Chemical Engineering : Overview

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Contact Information

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
307 Furnas Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-4200

Phone: 716.645.2909
Fax: 716.645.3822
Web Address:
David A. Kofke
Jeffrey R. Errington
Director of Undergraduate Studies


Chemical engineering concerns the design, scale-up, and operation of chemical processes, and the understanding and design of technologically useful materials. Chemical engineers are responsible for the economical, safe, and environmentally benign production of useful quantities of vital materials - from grams of a new drug to tons of a commodity chemical. Chemical engineers use these same skills to understand and manipulate natural processes, such as in biological systems. The program at UB is broadly based to prepare graduates for positions in engineering development, design, economic evaluation, sales, construction, production, and management. A number of undergraduates go on to graduate work and careers in research, and some pursue degrees in medicine, business, or law.

Students intending to major in chemical engineering should have strong backgrounds in chemistry and mathematics. Sophomore- and junior-year students take a combination of theoretical and applied courses in chemical engineering, in addition to several courses in biology and physical and organic chemistry. The senior year extends this base and builds upon it with courses in systems, design and electives. Many of the courses are accompanied by laboratory sessions. Communication skills, both oral and written, are stressed through laboratory reports. Some senior students are exposed to research in a senior projects course; others obtain industrial experience through local internships or through the engineering co-op program.

Our curriculum is designed to meet several educational objectives, which are stated as goals and abilities we expect our graduates to achieve within a few years of the conferral of their degree. Our educational objectives read as follows:

Within a few years of obtaining a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University at Buffalo, the recent graduate:

  • Demonstrates professional engineering competence, via promotions and/or advancement to positions of increasing responsibility; via satisfactory progress towards completion of an advanced degree; or via a successful transition from the "traditional" chemical engineering career path into medicine, business, government, education, etc.
  • Develops and implements innovative and effective solutions to difficult problems. Shows proficiency in the application of engineering science in the presence of practical constraints or complicating factors to solve real-world technical problems.
  • Grows continuously in the range of people with whom he/she interacts professionally. Assumes responsibilities that require increasingly broad and diverse interpersonal interactions, indicating the ability to relate well to superiors, subordinates, and peers, inside or outside the organization, perhaps involving difficult circumstances. Provides input to others' work that enables them to do their job better. Reaches team leadership positions.
  • Demonstrates excellence and leadership in ethical standards, on-the-job safety, and environmental protection through participation in appropriate training activities, short courses, or conferences; through employer recognition for achievement in the corresponding professional practice (e.g. safety awards); or by assumption of recognized leadership positions in these areas (e.g. safety officer).
  • Communicates his/her ideas, findings, and knowledge through the composition of papers and/or internal reports; authorship of standards and guidelines; publication of scholarly articles; application for patents; delivery of effective presentations to group leaders, internal and external customers, and at technical conferences; and/or training of coworkers and associates.
  • Engages in life-long learning via participation in a professional society, continuing education course(s), professional engineering certification, professional development course(s), and/or industry training course(s).

Updated: 13 Nov 2012 06:00:34 EST