As a Chemical Engineer, your career options are diverse and exciting. You will develop the skills needed to design processes to produce anything made by chemical or biological means, including consumer products, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, semiconductors, biomaterials, pulp and paper, polymers, and more. Chemical Engineers use knowledge of all branches of science and mathematics (not just chemistry!) to solve problems at a variety of scales—from developing materials with features at the nanoscale all the way to designing a 250-foot-tall distillation column and everything in between. Because of this breadth of knowledge and ability to solve the most difficult challenges facing society, Chemical Engineers are in great demand and are often found in leadership positions.
Our 8-semester, 131-credit curriculum has been designed to provide a strong foundation in science, mathematics, and engineering, and to develop problem solving skills. These allow students to pursue careers in diverse areas such as energy (including renewables), chemicals, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, food production, and consumer products. Our curriculum also provides excellent preparation for pre-health students and even pre-law students interested in a career in patent law. Twelve credits are technical electives providing the opportunity of specialization in an area of choice and up to 5 of them can be earned by industry experiential learning through internships and co-ops or by conducting research.
Undergraduate Research and Internships
Students are strongly encouraged to participate in research and internship opportunities during the summer and academic year. Students can participate in research opportunities with department faculty and other university programs for credit and, in some cases, for pay. Participation in research is an excellent way to gain experience and determine if this career path is right for you. Many universities and national laboratories offer paid summer research programs and research experience at UF can make you more competitive. Research experience as an undergraduate is an essential component for admission to graduate and professional programs. Interested students should reach out to faculty directly and include their resume and a short statement of their interests.
For students interested in employment in industry, participation in internships is essential. These paid opportunities provide hands on experience in chemical engineering industry roles. Students learn about industry opportunities through the UF Career Showcase, scheduled fall and spring terms. Attending companies participate in pre-showcase activities such as information sessions, in-class seminars, and student organization sponsored events. The department hosts ChemE Day Career and Resume workshop, an educational workshop that prepares Chemical Engineering students for the best jobs in industry.
Professional development is facilitated through the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) student chapter and the Chemical Engineering Peer Advisors (ChEPAs). AIChE organizes professional information events and participates in competitions in regional and national conferences. In recent years, our students have won or placed in the top five in poster competitions, the Jeopardy Challenge, and the Chem-E-Car competition, and have been recognized as Outstanding Chapter. The ChEPAs are a service organization that provides peer-to-peer advising while at the same time helping the participating students improve their planning, communication, and leadership skills.
The University of Florida advocates for an inclusive campus for all students. There are many diverse student organizations, including the Black Student Union, the Hispanic Student Association, the Asian American Student Union, the Women’s Student Association, and the Pride Student Union. Among the organizations involved in engineering are the Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, and OSTEM (out in STEM). Students can choose to live in campus-based residence halls, fraternity or sorority housing, or in one of the many apartments located nearby. The campus provides many sports entertainment opportunities, as well as cultural venues such as the UF Performing Arts, the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Harn Museum of Art. Largely because of the vibrant campus life Gainesville has been widely recognized as one of the best places to live in America.