Frequently Asked Questions

What skills are needed to become successful in chemical engineering?

Some critical skills for chemical engineers include:

  • Math skills: Chemical engineers use the principles of mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting.
  • Chemistry skills: Chemical engineers use the knowledge of chemistry for designing processes to convert raw materials to useful products on a large scale.
  • Analytical skills: Chemical engineers must be able to figure out why a particular design does not work as planned. They must be able to ask the right questions and then find an answer that works.
  • Deductive-reasoning skills: Chemical engineers learn the broad concepts of chemical engineering, but their work requires them to apply those concepts to specific production problems.
  • Interpersonal skills: Chemical engineers must develop good working relationships with people in production because their role is to put scientific principles into practice in manufacturing industries.
  • Problem sensitivity: Chemical engineers must be able to anticipate and identify problems to prevent losses for their employers, safeguard workers’ health, and prevent environmental damage.
  • Problem-solving skills: In designing equipment and processes, chemical engineers must address issues related to safe and economical operations and anticipate and address problems that may occur in the future.
  • Teamwork: Chemical engineers are generally part of a team comprised of other professionals with different backgrounds and skill sets. They should be able to work on a team while contributing their expertise to the overall project.

How do I change my major to chemical engineering?

Student should obtain a Major Transfer form from his/her current advisor/department. Once the form has been completed and the appropriate signatures have been acquired, the form can be brought to Room 1009, located in the Lewis K. Downing Hall, 2300 Sixth Street, N.W., 20059.

What internships/research opportunities does the Department of Chemical Engineering offer and are there any in the summer for incoming freshmen?

We have partnerships with several companies, including but not limited to ExxonMobil, Kraft, and Corning, and government agencies that offer summer internships. There is a also university career fair every fall and spring, through which a lot of companies and government agencies recruit for summer internships and full-time jobs.

Typically, summer internship opportunities for freshmen are limited at these fairs, but some companies accept freshmen to establish grounds for future opportunities. Potential internships/jobs are communicated through the department and the Office of Student Services.

Who will be my academic advisor?

All freshmen entering the Department of Chemical Engineering will be advised by Dr. John Tharakan.

Why can’t I register for my courses?

You may not be able to register for courses for any of the following reasons: (1) You have not completed the prerequisite requirements for the program; (2) the final grades from your previous courses have not been posted, (3) your courses from other institutions have not been transferred yet; or (4) you may have a hold on your account.

Pre-requisite Requirements

Your success is our priority! Our faculty have strategically planned the schedule of courses to build upon each other. Because of this, students are prohibited from registering for an advanced course prior to meeting the pre-requisite and/or co-requisite course requirements. These course requirements can be found in the B.S. Ch.E. Program Handbook (PDF).

The courses are also posted on the department bulletin boards and students can obtain a copy of the schedule by going to the main office in Room 1009. Students are required to complete the pre-requisite courses before advancing to the next course level.

Posting of Final Grades

Unfortunately, students are not permitted to register for advanced level courses until the final grades from the previous semester have posted.

Transferring Credits from Other Universities

If a student has taken an entry level course at another institution and is unable to register because the credits have not yet been transferred, students must bring an unopened official transcript to the university or the department to be reviewed by an advisor.

Account Holds

A hold can be placed on an account for several different reasons including: financial aid, housing, international, and medical. This simply means that there is an unresolved issue that needs to be addressed before you can register for courses or obtain your student record. Therefore, students must go to the respective department to resolve the issue before he/she can move forward with registration.

Why can’t I register for Calculus I or an English course?

Students who are just entering the university must take the placement exam before he/she is able to register. There are exemptions, however. For more information contact the Math Dept at (202) 806-6830 or the English Department at (202) 806-6730.

How can I get my alternate PIN number to register for classes?

PIN numbers are issued every semester to protect student records and to ensure that students consult with an advisor before selecting courses. Students must come to the office and complete a Registration Request form that needs to be signed by the academic advisor before the PIN number is released.