What Is the Curriculum of a Distance Ed Chemical Engineering Graduate Degree?

The core courses for a distance education graduate degree in chemical engineering are the same as core requirements for on-campus degrees. They cover, among other things, mathematical methods in chemical engineering, thermodynamics, transport phenomena, chemical reaction engineering and systems engineering. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Chemical Engineering Graduate Degree Curriculum

A master's degree program in chemical engineering can help graduates stand out in the job market or help current chemical engineers advance in their careers. Distance learning programs are sometimes available for working professionals who need flexible courses to fit into their schedules. The courses in these online programs are similar to those in on-campus programs, focusing on advanced topics in chemical engineering, thermodynamics and more. Some of these courses are described more fully below.

Important Facts About This Area of Study

Prerequisites Undergraduate degree, preferably in engineering; experience in the field
Online Availability Some programs have blended coursework, while others are fully available online
Continuing Education Required to maintain Professional Engineer license in some states (for chemical engineers who choose to become licensed)
Similar Occupations Chemist and materials scientist, biomedical engineer, nuclear engineer, chemical technician

Mathematical Methods in Chemical Engineering

A course in mathematical methods in chemical engineering teaches students to solve problems involved in heat and mass transfer, chemical reaction engineering, fluid mechanics and molecular simulation. The course also teaches advanced mathematical topics in a chemical engineering context. Such math concepts include methods to solve linear and nonlinear equations and ordinary and partial differential equations.


A graduate-level thermodynamics course relates thermodynamics to chemical engineering applications. Such a course covers classical thermodynamics in the context of chemical reactions and processes. Students study transient open and closed systems, phase and chemical equilibria of multicomponent systems and properties of pure materials and mixtures, with an emphasis on molecular-level effects.

Transport Phenomena

Transport phenomena covers mass transfer, heat transfer and fluid mechanics. The course emphasizes the physical principles involved in formulating models and their analysis using mathematical and numerical methods. Students also study diffusion and conduction, laminar and turbulent flows and heat and mass transfers that involve convection, chemical reactions or phase changes.

Chemical Reaction Engineering

The basics of chemical reaction engineering involve chemical kinetics for gas, liquid and surface reactions and transport phenomena. Such courses focus on specific areas of chemical engineering, such as catalysis, polymerization, biochemical systems, combustion and material processing. Students may also study quantum chemistry, transition state theory involving surface adsorption, diffusion and desorption. The course also covers the mechanisms and kinetics of biological processes and sensitivity analysis. More specific topics related to chemical reactions include non-ideal flow reactors, residence time distribution and dispersion models, nonlinear reactor phenomena and multiphase reaction systems.

Systems Engineering

Systems engineering involves some of the most complex problems in chemical engineering, often including complicated, large-scale systems. The course generally covers product and process development and design, analysis of process operations and experimental and theoretical analysis of physico-chemical processes.

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