Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Since 1921, Rice chemical engineering has grown in vitality and scope to be one of the nation's best. Our faculty and students conduct research and work that is integral to fields spanning from energy and sustainability to advanced materials and nanotechnology to biochemical engineering and health.

As a chemical engineering student at Rice, you will have the opportunity to explore a multidisciplinary array of courses or focus on a particular specialization. Our curriculum encompasses both fundamentals and applications to give students a sound scientific and technical grounding for further development in a variety of professional environments.

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) offers two undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering. The primary degree is the Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. Upon completion of an undergraduate degree, Rice students are eligible to apply for a fifth year of specialized study leading to a Master of Chemical Engineering.

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Degrees Offered

* Program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Learn more about enrollments and degrees awarded for programs in the George R. Brown School of Engineering School.

Related Minors

By the Numbers

  • Top 25 Best Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Program, U.S. News & World Report
  • 50% of Undergraduate students are women


Why should I study Chemical Engineering?

Chemical engineering brings together fundamental understanding of chemistry, physics, math, and biology to solve some of the most important real world problems.

What do students do when they graduate with a Chemical Engineering degree?

Chemical engineers find opportunities in the fields of energy, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, environmental protection, advanced materials, electronics manufacturing, and chemical production. A large fraction of graduates continue their education in graduate schools to prepare for academic or industrial R&D careers, and in medical, law, or business schools.

If I am considering this major, what classes do I have to take this year?

MATH 101, MATH 102, PHYS 101, PHYS 102, CHEM 121, CHEM 122, CHEM 123, and CHEM 124. In some cases, equivalent alternatives are available. These are listed in the detailed degree requirements found in the General Announcements.

If I have AP credit, should I use it or are there classes I should consider retaking anyway?

Generally, you should use your AP credit.

How should I decide whether or not to use my AP credit?

If you have any concerns, you should speak with a Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Major Advisor.

Can I study abroad? If so, when is the best time?

Study abroad semesters are possible and encouraged. The best semesters are the sophomore and junior spring semesters.

What kind of research opportunities are available to your students?

Most ChBE majors participate in undergraduate research, either for course credit or summer research internships. Research opportunities are available in the energy, sustainability, advanced materials, and biotechnology fields.

What extracurricular activities or projects do students in your program normally participate in?

Most of our students are members of the Rice Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

What do classes in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering normally look like?

The ChBE classes cover a wide variety of topics including thermodynamics, reactor design, transport phenomena, biotechnology, process control, computational mathematics, and design. Many classes involve team projects. There are three required laboratory courses taught in the ChBE department. The design courses involve team activities using conceptual design and process simulation to tackle real-world problems.

Is the curriculum flexible enough for students to pursue other interests? i.e. Can I complete a minor, take classes outside the major or specialize further within the major?

The BSChE major offers four specialization options: Biomolecular Engineering, Computational Engineering, Energy and Sustainability, and Materials and Nanotechnology. Students not wishing to specialize can choose an Engineering Breadth option. Students have the flexibility to take courses outside the major, many times to complete a second major degree, a minor degree, or a certificate program.