Chemistry or Chemical Engineering – What Is the Difference?

Chemistry or Chemical Engineering – What Is the Difference

Many students who are interested in chemistry think of chemical engineering as their major - what is the difference? Both disciplines deal with much the same things and there is much overlap, but the basic differences are novelty and scale.

It is sometimes said that a chemist wears a lab coat; a chemical engineer wears a hard hat. But more specifically:

Minors and dual degrees

Chemistry majors can use the Chemistry electives to fulfill a minor requirement in another department. They can also take a dual major by using the electives in one department to take the required courses in the other. This is difficult with Engineering departments but less so with other Science or H&SS departments. Because a dual major program involves a heavy load of challenging courses, students should not choose this option without careful consideration.

Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Studies

For students who plan to apply to medical or dental school. Chemistry is a good background from which to enter the medical field. The following courses are recommended before the senior year as preparation for the qualifying exams required for admission to medical school: Biol-4270-4280 Human Physiology I and II; Biol-4620 Molecular Biology.

Two Communications courses should be included among H&SS options.

For more information, see the Pre-Med Program page.

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