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School of Engineering

Course X -- Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering spans the areas of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics and has wide application not only in chemical engineering but also in fields of biotechnology, semiconductor fabrication, consumer products, and environmental protection.

The Department of Chemical Engineering offers two undergraduate programs: Course X and Course X-C. Course X leads to a SB in chemical engineering. According to Professor of Chemical Engineering Michael C. Mohr, “our educational thrust is to develop a good understanding of principles of science and engineering science, an ability to apply these principles to real problems, and an ability to educate oneself about new technologies as they arise.” A Course X degree requires 171 units of required subjects, plus 72 units of elective units, 24 of which are restricted. Including GIRs a total of 195 units are required.

The Course X-C program leads to a SB without specification and as a result requires fewer subjects and is not accredited. According to Mohr, “the X-C major allows much flexibility in the chemical engineering program. It is taken mostly by people going to medical school, who want some engineering background.”

Ten to fifteen percent of Course X seniors participate in a five-year program in which a year is spent in the School of Chemical Engineering Practice. The SCEP includes one of two terms of graduate subjects and a term or summer at the industrial Practice School Stations.

Another notable feature of the Course X curriculum is a design course called Integrated Chemical Engineering (ICE). Recipient of last year’s Big Screw, ICE is taken during the senior year by all Course X majors.

MIT’s Chemical Engineering department consists of 30 faculty members, including four women and one African-American. Twenty-six of the 30 faculty members are tenured. At this time, there are 280 undergraduate and 250 graduate students in the department. The average undergraduate GPA is 4.3/50.

Many students of chemical engineering decide to pursue a UROP in biochemical or biomedical related areas either during the school year or during the summer. There are typically 100 UROP students during the term, 60 during the summer, and 10-20 during IAP. “Funding comes from either UROP or the research accounts of the professors,” Mohr said.

The Chemical Engineering department offers important resources for its students. For core subjects, tutoring is available during the evenings. In addition, the student chapter of the professional society, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, sponsors student/faculty mixers and seminars during the year. The seminars focus in helping students to prepare for a career after they graduate from MIT.

Among graduates, 50 percent go to work in industry, 40 percent attend graduate school, and 10 percent pursue medical school. The average salary for is $44,000 for SB holders and $50,000 for those who graduate with a master’s degree.