Attending a University that Does Not Provide Your Major

Hello!

So I changed my mind several times before realizing that I want to major in chemical engineering. Chemical engineering allows me to do work in pharmaceutical companies, and perfume/food industries. Also if I got a masters in Biomedical engineering, I could do some amazing work there. Chemical engineering just seems so exciting to me! However I received a full ride to a school (University of Miami) that only offers Civil, Electrical, Industrial, Manufacturing, Aerospace, Audio, Architectural, Mechanical, Environmental, Computer, and Biomedical Engineering majors. I don't know what to do now. It's too late to choose another school and even if I could, what are the chances of it being completely free?

I was wondering if I could get a bachelors degree in one field in engineering and then get a masters in chemical engineering. Would I be able to work as a chemical engineer? Or does not having a bachelors in chemical engineering mean I'm doomed?

Thanks!
posted by Daezy, Miami on March 29, 2012

Answer by Dr Heather Hunt

Hi Daezy, Not having a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering does not mean youre doomed to never work in the fields that interest you! While chemical engineering degrees are a wonderful base to approach any career in science, engineering, or technology from (speaking as a reasonably biased chemical engineer), they are not the only option available to you. If you are interested in working in the pharma or food science industries, a degree in biomedical engineering would be very appropriate. I encourage you to stay within the engineering umbrella, because youll find a lot of opportunities to explore other career options in engineering that you might find interesting in a few years. And yes, you can definitely try for a masters degree in chemical engineering, although you may find that you dont need one to work in the fields you mentioned. My one caution is that biomedical engineering and chemical engineering do have different fields of emphasis, so if you decide to pursue a masters in ChE, be prepared to do some studying, because they will expect you to know a lot of the undergraduate ChE curriculum in order to do well in the ChE classes at the masters level. (So, you may want to consider taking elective classes in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, and kinetics, to prepare for a ChE masters, if the BME program at your school doesnt include those in their curriculum.) I would recommend looking very carefully at the catalog of classes for the engineering majors offered at Miami, and seeing which classes in which majors sound interesting to you. Also, contact the college of engineering, and find out about their career services programs. They often have informational sessions that give information on different types of careers or industries, and what you need to succeed in each. That might help guide you in picking the major thats best for you. Congratulations on choosing engineering! Heather