Chemical Engineering

Mission Statement

The Cooper Union’s Department of Chemical Engineering is committed to the development of chemical engineers and technically-minded professionals. The department will teach students science and engineering fundamentals and guide the application of this knowledge to the ethical, professional practice of chemical engineering. This will be undertaken in a supportive environment that encourages lifelong learning and is responsive to new technologies and research.

Program Educational Objectives

  • Our graduates will attain careers where they apply their abilities to solve problems and meet current challenges in engineering and non-engineering fields
  • Our graduates will transition easily into their careers and/or graduate studies by using their technical knowledge and non-technical skills
  • Our graduates will continue to grow in their careers by participating in professional and personal development activities

Student Outcomes

  • An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  • An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  • An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  • An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  • An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  • An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  • An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Program Description

The education of the chemical engineer requires a strong foundation in chemistry and physics, which must be applied through the medium of mathematics to the solution of design, modeling, scale-up and control problems. A thorough knowledge is required of chemical structures, together with the energetic and kinetic relationships predicted in chemical reactions and molecular transport. The chemical engineer deals with the application of these principles to processes carried out on a variety of scales from micro-reactors to an industrial scale, in which matter undergoes changes in physical state, chemical composition or energy content. Emphasis is placed on developing creative ability; facts and theories are presented primarily to stimulate further thought and study in all fields of chemical engineering. 
Formal instruction is supplemented by visits to several plants and companies where the contribution of engineers can be observed and understood with respect to equipment, utilities, safety, costs, environmental impact, labor and supervision. The students get first-hand experience in the chemical engineering laboratory in applying engineering analysis to equipment performance, and in learning limitations of theoretical concepts. In the senior year, the student learns how to design chemical plants from fundamental data on new processes and to recognize areas of limited knowledge from the results of the design, and thus recommend pilot plant studies, if necessary.

Chemical engineering graduates find employment in a wide variety of areas. In addition to the chemical and petroleum industries, chemical engineers are involved heavily in the biomedical, materials and environmental fields. A chemical engineering education can also be easily applied to other interdisciplinary areas such as biochemical and biomedical engineering, energy resources, environmental engineering and materials science. As a result, chemical engineers are also finding employment in non-industrial institutions such as government, research think tanks, policy study groups and even publishing companies.

Program Accreditation

The Chemical Engineering Program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,, under the commission’s General Criteria and Program Criteria for the Chemical, Biochemical, Biomolecular and Similarly Named Engineering Programs.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.