Why BYU for ChE?


Reputation

The Chemical Engineering Program at Brigham Young University provides an exceptional atmosphere of academic and spiritual education that enjoys a strong reputation. Here are a few illustrations dealing with a few of the many facets of that reputation.

BYU as a Whole

BYU ranks 7th nationally in number of undergraduates who go on for PhDs. "The rank reflects BYU's focus on mentoring undergraduates and preparing them to succeed beyond BYU" (Salt Lake Tribune)

ACT scores of all entering freshmen: 28 (among the highest in the nation and significantly higher than most universities)

BYU was ranked No. 11 in the country for schools whose graduates were the top-rated by recruiters (The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2010). In the list of "Top 25 Recruiter Picks," BYU ranked ahead of schools such as Cornell, Cal-Berkeley, UCLA and MIT.

The BYU Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Program

While chemical engineering departments are ranked occasionally, those rankings nearly always focus on the graduate program and research aspects of the department. Undergraduate programs are seldom evaluated on a comparative national basis. However, the indicators in the links below suggest that the BYU Chemical Engineering undergraduate program is very effective and highly regarded.

Uncommon Focus on Undergraduate Education

Consistent with the emphasis of Brigham Young University, the Department of Chemical Engineering is vitally concerned about the education of undergraduate students. The following environmental features reflect that concern

You will have a faculty advisor

Every student is assigned an advisor immediately upon entering the department and is required to visit with that advisor and review his/her progress toward graduation at least twice during his/her academic career. The faculty try to maintain an open-door policy to students, and you are encouraged to visit your advisor as often as you would like.

Faculty-student interaction is positive

Classes are relatively small, ranging from the largest freshman class of approximately 100 students down to the smaller specialty classes of around 10-15, thus helping to promote interaction among students and between students and faculty. Furthermore, the faculty generally learn the names of their students early in each semester, even in the freshman class of 100, and work to foster an atmosphere of friendship and brotherhood. Excellence in teaching is promoted, and student learning is enhanced by innovative methods, quality laboratories, and the participation of undergraduates in faculty research programs.

The major is challenging, but rewards are great

The chemical engineering program is very rigorous, requiring focus and effective study habits. Students are required to take classes in chemistry, calculus, physics, and chemical engineering. Those who dedicate focused study time, diligently seek to understand, and use the available resources (faculty, teaching assistants, student groups, etc.) become more effective learners and problem solvers and find great success and satisfaction in the journey. Furthermore, graduates in chemical engineering become valuable citizens and leaders in their community, enjoy satisfying and challenging careers, and are well compensated financially.

The undergraduate program, which is fully accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, is one of the finest in the United States.

BYU American Institue of Chemical Engineers is a consistent "Outstanding Chapter"

The Chemical Engineering Department at BYU has a student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), as do nearly all chemical engineering departments. The BYU chapter, run by student officers elected by their peers, sponsors activities throughout the school year, with the following goals:

Serve the Students by:

  • Holding chapter meetings with invited speakers from academia and from industrial companies
  • hosting social activities (picnics, parties, etc.)
  • hosting an annual interviewing workshop in which industrial representatives help students prepare for an employment interview

Serve the Chemical Engineering Department by:
Providing feedback to the department about student needs and other feedback.

Serve The Community by:
Organizing service projects (e.g. sub-for-Santa).

Each year, the national AIChE recognizes approximately 10% of the 157 departments around the country with the AIChE Outstanding Chapter Award. The BYU Chapter of the AIChE has received an Outstanding Chapter Award in 20 of the past 24 years.

BYU ChE Students are National Winners

Each year the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) sponsors a student paper competition. At regional AIChE meetings, students from 8 to 10 universities present papers that they have written, and the winners of those regional competitions then compete at the national AIChE meeting where a national winner is selected.

Chemical engineering students from BYU compete very strongly in these student paper contests. They almost always win first, second, or third place (often multiple BYU students win) at the regional level. Moreover, on two occasions (1993 and 2000), a chemical engineering student from BYU was the national winner of the AIChE student paper competition.

Positive Comments About BYU ChE Graduates

Celanese

Brigham Young University has placed a number of engineering graduates at Celanese, a Fortune 500 technology and specialty material company. Celanese really values BYU’s Chemical Engineering graduates. They are smart, globally agile, have technology savvy and also understand leadership fundamentals and can make an immediate impact on Celanese’s business operations. BYU is gaining a well deserved reputation for training engineers who are equipped to lead global teams in solving significant technical challenges.

  • David Weidman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Celanese Corporation

ExxonMobil Corporation

ExxonMobil recruits from only the best Universities that consistently deliver top engineering talent for our corporation. The engineers we hire are tracked throughout their careers and their long-term success with the company is one very important factor in whether their school remains on our list of recruited schools... ExxonMobil has been recruiting engineers from BYU for over 40 years uninterrupted -- and we continue to be pleased with the caliber of engineers that have emerged from the BYU program. In fact, we have expanded the scope of recruiting at BYU over the years while some other universities, even those that have managed to stay on our recruiting list, have seen a reduction in ExxonMobil's recruiting efforts... Every year all engineers that work for ExxonMobil are evaluated based on their performance and ranked in seriatim fashion without regard to what school they attended. The BYU engineers are consistently competitive in those rankings.

  • Bruce Hamaker, Recruiter and Executive, Exxon Mobil Corporation

Dow Chemical Company

I recruited Chemical Engineering students from BYU for The Dow Chemical Company for approximately 20 years... I can tell you that BYU Chemical Engineering students stack up against any other school in the country and the top chemical and oil companies in America seek after BYU students. Leading Chemical companies like Dow Chemical have strong company cultures based on hard work, professionalism, integrity, trustworthiness, leadership, tenacity, innovation, communication and teamwork. BYU students (many of whom are returned missionaries) bring an abundance of these characteristics and therefore are highly sought after. The average university alumni chemical engineers at Dow have approximately 10 percent of their members in leadership roles, but BYU chemical engineer alumni averaged almost 40% of their members in leadership roles at Dow during the last survey I completed. That means that a BYU chemical engineer may be 4 times more likely to end up in leadership roles during their career, no wonder they are so highly sought after. The BYU Chemical Engineering educational program is as good as any in the US of which I am aware... If I were starting my career over, I would not hesitate for one moment to come to BYU for a great educational program and a wonderful selection of companies to choose from to start my career.

  • Roger McCarty, Retired Executive from Dow Chemical

Graduate School

BYU offers more opportunities for meaningful undergraduate research than any place I know. I feel that I came to MIT with comparable academic skills (an understanding of the core ChemE subjects (Thermo, Transport, and Kinetics), but where I feel far ahead of others is my ability to conceive of and execute novel research.... I visited five of the top graduate schools in Chemical Engineering as I tried to make my decision for where I wanted to attend. At each school, the professors had nothing but respect and admiration for their BYU students. We are well respected in the graduate community...

  • Nigel Reuel, BYU ChE Alumnus and Graduate Student at MIT
  • Dr. Beaudoin, the professor at Purdue in charge of recruiting grad students for chemical engineering mentioned that he would love to get several BYU students in each year, and that the caliber he has seen from BYU is outstanding from both his time at Arizona State and now at Purdue with myself and now Mckay Easton.
  • Bryce Walker, BYU Alumnus and SEIGERT Fellow, School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University

Chemical Engineering Graduate Program

Even though BYU is primarily an undergraduate institution, the graduate program in Chemical Engineering is well respected. Offering both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, the Chemical Engineering Dept. has enjoyed significant success in educating its graduate students and contributing to the technical knowledge of our society.

While many of those successes are such that they aren't publicized to the general public, a few more visible events are noteworthy and are summarized as follows:

DIPPR

The Department of Chemical Engineering at BYU was selected by the Design Institute for Physical Property Data (DIPPR), an organization of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), to manage and upgrade its large database of thermophysical properties. Managed by three Chemical Engineering faculty members at BYU, the project serves chemical companies all over the world and brings in $250,000 per year. The award will continue for an indefinite period of time.

ACERC

Under the direction of key Chemical Engineering faculty at BYU, the Advanced Combustion Engineering Research Center (ACERC) was founded in 1985 by the National Science Foundation (only 5 Engineering Research Centers were funded out of over 100 applications from major universities). ACERC has brought in nearly 30 million dollars to BYU over the past 13 years.