Chemical Engineering

The College of Engineering provides its students a firm grounding in scientific and mathematical fundamentals; experience in analysis, synthesis and design of engineering systems, and exposure to current engineering practice and cutting edge engineering research and technology. A spirit of entrepreneurship pervades the College of Engineering–in education, scholarship, and participation in engineering practice.

UCSB’s College of Engineering has achieved national recognition in areas such as solid state electronics, materials, and high-performance computing. With state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories and a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, UCSB offers undergraduates the finest in engineering education. All undergraduate programs have met the rigorous standards of and been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET or, in the case of Computer Science, the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. Such accreditation adds weight to the degree when students apply for graduate study and professional positions.

General Major Information

How Can I Tell If I Would Like Engineering?
An engineering student excels in mathematics and many aspects of science. The student has good reasoning, analytical and leadership qualities. Hobbies may include computers, conducting experiments and reading. Individuals with an aptitude toward mathematics and sciences and who would like to understand the technological systems we use every day would enjoy engineering.

What Are Potential Topics Within This Major?
Chemical Engineering: Chemical Engineering is an evolving discipline that grounds the engineer in a wide array of engineering science fundamentals in order to tackle problems at the forefront of technological development. In addition to the classical areas of fluid mechanics, transport phenomena, thermodynamics, reaction engineering, separation processes, and process control, the chemical engineering program at UCSB offers teaching and research opportunities in a host of modern areas.

To learn more about whether you might enjoy this major, check with a peer in the Career Resource Room for details on:

- Focus 2 to explore college majors and careers.

- The Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that compares your interests against six broad categories of work. This assessment helps match your interests and suggests potential careers to explore.

What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?

  • Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
  • Choose a complementary minor.
  • Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
  • Develop your computer skills.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Study abroad.
  • Join professional associations.
  • Get involved in student clubs.
  • Participate in community organizations.
  • Seek out leadership positions.
  • Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
  • Network with others in fields that interest you.

General Career Information

What Are Some Possible Career Options?

Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be.  The following list provides only a handful of possibilities. Engineering majors with strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in many fields. Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study options include: applied research, design, management, operations, manufacturing, and consulting.

Chemical Engineering majors are prepared for careers in the chemical and petroleum industries, as well as in the development and processing of advanced materials (microelectronic, polymeric, ceramic), biotechnology, environmental engineering, energy, process control, process design and applied chemistry or physics.

To learn more about these and other occupations, please visit:
O*Net Online

Occupational Outlook Handbook

Come visit the Career Resource Room to see our vast collection of career books and resources.

And, see what other UCSB alumni are doing with their major on LinkedIn

Additional sites and resources

Sloan Career Cornerstone Center
SCCC is a comprehensive resource center for those interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computing which includes the following chemical engineering information: overview, preparation, earnings, employment, industries, career path forecast, profiles, professional development & organization along with presentations & podcasts.

California Occupational Guide
Info on labor market, job duties, working conditions, and employment outlook for chemical engineers in California.

Occupational Outlook Handbook
Good, basic information about the nature of the work, employment, job outlook, earnings.

What Is Chemical Engineering? What Do Chemical Engineers Do?

Graduate and Professional Schools

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers has a search engine to help you locate graduate programs.

Accredited Program Search
These lists show the programs accredited by ABET.

Rank and search 19,079 programs at 2,240 US universities based on your priorities.   Data come from the National Science Foundation, the National Research Council, and the NationalCenter for Education Statistics.

US News and World Reports
Listing of the best graduate schools in Engineering. As with all rankings, make sure that you take them with a grain of salt.
This is a comprehensive website that provides information about where graduate programs are offered throughout the nation.

This is a database to help find where graduate programs are offered throughout the U.S.

Come to the Career Resources Room to view the CHOICES lab version of graduate schools.

Experience Search Strategies

Get Experience (Internship/Lab/Research)

Career Services Internship Resources
Build your qualifications by exploring various opportunities to get experience in your field of interest. Click on the link above!

UCSB College of Engineering Undergraduate Research Opportunities
There are many research opportunities for undergraduate students, including those through educational programs, undergraduate courses, and connections with faculty in your department.

Job/Internship Search Sites

UCSB Career Services “Job Links” section
Check out job links in the following categories: Local/CA, National, International, Industry Specific, UCSB Careers by Majors and Diversity. searches through millions of jobs from thousands of websites including Monster, Careerbuilder, Hotjobs, Net-temps, Dice, and Craigslist. Find engineer jobs from all job sites, newspapers, associations, and company career pages at one site.

The global vital link between Engineers & Power Professionals and the Energy Companies needing to hire them.
Another site where you can search for entry-level engineering positions, or by engineering discipline. allows you to search for jobs for Chemical Engineers. As a job seeker, you can search jobs, submit a resume, set up career alerts to be notified whenever a job is posted that fits your skills.

Lab Support
Lab Support, a division of On Assignment, is an international leader in placing science and engineering professionals in contract, contract-to-hire, and direct hire opportunities.

As one of the largest U.S. providers of engineering and technical staffing, we can help you find engineering jobs that match your skills. Our professional recruiters work with top companies, giving you access to some of the most desirable positions available. 

When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.


Professional Associations

American Institute of Chemical Engineers
AIChE is the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with more than 40,000 members from 93 countries.

American Chemical Society
ACS members enjoy access to special content such as access to ACS benefits, career tools, and AAAS's Science Next Wave.

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
SHPE is The Source for Quality Hispanic Engineers and Technical Talent.

Society of Women Engineers
SWE is the driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women. SWE empowers women to succeed and advance in those aspirations and be recognized for their life-changing contributions and achievements as engineers and leaders.

Engineers Without Borders
EWB-USA is a non-profit humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities worldwide in order to improve their quality of life. This partnership involves the implementation of sustainable engineering projects, while involving and training internationally responsible engineers and engineering students.

UCSB Resources