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Best 20 Chemical Engineering Schools in 2021

March 24, 2021 | Staff Writers

Chemical Engineering Schools
Degree Finder
BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

If you are interested in solving real life problems related to chemicals and their components you are undoubtedly looking for the best Chemical Engineering schools available to help you refine your problem solving skills.  Chemical Engineering is a challenging field that requires a mathematical mind and the ability to think outside the box to solve problems impacting everyday life.

What Is Chemical Engineering?

Chemical Engineering is an engineering discipline that is increasingly in demand.  This particular engineering field focuses on several scientific fundamentals including biology, chemistry, and physics.  Chemical Engineering focuses on the development and processes surrounding chemicals, their design, and implementation.  This field can cross into several different industries including pharmaceuticals, polymers, sustainable engineering, and plant design and processing operations.

What Are the Benefits?

Getting a Chemical Engineer degree has several benefits.  Aside from learning the mathematic and scientific fundamentals, students will gain an understanding and systematic understanding of the best ways to approach a problem.  Chemical Engineering focuses on finding creative and innovative solutions to every day problems.  This is an extremely varied field, and many of the best Chemical Engineering schools offer hands on laboratory experience which can be quite desirable when applying for first time jobs.  Chemical Engineering is a wonderful discipline to earn a higher level education degree, and can easily be crossed with other medical and pharmacy related degrees.

What is the Outlook and Salary?

The outlook for Chemical Engineers is good, anticipating a 2% career growth opportunity in  the coming years.  This is a complex and science based degree that is always in demand by employers.  Several different industries, from polymers, to fuels, to sustainable engineering companies commonly hire Chemical Engineers with varying levels of education and research experience.

The average income in the United States for a Chemical Engineer is about $108,000 making this one of the more lucrative engineering fields for students to pursue.

RankSchoolLocation
1Stanford University (31 Points)Stanford, California
2Rice University (31 Points)Houston, Texas
3California Institute of Technology (27 Points)Pasadena, California
4Princeton University (26 Points)Princeton, New Jersey
5Lehigh University (25 Points)Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

The Best Chemical Engineering Schools

When selecting the best Chemical Engineering schools it can be difficult choosing where you attend.  You want to find a school that is affordable, but still gives you the attention from faculty you deserve.  There are plenty of schools offering a Chemical Engineering degree, with varying focuses and concentrations. Need help deciding where you should attend college?  Below, we have compiled a list of the 20 best Chemical Engineering schools in the country to help you make your decision!

1

Stanford University (31 Points)

  • Stanford, California
  • Graduation Rate: 94%

The Chemical Engineering program at Stanford University focuses on both the scientific, as well as the engineering aspect of this difficult curriculum.  Students will learn about separations technologies, chemical reactions, material and energy balances, as well as different processes for engineering and design.  This will be coupled with a heavy curriculum focused on applied mathematics.

This program will set students up for success in the corporate world, exploring careers in both engineering and the sciences.  Alternatively, Stanford University graduates will have a solid base and understanding of chemical principles and concepts for those who wish to pursue a graduate level degree.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,230 per credit
Application Requirements: Application and Fee, ACT/SAT Scores (waived for students in 2021), Official High School Transcripts
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2

Rice University (31 Points)

  • Houston, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 93%

Rice University offers a competitive Chemical Engineering and Bimolecular Engineering program for students.  Perspective students will have the choice to pursue either a Bachelor of Arts, or a Bachelor of Science degree at Rice University.  Students who wish to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree will have the opportunity to apply for a specialized fifth year of study to successfully complete a Master’s in Chemical Engineering.

Students who wish to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree will have additional opportunities to explore the areas of chemistry, mathematics, and physics for the chance to be awarded a double major in multiple hard science disciplines.  This school provides the opportunity for study abroad and regularly encourages students to explore ideas as they relate to Chemical Engineering outside the walls of the classroom.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,046 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Test Scores, Transcripts, Letters of Recommendation, Optional Interview
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3

California Institute of Technology (27 Points)

  • Pasadena, California
  • Graduation Rate: 93%

The Chemical Engineering program at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California is exciting, innovative, and competitive for perspective students.  Students come from all over the world and the incoming freshman class is usually limited to about 230 students.  Expect the application and acceptance process to be extremely restrictive and competitive for this particular program.

This program focuses on several different aspects of Chemical Engineering with a strong focus not only in mathematics and the hard sciences, but also a concentration in the humanities and social sciences.  The Chemical Engineering degree from California Institute of Technology will leave students capable to find a rewarding career, or pursue a graduate degree following successful graduation.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,275 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Essay, Standardized Test Scores, Transcripts, Teacher Evaluations
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4

Princeton University (26 Points)

  • Princeton, New Jersey
  • Graduation Rate: 98%

Photo by Sameer A. Khan/Fotobuddy

The Princeton University Chemical Engineering program is housed in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.  This challenging, highly quantitative program offers several pathways leading to the Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree, including concentration areas such as Bioengineering & Biotechnology, Energy & Environmental Technology, and Materials & Product Engineering.  Additionally, many students who pursue this major supplement their degree with one of the many available certificates in a related field. Examples include everything from African-American Studies to Applied & Computational Mathematics.

The program has an enticing mix of students, including athletes (11%), honors students (54%), and a majority-female (63%) enrollment.  This can be quite enticing for female prospective students accustomed to seeing a typically male-dominated field.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,200 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Supplement, Graded Paper, Transcripts, Two Teacher Recommendations, Test Scores, Interview is Optional
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5

Lehigh University (25 Points)

  • Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 89%

Many students who pursue a Bachelor degree at Lehigh University go on to work in industry related fields.  Students regularly find work in the chemical process industry working with plant management, plant design, technical sales, market analysis, or research and development.  Those who complete the degree are not only well versed in the basic principles surrounding Chemical Engineering, but they are set up for real life experience working hands on in this exciting industry.

The curriculum for students also includes exciting opportunities to minor in career specific fields including energy, engineering, information, biotechnology, and materials engineering.  Pairing a minor with a Chemical Engineering degree is the perfect way for students to set themselves apart from fellow competition.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,301 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Writing Supplement, Teacher Recommendation, Test Scores, Transcripts
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6

Georgia Institute of Technology (25 Points)

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Graduation Rate: 86%

Located in Atlanta, Georgia the Chemical Engineering degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology offers multiple different degree options.  Students can pursue a Bachelor degree as a standard option in Chemical Engineering, or can opt for a Biotechnology concentration variant.  Further, students may choose to enroll in a five year program that combines a Bachelor degree with a Master’s degree, setting students up to pursue a PhD later in their academic career.

Students will have the ability to quickly recognize and solve problems as they relate to Chemical Engineering.  While many students go on to pursue higher level education, several students who have successfully graduated to Georgia Institute of Technology have gone on to pursue careers working in the government sector, private laboratories, or in an academic field.

School Overview

Tuition: $1,408 credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Minimum 3.3 GPA, Official Transcripts, Test Scores
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7

University of Pittsburgh (25 Points)

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 81%

The University of Pittsburgh has a highly challenging and difficult Chemical Engineering program.  While they accept over 400 students per year, only about 25% of the students complete the program through graduation.  The University of Pittsburgh holds a high standard and offers a challenging curriculum focused on engineering, science, and mathematic principles.

The program is perfect for students who seek out real life solutions to every day problems.  The goal of the program is to not only teach students the engineering fundamentals, but to teach students how to approach problems, and solve them with innovative solutions.  This is a great program for students who want to immediately enter a chemical related career, or go on to pursue a higher education degree.

School Overview

Tuition: $1,406 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Test Scores (Optional for 2021), Self Reported Academic History, Short Answer Questions (Optional)
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8

Northwestern University (23 Points)

  • Evanston, Illinois
  • Graduation Rate: 94%

The Chemical Engineering Degree at Northwestern University offers students the chance to follow several different academic paths toward successful graduation.  Students may receive a minor in Chemical Engineering, a Bachelor Degree, or select the combined BS/MS that gives students the opportunity to pursue a Master’s degree while simultaneously earning a Bachelor degree.

Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to conduct hands on research.  Not only will this give students an opportunity to learn about research methods, but it will allow students to explore computational methods, furthering their career and research potential in the Chemical Engineering field.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,362 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Letter of Recommendation from Counselor, Test Scores, Transcripts, One Teacher Recommendation (more accepted)
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9

Vanderbilt University (23 Points)

  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Graduation Rate: 92%

The Chemical Engineering degree offered at Vanderbilt University is paired with a Bimolecular degree.  This program highlights the physics and mathematic building blocks that this engineering discipline is built upon.  This degree will set students up with the opportunity to explore the fields of bioengineered materials, specialty polymers, semiconductors, and ultrapure fine chemicals.

Many students who graduate from this program go on to work for private companies, work in laboratories, or work as government contractors or consultants.  This program offered through Vanderbilt University does offer research opportunities which can set students up to pursue a graduate degree in Chemical Engineering.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,169 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Transcripts, Test Scores, Two Letters of Teacher Recommendation, One Letter of Counselor Recommendation
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10

University of Virginia (23 Points)

  • Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Graduation Rate: 94%

Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the University of Virginia offers a competitive Chemical Engineering program for perspective students.  This program focuses on combining the fundamental skills and principles found in physics, chemistry, and biology to find chemical solutions to benefit all mankind.  Students who graduate from this program often pursue careers in pharmaceuticals, plastics, metals, fuels, and basic chemicals.

The University of Virginia offers plenty of opportunities for students to conduct their own research, getting hands on experience in Chemical Engineering.  While this is a terminate degree, the opportunity for research and study abroad makes this an excellent stepping stone on the path toward Doctorate study.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,107 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Transcripts, Test Scores, Letter of Evaluation from at Least One Core Teacher, Letter of Recommendation from Counselor
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11

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (22 Points)

  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Graduation Rate: 93%

Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology is an intensive and well rounded engineering program.  Students will have the opportunity to explore several different paths as they relate the Chemical Engineering including Catalyst and Reaction Engineering, Math and Computational Systems, Environmental and Sustainability, and Energy.

Students will have the opportunity to follow the Course 10-ENG: Bachelor of Science in Engineering pathway.  This will allow students to still focus on the Chemical Engineering discipline, but create their own path with an abundance of available courses. This path will allow students to create their own concentration centered on their own interests and career goals.

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12

University of Wisconsin – Madison (21 Points)

  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Graduation Rate: 85%

The University of Wisconsin – Madison offers a comprehensive Chemical Engineering degree offered through their school of engineering.  The degree features a range of intensive mathematic, chemistry, physics, and engineering based courses to give students a fundamental base of engineering principles.  Students must follow a rigorous course guide in order to complete the required courses for graduation.

The University of Wisconsin offers opportunities for undergraduate students to perform their own research, or to be a part of faculty research.  This will give students the opportunity to explore this engineering discipline with hands on experience in the laboratory allowing students to pursue higher level graduate degrees in the future.

School Overview

Tuition: $1,574 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Two Essays, Letter of Recommendation, Transcripts, Test Scores
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13

Villanova University (20 Points)

  • Villanova, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 90%

Students attending Villanova University will have several academic opportunities that relate to Chemical Engineering.  Students can pursue a minor, or can choose to complete a Bachelor degree in this engineering discipline.  The Chemical Engineering program at this school is combined with Biological Engineering and offers a range of chemistry, mathematic, engineering, and physics based courses.

There is the option for students to enroll in a five year program which will allow students to earn a Bachelor and Master’s degree simultaneously.  This path for students is very research intensive and often sets students up to further pursue a PhD degree.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,303 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Letters of Recommendation from Teachers, Letter of Recommendation from Counselor, Test Scores, Transcripts
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14

University of California – Berkley (20 Points)

  • Berkeley, California
  • Graduation Rate: 92%

Combined with Bimolecular Engineering, the Chemical Engineering program at University of California – Berkley features a range of courses and possible paths for students to follow.  The program highlights the design and development of chemical processes.  Many students who graduate from this program are prepared for a career in the semiconductor, nuclear, plastics, or environmental industries.

Enrolled students can expect to take a wide range of classes including several classes in mathematics, chemistry, engineering, and materials science.  Students should pay close attention to the availability of required courses, as some courses are only offered once per year and are mandatory for successful graduation.

School Overview

Tuition: $1,833 per credit
Application Requirements: Application Form, Application Fee, Minimum 3.0 GPA in 10th and 11th Grade, Test Scores, Transcripts
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15

University of Notre Dame (19 Points)

  • Notre Dame, Indiana
  • Graduation Rate: 95%

The undergraduate Chemical Engineering program offered at the University of Notre Dame gives students the opportunity to pursue several different paths of study.  Students have the opportunity to learn about the fundamentals in Chemical Engineering, while learning how it deeply relates to the humanities and social sciences.  Notre Dame students will also study the morality as it relates to Chemical Engineering procedures.

Students enrolled in the program will have plenty of opportunity to explore their own research endeavors working closely alongside faculty members and fellow students earning their PhD.  Further, the Chemical Engineering program offers the chance for students to study abroad, gaining unparalleled experience and exposure to this exciting field.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,314 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Competitive High School GPA, Foreign Language Requirement, Test Scores, Activities, Letters of Evaluation, Essay.
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16

Texas A&M – College Station (17 Points)

  • College Station, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 80%

The Chemical Engineering program at Texas A&M – College Station offers degrees ranging from a simple Bachelor degree up to a PhD degree.  This school focuses on the fundamentals as it relates to science and mathematics.  The course curriculum focuses on physics, chemistry, mathematics, and the fundamental principles surrounding engineering.

In the last year of study, students will participate in a real problem solving project, finding solutions to an every day problem.  While conducting research and formalizing solutions students will have access to work hands on in an updated and modern laboratory.

School Overview

Tuition: $1,608 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Transcripts, Essay, Test Scores, Short Answers to Questions Required for School of Engineering
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17

Johns Hopkins University (14 Points)

  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Graduation Rate: 92%

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins University offers a compelling and competitive Chemical Engineering program for students.  This program is geared toward helping students learn how to solve problems, finding solutions that are real and valuable in the world we live in.  This program concentrates on the skills necessary to develop and design commercial products and processes as it relates to Chemical Engineering.

Students who are particularly interested in conducting their own research may be interested in the BS/MSE program offered at Johns Hopkins University.  This program gives students a Master’s in Chemical Engineering immediately following successful completion of the Bachelor Degree with intensive research requirements.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,306 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Test Scores, Transcript, Two Teacher Evaluations, One Letter of Recommendation from a Counselor
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18

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (14 Points)

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Graduation Rate: 91%

The University of Michigan – Ann Arbor gives students wanting to pursue a degree in Chemical Engineering several opportunities for diverse and varied study.  Students can earn a Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering with the opportunity to minor in select concentrations such as Sustainable Engineering or Interdisciplinary Design.  These concentrations highlight the scientific and mathematic fundamentals required for this degree.

Students also have the opportunity to conduct their own research at the University of Michigan.  It is possible to enroll in a program that allows students to earn a Bachelor and Master’s degree simultaneously.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,133 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Counselor Recommendation, Essay, Test Scores, Transcripts
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19

University of Pennsylvania (10 Points)

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 95%

The Chemical Engineering program at the University of Pennsylvania boasts small class sizes and the opportunity for students to work one on one with their professors.  Although the overall enrollment for this school is quite high, the Chemical Engineering department is rather small allowing for intimate instruction.

The curriculum offered from this school guarantees that students receive a fundamental understanding of physical, chemical, and biomechanical principles and how they related to the overall engineering profession.  Students have the ability to choose from several concentrations including Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, Polymers and Soft Matter Engineering, Nanotechnology, or Engineering and the Environment.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,407 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Transcripts, Test Scores, Letter of Recommendation
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20

University of Southern California (4 Points)

  • Los Angeles, California
  • Graduation Rate: 92%

Based out of Los Angeles, California, the University of Southern California offers a Chemical Engineering degree for students to pursue.  This program is designed to set students up for success pursuing advanced degrees.  The program gives students the experience to enter a Master’s or PhD program, or allows students to pursue specialized degrees such as an MBA, DDS, MD, or Pharm. D. degree.

The University of Southern California gives students plenty of opportunity for students to get hands on experience.  Not only are there plenty of laboratory and research opportunities, there is also the opportunity for students to partake various internships.  Select students may be placed in research positions working in academic laboratories to further their experience and research potential.

School Overview

Tuition: $2,424 per credit
Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Transcripts, Test Scores, Letters of Recommendation
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Methodology

The scoring system for the school ranking is based on a cumulative point system.  The total points are calculate using two variables.  The first variable is the tuition for the school based on the cost per credit.  For undergraduate studies, many universities simply report a cost for the year.  This amount is divided in half, assuming two semester, and then further divided assuming that there are 12 credits per semester.  The reported tuition rate is for an out of state student.  Schools that have a lower tuition rate receive a more favorable ranking.

The second component used to calculate the total score is the total student enrollment.  It is assumed that schools that have a lower enrollment count offer better student to professor ratios, thus offering a more thorough education.  The schools with a lower overall enrollment will receive a more favorable ranking.  The points assigned for both the tuition and the enrollment are totaled together, giving a cumulative score used to order the schools.

If your university or college has been listed in our best Chemical Engineering schools we’d love to hear your feedback.  We always want to make sure the information we provide to perspective students is accurate and up to date.  Please reach out to us if you would like us to modify or clarify information listed on our website.

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