About The Department
Our distinguished faculty include ten members of the National Academy of Engineering, two Institute of Medicine members, two National Medal of Technology and Innovation Laureates and one National Academy of Science member. In addition to publishing hundreds of papers, department faculty were issued 20 U.S. patents last year-the highest of any department at UT Austin. Our faculty have also produced more than six successful start-up companies and won 20 percent of major institute awards granted by the American Institute for Chemical Engineers in recent years. A handful of faculty members are also among the top 25 most cited chemical engineers. Many draw from experience as leaders of respected associations to provide professional guidance and deliver quality education.
Department faculty uphold excellent teaching standards. They get to know their students and provide professional leadership to deliver quality education. Many have experience as top leaders of respected associations such as the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Council for Chemical Research and the Biomaterials Society, to name a few. Six faculty members have won the Cockrell School of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award and several others have received university-wide teaching awards.
The University of Texas at Austin chemical engineering recruits top students who enjoy learning alongside quality peers. The median grade point average for our graduate program is 3.9 on a 4.0 scale. Out of 181 graduate students, the department boasts 16 National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate fellowships, three National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowships, one Hertz Fellowship, one NASA Fellowship and four industrial fellows, to name a few. The Cockrell School of Engineering provides $9,000 supplemental engineering fellowships to U.S. citizens/permanent residents on a competitive basis, with 77 fellows in chemical engineering.
The department generates $20 million in annual research funding and manages strong programs in advanced materials, bioengineering, energy, environmental engineering, microelectronics, modeling and simulation, polymers, process systems and engineering, separations and surface and interface science. Faculty research programs have generated six successful start-up companies to commercialize findings.
The department hosts 53 research labs, two undergraduate labs, three computer labs, a polymers lab and a scanning electron microscope all located in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering (CPE) Building on UT Austin’s main campus. Staff in the on-site shop use state-of-the-art computer numerical controlled machines and welding tools to assist with equipment repairs and give design consultation. Students also have access to the Center for Energy and Environmental Research on the J. J. Pickle Research Campus which has over 43,000 square feet of labs and office space. Those enrolled in The Graduate Portfolio Program in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology work with the latest technology in the new Nano Science building covering 82,463 square feet.
Industrial grants and contracts provide 40 percent of the department’s research funding, one of the highest levels in the U.S. Funds support several industrial research consortia and centers, including the Process Science and Technology Consortium, Texas-Wisconsin-California Control Consortium, UT Energy Institute, Texas Materials Institute, Luminant Carbon Management Programs, and Center for Energy and Environmental Research. Collaborative partnerships give industry access to expert talent and knowledge and unique facilities, which strengthens competitiveness. The university benefits by providing students experience solving practical innovative research problems with market constraints.
Since the department’s founding in 1915 students have always come first. The department takes pride in being close-knit and beloved Emeritus Professor John J. McKetta has led by example on this value since joining the university in 1946.
“If our responsibilities to, and concern for, the student ever become secondary, we will be violating the trust we adopted when we joined the faculty,” said McKetta. “A student you befriend is your friend forever.”