Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

The undergraduate program in chemical engineering at Rice is ranked in the top 25 — top 10 among private colleges —by U.S. News and World Report. As a chemical engineering student in one of our two degree programs, you will have the opportunity to explore a multidisciplinary array of courses or focus on a particular specialization.

O-Week FAQs

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, advanced materials, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, environmental protection, 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 two 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 five specialization options: Biotechnology/Bioengineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Computational Engineering, and Energy and Sustainability Engineering. 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.

Are there any other things I should know about the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department?

More information can be found at our website: