Chemistry Vs. Chemical Engineering: Choosing Between Science and Technology

Ok, so, the short, one-sentence explanation is: chemists do a thorough research before allowing a new drug to be released on the market, while chemical engineers help design and operate the equipment that produces that drug. 

But, we know you’re a curious student, who won’t be satisfied with one-sentence explanations! So, after you read this you’ll understand exactly what the differences and the similarities are between studying a Bachelor in Chemistry and a Bachelor in Chemical Engineering, and what to expect in the future from careers in each of these 2 fields.

Check 3,273 Bachelors in Chemistry worldwide

1. Chemistry and Chemical Engineering explained 

Chemistry explores all the aspects of substances, molecules, the reactions between them, at a microscopic scale. Chemistry has a huge role in the manufacturing of food, drinks, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, medical innovations and treatments.

Sure, you may dismiss chemists as the mad scientists with one test tube in each hand, who laugh maniacally whenever they combine the two, but the real ones tend to stay a lot in laboratories, carefully examining and blending chemical elements, as they may prove important for future research…All this while laughing maniacally, naturally.

Chemical Engineering deals with the design, manufacture, and operation of plants and machinery. Also, because that seemed too easy for some, it also deals with the development of new materials or substances.

Chemical Engineering is really about transforming raw materials (such as wood, metal, plastics, etc.) into useful products, that people truly depend on a daily basis, like food, clothes, energy, and what not. 

2. What you will learn: Bachelor’s in Chemistry vs. Chemical Engineering

Chemistry is an “all hands on deck”-type of field, so lectures will be combined with many hours of research and laboratory work. A Chemical Engineering Bachelor’s degree is multidisciplinary, and includes all the topics of a Chemistry degree, plus many more. 

Chemistry vs Chemical EngineeringBut have no fear! After these 3 or 4 years of hard labour, you will develop a wide range of good-to-brag-about skills: 

Chemistry vs Chemical Engineering

3. Where should you study your Bachelor’s in Chemistry?

Chemistry is a natural science, and, by definition, it’s rules are same everywhere. But this doesn't mean studying it will be the same everywhere. We recommend you study in the leading countries in the chemical industry, which are:

If these aren’t the destinations you were considering, we can also suggest some popular universities for studying a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, like:

4. Where should you study your Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering?

Based on our data, we found out that the most Bachelor’s degrees in Chemical Engineering are offered by countries like:

chemist works with chemical engineer.jpg

Also, some of the Chemical Engineering schools we warmly recommend, that are in other countries that the ones previously mentioned, are:

5. Do Chemistry and Chemical Engineering overlap?

Basically, a chemist’s research work will focus on determining the exact combination and quantity of elements used in the manufacture of a product.

A chemical engineer, however, will often take a product developed by a chemist and figure out how to develop it on a business scale, determining the quality of the components that should be adopted, and deciding what kind of manufacturing processes to use.

To avoid starting a War of the Scientists, let’s just say chemists and chemical engineers work on similar problems, but they approach them from different angles.

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6. What do chemical engineers and chemists do?

Chemists can work in laboratories, offices, classroom, on the field, or combine some of these options. Meanwhile, Chemical Engineering graduates can opt to work as engineers in a wide range of fields.

Chemistry vs Chemical Engineering

And, because we understand that the suspense is killing you, it’s time to reveal some of the average salaries you can accept if you become a chemist or a chemical engineer:

  • Chemist, the U.S: 37.600 EUR / year
  • Chemical Engineer, the U.S. 52.600 EUR / year

So, after you find out which one of these two degrees fit your skills and personality, you can go on and apply for the best suited Bachelor’s degree, and contribute to making life on our planet a little better and healthier. Plus, you will actually understand the ingredient list on the back of the packages in the grocery store.

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