WSU, Alaska agreement offers chemical engineering degree

By Tina Hilding, Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University is joining with University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) to offer a WSU chemical engineering degree for Alaska students.

The 2+2 program will allow students to fulfill the first two years of core requirements at the Alaska universities and the final two years at WSU’s Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. Graduates of the 2+2 program will receive a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from WSU’s ABET accredited program.

“This collaborative program recognizes the historically strong linkages between Washington and Alaska, and we’re pleased to be able to help meet the need for a chemical engineering program for students from Alaska,” said Candis Claiborn, dean of the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. “At the same time, this program will help us attract high performing Alaskan students to WSU.”

Industry partners have demonstrated strong support for a chemical engineering program in Alaska, in part to reduce the need to recruit outside the state. Hiring graduates with ties to Alaska helps reduce expensive turnover.

In the past decade, the Voiland School has more than doubled enrollment. The school is known for leading research in catalysts, which are chemicals that speed up chemical reactions and are used in critically important industries such as energy production and conversion.

With strong alumni support, the school has grown its emphasis in process safety and upstream processing, which will uniquely equip students for jobs in Alaska. The new program will also build collaboration between WSU and Alaska companies for support of capstone design projects, scholarships and industry-sponsored research.

“We are pleased to be able to make use of existing resources on all three campuses to offer new opportunities and bright futures for our students and our state,” said Fred Barlow, dean of the UAA College of Engineering.

The program is designed to encourage Alaskans to return after graduation through incentives such as Alaska-based internships. This collaboration opens up more opportunities for Alaskans and demonstrates university cooperation with the state and engineering industry to help fill gaps in Alaska’s workforce.


Jim Petersen, director, WSU Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, 509-335-8215,
Tina Hilding, communications coordinator, WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, 509-335-5095,