Chemical engineering at crossroads

Krishnaswamy Nandakumar*, Mayank Tyagi, Ye Xu, Kalliat T. Valsaraj, Jyeshtharaj B. Joshi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Through periodic introspection and assessment, the chemical engineering field has developed a mature undergraduate curriculum built on a strong science background in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. This brings a unique set of skills in transport, reaction engineering, and thermodynamics, coupled with suitable process systems engineering and process design courses, to supply well-trained engineers to a vast array of process manufacturing facilities. These facilities produce basic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, petrochemicals, food and agricultural products, minerals, and materials. While this maturity has served existing industries well, we argue that the chemical engineering field is at crossroads between managing the curriculum of undergraduate and graduate education to supply the needs of established industries while creating innovators for emerging industries. While this is a great opportunity for yet another introspection, we caution that the inadvertent cannibalization of the field must be avoided. We do argue in favour of adding a biology sequence and a computational science sequence to the core at the undergraduate level in a related perspective article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2011-2027
Number of pages17
JournalCanadian Journal of Chemical Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • computational chemistry
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • energy
  • environment
  • modelling and simulation


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