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College Courses Needed to Graduate With a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering

by Jen Saunders, studioD

Chemical engineers combine chemistry and engineering concepts to help solve major global problems like pollution and hunger. They create new materials and develop items to meet energy demands, and they are primarily responsible for the production of virtually all pharmaceuticals. Various disciplines of study play into the general knowledge of a chemical engineer. The first step in becoming one is to get your B.A. in the field, and knowing what college classes you will take will help you better prepare to reach your academic and career goals.


In order to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, a student must take a number of math courses. Chemical engineers use optimization techniques and operation research to optimize designs. They also use differential equations to solve complex problems and rely on computational fluid dynamics that involve calculus to solve fluid system and heat transfer challenges. Mount Holyoke’s B.A. in chemical engineering requires students to take a variety of math courses that include Calculus I and II and Differential Equations.


Chemical engineers incorporate the principals of chemistry into the design and operation of various manufacturing processes. They use chemistry in developmental processes for things like medicine, plastics, fuels and detergents. Chemistry helps engineers develop formulas to minimize costs and evaluate operations. For these reasons chemistry is a core subject taught in the chemical engineering bachelor’s degree. Stonehill College requires students to take General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry I and II, Inorganic Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry and many more classes that will add to the student’s mastery of the subject.


Chemical engineering and physics go hand-in-hand. Students in a chemical engineering B.A. program will typically take a year of physics classes that are broken down into statics and kinematics and waves and optics. Engineering fundamentals classes tend to include physics into the curriculum. Students taking the B.A. in chemical engineering at Rice are faced with Physics 101 Mechanics and Physics 102 Electricity and Magnetism. These classes fulfill a core requirement to the degree program that teach skills needed to complete advanced courses in the junior and senior years like advanced design and engineering.

English Composition

You might be scratching your head at this one, but nearly every B.A. in a chemical engineering program requires students to take at least one writing class. As a chemical engineer, you may not need to know how to define irony in a narrative, but you will be expected to write reports and possibly publish findings in scientific journals. English composition teaches students to write clearly with structure and depth. Schools like Oregon State University require students to take English Composition in the first year of the chemical engineering B.A. program to make their graduates efficient written communicators.

About the Author

Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.

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