Rogers State University will begin offering a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering beginning in the fall 2023 semester. The University announced the new degree program during a special event Dec. 15 on its Claremore campus. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education voted to approve the program during its regularly scheduled meeting Dec. 9 in Oklahoma City.
The BS in chemical engineering will be housed within RSU’s School of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Mathematics and Physical Sciences. It is the first engineering degree offered at Rogers State University. Classes will initially be offered only on the University’s Claremore campus and interested students may apply now at rsu.edu.
RSU President Dr. Larry Rice is excited for the new chemical engineering program and for the economic impact it will make on the state, region and community of Claremore.
“What a great day in the life of our university – this is an exciting day for Rogers State, a historic day,” Rice said. “This will impact our students, our community and our many business partners. It is a game changer for what we do and how we do it. Engineering is a big deal. It’s a difficult deal, but it’s what we’re meant to do to serve our clients in business and industry and give our students this kind of opportunity.”
Rice then thanked the various business and academic partners who helped make the new program possible, among them, Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority Executive Director Meggie Froman-Knight.
“On behalf of CIEDA and its trustees, we’re so proud to celebrate our partners at Rogers State University,” Froman-Knight said. “Our goal within the Claremore area is to recruit companies to come here and invest, but even more importantly, it’s to maintain and retain the companies that are already here and their employees. Claremore’s had a rich history in the oil and gas sector, and in the past decade, in the aerospace industry. We know in the last three years alone, we have been limited by over 22 percent in submitting on potential projects. That means there are billions of dollars and potential jobs that northeast Oklahoma has lost out on, due to the inability to meet this workforce sector.
“So today, we’re very proud to be celebrating alongside our partners and look forward to a promising future,” she said.
Also speaking was Tulsa Ports Director David Yarbrough.
“I’m truly honored to be here today, and I’m excited about this for three reasons,” Yarbrough said. “One, I am an engineer. Two, we are so blessed to have a state university like this – like Rogers State University – here in Claremore, here in Rogers County.
“Lastly, as I work for the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, I understand that chemistry is life,” he said. “There are many companies at the Port that have chemicals as an end product, so it’s important for us to have a workforce. We need students to go to school in Oklahoma, to get jobs, and to stay in Oklahoma. We’re very excited to partner with RSU in this endeavor.”
Rogers State University becomes only the fourth institution in the state of Oklahoma to offer a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering, boasting the lowest net price and delivering the most affordable option for a chemical engineering degree in the state.
In recent years, the University has heard from an increasing number of workforce development professionals and elected officials with regards to the growing demand for chemical engineers in the region. As a result, RSU examined industry needs, economic impact and demand from prospective students in making the decision to pursue chemical engineering.
Employment statistics in Oklahoma from 2020 estimated 2,220 employment opportunities for post-graduate chemical engineers in occupations including environmental engineering technologists and technicians, physical scientists, chemical technicians, environmental engineers and chemical engineers. RSU graduates will help meet this demand by supporting current and emerging industries in the region, while also earning high wages and impacting the local economy. Post-graduation employment data for all engineering graduates from state colleges and universities from 2017-18 reflected median annual earnings of $63,642.
The University also surveyed students regarding demand for degrees not currently offered at RSU. Engineering consistently ranked highly in the survey, with a particularly high interest level among students in the Honors Program, President’s Leadership Class and female students.
For more information about RSU’s Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering, visit www.rsu.edu/ChemicalEngineering.