Chemical engineers must have working knowledge of both chemistry and engineering principles. They work in many different fields, including energy, environmental science, biomedicine, electronics, food production and materials science. Chemical engineering schools exist all over the United States, giving students who want to major in chemical engineering the choice of large universities or small colleges to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree in chemical engineering.

East Coast Schools: Collaboration

According to the 2014 "U.S. News and World Report" rankings, the school with the highest ranking in chemical engineering is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT is a relatively small chemical engineering school -- about 700 graduate and undergraduate students -- and is noted for its cross-discipline collaboration and research between chemical engineering and biology, cancer research and manufacturing. The State University of New York at Buffalo is a less expensive option than MIT, but it also ranks in the top 100. SUNY-Buffalo emphasizes chemical and biological engineering together as their research emphasis on modeling of cells, tissues and organs.

West: Excellent Research Laboratories

"U.S. News and World Report" included several western schools in its rankings for the top 100 chemical engineering schools. The California Institute of Technology, located outside Los Angeles, offers students the opportunity to work with supercomputers at Cal Tech Concurrent Supercomputer Facility or study at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In Seattle, some of the University of Washington's chemical engineering research emphasizes work on the environment and cleanup of polluted areas.

South: Nanotechnology

Georgia Institute of Technology is ranked in the top ten chemical engineering schools by "U.S. News and World Report." Georgia Tech's research emphasizes renewable energy, biotechnology and nanotechnology. Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, has a relatively small engineering school that is ranked in the top 50. Vanderbilt's Institute of Nanoscale Science of Engineering researches all aspects of nanotechnology: sensors, nano-optics, nanoscale instrumentation and fabrication at the nanoscale level.

Midwest: Electricity and Chemicals

Iowa State University does chemical engineering research in biocatalyst and separation engineering, reaction engineering and catalysis, crystallization, transport phenomena and thermodynamics. The Illinois Institute of Technology has four centers of research, geared mostly towards the combination of electricity and chemicals: The Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering; The Center of Excellence in Polymer Science and Engineering; the Energy + Power Center and the Particle Technology and Crystallization Center.

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About the Author

Lori Garrett-Hatfield has a B.J. in Journalism from the University of Missouri. She has a Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. She has been working in the Education field since 1994, and has taught every grade level in the K-12 system, specializing in English education, and English as a Second Language education.