Chemical Engineering

Professor Otto Gregory and Grishma Shrestha work on a specialized microscope.

Chemical Engineering, B.S.


With an emphasis on hands-on experience, our students combine learning in chemistry, physics and biology to prepare for careers in chemical production, pharmaceuticals, polymers, new materials, renewable energy, environmental sustainability and more.

Chemical engineering touches virtually every facet of our lives. Chemical engineers combine a wide range of disciplines to turn raw materials into life-saving medicines, innovative renewable energy sources, unique polymers and more.

Our program places an emphasis on hands-on learning and offers undergraduate students a chance to conduct sophisticated research with real world impacts. To build a specialty, students participate in one of three tracks: general, biology or pharmaceutical.

Graduates receive some of the highest salaries of those holding undergraduate degrees and are actively sought after by some of the most esteemed global companies and research institutions.

Students pursue either a general, biology, or pharmaceutical track.

Traditional Track In Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering is a multidisciplinary program based on a strong foundation in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and economics. The student learns to analyze various processes, work with different types of equipment, visit different industries, and, in a team approach, integrate these principles into economic design of industrial plants and processes. These principles can be applied to a broad range of industries from chemical processing, food processing, biotechnology, and pharmaceutics to materials, ocean processing, and environmental clean-up.

Biology Track In Chemical Engineering

The biology track combines chemical engineering and biology courses, forming a major that combines the quantitative nature of chemical engineering with the concepts and ideas of biology and molecular biology. The primary motivation is to respond to advances in our understanding of biological processes, and the unique opportunity for chemical engineers to translate that understanding to useful processes. The application of the chemical engineering paradigm to biology will enable graduates to develop new molecular biology tools; drug delivery systems; artificial skin, organs and tissues; sensors and alternative fuels and to integrate new bio-products into existing materials.

The curriculum is founded on the core principles of transport phenomena, unit operations, thermodynamics and reaction kinetics. Students opting for this track will take a series of five courses in the Biochemistry and Cell and Molecular Biology departments. Besides preparing students for the biotechnology industry, this combination of biology, chemical engineering and chemistry courses is relevant to those considering medical school.

Pharmaceutical Track In Chemical Engineering

The pharmaceutical track in Chemical Engineering combines the well-known strengths of the College of Pharmacy at URI and Department of Chemical Engineering into a curriculum that produces leaders in the pharmaceutical industry. Biopharmaceuticals is one of the fastest growing industrial sectors, both in the United States and worldwide, with a projected growth rate of 10% per year for the foreseeable future. Driving this rapid growth is the worldwide increase in average life span, major developments in our understanding of key factors behind the development of disease, as well as important innovations in the area of drug formulations and delivery. This growth has created a need for graduates who are well-versed in the basic sciences as well as all technological aspects related to the development process for therapeutic agents – production, scale-up and processing, formulation, and delivery and regulatory constraints.


In accordance with the 2019 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, URI hereby discloses that the curriculum for this program meets the educational requirements for licensure as an engineer in all U.S. States and Territories. The applicable licensing board in your state may impose additional requirements on candidates prior to granting a license (e.g., passing of an exam; obtaining a certificate; performing clinical/practicum hours; etc.), and we encourage you to investigate those requirements. The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, which is required nationwide for licensure, can be attempted by any engineering undergraduate who has finished or is close to finishing an Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)/Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredited program. 

ABET Accreditation

ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission

The Chemical Engineering Program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

Read more about the ABET criteria.

Enrollment Data

B.S. Enrollment
(Fall 2020)
B.S. Graduates
(Dec. 19/May 20/Aug. 20)