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Undergraduate Program

Steven Baldassano in Core Lab
Steven Baldassano in Core Lab. Photo by Julie Sefa

Welcome to the world of pollution control, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, adhesives, biopolymers, artificial kidneys, oil refineries, solar panels and ceramics. Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with the chemical and physical processes used to develop and make these and many other products. Chemical engineering applies fundamental principles in physics, math, chemistry, and biology to chemical and biochemical processes. While a chemist might discover a new compound in the lab, this compound would be nothing more than a laboratory curiosity unless a chemical engineer used his or her knowledge to quantify, scale up, test and produce the compound as a final product.

Chemical engineering has deep roots in the structure of matter and molecular transformations; from the molecular scale (e.g., design and synthesis of biocompatible polymers for the controlled release of drugs) to the global scale (e.g., measuring and modeling the chemistry of climate changes). Chemical engineers have contributed to the technological infrastructure of modern industries such as petroleum processing, pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing, food processing, and plastics manufacturing.

Each chemical engineering undergraduate can develop an academic program that reflects his or her aspirations and interests, within a general framework of requirements. The Department has a strong core curriculum complemented by electives in important emerging areas, such as bioengineering and nanotechnology. The depth and flexibility of the program provide a sound background for engineering practice or graduate study in engineering, science, business, law, or medicine.

Why Study Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton?

"Princeton is distinctive among research universities in its scale and its primary focus on the arts, sciences, and engineering. Its culturally and intellectually diverse faculty, students, and staff come from all parts of the nation and world to learn from each other, to use the extraordinary educational resources it has assembled to support both teaching and research, and to engage - both individually and collectively - in the preservation, transmission, and discovery of knowledge.

Princeton is also distinctive among the leading research universities in the relatively high percentage of its students who are undergraduates. As an undergraduate college, Princeton seeks to enroll students of exceptional promise and a variety of talents and to provide them with an environment in which they will grow intellectually and personally; a curriculum that is distinctive in its emphasis on student independent work and direct intellectual engagement with the faculty; a broad range of extracurricular opportunities; and the experience of living in a diverse campus community." (Excerpted from the University Mission Statement ).