What is Chemical Engineering about?

Have you ever wondered how raw materials are transformed into car parts, what is involved in the production of high tech materials such as Teflon®, 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 are so much more environment friendly than processes of 50 years ago? It is likely that chemical engineers have played a big role in the answers to these questions.

Chemical engineers use the basic principles of mathematics, physics, biology
economics, and yes - sometimes a bit of chemistry - combined with computer technology
to design, operate and troubleshoot processes that are used to manufacture the materials
that are the building blocks of almost everything around us


What do Chemical Engineers do?

A better question might be “what don’t 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 fuels like gasoline, natural gases and propane, and in the development of new state-of-the-art clean energy systems like fuel cells.
  • They make waterproof clothing, safety suits that do not burn, and even the soles of your shoes.
  • They manufacture silicone 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 paper and the printing inks and toners that we rely on!


Where do Chemical Engineers work?

Our Chemical Engineering graduates have gone on to work in a variety of industries including: Nova Chemicals, Elsag Bailey, GE Water, Dow Chemical, Dofasco, Proctor and Gamble, 3M, Uniroyal, Xerox Canada, DuPont, HEMOSOL, Huntsman Corporation, AstraPharma, Petro Canada (now Suncor). We have a complete list available here.

Other students have completed advanced degrees including Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc), Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Chemical engineering graduates can also be found pursuing careers in medicine, dentistry, law, business or teaching.


Why study Chemical Engineering at McMaster University?

  • Many of our faculty members and teaching staff are rated as the top of their field. Their expertise and insight leads to relevant examples and case-studies in class.
  • We have unique programs that you will not find anywhere else in Canada.
  • All our programs are fully accredited by the CEAB, so your degree will be recognized whereever you work
  • These instructors create a learning environment that will challenge you, but also guide you, to achieve one of the most well-rounded degrees on offer.
  • Most of our courses also have a corresponding laboratory component, so you will see, touch and experience chemical engineering all the way through the program.
  • Don't take it from us; read what some of our alumni have to say.
  • And finally, we are located on one of the finest campuses in North America.