings hundreds of musicians, innovators, artists, comedians, and anyone else with someone to share to the local area. 

Ebertfest was started by Illinois alum Roger Ebert. It brings together writers, producers, actors, directors, and film buffs to celebrate films that haven’t received the recognition they deserved during their original runs.

Housing Tour Video Series

Our current graduate students open their doors to show you what housing options are available in Champaign-Urbana. Take a peek at how far your hard-earned money can go in our community that is safe, commutable and has lots to offer in terms of entertainment, restaurants, and more. 

Alma Cam

Wondering what it looks like on our campus right now? Check out live footage of our most beloved statue on campus, Alma Mater.