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Chemistry vs ChemE

  1. Mar 4, 2012 #1
    I've read a lot of discussions about chemistry vs chemical engineering and everyone seems to favor chemical engineering, mainly for its higher salary and better job opportunities. Every discussion, though, seems to be referring to opportunities with a bachelor's and assume that the asker has no intention of going to graduate school. So can anyone give me a good comparison of chem vs chemE, assuming that I actually do intend to go to graduate school?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2012 #2
    Depends on what you want to do with that graduate degree. If your goal is to teach and stay in academia, either degree will work fine. If you want to work in research labs, either degree will work. However, keep in mind a chemistry major has no grounded engineering background.

    Basically, if you are thinking about any engineering type of career, go ChemE. Although I would not recommend getting a masters in ChemE if you're getting your bachelor in ChemE as well (unless you want to pursue academia). I'm 3/4 of the way to an undergrad degree in ChemE, and plan on going to grad school for a MechE masters, just so I can get a well-rounded base for my career (planning to pursue alternative energy).

    Hope this helps. Let me know if you have questions.
  4. Mar 8, 2012 #3
    chemistry at the bachelor's level is not that good. chemE is more employable and makes the most money. chemE is the only degree where you learn how to *industrially manufacture* chemicals like it happens in the real world. if you care about the *properties* of materials or how to *design new materials*, chemistry, physics and materials science are probably better choices. for those 3, chemistry is least employable.

    keep in mind though that the numbers of chemical engineers is declining.

    on the other hand if your math is very good go for EE. ChemE is a pain, not for the math, but for the "engineering mindset". You'll understand what I mean if you went through 3 years of ChemE curriculum and got to chemical kinetics and reactor design, after finishing thermo. its very different from a "science" mindset or even the mindset of EE. even how you design devices and processes is very different.
  5. Mar 8, 2012 #4
    Chill, that's why I was asking for a GRADUATE level comparison. Every discussion I've read was a comparison at bachelor's level, so I was just hoping for a few opinions on the two past that.

    Thanks for your input, Wellesley.
  6. Mar 8, 2012 #5
    I would imagine that graduate level specialization in chemistry is a lot more critical than graduate level specialization in chemical engineering. One is (probably a lot) less likely to get a job in total organic synthesis versus any job in any area of chemical engineering.
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