The best chemical engineering schools in the U.S. – ranked by value

Chemical engineers produce and transform various useful materials – ranging from cosmetics to fuel. Besides chemistry and engineering, most chemical engineering bachelor’s programs place a heavy emphasis on math, physics, and materials science.

To help you make a financially savvy college decision, we list the best chemical engineering schools in the U.S. by value for money. Get your bachelor’s in chemical engineering from a respected university without drowning in debt! 

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Is chemical engineering a good major?

Economically speaking, chemical engineering is one of the best majors you can get. According to our economic score metric, which measures the value for money of college degrees, chemical engineering is in the top 20% of all college majors at the bachelor’s level. 

4 years after graduating, people with a bachelor’s in chemical engineering earn 70% more money than the average person with a bachelor’s degree. 

Furthermore, according to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, chemical engineering majors have particularly low rates of unemployment (only 2%) and underemployment (17.8%)

Underemployment is when you have a job, but not one you need your degree for. 

Use our major comparison tool below to compare chemical engineering to other majors – like mechanical engineering, chemistry, or computer engineering. 

    Click on a degree card to reveal more information.
    Very Good Value
    Chemical Engineering
    AVERAGE SALARY $87,075
    COST $19,683

    Top 20% of all degrees by ROI

    EARNINGS PLUS

    EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

    $29,535
    PAYBACK

    Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

    2
    ECONOMIC SCORE

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    1.32
    add-plus
    add-plus

    How we ranked chemical engineering programs

    We ranked all accredited chemical engineering bachelor’s programs in the U.S. that are registered with the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS tool (CIP code 14.07).

    We evaluated 155 bachelor’s programs and ranked them by value for money, as reflected by our economic score metric. The lower the economic score, the better. 

    Chemical engineering programs with a low economic score provide the optimal combination of affordability and high earnings after graduation

    Note that our cost figures relate to net cost, which is the average amount paid by students after financial aid and including room, board, and other expenses. 

    All data on net cost and post-graduation economic outcomes is sourced from IPEDS and College Scorecard.  

    All programs on this list are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. 

    Read more about our methodology here.

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    The 20 best colleges for chemical engineering

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    #1 in Chemical Engineering | #2 in Engineering

    University of Florida

    Gainesville, Florida

    Economic score 0.46

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $6,275

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $91,729

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 89%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    The University of Florida is a large public university in Gainesville, a college town in the northern part of the state. Its affordable net cost and the high average earnings of its chemical engineering alumni make it the best-value chemical engineering program in the country.

    UF’s Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering (BSChE) degree is an 8-semester program that features many opportunities for experiential learning, internships, and cooperative education. Students can choose to add minors to the degree, including the biomolecular minor.

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    #2 in Chemical Engineering | #4 in Engineering

    Florida State University

    Tallahassee, Florida

    Economic score 0.53

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $6,450

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $87,015

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 84%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    Florida State University (FSU) is a large public research university in Tallahassee, the state capital. Usually referred to as Florida State, it was founded in 1851, making it one of Florida’s oldest universities.

    Florida State’s Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering is the 2nd best in the nation by value for money. Its curriculum focuses on applying experimental and computer analysis to chemical engineering processes. A large part of the instruction takes place in the university’s state-of-the-art laboratories 

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    #3 in Chemical Engineering | #10 in Engineering

    New Mexico State University

    Las Cruces, New Mexico

    Economic score 0.65

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $8,495

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $88,962

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 56%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    Rounding out our top 5, New Mexico State University is a public research university in Las Cruces, a college town not far from El Paso, Texas. It is the oldest public university in New Mexico.

    The Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering is among the best in the Southwest. Instruction features both lectures and laboratory learning. Examples of courses include engineering materials, heat and mass transfer, process dynamics and control, and material balances.

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    #4 in Chemical Engineering | #100 in Engineering

    Rice University

    Houston, Texas

    Economic score 0.74

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $15,091

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $108,850

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 95%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    Rice University is a private research university in Houston, Texas. Its beautiful campus is adjacent to Houston’s Museum Quarter. Rice is a highly selective university: it only accepted 9.5% of applicants in 2023.

    Rice’s prestigious BS in Chemical Engineering (BSChE) allows students to choose from among 5 areas of specialization, including biomolecular engineering, computational engineering, energy/sustainability, materials/nanotechnology, or the “breadth” option, which provides a more general overview.

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    #5 in Chemical Engineering | #8 in Engineering
    Economic score 0.87

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $17,371

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $108,067

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 94%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    University of California, Berkeley is a highly selective public research university in California’s Bay Area. It is often referred to as a “Public Ivy” due to its rigorous academic standards. It is home to the country’s 3rd best-value chemical engineering program.

    Berkeley offers a well-regarded B.S. in Chemical Engineering through its College of Chemistry. The program prepares students to work in the development, design, and operation of chemical products and processes.

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    #6 in Chemical Engineering | #3 in Engineering

    Stanford University

    Stanford, California

    Economic score 0.87

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $10,851

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $91,744

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 97%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    Stanford is a highly selective private research university in California’s Bay Area, between San Jose and San Francisco. It is an “Ivy Plus” university.

    Stanford’s Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering is all about conceiving and designing processes to produce, transform, and transport materials. Stanford encourages its chemical engineering students to participate in research and take advantage of interdisciplinary connections.

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    #7 in Chemical Engineering | #44 in Engineering
    Economic score 1.01

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $12,817

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $92,357

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 69%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    Arizona State University, or ASU, is a large public research university in the Phoenix metro area. It is one of the largest universities in the country.

    Its BSE in Chemical Engineering is devoted to applying chemistry, physics, and mathematics principles to the conversion of chemicals into more useful forms. This program is offered on the Tempe campus. The program includes an “accelerated” option for students who want to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s in 5 years.

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    #8 in Chemical Engineering | #15 in Engineering
    Economic score 1.04

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $9,203

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $78,184

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 77%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    The University of South Florida (USF) is a public research university based in Tampa. It also has campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota. Its motto is “Truth and Wisdom.”

    USF is home to a well-regarded Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. Students will immerse themselves in advanced chemistry, thermodynamics, fluids, heat, mass transfer, and much more. To graduate, students also complete a design project.

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    #9 in Chemical Engineering | #215 in Engineering

    Oklahoma State University

    Stillwater, Oklahoma

    Economic score 1.05

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $14,505

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $96,261

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 65%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    Oklahoma State University is a public research university in the town of Stillwater. It offers a bachelor’s in chemical engineering that focuses on designing processes for producing, transforming, and transporting materials. Students have access to state-of-the art facilities and plenty of hands-on experience in laboratories. Graduates go on to become process engineers, field engineers, R&D engineers, biomedical engineers, and much more.

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    #10 in Chemical Engineering | #36 in Engineering
    Economic score 1.11

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $11,902

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $88,952

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 78%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    #11 in Chemical Engineering | #18 in Engineering
    Economic score 1.14

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $15,637

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $92,741

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 93%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    University of California, Los Angeles, usually referred to as UCLA, is a large research university. It is one of the most selective, prestigious public universities in the country, making it a “Public Ivy.”

    Its Samueli School of Engineering offers a competitive B.S. in Chemical Engineering program. Potential chemical engineering majors must apply for the program as college freshmen.

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    #12 in Chemical Engineering | #77 in Engineering
    Economic score 1.16

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $13,565

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $99,093

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 84%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    Brigham Young University (BSU) is a private religious university in Provo, Utah. It is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, better known as the Mormon Church. While this is a relatively affordable program, remember that BYU students are expected to live up to strict honor codes.

    BYU offers a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with technical electives like semiconductors, nuclear engineering, bioengineering, thermodynamics, and much more.

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    #13 in Chemical Engineering | #64 in Engineering
    Economic score 1.18

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $11,064

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $86,698

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 53%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    #14 in Chemical Engineering | #29 in Engineering

    San Jose State University

    San Jose, California

    Economic score 1.18

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $14,370

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $93,875

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 76%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    #15 in Chemical Engineering | #155 in Engineering
    Economic score 1.20

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $16,563

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $94,710

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 85%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    North Carolina State University (NC State) is a public research institution in North Carolina’s capital city of Raleigh. It is the largest university in the Carolinas.

    Its chemical engineering students go on to work in biofuels, pharmaceuticals, fibers, plastics, and much more. Students can choose from among numerous concentrations: biomanufacturing sciences; biomolecular science; nanoscience; sustainable engineering, energy, and environment; paper science; textile engineering; and more.

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    #16 in Chemical Engineering | #62 in Engineering
    Economic score 1.21

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $16,109

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $93,416

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 88%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a large public research university. It is the flagship institution of the University of Illinois system, and it is one of the largest universities in the United States. 

    Its B.S. in Chemical Engineering program allows students to choose between 2 specializations: chemical engineering or biomolecular engineering. Students also complete capstone design projects, participate in undergraduate research, study abroad, and take part in co-ops and internships, ensuring they graduate with real-world experience.

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    #17 in Chemical Engineering | #88 in Engineering
    Economic score 1.21

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $20,257

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $105,292

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 84%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    Texas A&M University, College Station (TAMU) is a large public research university. Its Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering is one of the best known in the South. Chemical Engineering students can pick an area of emphasis that interests them.

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    #18 in Chemical Engineering | #123 in Engineering

    Columbia University

    New York, New York

    Economic score 1.22

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $23,497

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $105,514

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 94%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    #19 in Chemical Engineering | #104 in Engineering

    Mississippi State University

    Mississippi State, Mississippi

    Economic score 1.22

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $15,910

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $91,204

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 67%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

    #20 in Chemical Engineering | #144 in Engineering

    University of Arkansas

    Fayetteville, Arkansas

    Economic score 1.22

    Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

    Cost $16,050

    The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

    Earnings $93,785

    Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

    Graduation rate 69%

    Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not  displayed.

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    Chemical engineering programs in your state

    Highest earning states for chemical engineering grads

    State Average salary
    Texas $96,229
    Arkansas $93,785
    Utah $93,558
    Oklahoma $93,195
    Georgia $92,771

    Top careers with a chemical engineering degree

    Below, we list common careers for people with a bachelor’s in chemical engineering.

    $112,100
    Chemical Engineers
    $100,730
    Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers
    $165,370
    Architectural and Engineering Managers

    Chemical engineering salary info

    Below, we show how much people with a chemical engineering degree make on average, 4 years after graduating.

    Associate Bachelor Master
    N/A $87,075 $89,798

    Propel your career from anywhere.

    Take our quiz to find the online degree that’s best for you. Compare hundreds of schools and apply to your dream college today.