Chemical engineers are universal engineers, creatively and innovatively solving global energy, water and environmental issues while transforming raw materials into products that society depends on. 

Fusing the physical and chemical sciences with mathematics, process engineering, design and economics, a degree in Chemical Engineering opens doors to diverse opportunities, like clean-energy generation, nanotechnology and new material generation. 

At UBC, you’ll learn how to design, build and operate the manufacturing and industrial processes used to create the products and services essential to everyday life—from energy, food and fertilizers to pharmaceuticals, plastics and paper. Our emphasis is on instruction from world-class researchers, hands-on experience in learning labs, industrial site visits, and interaction with practicing engineers and industry partners. We foster a learning environment of inclusiveness, teamwork and creative thinking. 

Play a role in research; engineer safer, greener product formulations and processes; and help discover and develop new ways to minimize society’s environmental footprint, while maximizing value in the real world.

Vancouver Campus

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Learn more about Chemical Engineering

Why Study This Program

Chemical Engineering graduates are able to work in a variety of different fields. Common areas of focus they can pursue include: process control, chemical and electrochemical process in resource focus fields (such as oil & gas, mining, pulp & paper), carbon dioxide capture and storage, clean energy, renewable energy, food processing, sustainability, pollution prevention and reduction in industrial processes. 

The Chemical and Biological Engineering building houses extensive custom research labs. The Clean Energy Research Centre is also a part of the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department.  

The department collaborates with research in many multidisciplinary Research Centres at UBC including:

Courses & Specializations

Students will first complete a foundational first year of engineering  and then take specialized courses beginning in second year, once they are placed into their engineering discipline. Here is a sample of the courses Chemical Engineering students take in each year of study: 

Year 2 
CHBE 201Integrated Technical Communication
CHBE 241Material and Energy Balances
CHBE 264Chemical and Biological Engineering Laboratory
MATH 256Differential Equations


Year 3 
CHBE 376Computer Flowsheeting
CHBE 366Chemical Engineering Laboratory
APSC 278Engineering Materials
CHBE 356Process Dynamics and Control


Year 4 
CHBE 454Chemical Process and Product Design
CHBE 474Process Control Engineering
CHBE 459Chemical and Biological Engineering Economics
CHBE 456Heterogenous Catalysis and Advanced Reactor Design


For a more in-depth look at the curriculum, please consult the Academic Calendar and course descriptions. 


With a mean base salary of $110,790 (source) and an expected employment growth rate of 1.3% over the next 5 years (source), graduates of Chemical Engineering are well equipped to pursue careers in manufacturing and processing industries, consulting firms, government, and research and educational institutions (source). Common career titles (source) for Chemical Engineering graduates include: chemical engineer, chemical process engineer, chemical project engineer, adhesives engineer, design and development chemical engineer, electrochemical engineer, environmental chemical engineer, explosives engineer, fuels engineer, industrial hygiene engineer, petrochemical engineer, pipeline transport engineer, plastics engineer, polymer engineer, pulp and paper engineer, refinery engineer, waste treatment engineer and more. 


Both current students and graduates are able to work for a wide range of employers. Some of the biggest employers of UBC Chemical Engineering students over the past several years include Shell Canada LTD, Canfor Corporation, FortisBC, and Syncrude. 



Design Teams & Clubs

Design Teams

There are over 30 Engineering Design Teams at UBC. Joining an engineering design team is an excellent opportunity for students from all disciplines to collaborate on a wide variety of design projects and gain relevant teamwork, leadership, and technical skills transferrable to future careers. Design teams related to Chemical and Biological Engineering include:

UBC's Engineering Design Teams


There are many ways engineering students can get involved, including joining clubs relevant to their discipline. Clubs relevant to Chemical and Biological Engineering include: 


  • Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering:  
    • The resources available to the department and UBC allows our student researchers to develop a systems-level understanding of the complex interplay between the genome, proteome and metabolome, and to investigate biological processes at unprecedented rates and scales. Many of our current researchers’ focus include bioenergy, biomanufacturing, pharmaceutical synthesis, environmental remediation, biomedical engineering, tissue engineering and synthetic biology. 
  • Environmental Engineering:
    • Department researchers are working on innovative ways to re-mediate polluted sites, to reduce and prevent pollution, to develop cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, and to treat water. Some areas of focus includes: Bio-remediation of contaminated industrial sites, carbon dioxide mitigation, capture and storage, clean and sustainable energy(bio-fuels, biomass processing and pre-processing, fuel cells and hydrogen production, gasification and syn-gas conversion, microbial technology for bio-methane and bio-hydrogen generation), air pollution control, water pollution control, solid waste management for resource recovery, water treatment technologies to provide clean drinking water.
  • Chemical Process Engineering:
    • With applications to everyday products and processes relevant to industry, researchers work to manufacture products that are safe, economically viable and have minimum impact on the local and global environment. Some areas of focus include: catalytic and thermal processes for the extraction, upgrade and processing of fossil fuels energy, process control and optimization, carbon dioxide capture, storage and utilization, multiphase and particulate processes, rheology and polymer processing, clathrate or gas hydrates and flow assurance in hydrocarbon processing and production facilities
  • Energy and Materials: 
    • Energy supply and security are important considerations to work towards a more sustainable future. Current research involves the reduction of greenhouse gases and urban pollution, with areas of focus including the use of renewables (biomass and solar), cleaner methods of using non-renewable energy, energy conversion using fuel cells and combustion processes, energy storage with fuels such as hydrogen and methane, treatment of energy related emissions (carbon dioxide capture and removal), waste water treatment, energy materials designed and fabricated from the nanoscale to the macroscopic scale (heterogeneous catalysis).
  • Engineering Education: 
    • Our team of world-class educators are leaders in the development of modern engineering education programs and novel instructional resources that provide students with versatile and powerful skillsets that allow them to tackle humanity’s greatest challenges, train them to join cutting-edge industries, and make a difference in the world around us. Expertise in the science of teaching and learning is leveraged to create world-leading, engaging, and effective learning experience for our students, and give them the tools to succeed wherever their careers take them.

Minors and Dual Degrees

Engineering students are able to complement their studies with 5 Minors or a Dual Degree  with Arts. Students interested in a minor can apply to their chosen option in their third year of study. A minor or dual degree will likely extend your degree past 5 years. 


Participation in the Science Co-op Education program gives students the opportunity to gain up to 16 months of paid relevant work experience during their degree. This experience provides an excellent opportunity for students to explore different industries, apply their studies to the working world, and create connections with future employers. Participation is optional and students apply to join Co-op in their second year of study. 

International Experiences

Students can embark on an unforgettable experience abroad while earning credits towards their engineering studies. Opportunities include the Coordinated International Experience (CIE) exchange program, the Go Global exchange program, and the Global Engineering Leadership courses. The CIE program is customized for Applied Science students and features 18 international partner institutions across 3 regions. All of the international experiences allow students to build an international network of peers, professors, and potential employers. 

Student Experience

An engineering student at the Design and Innovation day exhibit

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