Have you ever wondered how raw materials are transformed into car parts, what is involved in the production of high tech materials such as TeflonŽ, how materials that are used in medical applications are designed or how one would build a fuel cell? Have you ever thought about how all of these processes produce much less environmental damage than processes of 50 years ago? It is likely that chemical engineering has played a big role. Chemical engineers use the basic principles of chemistry, mathematics, physics, and economics combined with computers, to design, operate and trouble shoot processes that are used to manufacture the materials that are the building blocks of almost everything around us.
A better question might be what dont chemical engineers do? Chemical engineers use their expertise to develop what seems like an almost infinite supply of products and materials. They are involved in the manufacture of our contemporary fuels like gasoline, natural gases and propane, and in the development of new state-of-the-art clean fuel systems like fuel cells. They make waterproof clothing, safety suits that do not burn, and even the soles of your shoes. They manufacture silicon chips to store huge volumes of information. They are involved in the production of the food that we eat everything from breakfast cereals to cookies. Chemical engineers are at the forefront of resolving environmental problems by improving the efficiency of processes or developing new better processes, and monitoring and controlling environmental emissions. They are involved in medical and pharmaceutical industries through the development of new materials and the manufacture of drugs and medical devices. They even produce the paper that this is written on and the inks that it is written with!
Graduates from McMaster Chemical Engineering have gone on to work in a variety of industries including: Nova Chemicals, Calgary AB; Elsag Bailey, Burlington ON; Zenon Environmental, Burlington ON; Dow Chemical, Various locations; Dofasco, Hamilton ON; Proctor and Gamble, Toronto ON; 3M, London ON; Uniroyal, Elmira ON; Xerox Canada, Mississauga ON; DuPont, Maitland ON; HEMOSOL, Etobicoke ON; Huntsman Corporation, Guelph ON; AstraPharma, Mississauga ON; Petro Canada, Oakville ON;
Other students choose to go on and
do advanced degrees including Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.), Master of Engineering
(M.Eng.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Chemical engineering graduates can also
be found pursuing careers in medicine, dentistry, law, business or teaching.
Other students choose to go on and do advanced degrees including Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.), Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Chemical engineering graduates can also be found pursuing careers in medicine, dentistry, law, business or teaching.
Chemical Engineering at McMaster is committed to providing our students with a strong foundation in the basic sciences, as well as exposure to modern technologies. Students have access to a newly renovated state-of-the-art laboratory facilities featuring up-to-date and timely labs, many of which are on line. Our chemical engineering program is unique in its incorporation of computers into the curriculum for various courses starting at the second year level. To support this idea, a new computer facility has been established for our students. Our goal is to prepare our students for their career path in specific industrial sectors by exposing them to current theories and technology. To achieve this goal, the department has identified a number of technical focus areas that link our teaching and research expertise which we can provide to the students as a package of courses. These focus areas allow students to specialize in one of two possible streams which will later be denoted in their transcript upon completion of their degree. The streams available are: polymer materials & manufacturing and process control & automation. The technical courses comprising each stream are taken as electives in the students upper years. The set of technical electives that we recommend for students interested in a career in the manufacturing industries that involve polymer materials and manufacturing are selected from Chemical, Mechanical and Materials Engineering courses appropriate to the area. We have a similar list of recommended electives for process control and automation. The upper year projects for our students have a significant industrial component tailored to each of the three streams mentioned, addressing the concerns of real industrial clients. Another option is a brand new degree named Engineering and Biosciences. In this five year program, students will take core courses from the Chemical Engineering curriculum coupled with courses from Biology, Biochemistry and Health Sciences. Chemical Engineering specific courses related to biological aspects of engineering and technical electives that build on the research expertise found in our faculty round out the program. As well, Chemical Engineering students have access to the popular five year degree programs in Engineering and Management and Engineering and Society.
Our faculty and staff: Students will have the opportunity to interact with professors who have won local and national teaching awards and with researchers who are at the cutting edge of their respective fields. McMaster research strengths include polymer production and processing technology, control of chemical processes, pulp and paper technology, membranes, biomedical and biological engineering.
Our students: Our undergraduate chapter of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering plans annual activities include skiing, bowling, a Christmas dinner, and several smokers. Students are active participants in McMaster intramural recreation programs. Undergraduate students are also active in raising money and preparing activities for cancer patients at the local Childrens Hospital.
Like most engineering programs, Chemical Engineering is demanding. However, in our curriculum, we specifically address issues of learning and problem solving in order to develop these skills in our students. As well we try to provide a great deal of hands on experience through industrial contacts. We have award winning professors, excellent teaching assistants and a great deal of tutorial time to allow for more personal interaction with our students.
Students in the second and third years of the program take courses in thermodynamics, heat transfer, mass transfer, fluid mechanics, reaction kinetics, reactor design, as well as problem solving along with mathematics and chemistry. Many of these courses are supplemented by laboratories. This allows students in the fourth year of the program to take specialized elective courses in the various areas of research of our professors including courses in polymers, biomedical engineering, statistics, and pulp and paper.
While Chemical Engineering is based on the principles of chemistry and mathematics, many of our students find that the applied nature of the problems that they are working on make understanding these concepts a little easier.
The importance of computers in all industries is reflected in the incorporation of computers into many aspects of our curriculum.
Technical electives allow you to focus your studies towards a position in a specific area. This will be strengthened by the streams that we have recently developed and the new technical electives that are being added as a result. However, it is important to remember that regardless of the stream that you select, you will still have a strong chemical engineering background amenable to a position in a broad range of industries.
Surveys of our graduating students indicate that starting salaries range between $42,000 and $50,000 upon graduation.
Chemical Engineers eventually work in a wide variety of areas. While many people associate Chemical Engineering with traditional areas such as petroleum refining, this is not the case any more. Our graduates have gone on to work in a whole range of industries as described above, including polymers, membranes, and pulp and paper. Furthermore, popularly chemical processes are associated with pollution and environmental problems. However, Chemical Engineers are actually at the forefront of making many processes more environmentally friendly and devising ways of cleaning up the environment. Chemical Engineers also have prominent roles in the high technology industries and in the biomedical device field.
Generally, like many fields today, the job situation is quite good and the vast majority of our graduates have jobs prior to completing their degree. The broad curriculum of study that our students take allows them to work in diverse fields and gives them access to a range of jobs.
Department of Chemical Engineering
905-525-9140 extension 24762