Degree Requirements

Program Chart (PDF)
Department Web Site

PROFESSORS: Y. H. Ma, R.W. Thompson, A. Dixon, R. Datta, N. Kazantzis, T. Camesano
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR: M. Timko, N. A. Deskins, A. Peterson


The Department of Chemical Engineering at WPI is dedicated to providing excellent education to undergraduate and graduate students in chemical engineering, and to vigorously pursuing discovery, creation, and dissemination of knowledge at the frontiers of chemical engineering. Chemical engineers are uniquely positioned to continue to contribute to the betterment of society through advancements in new materials, biomedicine, alternative energy, transportation, environmental pollution abatement, resource conservation, and sustainable development.

The Department aspires to contribute to this vision by achieving national distinction in selected areas of scholarly inquiry and by educating men and women to become leaders in industrial practice, civil service, education, and research. The Department strives to produce technically competent and socially aware chemical engineers through project-based, innovative, and rigorous educational programs that promote global and societal awareness, innovative thinking, and life-long learning skills.


The Chemical Engineering Department has established the following objectives of the undergraduate program in support of our mission and that of the Institute.

  1. To educate students in the fundamental principles of chemical engineering.
  2. To help students develop the ability to use chemical engineering principles to solve problems of practical importance to society.
  3. To help prepare students, through broad education, for a lifetime of success as productive and informed members of society as well as of their professional community.
  4. To help students become effective communicators.


The Chemical Engineering Department has established fifteen educational outcomes in support of our objectives. The outcomes are grouped under the objectives that they support.


1.1 Chemical engineering graduates will possess a working knowledge of the fundamentals of chemistry, physics, and mathematics, including knowledge of advanced elective science subjects such as organic and inorganic chemistry, material science, and biochemistry, etc.

1.2 Chemical engineering graduates will possess a working knowledge of conservation principles and their applications, physical and chemical equilibria, transport and rate processes, separation processes, chemical process control, and reaction engineering.


2.1 Chemical engineering graduates will be able to formulate, analyze, and solve practical chemical engineering problems.

2.2 Chemical engineering graduates will be able to design experiments, safely gather and analyze data, and apply the results to address practical chemical engineering problems.

2.3 Chemical engineering graduates will be able to use appropriate mathematical concepts and methods to solve chemical engineering problems.

2.4 Chemical engineering graduates will be able to design a chemical system, process, or component with consideration of realistic constraints including practical, economic, environmental, safety, ethical, social, and political implications.

2.5 Chemical engineering graduates will be able to use computers effectively for solving chemical engineering problems.


3.1 Chemical engineering graduates will be able to function and work effectively alone and in a team environment, including multidisciplinary teams.

3.2 Chemical engineering graduates will posses an appreciation of professional, ethical, and contemporary issues, and the societal and global impact of chemical engineering processes.

3.3 Chemical engineering graduates will possess self-learning skills to ensure life-long learning.

3.4 Chemical engineering graduates will possess an appreciation for the humanities and social sciences.

3.5 Chemical engineering graduates will be able to use their chemical engineering education to serve the chemical engineering profession or a related profession or pursue advanced studies.

3.6 Chemical engineering graduates will have selected technical elective courses, concentrations, projects, and minors that satisfy their professional interest or career goals.

Objective 4

4.1 Chemical engineering graduates will be able to write coherent, concise, and accurate technical reports.

4.2 Chemical engineering graduates will be able to make concise and effective oral presentations.

Program Distribution Requirements for the Chemical Engineering Major

The normal period of residency at WPI is 16 terms. In addition to the WPI requirements applicable to all students, students wishing to receive the ABET-accredited degree designated "Chemical Engineering" must satisfy the distribution requirements shown below.

Requirements Minimum Units
1. Mathematics and Base Science (Notes 1 and 2). 4
2. Engineering Science and Design (Notes 3 and 4). 6
3. Advanced Chemistry and Natural Science (Note 5). 5/3


  1. Must include differential and integral calculus and differential equations.
  2. Must include 3 courses in chemistry, 2 courses in physics and 1 course in biology or biochemistry.
  3. Must include 1 unit of MQP, 1/3 unit of capstone design experience (e.g. CHE 4404), and at least 1/3 unit of engineering study outside the major. Courses used to satisfy this requirement must be at the 2000 level or above, with the exception of CHE 1011.
  4. Must include at least 4 units from the following list of core chemical engineering courses: CHE 2011, CHE 2012, CHE 2013, CHE 2014, ES 3004, ES 3003, ES 3002, CHE 3201, CHE 3501, CHE 4401, CHE 4402, CHE 4403, CHE 4404, CHE 4405.
  5. Advanced chemistry and natural science courses are defined as any 2000 level and above BB, CH, PH, or GE course and CH 1040. Must include 3 advanced CH courses at 2000 level or above. Up to 2/3 unit of advanced chemistry and natural science may be double counted under requirements 1 and 3.

Concentrations For Chemical Engineering Majors

Chemical engineering majors may choose to focus their studies by obtaining one of the following Concentrations: Biochemical, Biomedical, Environmental, or Materials.

Chemical Engineering with Biochemical Concentration

Basic Science:

Any BB course. No more than one 1000 level course may be counted, however. Recommended courses include:
BB 2002 Microbiology
BB 3055 Microbial Physiology
BB 4008 Cell Culture Theory and Applications
BB 4070 Separation of Biological Molecules
BB 560 Separation of Biological Molecules

Engineering Science and Design:

BB 509 Scale-Up of Bioprocessing
CHE 3301 Introduction to Biological Engineering
CHE 521 Biochemical Engineering
BME 1001 Introduction to Biomedical Engineering

Advanced Chemistry:

CH 4110 Biochemistry I
CH 4120 Biochemistry II
CH 4130 Biochemistry III
BB 4910 Advanced Molecular Biology

Chemical Engineering with Biomedical Concentration

No more than one 1000-level course may be counted. Recommended courses include:

Basic Science:

(at most, one of these three)
BB 1035 Introduction to Biotechnology
BB 2550 Cell Biology
BB 1025 Human Biology
BB 3102 Human Anatomy & Physiology: Transport and Maintenance
BB 4065 Virology

Engineering Science and Design:

BME 1001 Introduction to Biomedical Engineering
BME 2604 Foundations in Biological Transport Phenomena
BME/ME 4504 Biomechanics
BME/ME 4606 Biofluids
BME/ME 4814 Biomaterials
CHE 3301 Introduction to Biological Engineering

Chemical Engineering with Environmental Concentration

Basic Science:

GE 2341 Geology
BB 2040 Principles of Ecology

Engineering Science and Design:

(at most, one of these three)
CHE 3301 Introduction to Biological Engineering
CHE 3910 Chemical and Environmental Technology
CHE 3920 Air Quality Management
CE 3059 Environmental Engineering
CE 3070 Introduction to Urban and Environmental Planning
CE 3074 Environmental Analysis
CE 3060 Water Treatment
CE 3061 Waste Water Treatment
CE 4060 Environmental Engineering Lab
CE 4061 Hydrology

Chemical Engineering with Materials Concentration

Engineering science and design:

CHE 3601 Chemical Materials Engineering
ES 2001 Introduction to Material Science
CHE 508 Catalysis and Surface Science of Materials
ME 2820 Materials Processing
ME 3801 Experimental Methods in Material Science and Engineering
ME 4814 Biomaterials
ME 4821 Chemistry, Properties, and Processing of Plastics
ME 4840 Physical Metallurgy
ME 48xx (Materials courses as approved)

Project Opportunities

Projects available to the chemical engineering student are of the widest possible variety. Projects may be of the research type (as would be encountered in graduate school) or of a more developmental, industrial nature. Nonexperimental design projects or theoretical projects are also available. They are available on campus, sometimes with graduate students working on sponsored research; in off-campus governmental laboratories; or in industry, as well as overseas.

Areas of specialization in the department currently are:

Adsorption Kinetics
Biochemical Engineering Mass Transfer
Biofilms Materials Synthesis
Biominiaturization Microfluidics
Bioremediation Molecular Modeling
Biosensors Process Dynamics
Biotechnology     Supervision and Control
Catalysis Reaction Engineering
Diffusion Scientific Computing
Drug Delivery Separation Processes
Fuel Cells Thermodynamics
Hydrogen Technology Water Remediation
Inorganic Membranes Zeolites
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