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Chemical engineering with a phyisics dgree?

  1. Jul 1, 2012 #1
    Chemical engineering with a physics degree?

    I'm currently in college and have decided to major in physics with a minor in chemistry. Can this type of bachelor's degree get me a job as a chemical engineer? Before anyone asks, I don't want to get a degree in chemical engineering because I might want to pursue graduate-level physics someday (specifically theoretical or nuclear physics) so I'd like to keep my options open in that regard.

    TIA for any information anyone can give me.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2012 #2
    Unfortunately, it would be highly unlikely that you can get a job as a chemical engineer.

    You'll have to understand that engineering curriculums cover foundations of what practicing the profession involves, and in the case of chemical engineering, there are special courses that are very different than how they are treated in chemistry and physics.

    For instance, ChemE would cover reactor designs, transport phenomena (mass, heat, momentum transport), thermodynamics of open systems, etc.

    In chemistry thermodynamics and thermal physics courses, you do cover more fundamental topics, but you will not spend much on open systems. Furthermore, in my experience, thermal physics and chemistry thermodynamics is very different than engineering thermodynamics; in the sciences, a lot of it at the undergraduate level, will cover a lot of proofs of the physical laws, and less rigorous emphasis on application problems, which is what's important when practicing chemical engineering.

    In short, chemical engineering: (engineering) thermodynamics, reactor design, transport phenomena, software used in industry. Although they may have been founded in physics and chemistry, an additional layer of abstraction is added to prepare for a practicing chemical engineer profession.
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