As a chemical engineer, you will work on a daily basis to research, invent, and produce the technologies and products that society needs the most. You will consider how the sciences interact with technology and you will use that knowledge to help make the world a better place.
If you’ve ever considered earning a degree in chemical engineering, you are likely a gifted person with a knack for the sciences – as well as an inquisitive mind. While a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering is usually the base criteria required in order to get started in your career, it can be tough to find the time to earn one.
This is especially true if you are already employed in another field. It can be tough to find the time and resources necessary to earn a degree, but working toward an online diploma can help make your life a little easier. You can receive a high-quality education without having to sacrifice your time, money, or sanity in the process.
What kind of chemical engineering degree should you get?
As an aspiring chemical engineer, you likely already know the importance of a well-rounded, high-quality degree. However, leaving your current job to pursue a challenging course of study might not be realistic or possible for you at your current stage of life.
This is where an online degree can come in handy. There is no one ‘perfect’ bachelor’s degree for everyone, but an online degree lends you a measure of control over your own education. You can work from home on your own time, studying at the times that make the most sense for your schedule.
Even better, you don’t have to leave the comfort or security of your full-time job. Distance learning technologies have made it easier than ever for you to interact with faculty and other students, obtain information, and access campus resources.
Still not sure whether an online degree in chemical engineering is the right choice for you? Take a moment to peruse our extensive list of the Best Online Colleges and Universities to help you get started in your college search.
How much money can you make with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering?
Because chemical engineering is a challenging field – and because these jobs are in high demand – you can expect to earn a high starting salary with one of these degrees. The average wage for chemical engineers is around $104,910 – with many individuals earning much more than that.
The highest paid professionals are those employed in petroleum and coal product manufacturing, with others involved in research and development, engineering, wholesale trade, and pharmaceutical manufacturing also earning high wages. What’s even better is that, as a chemical engineer, you will always be in high demand. These jobs are growing at about eight percent – which is slightly faster than the national average.
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering?
Once you get a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, you have multiple options for what you can do with your degree. While most chemical engineers will work in laboratories of forces, they may also work at refineries, industrial plants, or other on-site locations. You must be prepared to work with a team of professionals to design systems that will benefit a group of people.
In general, chemical engineers will utilize the basic principles of scientific disciplines like physics, chemistry, and biology to solve problems related to the use or production of products like fuel, chemicals, drugs, and food. You might design processes for large-scale manufacturing industries or research best production methods for a given item.
What are the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering?
To become a chemical engineer, you will need, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. These degrees normally take about four years to complete and require a high school diploma to enter. Admitted students will have a strong background in topics like biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, and calculus.
While enrolled, you will develop your creative and analytical skills in addition to your theoretical knowledge of the discipline. Hands-on experience is highly valued by employers so most bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering will involve internships or cooperative learning programs as well.
What are the best online bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering?
If you’re looking for the best bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, know that what is best for one student may not be the best for you. You need to find a degree that provides the closest alignment with your career and personal goals. Of primary importance is how well this degree will fit with your current lifestyle.
When we came up with your list of the best degrees in chemical engineering, we only included online degrees. Why? These degrees are some of the most flexible and affordable, allowing you to earn a high-quality degree on your own terms. Therefore, when we compiled our list, we looked carefully at key factors that help create such a high-quality degree – namely, we considered factors like return on investment, student satisfaction, and program reputation, among many other items.
We try our best to be as precise as possible so that we can help guide you toward the career of your dreams. If you’re curious about how we gather our final list of schools, make sure you pay a visit to our methodology page, where we detail every step of our process.
Before we publish our list of the best online bachelor’s in chemical engineering, we narrow it down so that it includes only the best options. As a result, our list represents not just these schools with the best programs – but those that will fit best in your busy lifestyle. Consider our top choices as you take the next exciting step toward the job you’ve always wanted.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $16,562
Stanford University is located in the northern Santa Clara Valley of California and has a prominent reputation as one of the top private research universities in not just the country, but the world. Frequently applauded as one of the best schools by The Princeton Review, this school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The university was founded in 1885 and is home to over 17,000 students, many of whom choose to study in the chemical engineering program.
The chemical engineering program at Stanford focuses heavily on the three most crucial scientific disciplines: biology, chemistry, and physics, and offers multiple pathways to completion. Through this program, students can complete their studies in six different ways. Each four-year course plan is personally tailored to individual incoming students, with differing focuses on chemistry and mathematics, as well as different levels of academic rigor. Required and elective courses include:
- Vector Calculus for Engineers
- Structure & Reactivity
- Electricity & magnetism
- Organic Polyfunctional Compounds
Stanford offers students exposure to chemical engineering in a variety of ways. In addition to the aforementioned major, the school offers an additional minor, an honors program, and coterminal bachelor and master’s degrees. Students can work toward a Master of Arts or a Master of Science while they are pursuing undergraduate work, allowing them to save both time and money. The honors program serves as an excellent pathway for students seeking to obtain a Ph.D. in chemical engineering upon graduation from a master’s program.
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology
College Choice Score: 97.04
Average Net Price: $22,230
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT as it is more commonly known, is a private research university located in Cambridge, MA. MIT has an excellent reputation for its department of engineering, which comprises nearly 60 percent of its student body. The school also has colleges for the sciences, humanities, management, and even architecture. The bachelor of science in chemical engineering at MIT offers three potential tracks for students to customize their degrees toward their particular career paths.
Despite being one of MIT’s most popular programs, the chemical engineering program is incredibly close-knit. The department is home to thirty-five faculty members who are still currently engaged in cutting edge research – and who regularly involve students in this groundbreaking work. There are three different options that students may choose from for their degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Chemical-Biological Engineering, and a Bachelor of Science with Concentration. Sample courses include:
- Quantum Mechanics
- Chemical Kinetics
- Energy Conversion
While this degree offers students multiple opportunities to customize their degree paths, it is generalized in the fact that all students are given equal opportunity to consider the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. This program requires students to work under an advisor while conducting their own original research. It provides additional laboratory experience, faculty mentoring, and an expansion of knowledge for interested students.
Columbia University in the City of New York
College Choice Score: 94.88
Average Net Price: $22,824
Also known simply as Columbia University, this school is a private Ivy League research university located in Upper Manhattan of New York City. Founded in 1754 as the King’s College, this school is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest in the United States. With nearly 30,000 students spread out among 16 schools, the school is large enough to provide students with a high-quality experience but somehow manages to maintain a student-to-faculty ratio of just 6:1. All students, particularly those in the chemical engineering program, enjoy a hands-on, individualized experience.
The online chemical engineering program is exactly the same as that delivered on-campus. It includes a high number of elective courses, and with a freshman retention rate of 97 percent, students will feel adequately supported and enriched in their coursework. Accredited by ABET, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and TEchnology, this program includes classes such as:
- Analysis of Chemical Engineering Problems
- Transport Phenomena
- Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
- Reaction Kinetics and Reactor Design
Columbia University is unique in that it offers one of the few chemical engineering programs with an optional study abroad component. Students may pursue study abroad opportunities during their sophomore years, with financial aid and internships available for students who qualify. Aspiring chemical engineers may choose to study abroad in places like Hong Kong, Scotland, England, South Africa, and Spain. These experiences help build learners’ knowledge of the global profession as a whole, as well as to introduce them to new work opportunities upon graduation.
University of Pennsylvania
College Choice Score: 94.56
Average Net Price: $24,539
The University of Pennsylvania was founded by Benjamin Franklin and remains one of the premier private Ivy League schools in the country. Located in Philadelphia, PA, the school places a strong emphasis on public service and traditional education. Today, the university is a multidisciplinary research institution that is home to nearly 11,000 undergraduate students. Many of these students are enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, which includes multiple opportunities for specialization and degree enhancement opportunities.
This program includes small class sizes and is taught by a dedicated body of talented faculty members. Students may pursue one of many specializations, such as Electronic Materials Processing, Environmental Engineering, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, as well as Polymer Science and Engineering. Through these concentrations, students will take at least five specialty-specific courses. These will allow for additional research and internship opportunities. Required core courses include:
- Introduction to Biotechnology
- Material and Energy Balances
- Thermodynamics of Fluids
- Organic Chemistry
While the exact coursework that each student will take varies largely depending on the concentration selected, all students have the opportunity to take the Product/Process Design class. This is completed over two courses and provides students with fundamental training in simulated design. Students work with consultants from local chemical plants to develop solutions to product and design problems, often using this experience to gain a leg up on the competitive job market upon graduation.
University of Florida
College Choice Score: 92.65
Average Net Price: $15,283
A public land, sea, and space grant research institution, the University of Florida is located in Gainesville. This school was founded in 1853 and is one of the ten largest universities in the country. Home to over 52,000 students, the university has sixteen different colleges and schools with 300 different degree programs. The school is also home to over 150 other centers and research institutes – a major bonus if you are considering a degree in chemical engineering. This program is available entirely online and is top-ranked other among major affiliates.
All programs are offered asynchronously through the University of Florida’s Canvas platform. This allows students to receive the same online education that they would access via on-campus learning. Students can access course materials 24/7 and all materials are extremely flexible. Required courses include:
- Analytical Geometry and Calculus
- Material and Energy Balances
- Elementary Differential Equations
- Fluid and Solid Operations
- Phase and Chemical Equilibria
This university has received numerous accolades. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. In addition, U.S News & World Report has repeatedly ranked the University of Florida as one of the top 100 globally in seventeen different areas of study. In addition to the bachelor of science in chemical engineering, the school also offers a range of related programs through which students can continue their studies. The department is home to a Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering as well as numerous concentrations (like Thermal Fluids Transport) to allow students to expand their knowledge base.
College Choice Score: 91.69
Average Net Price: $23,295
Vanderbilt University is located in Nashville, TN and is a private research university that rests on over 300 acres. The Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering at Vanderbilt, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, consists of 126 credit hours of core and elective courses, with multiple specializations to choose from. With additional honors programs and master’s degrees available, Vanderbilt’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, in which the bachelor of chemical engineering degree is available, is a one-stop shop for all aspiring chemical engineers.
This degree requires students to complete several core classes before moving on to elective work in specialized engineering classes. Electives include areas like nanotechnology, material science, scientific computing, and business. Regardless of the electives chosen, all students will work closely with faculty advisors to develop plans of studies that maintain program breadth yet also allow for flexibility. Students will take classes such as:
- Physical Chemistry: Quantum Mechanics
- Mass Transfer and Rate-Based Separations
- Chemical Process Control
- Senior Engineering Design Seminar
Vanderbilt University offers one of the most hands-on programs in chemical engineering. With a range of research opportunities and internships available, the school works hard to pair learners with opportunities in the real world. Past graduates have worked with organizations like Intel, Merck, and Chevron before even completing their studies. This school also prepares students to take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, which is a prerequisite toward obtaining a license as a professional engineer.
College Choice Score: 89.95
Average Net Price: $31,449
A private university founded in 1865, Cornell University has a large undergraduate enrollment of nearly 15,00 students. Many of these learners study online, taking classes in one of the school’s many departments. This school has been described as the first “truly American” university, a testament to the practical vision of higher education that this university embodies. Learners may choose from over 100 different fields of study. Among them is the award-winning Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering.
This program includes a strong foundation in core topics like physics, mathematics, and chemistry, but also prepares students for the industry with a profound knowledge of chemical engineering analytical tools. Multiple specializations and minors are available, including in topics like applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, biotechnology, computer-aided design, electronic materials, energy, and many more. Regardless of whether a specialty is chosen, students will take classes such as:
- Modeling and Simulation of Real-World Scientific Problems
- Career Perspectives
- Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
- Heat and Mass Transfer
- Applied Process Control
Cornell University provides learners with exceptional access to cutting-edge research facilities like the Unit Operations Laboratory and the Cornell Energy Systems Institute. Students work closely with faculty members who conduct advanced research in their fields as they explore areas of inquiry like nanoscale electronics and complex fluids and polymers. In addition to the bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical Engineering also offers other programs such as a Master of Engineering, a Master of Science, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering.
College Choice Score: 89.75
Average Net Price: $26,933
A private research university located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lehigh first opened its doors to students in 1865. Originally a free university, the school is a prominent engineering university. Lehigh now offers a range of bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees to over 7,000 students and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The P.C. Rossin College of Engineering houses an exceptional Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering that is one of the oldest and most transformative of its kind.
This program is unique in that the faculty members who teach its courses are still involved in extensive research in the field. Faculty members work closely with students to help provide them with an environment that is academically rigorous and stimulating. They provide partnerships to local organizations and alumni so that students are better prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation. All coursework is available entirely online, with most offerings presented asynchronously. Sample courses might include:
- Material and Energy Balances of Chemical Processes
- Fluid Mechanics
- Introduction to Heat Transfer
- Fundamentals of Environmental Technology
This degree does an exceptional job at preparing graduates for a lifetime of effectiveness in chemical engineering. Lehigh alumni are found all over the world working in the industry and in advanced professional education. This degree is a great option for students who wish to continue on to further graduate study, as it provides students with some of the best engineering resources. The engineering department provides a range of general and specific laboratory equipment and allows even distance learners to access exceptional hands-on opportunities while studying from afar.
Illinois Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 87.95
Average Net Price: $26,324
The Illinois Institute of Technology is a private space-grant university located in Chicago, IL. The university traces its founding back to 1890 when the school originated as the Armour Institute. Originally a professional school with in-depth specialty courses in engineering, architecture, chemistry, and library science, the school evolved to begin offering liberal arts education as well. Today, Illinois Tech, as it is affectionately known, consists of five different colleges and nearly 7,800 students. The chemical engineering program is intensive and grounded in the fundamental concepts of the discipline.
This degree encompasses the basic knowledge and applications of chemical engineering necessary to be successful. Students examine the environmental, societal, and economic impacts of the discipline, and may choose from multiple professional specializations. These programs help students explore areas of interest in their studies as well as in their individual research. Regardless of these specially chosen, students will take core classes such as:
- Material Energy Balances
- Mathematical and Computational Methods
- Fluid Mechanics
- Heat and Mass Transfer Operations
- Statistical Tools for Engineers
Students at the Illinois Institute of Technology may choose from five different professional specializations, including Environmental Engineering, Bioengineering, Process Design and Operation, Polymer Science and Engineering, and Environmental Engineering. In addition to these extensive opportunities, online learners receive access to exceptional careers services to connect them with workshops, internship and cooperative learning experiences, career coaches, and alumni networks.
University of Notre Dame
College Choice Score: 86.28
Average Net Price: $27,453
A Catholic university located in South Bend, IN, the University of Notre Dame is dedicated to research and to student success. Originally an all-male university, this school began enrolling women just recently in 1972, yet today is one of the most modern and innovative institutions of its kind. The school is home to over 9000 undergraduate students and fosters a loyal alumni connection. The chemical engineering program offers three different concentrations to motivate learners.
Pursuing a career-focused concentration at the University of Notre Dame is easy. Students take four upper-level courses in an area of interest, choices of which include Biomolecular Engineering, Energy, or Materials. Students will then conduct unique undergraduate research during the senior year. Required core courses include:
- Differential Equations
- Transport Phenomena
- Chemical Process Control
- Analytical Chemistry
In addition to offering students an exceptional distance learning opportunity, the school also operates a rigorous, high-profile study abroad program. Chemical Engineering students may study in places like Australia, Ireland, England, Spain, or Italy within their four years of study. All courses, whether taught domestically or abroad, are instructed by world-respected faculty who are still involved in current chemical engineering research and development. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Michigan State University
College Choice Score: 86.07
Average Net Price: $16,684
Michigan State University is located in East Lansing, MI and was founded in 1855. A public university, this school has an undergraduate enrollment of nearly 40,000 students. The school is top-ranked and has the reputation of being the first land-grant institution in the country. With over 900 different student clubs and organizations – and nearly 300 different study abroad programs – this school is a top choice for aspiring chemical engineering students looking for a well-rounded, hands-on educational experience.
This degree is both broad and versatile, preparing potential chemical engineers to work in development, research, design, sales, or production. It requires 128 credit hours of study and gives students the opportunity to pursue an alternative track in Integrative Studies in Biological and Physical Sciences. For the stand-alone major, students will take classes such as:
- Process Analysis and Control
- Material and Energy Balances
- Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer
- Chemical Reaction Engineering
- Laboratory Practice and Statistical Analysis
This degree provides online learners with multiple concentrations from which to choose. These are available (but not required) in disciplines like food science, environmental engineering, biochemical engineering, polymer science and engineering, bioenergy, and biomedical engineering. These specializations help students push further as they develop innovative solutions to common global issues. As one of the top research universities in the country, the school is ranked as one of the best National Universities as well as one of the best providers of undergraduate education by U.S. News and World Report.
College Choice Score: 85.56
Average Net Price: $35,306
Syracuse University is a private university that was founded in 1870. With an undergraduate enrollment of fewer than 16,000 students, this university offers diverse student life and plenty of opportunities to get involved – even when studying from afar. The Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering at Syracuse provides learners with a vibrant, cooperative learning environment that encourages inquiry and scholarship as students explore innovations in healthcare, medicine, renewable energy, and more.
This program is highly versatile and is one of the few of its kind that actually prepares learners for leadership positions in chemical engineering. Graduates will leave their studies with a profound knowledge of the chemical engineering fundamentals necessary to help them work as practicing engineers. 128 credit hours are required, with core courses in topics such as:
- Fluid Transport
- Mass and Heat Transfer Operations
- Process Design
- Chemical Reaction Engineering
- Critical Research and Writing
Within the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering, there are multiple course offerings. With over 100 different minors, multiple study-abroad opportunities, and options for five-year joint bachelor’s and master’s degree completion plans, this university truly has it all. In addition to the Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, the department also hosts an undergraduate degree in Bioengineering. 4+1 programs are available in Engineering/MBA, Chemical Engineering, and Bioengineering, and a graduate degree in Energy Systems is also open for enrollment.
Kansas State University
College Choice Score: 85.19
Average Net Price: $17,465
Another public land- and space-grant research university, Kansas State University is located in Manhattan, KS. This school is the oldest university in the state of Kansas and was founded in 1863 as the result of the Morrill Act. Formerly known as the Kansas State Agricultural College, the school was the second in the country to admit both men and women. Today, the university remains coeducational and is home to nearly 24,000 students. It is ranked nationally in its presentation of Rhodes, Udal, and Marshall scholars, and is home to a robust chemical engineering program.
The chemical engineering major at Kansas State exists within the Tim Taylor Department of Chemical Engineering. This degree provides learners with a solid background in physics, advanced mathematics, engineering, and chemistry so that they may pursue a range of careers in academia or government Required classes include:
- Current Topics in Chemical Engineering
- Engineering Assembly
- Computational Techniques in Chemical Engineering
- Unit Operations Laboratory
Through their choices of technical electives, students at Kansas State may pursue an area of emphasis, a second major, or a minor. Some popular choices include natural resources, environmental engineering, and materials science. Many students also use this degree as a pathway to law or medical school. A range of activity is available to provide learners with social and professional enrichment. The school is home to the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, who regularly host speakers, workshops, study abroad opportunities, and career fairs.