Chemical engineering is not chemistry – it is the bridge between chemistry and the real world outside the laboratory. Chemists study chemical reactions in a test tube. Chemical engineers find a way to scale up those reactions so that products can be manufactured by the truckload. Chemical engineers also find ways to make chemical reactions in a test tube work in a real world environment. To do this, they apply engineering principles to conceive, design, develop, operate, or use processes and products based on their understanding of chemical and physical phenomena.
Chemical Engineering at the U of A
An undergraduate degree in chemical engineering prepares you for direct entry into the chemical engineering profession. Our graduates are equipped to compete with the best engineering graduates in the world for positions in industry and government, as well as in the top graduate schools anywhere.
In Alberta and Western Canada, petrochemical, refining, oil sands, polymer, and pulp and paper industries, as well as design, consulting, and engineering firms are significant employers of chemical engineers. This strong industrial presence benefits our undergraduate program by providing our students and staff with opportunities to interact with practicing engineers in the classroom. One of the ways in which this interaction is accomplished is through the Stollery Executive in Residence program - a program that brings industrial engineers into the Department for extended periods of time. These individuals provide topics and data for student design projects, deliver lectures on special topics, and discuss current industrial needs and practices with students and staff. Additional interaction with industry is possible for a large percentage of chemical engineering students through Co-op placements.