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Engineering Level of statistics required in Process Chemistry and ChemE

  1. Jul 30, 2016 #1
    Question: So I hold a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and have just started a M.S./Ph.D. track in Chemical Engineering. My dream job is in mineral processing (the biggest dream is with an asteroid mining company), but I understand that the school I'm going to is heavily focused on drug discovery and biological research, which I enjoy as well, for the most part. The point is, I could end up anywhere, it seems. (Though I suppose part of the beauty of ChemE is that your job opportunities are extremely wide to begin with)

    That being said, most of the electives that are offered in the ChemE department don't jazz me all that much, just because of their focus. The department does, however, allow students to take courses from other departments to fulfill the elective credits. I hope to take a couple chemistry and a fluid dynamics course.

    Here is my question though: I see multiple 600 and 700 level courses offered in the Statistics department that cover two semester sequences in DOE, Regression and Multivariate Analysis, and Statistical Quality Control. For all of the Engineers and Chemists working in industry right now, would it be worth looking into taking one or two of these statistics courses, especially the DOE classes? Also, does anyone know if those courses are typically far too theoretical when offered by a statistics department rather than the engineering department?

    Obviously I will meet with an advisor and the professors of the various courses to discuss which courses to take, and they can give a more definite answer since they know the specific program and courses, but I wanted to hear what some engineers who work in industry today think of the usefulness of coming into industry as a ChemE Ph.D. with that very high level statistical knowledge which other engineers don't seem to have coming out of school, vs. having instead taken classes like "Stem Cell Engineering" and "Metabolic Engineering," which seem far too narrow (though obviously you can generalize the knowledge gained in them and apply to other systems) and aren't that interesting to me.

    Thanks in advance for your advice!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2016 #2
    Classes like the ones you have described are very useful if you want to work in industry. In my experience, you really want the courses taught at the graduate level in the stats department, as they tend to be better. Counterexamples may exist, but that is my experience. That kind of thing is differentiating in the job market, because you often need to go out of your way to get useful and up-to-date analysis and SQC training.
  4. Aug 1, 2016 #3
    Ok that's really good to know going forward that I should definitely try to get those classes. Given that I won't be able to take all of the applicable ones, which would you say of DOE, Regression, or SQC is the most sought after in industry in new applicants? It seems that knowledge of regression analysis of some form is pretty ubiquitous across the spectrum of students. DOE I know a lot of people in my research group have had to seek outside help in for their research since they don't get taught it in class. And SQC is pretty new to me, being a chemist (so far) by training.

  5. Aug 1, 2016 #4
    That is a little harder to answer. I might hazard a guess that DOE and SQC are more useful, but it does depend a bit on what you end up doing. DOE has the thing I've used the most, but that is related to the field I am in.
  6. Aug 2, 2016 #5
    Certainly. I assumed that all would be necessary, and it would vary by the job. Having only been a chemist until now, and having only used statistics so far in my single analytical chemistry class in any real capacity, any starting point is good, even if the answer is usually more of a case by case basis. Thanks so much for the insight.
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