Department of Chemical Engineering

#2 Graduate Research Program

Chemical Engineering Graduate Program, National Research Council, most recent report 2010

#8 in the Nation

Chemical Engineering Graduate Program, among US universities, US News 2021

The Department of Chemical Engineering is committed to excellence in teaching, research, and service to the profession and the community. We are a medium-sized department, widely recognized as prestigious and frequently ranked within the top ten chemical engineering graduate programs in the country. We offer accredited programs leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Chemical Engineering.

Mission Statement

Education. Our program seeks to produce chemical engineers who will contribute to the process industries worldwide. We strive to provide students with a strong fundamental technical education designed to meet the needs of a changing and rapidly developing technological environment.

Research. Our program seeks to develop innovative science and technology that addresses the needs of industry, the scientific community, and society. Much of our research takes a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to solving the grand challenges of industry and society.

Diversity Statement

Our department aspires to cultivate an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive community of diverse scholars, spanning distinct backgrounds, races, ethnicities, national identities, genders, sexual orientations, religions, ideologies, and intellectual styles.  

We recognize the social and ethical imperative to train a diverse cohort of future engineers, scholars, and leaders.  We also recognize the critical role that diversity plays in innovation, particularly in our highly collaborative environment and in the global chemical engineering community.  

We value our differences, and strive to have an open and continuous dialogue within our community per our commitment to support the diversity of its members. We are also committed to actions that foster equitable opportunities and that promote the success of individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Supporting a diverse department and campus community is an essential component of our educational mission and research enterprise.  As such, we endorse the College of Engineering’s commitment to diversity.


Michael Gordon
Warren G. and Katharine S. Schlinger Professor 
and Department Chair


Phillip Christopher
Professor and Vice Chair of Undergraduate Affairs


M. Scott Shell
Professor and Vice Chair of Graduate Affairs








Commitment to Research

UCSB Chemical Engineering's research activities are at the cutting edge in the areas of materials and interfaces; bioengineering; energy, efficiency, and sustainability; and modeling, theory & simulation. Modern engineering research tends to be interdisciplinary and many of our faculty members have joint appointments in other departments. Our research funding comes from a wide variety of companies and government agencies. By participating in faculty research projects, undergraduate and graduate students have opportunities to perform exciting research and create new knowledge.

Our students and faculty are fortunate to have excellent and dedicated department staff, who play a critical role in the smooth functioning of the department. The department also benefits from the guidance and expertise provided by our very distinguished External Advisory Board.


The UCSB Department of Chemical Engineering was founded in 1966 by Professor Emeritus Robert Rinker. The first Bachelor of Science degree was awarded in 1968, and the first PhD in 1971. The department celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2016-2017. 

Department Facts & Figures

Academic Statistics

  • 82
    Graduate Enrollment, Fall 2019
  • 12
    Doctoral Degrees Awarded Per Year
    (Average: 2012-2019)
  • 18
    Full-time Faculty
  • 12:1
    Undergraduate Student:Faculty Ratio

Faculty Awards & Honors

  • 5
    National Academy Members
  • 16
    Professional Society Elected Fellows
    (AAAS, ACS, AIChE, AIMBE, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, APS, IEEE, IFAC, ISMAR, Sloan)
  • 1
    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Fellow
  • 16
    Federal Early Career Awardees
  • 2
    Technology Review Innovators Under 35
  • 3
    Presidential Early Career Awardees (PECASE)
  • 1
    Former NASA Astronaut
  • 2
    Honorary PhDs