It was my senior year of college and I still didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated. One thing was for sure entering the workforce with my degree in chemistry was not something I wanted to pursue.
Knowing that to get a job that I would enjoy the rest of my life, graduate school seemed to be the only option for me. After many nights thinking it over I finally came to the conclusion that a Master’s of Science in Chemical Engineering was the right fit for me.
It came down to a battle between chemical vs. petroleum engineering and the former prevailed. Here are a few reasons why I chose to get a graduate degree in chemical engineering:
This was one of the main selling points for me about chemical engineering. I knew that this degree would not pigeon hole me into oil industry. If I found during my studies that something like biochemicals, surfactants or even plastics interested me more, then I could pursue these outlets.
For me the cost of getting a degree in chemical engineering was cheaper because it meant I would be paying for fewer course. When switching from chemistry to chemical engineering there is a lot of overlap so I didn’t need some of the basis ChemE courses. If I were to have chosen petroleum engineering I would have needed to take all the classes, and this means more money.
Anyone who has pursued a graduate degree in the sciences knows that your main focus is on your research project. Chemical engineering provided me with a research opportunity that really interested me so I went for it. The most important thing as a graduate student is to make sure and attach yourself to a research project that you are enthusiastic about. This will make the long hours in the lab seem more bearable.
4. Job Outlook
While right now both degrees offer many job opportunities in my eyes chemical engineering may hold a slight advantage over petroleum in the near future. True, as the oil companies find more drilling techniques for the extraction of oil petroleum engineers will be needed, but it is not known how long this will last. As a chemical engineer I can get a job in the energy industry if I want the higher paying jobs while knowing that if they’re not there I have other options.
I hope that anyone else who is struggling between chemical vs. petroleum engineering will make sure and do their research before they start their degree. It is a big decision and should not be taken too lightly.
It may have taken me many days to make the decision but in the long run I have zero regrets and you cannot beat that.