The Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Kentucky was established in 1995 through the merger of the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
The first metallurgical engineering bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky was awarded in 1914, and the program received undergraduate accreditation in 1936. The Department of Metallurgical Engineering awarded the first doctoral degree conferred by the UK College of Engineering in 1953 to Dr. Carl J. McHargue, a member of the College’s Hall of Distinction.
The Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Kentucky was formally established in 1956; prior to that time, it was part of the chemistry department as an industrial chemistry program. Although the first BSChE degrees were not awarded until 1959, many prominent chemical engineers graduated from the University prior to that date. Among them were William Henry McAdams (1892-1975; author of Heat Transmission) and Eger Vaughn Murphree, (1898-1962; known for the “Murphree Efficiency” and later President of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey). The bachelor’s program in chemical engineering received its initial accreditation in 1969.
In 1994, a memorandum of understanding was developed for the merger of the Department of Chemical Engineering with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; this merger, which was formally approved by the University Board of Trustees in April 1995, established the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. In 1997, a separate chemical engineering undergraduate program was established at the UK Extended Campus in Paducah. This program, which is administered by four additional chemical engineering faculty members, received initial, independent ABET accreditation in 2003.
The Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering is comprised of twenty-two faculty on the Lexington campus and four faculty on the Paducah campus. Our undergraduate programs currently enroll approximately 450 students in chemical engineering and 80 students in materials engineering. At the graduate level, we have ~ 65 students in chemical and materials engineering, nearly all of whom are pursuing the Ph.D. degree.
The faculty in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering have forged a highly-collaborative environment for research and education; chemical and materials engineering faculty interact on a range of multi-disciplinary research projects that encompass collaborations with faculty in Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Physics, and the Colleges of Agriculture and Medicine. Research expenditures by the Department in FY2013 totaled $3.6M as reported by the Vice President for Research.
A key priority for the Department is to maintain strong connections with our chemical and materials engineering students after graduation. We believe that an active alumni base is very important for the Department and strengthens the educational opportunities that we are able to provide our current students. We encourage all alumni to stay in touch, and to please visit the Department when in the Lexington area.