History of the Department
In 1956, when Middle East Technical University (METU) was founded, the main thought was to teach the man power for technical field which was a massive need for Turkey in those years. After the provision work for the foundation of the department was completed, Chemical Engineering Department was established under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Tarık G. Somer in 1958.
The curriculum of the Chemical Engineering Department written by Prof. Somer had the pioneer context not only for Turkey, but also for Middle Eastern region and many European countries in 50's and 60's. Until those years, chemical engineering was considered to be a sub-discipline of chemistry and mechanical engineering even in the most countries of Europe. However, in USA and UK, chemical engineering had already become a major discipline. Prof. Somer wrote the curriculum in accord with those of the chemical engineering departments in Northern America.
The major concept of chemical engineering program was to take physics, chemistry, mathematics and economics as basis. After 1950's, chemical engineering became very distinct from chemistry and mechanical engineering; because it focused on the study of chemical reactors and separation processes based on mass transfer. These concepts were included in the curriculum of the Chemical Engineering Department.
During the establishment years of METU Chemical Engineering Department, there was a fast development in chemical industry of Turkey. First chemical engineers were graduated from the Department in 1963. Turkish Petrochemical Holding (PETKİM) was also established in those years. During the development of the chemical industry based on petroleum in Turkey, it was a well-timed decision to raise chemical engineers who were needed by this industry. However, when the development of the chemical industry started to slow down due to the macro economical programs to be applied in Turkey (mid 70's and 80's), graduates of the Department could not be employed according to the scopes of the Department. Employment opportunities for the graduates improved rapidly after mid 80's due to the development in private chemical industry of Turkey.
During 80's and 90's, the Department became quite well-known in Turkey, in America and all over the world, when its graduates took responsibilities in plant operations and design as well as in research with their strong background in main concepts of chemical engineering.
METU Chemical Engineering Department applied to ABET accreditation in 1996 (one of the first two departments in Turkey with Mining Engineering Department) and opened its program for the inspection. As a result of this, the chemical engineering program of METU was declared as equivalent to the chemical engineering programs in North America. The ABET accreditation was renewed in 2015.
There has been a great advancement in education and research functions of the METU Chemical Engineering Department within years. Graduates of the Department renovate their knowledge in their interest areas by following the developments in science and technology; can compete in national and international areas, can use the latest techniques, equipment and information technologies efficiently. Moreover, performing research respectable at high scientific level and publishing has become one of the major objectives of the Department.