Chemical Engineering

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MIT’s Chemical Engineering Department applies the fundamentals of chemical engineering to areas including energy and the environment, nanotechnology and biotechnology, polymers and colloids, surface science, catalysis and reaction engineering, systems and process design, and biotechnology. The department offers flexibility for its undergraduates, offering an accredited flexible degree providing concentrations for specific relevant areas in the field, as well as a track focusing on chemical-biological engineering for students interested in the emerging biotech and life sciences industries.

Our researchers work across disciplines within MIT and with organizations and commercial enterprises worldwide, focusing on fundamental knowledge and applied technologies in the following areas:

Energy and Environmental Engineering

Combustion, renewable energy, non-conventional fuels, carbon dioxide capture, water purification, air pollution modeling, and novel energy conversion processes

Biological Engineering

Protein purification, metabolic processes, tissue regeneration, gene regulation, bioprocesses, bioinformatics, biomaterials, and drug delivery

Thermodynamics and Molecular Computation

Classical and statistical thermodynamics, including the application of quantum mechanics to catalyst design, the behavior of complex fluids, protein stabilization, and the nucleation and crystallization of pharmaceuticals

Transport Processes

Polymer molecular theory and processing, membrane separations, diffusion in complex fluids, microfluidics, and transport in living tissue

Catalysis and Chemical Reaction Engineering

Catalyst design, complex chemical synthesis, bioreactor design, surface- and gas-phase chemistry, and the miniaturization of reactors


Polymerization kinetics, non-Newtonian rheology, block copolymers, liquid crystalline polymers, nanocomposites and nanofibers, and self-assembly and patterning


Plasma etching and thin-film chemical vapor deposition, crystal growth, molecular simulation, and soft tissue regeneration

Surfaces and Nanostructures

Colloids, emulsions, surfactants, thin films, liquid crystals, sol-gel processing, control of pharmaceutical morphology, and surface patterning

Systems Design and Simulation

Process and product modeling and simulation, computer-aided engineering, operations research, optimization theory, treatment of uncertainty, and multiscale systems engineering


Graduate study in chemical engineering provides students with rigorous training in engineering fundamentals and the opportunity to focus on specific sub-disciplines. In addition to completing the four core course requirements in thermodynamics, reaction engineering, numerical methods, and transport phenomena, students select a research advisor and area for specialization.

Students may participate in the David H. Koch School of Chemical Engineering Practice (Practice School), in which they undertake projects at industrial sites under the direct supervision of resident MIT faculty. Degree options include:

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering

This program enables students to continue their undergraduate professional training at greater depth and with increased sophistication and independence. Students must complete advanced courses and a thesis project, which together generally take four terms to complete.

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering Practice

The requirements for this degree are similar to those of the Master of Science in Chemical Engineering, with Practice School experience replacing the master’s thesis. Students who have earned a BS in chemical engineering from MIT can meet all the degree requirements in two terms. Students with a BS in chemical engineering from another institution generally require two terms at MIT followed by fieldwork in the Practice School.

Doctoral Degree

Candidates for this degree must complete a program of advanced study, a minor program, a biology requirement, and a thesis. Students generally carry out a program of advanced study and research in a specific area of chemical engineering under the supervision of one or more faculty members in the department.

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering Practice

This degree program combines advanced work in manufacturing, independent research, and management. Built on the research programs within the department and the resources of the David H. Koch School of Chemical Engineering Practice and MIT Sloan School of Management, the program prepares students for leadership positions and lays the foundation for an MBA degree. The program generally takes four calendar years to complete. Year one is devoted to coursework and fieldwork in the Practice School, years two and three are devoted to research, and the final year is completed in the Sloan School. An integrated project combines the research and management portions of the program.

The undergraduate curriculum in chemical engineering provides sound preparation for jobs in industry and government, graduate work in chemical engineering, and careers in medicine, health science, and technology. Students build a foundation in chemical engineering and focus on subjects that strengthen their preparation for advanced work, including courses in the humanities and social sciences. Degree options include:

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Students receive a broad education in the application of chemical engineering to a variety of areas including energy, the environment, nanotechnology, polymers and colloids, surface science, catalysis and reaction engineering, systems and process design, and biotechnology. They complete core chemical engineering courses with a chemistry emphasis and courses in any of the application areas.

Bachelor of Science in Chemical-Biological Engineering

This degree focuses on the application of chemical engineering to the biochemical and biomedical technologies. Students complete courses in chemical engineering and additional subjects in biological sciences and applied biology. The degree prepares students for the biomedical engineering minor or medical school.

Bachelor of Science

This degree is designed for students desiring broad exposure to chemical engineering while specializing in another field such as biology, biomedical engineering, economics, or management.

Bachelor of Science with Concentration

This accredited flexible degree incorporates many of the core components of the traditional chemical engineering degree while providing concentrations for specific relevant areas in the field, which can be designed from a set of courses offered by departments across the Institute. Students may choose one of four established concentrations (energy, biomedical engineering, materials design and processing, or environmental studies) or work with their advisor to develop a program that suits their area of interest.