At Illinois, we will prepare you to solve real problems and make an impact. With our degree, you'll be highly recruited by Fortune 500 companies, high-tech start-ups, and top universities.
Chemical and biomolecular engineering is a diverse and exciting field where you could find yourself creating life-saving medicines, turning carbon emissions into green energy, purifying contaminated water sources, or developing the next big food item to hit grocery store shelves. It’s all about using chemistry at scale to create a more efficient and sustainable world. Chemical engineers work in fuels and energy; biotechnology, including pharmaceuticals; foods and beverages; cosmetics and other consumer products; advanced materials and plastics.
For over 100 years, our faculty have been delivering a rigorous and innovative learning experience. We’re one of the oldest chemical engineering departments in the nation — our history dates back to 1901. Join our program and conduct pioneering research with a faculty adviser, put your skills to work at a summer internship or semester-long co-op, engage in meaningful outreach efforts, build a car propelled by a chemical reaction, and much more.
Our department is housed within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and maintains close ties with The Grainger College of Engineering. Our students take advantage of resources, programs, and scholarships in both colleges. Incoming first-year students are automatically considered for several four-year departmental scholarships upon admission to our program.
What you'll study:
The first two years of the chemical engineering curriculum provide a strong foundation in basic sciences through physics, mathematics, chemistry, an introduction to what chemical engineers do, and the fundamental basis of chemical engineering (mass and energy balances and thermodynamics.) In the third year, you will delve deeper into more specialized chemistry courses such as physical and analytical chemistry, while exploring fundamental chemical engineering courses such as momentum transfer, separations, and reactor design. The senior year incorporates all of this learning through high-level technical electives, process control, capstone lab, and capstone design courses. It is through the lab and design class that you'll apply everything you've learned in previous chemical engineering courses to real-world team projects and presentations.
Course Highlight: Introduction to the Profession
In CHBE 121, students focus their design project on a chemical process accident and what must be done to avoid one in the future.
Course Highlight: Unit Operations Laboratory
The Unit Ops Laboratory delivers a hands-on experience for students before they head into industry or continue on in academia.
Our curriculum offers two concentrations: chemical engineering and biomolecular engineering. Each has a strong fundamental understanding of chemical engineering; however, the biomolecular concentration’s technical electives focus more on bio-applied processing and technologies.
Energy and Sustainability
Soft Matter and Advanced Materials
Learn more about our program!
From creating life-saving medicines to advancing fuel cell research, a degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering allows you to improve the products that people use every day while reducing their cost. Housed in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences because of its origins in the Department of Chemistry, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering maintains close ties to The Grainger College of Engineering. Learn more about this diverse and exciting field.
What our program offers:
A hallmark of the Illinois experience is our "cross-curricular design" that incorporates practical design projects throughout, culminating in the two-semester capstone design and unit operations lab sequence.
Students work alongside our world-class faculty and outstanding graduate students on a variety of research projects, from carbon nanoparticle-based photovoltaics to tissue-on-a-chip models of brain cancer.
Internships and our cooperative education program offer students the opportunity to perform real-world work in industry, gaining valuable experience, skills, and insight into career paths within the field.
Chemical engineering is an international industry. You can fit a global experience into your schedule and choose to study , intern, or volunteer abroad in places like Sweden, Spain, France, and England.
Why our students chose Illinois
Hear from our students why they chose our program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, including our close-knit community, opportunities for undergraduate research, a multitude of student organizations and leadership opportunities, resources and support — and more much!
Around the world, our alumni can be found reducing costs at production facilities and building reactors to manufacture new materials. They’ve been instrumental in developing products like Tide (Procter & Gamble), Cheerios (General Mills), DiGiorno pizza (Nestle), and Cottonelle tissue (Kimberly-Clark). The department has a history of producing outstanding graduates:
- Arnold Beckman (BS ’22) invented the pH meter and founded Beckman Instruments
- Bob Dudley (BS ’78) was CEO of bp
- Paul Adriani (BS ’85) worked with SunPower to develop new products that convert sunlight into electricity
- Amy Stabell (BS ’07) designed a reactor for making the nanomaterials at Pixelligent Technologies, a next-generation manufacturer of optical materials for the electronics industry
- Brian Kwok (BS ’00) is a lawyer focusing on intellectual property practice, including patent strategy and licensing
- Sonam Patel (BS ’11) develops consumer products for Procter & Gamble’s feminine care business
- Ashlee Ford Versypt (BS '12), Dan Pack (BS ’90) and Chris Arges (BS ’05) have gone on to earn their doctoral degrees and become chemical engineering faculty
- Ashley Yeager (BS '16) is a physician who is on the frontlines addressing the COVID-19 pandemic
employed or continuing education
employed after graduation
attending graduate school
average starting annual income
We are looking forward to receiving your application and counting you among the change-makers in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. At Illinois, you will be transformed while acquiring the skills to transform the world.