Professor Arce, Chairperson; Professors Biernacki; Assistant Professors Carpen, Stretz, Rice-York (Center for Manufacturing Research)
Chemical Engineering (ChE) is a respected and ideal profession for modern times and dynamic changing markets. It is broad, adaptable to a large family of businesses (i.e., petroleum, environmental, biotechnology, biomedicine, pharmaceutical, materials, food and others) and highly paid. Rooted in basic sciences, ChE is mainly concerned with the design, scaling (up or down), operation and control of the transformation and separation of raw materials into valuable products. Chemical Engineers are the inventors of nylon fibers, artificial heart valves, nasal drug deliveries and efficient processes to clean our environment, to name a few.
The Department of Chemical Engineering at Tennessee Tech is a vibrant community of engineering educators where both teaching and research synergistically work to effectively enhance student learning. In fact, Tennessee Tech is the home of some of the top educators in the region with most of the ChE Department engaged in active research on various aspects of student learning. These efforts have led to multi-award winning distinctions university-wide, nationally and internationally. ChE faculty members are frequently invited to conduct training workshops for colleagues in the United States and abroad and, therefore, students are exposed to some of the most effective and modern approaches in engineering education. The ChE curriculum is often revised to reflect changes in teaching pedagogy as well as shifts in the areas that hire our graduates, such as biotechnology, materials, and the environment. Thus, Chemical Engineering at Tennessee Tech offers a well-rounded, competitive and modern curriculum highly adaptable to the changing markets of the present time.
For those interested in industrial careers, the Tennessee Tech experience has proven successful in a variety of businesses and national labs, such as Eastman, DuPont, Proctor & Gamble, Pharmacia, International Paper and Saturn, among others, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy (Oak Ridge). For those more interested in graduate education, Tennessee Tech graduates can be found at some of the most prestigious universities in the country and have received fellowships from competitive agencies such as the National Science Foundation and Tau Beta Pi.
The Department of Chemical Engineering offers programs leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Science, Master of Science in Chemical Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering. The undergraduate chemical engineering program is accredited by ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Two options are offered, both standard as well as biomolecular concentration. Additionally, for those more motivated and qualified students, a distinction in the major option is available to enhance the B.S. degree as well as a fast-track (5-year) B.S./M.S.option.
The mission of the Chemical Engineering Department at Tennessee Tech is to prepare relevant and adaptive chemical engineers in state-of-the-art areas by emphasizing real world problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Students majoring in Chemical Engineering must meet the College of Engineering requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree as well as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology requirements. Students majoring in chemical engineering take courses in composition, literature, humanities, social science, mathematics, physics and chemistry. Students are required to take more than 40 hours of chemical engineering core courses including Material and Energy Balances, Thermodynamics, Transport Processes, Process Control, Reaction Kinetics and Process Design. In order to relate theory developed in classroom environments to practical application, most chemical engineering classes have an integrated lab experience. Nine hours of technical electives are also required that allow the student curricular flexibility.
Owing to the increased level of regional and national interest in bio-related fields within chemical engineering (bio-fuels, pharmaceutials, etc.), the Department of Chemical Engineering now offers a “Bio-Molecular Engineering Concentration”. Students graduating with Bio-Molecular Engineering Concentration will still receive a B.S. Chemical Engineering degree (and take all of the core chemical engineering classes), but will have extensive exposure to bio-related courses (cell biology, biochemistry, microbiology, biological processes in chemical engineering, etc.). Note that students enrolling in the Bio-Molecular Engineering Concentration will not encounter any additional credit hour burden.
In addition to a vibrant, graduate-level research program, the Department of Chemical Engineering offers many opportunities for undergraduate research for freshmen through senior students. Such recent topics include micro devices, materials fabrication, nanoparticles, fuel cells, and molecular-level compound design, among others. Students have the opportunity to present their work at regional and national conferences as well as become co-authors in refereed journal publications. Performing undergraduate research is one of the most successful roads to graduate school for an M.S. or a Ph.D. degree. A number of our recent B.S. graduates have continued their graduate studies at Tech, while others have entered graduate programs at universities like Georgia Tech and MIT.