What is Chemical Engineering?

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. The average annual salary for Illinois students graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering is about $74,000, according to data collected by the School of Chemical Sciences Career Services.

Who graduates from our program?

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. 

Meet Our Alumni Interactive Map of 'Where Our Graduates Go'

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

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.

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