ChE Undergraduate Program

Chemical engineering involves the application of mathematics, chemistry and other natural sciences, such as biology, to develop economic ways of using materials and energy for the benefit of humankind. Chemical engineers are involved in developing, processing, and marketing such varied products as fuels, pharmaceuticals, foods, plastics, metals, microelectronics, and basic chemicals.


Chemical engineers have historically been highly employable, with one of the highest average salaries among engineering disciplines. Approximately a quarter of UVA chemical engineering graduates go on to obtain advanced engineering, law, or medical degrees with the technical and rigorous training they receive in the program.

The UVA Chemical Engineering undergradute program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (www.ABET.org), the national independent organization for accrediting academic programs in engineering and applied science. Our program is designed to meet ABET's requirements for program educational objectives and student outcomes. Program enrollment and graduation information is maintained by the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science.

  • Chemical Engineering Program Educational Objectives

    Graduates of the Chemical Engineering program at the University of Virginia utilize their technical competency, communication and teamwork skills, and breadth of knowledge to serve effectively in the chemical engineering profession; to become technical leaders in industry, government or academia; or to pursue advanced study in engineering and applied sciences and in professions such as law, business, and medicine.

  • Chemical Engineering Student Outcomes

    By graduation, ChE students are expected to have:

    1. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
    2. An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration for public health, safety, and welfare as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
    3. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
    4. An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
    5. An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
    6. An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
    7. An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.
  • Honors, Awards & Scholarships

    Special awards and scholarships are available to Chemical Engineering students. Most are supported by the generosity of alumni, corporations and professional societies.

     

    Awards and Scholarships for Second and Third Year Students

    Alvin Hurd McNeilly Memorial Scholarship The Alvin McNeilly Scholarship is given annually to a third year ChE student who has demonstrated high academic achievement while participating in sports. Applications are solicited in the Spring and awards are made by the ChE faculty with the scholarship funds applied to the student’s tuition in the 4th year.

    Dudley M. Harman Scholarship The Dudley M. Harman Scholarship recognizes outstanding academic achievement and interest in the chemical engineering profession with a partial tuition scholarship. Applications are solicited in the Spring and awards are made by the ChE faculty to a 3rd year student with the scholarship funds applied to the student’s tuition in the 4th year.

    Via Brothers Award The Via Brothers Award recognizes outstanding leadership and service in addition to excellent academic performance. The award is given to a 3rd year ChE student. Applications are solicited in the Spring and awards are made by the ChE faculty. The student selected receives a cash prize.

    Gregory J. Canty Research Award The Gregory J. Canty Research Award funds an outstanding undergraduate student who proposes a project to be carried out in the summer following application for the award and the subsequent academic year. The amount of the award is typically between $2,500 and $3,000 and will be granted on a competitive basis to current second-year and third-year undergraduate chemical engineering students. Follow this link for more information on the required application documents.

    S.N. Vines Memorial Scholarship The Sterling N. Vines Scholarship was established in memory of a former ChE faculty member. The scholarship is given to a 3rd year ChE student who has demonstrated high academic achievement and has financial need. Applications are solicited in the Spring and awards are made by the ChE faculty with the scholarship funds applied to the student 's tuition in the 4th year.

    Robert Thomson Scholarship The Robert Thomson Scholarship recognizes chemical engineering students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement.

    Donald F. Othmer Academic Excellence Award The Othmer Award is sponsored by AIChE and is given to the ChE student with the highest GPA after the 2nd year. Nominations are made by the ChE faculty.

    Awards for Fourth Year ChE Students

    David Lee Preddy Award This award is made possible by funds given to the department by the Preddy family in memory of David Preddy (BS '53), an alumnus of the department who passed away after a very successful, but unfortunately brief career with Dow Chemical Co. The award recognizes interest and achievement in chemical engineering design and is presented by the ChE faculty in the Spring to a graduating ChE student.

    Louis T. Rader Chemical Engineering Prize The Louis T. Rader Chemical Engineering Prize is given to one or more ChE students who have demonstrated academic ability, an ability to get along well with others, and an ability to work hard. The award is presented by the ChE faculty in the Spring to one or more 4th year ChE students.

    American Institute of Chemists Award The award, sponsored by the American Institute of Chemists Foundation, is given to the student with the highest GPA in a Chemistry-related discipline, including Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, and Biochemistry. Nominations are made by the ChE faculty.

    Chemical Engineering Faculty Awards Chemical Engineering Faculty Awards are given in recognition of service to the department, special activities, and scholarly achievement. Awards are presented by the ChE faculty in the Spring to one or more graduating ChE students.

    Contact the department for detailed requirements and procedures.

  • Study Abroad

    All UVA ChE students interested in studying at universities outside the USA should visit the UVA International Studies Office (ISO) and speak to Prof. Eric Anderson, the department study abroad coordinator.

    The Study Abroad site provides two study abroad tools: 1) a Curricular Design Tool to adjust a student's engineering curriculum to incorporate courses taken abroad, including those outside of engineering, and 2) an engineering-specific database for international courses and programs. It also has step-by-step guidelines, degree-specific and ISO advising resources, a suggested timeline and resources for preparations, and cultural and logistical resources for passport and visa information.

    The ISO site contains the most authoritative and complete information about study opportunities and guidance for all types of arrangements.

    CHE undergraduates who wish to spend one semester studying abroad often do so during their 4th, 5th, or 6th semesters. With careful planning, SEAS students in the B.S. ChE major may spend one of these semesters abroad and still graduate on-schedule, but careful planning is required.

    If at all possible, the courses taken at a foreign university should count towards the B.S. ChE degree, serve as prerequisites to later courses, and fit within the course schedule.

    Seek equivalents to the following:

    • CHE 2202: Thermodynamics
    • CHE 2216: Computer Modeling and Simulation in Chemical Engineering
    • CHE 3316: Chemical Thermodynamics and Staged Unit Operations
    • CHE 3318: Chemical Reaction Engineering
    • CHE 3321: Transport Operations I. (Fluid Mechanics, Momentum Transfer)
    • CHE 3322: Transport Operations II. (Heat and Mass Transfer)
    • CHE 4438: Process Instrument Control
    • CHE electives, such as CHE 3347: Biochemical Engineering; CHE 4449: Polymer Chemistry and Engineering; CHE 4442: Applied Surface Chemistry

     

    Important: The student's ChE Advisor must approve all courses for credit taken in other universities. The form for transfer credit, available in the Office of the SEAS Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, should be used. The advisor, or the CHE advisor for international studies, can help obtaining the necessary information if it is not readily available on-line, and assist in determining equivalencies.

    If it is not possible to take approved ChE courses at a chosen foreign university, the length of a student's program may be extended unless arrangements can be made to take equivalents to the courses missed in another U.S. university during a summer. ChE departments at Virginia Tech, University of Maryland, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, and elsewhere often teach such courses in summer.

    The following kinds of courses can also usefully be studied abroad:

    • SEAS HSS electives
    • SEAS Unrestricted Electives
    • B.S. ChE Technical Electives
    • APMA courses that match APMA 2130, 3080, 3100, or 3120

     

    The normal suggested schedule for Semester 4 is:

    • APMA 3110 Probability & Statistics
    • CHEM 2420 Organic Chemistry II
    • CHE 2216 Computer Model & Simulation in Chemical Engineering
    • CHE 2202 Thermodynamics
    • STS 2xxx

     

    Equivalents for all of these courses are likely to be offered abroad. Both of these can be taken at UVA in Semester 6. Note that many foreign courses are part of a full-year course rather than given in a single semester.

    The normal suggested schedule for Semester 5 is:

    • CHE 3316 Chemical Thermodynamics and Staged Unit Operations
    • CHE 3321 Transport Processes I
    • CHEM 3610 Physical Chemistry
    • CHEM 2411 Organic Chemistry Lab
    • Unrestricted Elective

     

    Equivalents for all of these courses except CHE 3316 are likely to be offered abroad. Note that many foreign courses are part of a full-year course rather than given in a single semester and so the final examination may not be given until the end of spring, requiring a student to return to the foreign university.

    The normal suggested schedule for Semester 6 is:

    • CHE 3318 Chemical Reaction Engineering
    • CHE 3322 Transport Processes II
    • CHE 3398 Chemical Engineering Lab I
    • Tech Elective
    • HSS Elective

    Equivalents for all of these courses are likely to be offered abroad, though the arrangements for the laboratory course may be difficult to meet. All of the ChE courses must be completed before taking the UVA ChE courses in Semesters 7 and 8. Note that many foreign courses are part of a full-year course rather than given in a single semester.

  • Transferring to Chemical Engineering

    UVA students who are considering transfer to Chemical Engineering from other majors are encouraged to contact the ChE department as soon as possible in order to develop a suitable plan of study. Applications are considered at the end of the Spring semester, but applicants need to be aware that the Chemical Engineering major is currently capacity-limited. As a result, even if all academic requirements are met, acceptance into the major is contingent on the availability of space made available by other students already in major transferring out. As a practical matter, this is a relatively rare occurrence; however, you should inquire with the undergraduate program coordinator to explore the potential for transfer in a given year.

  • Minor in Chemical Engineering

    A minor in chemical engineering consists of five courses: CHE 2215, CHE 3316, CHE 3318, CHE 3321 and CHE 3322.

    Students interested in pursuing a chemical engineering minor should consult with the undergraduate program coordinator. 

    Basic preparation in thermodynamics, numerical methods and partial differential equations is assumed, so if a student's major does not include these topics, then the student may need to complete CHE 2202 and/or CHE 2216 prior to enrolling in the CHE 3XXX level courses.