Undergraduate Chemical Engineering at Notre Dame

The undergraduate program at Notre Dame is notable for its combination of a strong fundamental focus in chemical engineering courses with a broad humanities and science education provided in courses outside of chemical engineering. The science and humanities courses prepare students both for study of chemical engineering and to understand the complex scientific, social and moral issues of the world today. Our intention in emphasizing fundamentals is to develop students’ intellect and to equip them with enduring knowledge in chemical engineering and related fields. Thus, our undergraduate chemical engineering curriculum provides students with not only a preparation for a career as chemical engineer, but its status as the ultimate "liberal science" degree prepares them for a lifetime of learning and a lifelong career – in areas that may include Law, Medicine or Business.

Program quality

There are four major factors determine the overall effectiveness of undergraduate programs:

Quality of the faculty,

Quality of the students,

Commitment by the faculty to educating undergraduates

Overall experience outside of the classroom.

The Chemical Engineering faculty at Notre Dame are active and productive researchers, they have received major awards from such professional societies as the American Society of Engineering Education, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the American Physical Society and one is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Many have international reputations as leaders in their research fields and a number have made significant contributions to engineering education. The National Research Council ranks the quality of faculty in the top 25 in the country and in the top 20 in terms of the effectiveness of the Doctoral Program.

Engineering students at Notre Dame are the top group of an overall pool that comprises the 16th most selective University in the Country. Notre Dame undergraduates possess strong academic talent, a true dedication to learning and extracurricular interests that make our graduates extremely desirable by employers in a diverse range of industries.

Undergraduate education has always been important to Notre Dame and to the Chemical Engineering Department in particular. Our undergraduate chemical engineering program was ranked 12th in the most recent Gourman report and was termed "one of the elite programs... " by a review team of external evaluators who recently visited the department. The curriculum is under constant review and new topics, many from the research efforts of the faculty, are continually added. The courses are fundamental in nature, not aligned towards any specific area of chemical engineering practice, and thus provide a solid basis for all of the different career paths our students pursue. Special emphasis is placed on developing written and oral communication skills, within the chemical engineering curriculum, through the required written and oral reports in the laboratory and design courses. Communication and intellectual breadth are further strengthened by the University Core that requires: 2 Philosophy, 2 Theology, 1 History, 1 Social Science and 1 Fine Arts or Literature courses.

The close-knit nature of student residential life at Notre Dame exposes students to many different views and encourages discussions ranging from the major issues of the time to questions that have challenged humankind for centuries.

 

How do we measure this success?

In recent years, a larger number of companies has interviewed chemical engineers on campus for permanent employment than the number of graduates from our program. Since about 20-25% of our students attend professional or graduate schools in medicine, law, business or chemical engineering, many of the these companies do not get the number of Notre Dame Chemical Engineers that they are seeking! Further, the number of visiting companies has been increasing steadily.

In the past 9 years, 11 Notre Dame Chemical Engineers have been awarded National Science Foundation Fellowships for graduate study. During this time there have been about 400 fellowships to chemical engineers, we have graduated 365 students and there have been about 35,000 chemical engineering graduates in the US. Thus we have received 2.75% of the fellowships while graduating only 1.1% of the chemical engineers.

Every Notre Dame Chemical Engineering graduate who has completed our Pre-Med. curriculum has received acceptance into medical school. Further, for at least the last decade, all Notre Dame graduates who have desired to enter graduate study in chemical engineering have received admission and a financial support package that included full tuition and a stipend (currently about $17,500) to cover living expenses, from at least one University.

While these quantitative measures are impressive, perhaps the greatest testaments to the success of our program are revealed when our graduates visit and tell us of their promotions, patents, new companies they have started or new ventures they are directing. The enthusiasm in their voices and the look in their eyes tell us that the undergraduate program in Chemical Engineering at Notre Dame is truly special.

 

Goals for students who graduate from the Undergraduate Program in Chemical Engineering at Notre Dame

The chemical engineering faculty has established specific goals that we expect all students to attain before graduation. We use these when making decisions about curricular changes and to help us evaluate our effectiveness. These could also be useful to students comparing Universities as the differences between our program and those at other institutions are explicitly revealed.

 

University of Notre Dame

Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Program Goals

Students who have graduated in Chemical Engineering at Notre Dame have pursued, successfully, a wide range of career paths. We believe that this has resulted from the interests of students who enter our program and is facilitated by our emphasis on fundamental aspects of chemical engineering. Thus consistent with the mission of the University, the Chemical Engineering program seeks to develop students who:

1. Pursue knowledge and commensurate understanding and critically evaluate the consequences of these.

2. Communicate clearly and effectively.

3. Demonstrate proficiency in the art and science of chemical engineering with a strong understanding of the fundamental principles of pure and engineering sciences on which chemical engineering practice is based.

4. Appreciate their social and moral responsibilities both within their careers in engineering and through service in their communities.

5. Understand how chemical engineering connects with other major disciplines to produce the goods and services needed by society.