What does a chemical engineer do?

You can do many things with a degree in chemical engineering. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for a career in the energy industry (oil/gas) or fine chemicals/pharmaceuticals or for graduate schools including medicine or management or patent law. Chemical engineers design, maintain, and operate large scale chemical processes that are used to make almost every man-made thing on this planet. This includes the chemicals and materials for your car, your cell phone, your hot water heater, your skin care lotion, your toothpaste (you name it).  Here is a presentation we have used to introduce students to what chemical engineers do - overview of our curriculum and so on A Presentation to the FYE Class

What kind of classes do I have to take?

Our students take chemistry, physics, mathematics and biology - since these classes are what we call ”enabling” sciences for engineering. ”Biology” is now widely recognized as an important enabling science since so many of our students will work to develop the next generation pharmaceuticals. Our students take at least one class in biology and some take even more when they choose the ”biotech” option as part of their senior elective sequence. Imagine the world without insulin and penicillin - two block buster drugs that are life savers - chemical engineers continue to have critical role in the production of those bio-chemicals

Do students get jobs when they graduate?

Yes, they do. If you are willing to look all over the country (and possibly even elsewhere), you can get a good job, if you can demonstrate the skills you have acquired during your schooling. While a number of our students do find jobs in the North Alabama area, many have moved away and found good jobs elsewhere.

Where do some of your graduates work?

3M, NASA, Army, Merck, Chlorox, Genentech, duPont Kimberly Clark, BP, BASF, Champion Paper, etc etc

If I transfer in, how many courses will transfer?

There is an articulation agreement and our engineering advisement office can help you with that.

Do I need a laptop?

You can use one if you have, but we do not require you to have one. UAH maintains a number of laboratories with the software we need to teach you. In some cases, we work out agreements with software vendors to get good academic discounts.

Can I CoOp?

Yes, you can and we will help you in anyway we can. In Chemical engineering however very few classes are offered more than once a year, so it may take you more than 4 years to graduate. CoOp can be however a good experience and you may want to consider it anyway.

Should I CoOp?

That is a decision we can help you make. Our department does not mandate that you CoOp. Many of our students have had good experience with CoOp, some of the companies end up hiring them. We have also had many students without CoOp experience who have gone onto good jobs and are doing well. Work experience anywhere can help and it may help you get that first job. This does not mean however that you must have work experience. Many of our good students have found good jobs without CoOp or other work experience. There may be employers who may demand some work experience before they hire you, there are others who will hire you even without such experience if you are who they need then and they see a future.

Taking a co-op is only one of many possible ways to enhance your resume during your time at UAH. You should make it a mission to excel in your scholastic activities through a high GPA, enroll in the Honors Program, do an honors project, get involved in undergraduate research, or take additional courses toward a minor or second undergraduate degree.

How will I be advised?

Once you declare yourself to be a chemical engineer, you will be assigned a faculty member from our department for advisement who will help you through to graduation. You will meet with your advisor every semester. We take a pro-active approach to advisement.

Is Chemical Engineering difficult?

We believe that it is the toughest curriculum and that our students are the best.  We tell our students that what they get out of it will be what they put in - so study as hard as you can and use any/all university resources when you are on campus. Talk to the teachers, ask them for help, work with other students when you can.

The future

While no one can predict the future, our curriculum is designed to prepare you to solve the problems of tomorrow whatever they may be. Our approach is to help you learn how to solve problems that chemical engineers will be asked to solve. So come, learn and enjoy your time here!