Online Master’s in Chemical Engineering

By Derick de Souza

Updated March 15, 2024

Derick de Souza

Derick is a business and education consultant working on various projects and scopes. With about 25 years of experience in different settings, he loves to tell others about “how not to be a failure” rather than “how to be successful.” Derick writes and edits articles on online learning, business, employment, and skill development, among others. His hobbies include photography, web design and development, and traveling.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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Chemical Engineering is a broad discipline that employs techniques and tools from physics, math, biology, chemistry, and other basic science areas. An online chemical engineering master’s is designed to provide unique opportunities for those who seek employment in this industry and want to prepare for further doctoral education. The program is available in thesis and non-thesis options and takes 30 to 45 credit hours. It helps enhance knowledge and skill sets in fundamental and specific chemical engineering areas. The job outlook between 2021 and 2031 for chemical engineers is 14%, much faster than the average for other professions[1].

Online Master’s in Chemical Engineering

Find the Best Online Chemical Engineering
Master’s Programs

Finding the best programs among all the chemical engineering master’s degrees provided by different schools in the U.S. can be challenging. One must evaluate various factors like the quality of the faculty, research and laboratory facilities, courses and specializations, student resources, and more. A well-rounded college education can improve one’s academic and personal growth. FBD teams have evaluated colleges from all over the U.S. and, using our unique ranking methodology, we prepared a list of colleges that offer the best online chemical engineering master’s degrees:*

Univ Address Tuition Grad Rate
Lehigh University 27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015 $27,000 87%

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to Expect from an Online Master’s Degree
in Chemical Engineering

An online master’s in chemical engineering is a comprehensive interdisciplinary degree designed for those interested in processes to design and create, product development, and maintaining chemical plants. The program can be fully completed online, with no residency requirements. It would require an average of 30 credit hours with the non-thesis option and more than 32 with the thesis option. The curriculum for the program includes courses like Multivariate Calculus, Heat and Mass Transport, Principles of Chemical Engineering, Engineering Thermodynamics, and more. Students must take elective classes like bioseparations, polymer science and technology, and processing materials for solid-state devices. Those who graduate with a master’s degree in chemical engineering can find careers in energy, agriculture, biotechnology, microelectronics, manufacturing, etc.

Curriculum and

This program’s curriculum is geared toward preparing graduates for academic and professional advancement. Chemical engineers are often required to work with various dangerous and volatile materials as part of their job; therefore, through coursework, one will be taught ideas from the chemical engineering principles, optimization of systems and operation, management and leadership, applied mathematics, energy, and more.

Most chemical engineering master’s programs have similar curricula, as they follow guidelines established by their accreditation agencies, which is generally ABET. Students will typically find advanced courses in chemistry or related disciplines in science, like biology and physics. The coursework includes design processes, engineering management, engineering methods, and much more. In some instances, students are required to write a thesis; however, some non-thesis options are also available.

The curriculum of a chemistry engineering master differs from school to school; however, some standard core courses are often common, including:

Chemical Reaction Engineering

This course involves dealing with reactions that occur in chemical reactors. It also entails researching the rates and mechanisms of chemical reactions, as well as designing the reactors in which they would occur. Students also learn about different chemical equations that are used to symbolically present end products, starting materials, and other intermediate products.


In this course, students study work temperature and heat, which are related to entropy, energy, and other physical properties. They also learn about energy transfer from one form to another or from one place to another. They get an overview of the laws of thermodynamics, along with topics like kinetic theory, ideal gas law, specific heat and heat transfer, and more.

Transport Processes

In this course, students learn about transport phenomena concerned with the exchange of energy, charge, momentum, mass, and angular momentum between studied or observed systems. They also study topics like heat and mass transfer principles, radiative heat transfer, transient and steady diffusion, and conduction.

Advanced Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics

This course teaches the nuances of thermodynamics with an emphasis on application to systems of chemicals. Students learn how to formulate and solve various challenges in engineering that include phase or reaction equilibrium and energy flow.

Mathematics Methods in Chemical Engineering

This course studies process dynamics, design and control, chemical reaction processes, and thermodynamics. It helps students understand how to develop chemical processes and products, gather data, monitor quality, and test processing instruments and equipment.

Some of the other common courses master’s in chemical engineering students can expect are:

  • Air Pollution Controls
  • Design of Engineering Experiments
  • Combustion Theory and Modeling
  • Explosives: Theory and Modeling
  • Advanced Transport Phenomena
  • Control Design Techniques
  • Energy Materials, Fuel Cells, and Solar Cells
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Thermodynamics
  • Chemical Kinetics

The guide to master’s programs provides a comprehensive understanding of a master’s degree.

Learning Outcomes and
Skills Gained

Students of the master of science in chemical engineering program take many basic and advanced courses in key areas like thermodynamics, applied mathematics, kinetics, reaction engineering, and more. It is one of the rare engineering disciplines that extensively studies chemical reactions and transformations along with physical transformations like machining and molding that add value to one’s understanding of chemical engineering. The skills learned from this program can be used to carve out careers in industries dealing with materials, energy, pharmaceutical products, microelectronics, food, etc.

A student gains several skills from the chemical engineering master’s degree, including the ability to:

  • evaluate, convey, and create a hypothesis that will reverberate with both technical and non-technical audiences;
  • demonstrate advanced problem-solving skills needed to become a proficient engineer and troubleshoot complex challenges;
  • demonstrate advanced research skills through experimentation and real-world practical applications;
  • gain broad knowledge in chemical engineering that can be applied to processes, materials, and applications;
  • enhance skill sets and knowledge in fundamental and core subject areas in specific chemical engineering;
  • participate in real-work projects that can be directed through collaboration with other professionals in chemical engineering or related fields;
  • demonstrate innovative research skills and come up with solutions to the challenges in the field of chemical engineering; and
  • advance research in domains like production processes, environmental impacts, material reactions, fuels, sustainable energy technologies, and more.

Types of Master’s Degrees
Students Can Obtain

Online chemical engineering master’s programs are interdisciplinary, helping in both product development and processes that are needed to operate, maintain, and design chemical plants. There are two types of programs in chemical engineering – the Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering and the Master of Science in Chemical Engineering.

Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering

The Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering or M.Eng. Chemical Engineering helps students further their existing engineering skills through process development and technical management analysis. The degree provides a comprehensive understanding of modern chemical engineering and innovative research efforts in core areas like transport phenomena, reaction engineering, etc. It suits those who want to take up technical roles in chemical engineering and related fields.

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering

A Master of Science in Chemical Engineering or MS Chemical Engineering online focuses on theory and research. It helps students prepare for a career in the field of engineering or related fields. The degree adds to one’s specialist knowledge and can be the foundation for doctoral studies, especially if one wants to be an engineering professor or researcher.

Areas of Specialization for
Chemical Engineering Students

Specializations dive deeper into a specific area with a subject. Specializing provides students with the opportunity to study sub-fields and become employable in niche industries. Some concentrations students in chemical engineering master’s programs online could consider include:

Area of SpecializationDescriptionCareer Options
Materials SynthesisThis specialization introduces graduates to historical examples of synthetic discoveries and prospects. Students review kinetics in synthesis and thermodynamics principles and learn how to design materials that target crucial properties by processes that form and break chemical bonds.Technical sales engineer, quality manager, materials engineer, product development scientist, research scientist in physical sciences
BioengineeringThis specialization involves understanding biological processes to enhance or create existing products for consumer usage and finding solutions to multidisciplinary challenges. One also learns about sustainable and innovative solutions to global challenges faced by the industry. Work as chemical and biomolecular engineers in specialty and bulk chemicals, electronics, petroleum refining, polymer manufacturing, biotechnology, personal care products, cosmetics, petroleum refining
Data and Computational ScienceThis concentration provides an understanding of data science computational modeling methods and tools relevant to modern chemical engineering practices. These tools include statistical data analysis, experimental design, predictive modeling, and more.Various roles as a chemical engineer in artificial intelligence, data analysis, computational fluid dynamics, atomistic simulations
Electrochemical EnergyThis specialization focuses on the fundamental and technological problems associated with fuel cells and batteries. Students study various electrochemical processes, which continue to rise in significance as sustainable routes to renewable energy for producing fuels, materials, and chemicals.Process engineer, senior electrochemical engineer, electrochemical operating engineer, energy management engineer

Full-Time and
Part-Time Programs

As with most master’s degrees, the time required to obtain a master’s in chemical engineering would depend on how dense the coursework is. On average, it takes about two years to finish a master’s degree when completed full-time. A part-time degree in chemical engineering would take three to four years. Here is a quick summary of the timeline to complete the chemical engineering master’s online:

  • Full-time master’s in chemical engineering: approximately two years
  • Part-time master’s in chemical engineering: about three to four years

Accelerated Chemical
Engineering Programs

An accelerated master’s degree in chemical engineering helps students graduate in less time than required through a regular program. This can often be done by fast-tracking their degrees and transferring their credits. Students must complete more courses in less time and usually forgo holidays and breaks. Some universities that offer an accelerated online master’s chemical engineering program include The University of Arizona, the University of Houston, and Case Western Reserve University.

Requirements for Getting into an Online
Chemical Engineering Master’s Program

To enter a master’s in chemical engineering, most colleges generally require an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering or related fields. It is worth noting that ABET-accredited master’s programs typically require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree that is also ABET-accredited. Some of the standard admission requirements for online chemical engineering master’s programs are:

  • Application form and requisite fee
  • Undergraduate degree that is ABET-accredited
  • Admissions Essay that describes professional and educational aspirations
  • Test scores from Graduate Record Examination or GRE (waived off by some schools)
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose
  • Graduate Resume highlighting any experience in engineering or related fields
  • At least two Letters of Recommendation.

No GRE Online Chemical Engineering
Master’s Programs

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test that is a necessary admissions requirement for many master’s schools in the United States. Increasingly, many colleges have waived the requirement for GRE completely. Due to the recent pandemic, some schools have made the GRE requirement optional. Lehigh University and Purdue University are examples of universities offering online chemical engineering master’s no gre programs.

How to Ensure an Online Chemical Engineering
Master’s Program Is Accredited

Accreditation acquired by institutions ensures that their program(s) meets the quality standards expected by the industry. Accreditation requires periodic evaluations and demonstrates the school’s commitment to providing quality programs. For online chemical engineering degree master’s, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology or ABET is the specific accrediting body. In addition, most universities are regionally accredited by one of six accrediting agencies, which are:

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a nationally recognized body that helps students check the accreditation status of a university. Similarly, the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs is regulated by the U.S. Department of Education and provides details on an institution’s accreditation. The  American Institute of Chemical Engineers has a list of accredited chemical engineering programs.

Read the guide to college accreditation to know more about accreditation and its importance. 

Where to Find Free Online Courses for
Chemical Engineering Students

Free courses can provide additional insights into several aspects of chemical engineering. Although not accredited and usually not recognized by schools and employers, they are often useful in acquiring additional knowledge. Some free chemical engineering courses are:

CourseDescriptionProvided by
Chemical Engineering ThermodynamicsThis course covers the basic principles of classical thermodynamics and its application to transient closed and open systems, criteria of equilibria and stability, as well as mixtures that emphasize molecular-level effect using statistical mechanics.MIT OpenCourseWare
Advanced ChemistryThis course teaches advanced topics related to those prescribed by the American Chemical Society. Learners will study chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, acid-base equilibria, etc. Coursera
Introduction to Solid State ChemistryIn this course, one learns about chemical principles by examining materials with different examples, from energy storage and generation to emerging technologies. It helps in developing one’s chemical intuition and understanding of chemical principles.edX

Ways to Pay for an Online
Chemical Engineering Master’s

The cost of an online master’s in chemical engineering program is often why many do not pursue the degree. For prospective students, funding their master’s studies through external sources is possible, through several funding options, including:


Scholarships are monetary awards given to academically gifted students. They may also be given to those who excel in music, sports, or other areas. Scholarships are popular because they are relatively easy to obtain to obtain and do not require repayment.


Grants are monetary awards given to students who demonstrate financial needs or for specific projects/purposes. Grant money can be used for tuition or for other educational expenses.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate students can opt to assist professors in academic work as graduate assistants or assist with research as research assistants. In both cases, they are paid a stipend or given a fee rebate in exchange for their work.

Student Loans

Those who may not be eligible for federal aid can approach banks and financial institutions to apply for educational loans. Loans are expensive because of interest and have to be repaid. Defaulting on loans can lead to mounting debt.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is an application form students can fill in to determine if they are eligible for federal financial aid and qualify for other forms of funding. To know more about FAFSA, read the FAFSA guide.

Scholarships for Chemical Engineering
Master’s Students

Scholarships are given to deserving applicants enrolled in chemical engineering master’s degrees. They help students in reducing their financial burden considerably. Examples of chemical engineering master’s degree scholarships are:

Scholarship Description Amount/AwardApplication Deadline
NASF Foundation ScholarshipsNASF gives out scholarships to those majoring in chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, and metallurgy. To be eligible, the applicant must have maintained a GPA of 3.3.$1,500March 15, 2024
AAUW Return to Learning ScholarshipsStudents who show good academic merit, strong interest in science and related disciplines, and financial need are considered for this scholarship. It is typically provided to female applicants with degrees in STEM or related fields.$5,000April 01, 2024
ASNT Fellowship AwardThis award is provided to applicants from ABET-accredited colleges to fund graduate-level research. One need not be a member of ASNT to apply for this scholarship. Applicants should be involved in high-quality research activities in science and technology. $20,000October 31, 2024

Career Opportunities and
Salaries After Graduating

The online master’s in chemical engineering is designed to educate students to become top-notch professionals in chemical engineering and related fields. Graduate-level education can help students gain knowledge and expertise that prepare them for various engineering disciplines. Some of the potential career options for graduates from this degree include:

  • Health and Safety Engineer
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer-Research And Development
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Chemical Engineers-Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing
  • Chemist and Materials Scientist

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected most of chemical engineering-related professions to grow exponentially at 14% from 2021 to 2031[1]. Here are examples of some careers chemical engineers take up, listed with their median annual salary and job growth:

Occupation Job DescriptionSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2031)
Chemical Engineers[1]Chemical engineers design and develop chemical manufacturing processes. They devise strategies for separating components of gases and liquids and generating electric currents using controlled chemical processes.Analytical skills, interpersonal skills, math skills, problem-solving skills, creativity skills, ingenuity$105,55014% (much faster than average)
Chemists and Materials Scientists[2]Chemists and material scientists prepare compounds, reagents, and solutions used for laboratory procedures. Their duties also include writing technical reports and detailed findings and methods, along with presenting research findings to engineers, scientists, and other colleagues.Analytical skills, problem-solving skills, organizational skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, time management skills$79,7606% (as fast as average)
Manufacturing and Industrial Engineers[3]Manufacturing and industrial engineers develop management controls systems to make cost analysis and financial planning efficient. They enact quality control procedures to resolve production problems and minimize costs, which will help them optimize the usage of robots, computer networks, and materials.Creativity, critical thinking skills, listening skills, problem-solving skills, speaking skills, writing skills, math skills$95,30010% (faster than average)
Architectural and Engineering Managers[4]Architectural and engineering managers lead research and development projects for production processes, designs, and products. They are entrusted with checking the technical accuracy of staff’s work and coordinating work with staff and managers.Analytical skills, communication skills, math skills, organizational skills, detail-oriented$152,3502% (slower than average)
Natural Science Managers[5]Natural science managers work with top executives to develop strategies and goals for developers and researchers. They also plan budget resources for programs and projects by determining training, equipment, and staffing needs.Communication skills, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, problem-solving skills, time-management skills, critical-thinking skills$137,9006% (as fast as average)
Health and Safety Engineers[6]Health and safety engineers design systems and develop safety procedures to protect people from injury and illness or property damage. They maintain and apply the knowledge they have of all current safety and health policies, industrial processes, and regulations.Communication skills, observational skills, problem-solving skills, creativity$99,0404% (as fast as average)

Certifications and Licensing for Students
in Chemical Engineering

Professional certifications can help one earn competency in a particular skill and ability. They ensure employers and the public that the candidate has the necessary education, training, and preparation to carry out duties professionally and safely. Some certifications that graduates of online master’s in chemical engineering can pursue include:

Safety and Chemical Engineering Education (SAChE) Certificate Program

This certification provides candidates with a technical foundation and examines various safety regulations that one can apply to real-world situations. It helps them understand the problems faced by specific industries and how they can provide solutions for those problems.

Professional Engineering Licensure

The Professional Engineers Licensing Certification demonstrates a candidate’s minimum competency in engineering. It meets criteria such as passing the state’s exam and acquiring relevant education and experience.

Reliability Engineer Certification

The Certified Reliability Engineer is a professional who knows about applied technologies, including design control and review, estimation, prediction, and failure mode effects and analysis. They can also understand human factors in reliability and develop and administer reliability systems to analyze failure.

Sigma Green Belt

This certification proves that a candidate is well versed in fundamental advanced elements of Lean Six Sigma Methodology and can lead projects for improvement. It helps candidates establish themselves as leaders of complex improvement projects.

To get a professional engineer license, one must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited institution, take the fundamentals of engineering exam, and meet other listed requirements. The Principles and Practice of Engineering is a specific credentialing exam that chemical engineers use to obtain licensure. Although some careers do not require licensure, having licensure can potentially increase one’s job prospects and pay.

Additional Resources for Master’s Students
in Chemical Engineering

To stay updated with the latest in chemical engineering and network with professionals and engineers from around the world, it is always advisable to use the many resources available to chemical engineers. After completing their chemical engineering master’s online programs, graduates can access these resources by joining various professional organizations, such as:

American Institute of Chemical EngineeringThis organization provides resources that help its members be apprised of new developments in the field of chemical engineering through their eLibrary, electronic newsletters, publications, and more. Members can submit technical papers, search for jobs by posting their résumés, and access content for professional development.
ABET or Accreditation Board for Engineering and TechnologyABET is a globally recognized U.S. accreditor for colleges providing natural and applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology programs. They provide leadership globally through their seminars, workshops, and memoranda of mutual recognition.
Association of Energy EngineersThis organization helps members network and connect with industry experts who can professionally and personally guide them. It also helps members gain continuing education credits to help them renew their certifications and improve their credibility with employers.
National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical EngineersThis organization focuses on building diverse global leaders in STEM fields from minority communities. They partner with many businesses, universities, municipalities, and districts to provide local, national, regional, and global support.
American Chemical SocietyThis organization empowers its members by providing educational and career services to help them grow professionally. They support the learning of students of all ages through scholarships and grants and provide investments in research and innovation of STEM disciplines.

FAQs About Online Chemical Engineering
Master’s Programs

Why should you do an online chemical engineering master’s degree?

Studying an online master’s in chemical engineering can benefit those who want to complete a degree while managing other personal or professional responsibilities. Those opting for an online program will benefit from its flexibility; the tuition is also usually lower than that of traditional programs.

Is a master’s in chemical engineering worth it?

What is the duration of a chemical engineering master’s?

Is taking up a thesis necessary in chemical engineering?

Is it necessary to have a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering to pursue a master’s?

How much does a master’s degree in chemical engineering cost?

Author Bio:

Derick de Souza

Derick is a business and education consultant working on various projects and scopes. With about 25 years of experience in different settings, he loves to tell others about “how not to be a failure” rather than “how to be successful.” Derick writes and edits articles on online learning, business, employment, and skill development, among others. His hobbies include photography, web design and development, and traveling.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.