What Are the Required Math Courses for Chemical Engineering Majors?

If you are considering a major in chemical engineering, you will have to take advanced math courses in addition to the required courses in chemistry and physics. Read on to learn about these courses, and others needed to earn a degree in this field. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Math Courses in Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering is a challenging major. In addition to the core courses in chemistry and physics, students are required to complete many advanced math courses. According to the College Board website, students who are enrolled in a chemical engineering program must enjoy solving math problems and be able to collaborate with others while working on a project. Below, you will find a short list of math courses that are required for the completion of a chemical engineering degree program.

Important Facts About the Required Courses for Chemical Engineering Majors

Common Courses Algebra, trigonometry
Programs Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (MIT)
Degree Levels Undergraduate and graduate
Continuing Education Initial Fundamentals of Engineering exam; some states mandate ongoing licensure requirements
Median Salary (2018) $104,910
Job Growth (2016-2026) 8%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Introductory calculus is generally taught in three sections over a period of a year-and-a-half. Students enrolled in the first-level calculus class will almost always work with one variable. Some of the areas covered in a single-variable calculus course include:

  • Polynomials
  • Derivatives
  • Logarithmic functions
  • Limits
  • Integration
  • Qualities of the real number system

Multivariable Calculus

Unlike introductory calculus, which exclusively focuses on a single variable, multivariable calculus focuses on solving problems in calculus that have more than one variable. Some of the topics that a chemical engineering student may encounter in this math course include the following:

  • Differentiation involving several variables
  • Vector-valued functions
  • Multiple integration
  • Line integrals
  • Vector analysis and surface integrals

Differential Equations

The subject of differential equations is often thought of as a language that expresses the laws of nature. Chemical engineering students enrolled in a differential equations course will cover:

  • Linear systems of differential equations
  • Fourier series applications
  • Stability
  • Bifurcations
  • Numerical methods
  • Nonlinear systems

Linear Algebra

Linear algebra and the closely related analytic geometry are used extensively in natural sciences like chemistry. Students enrolled in a linear algebra course learn about solutions to linear equations, linear independence, determinants, eigenvalues, subspaces and matrices as well as vectors.

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