One of the oldest departments of Newark College of Engineering, the Otto H. York Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering awarded its first three baccalaureate degrees in 1923. Master's degrees were added after World War II, as returning veterans swelled the college's enrollment as well as the engineering workforce. The doctoral degree program was added in the late 50s, and the first PhD was awarded in 1964. An MS in Pharmaceutical Engineering program was established in 2004.
From its earliest days, the department incorporated real-world work experience into the curriculum through cooperative education with area companies. The department's faculty has also developed research partnerships with industry and government. Chemical engineering alumni hold leading positions in business, law, research and academe.
Today the department has an enrollment of 260 undergraduates majoring in chemical engineering, and more than 50 pursuing graduate studies. Last year, NJIT awarded 36 bachelor's degrees in chemical engineering, 18 master's degrees, and 6 PhD's. Chemical engineering currently enrolls the largest percentage of female students of any department in Newark College of Engineering -- 41 percent of the department's students are women.
In 2002, the department was renamed to honor Otto H. York, chemical engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, who is a long-time benefactor of the university. York has pledged $1 million to the department to establish an endowment supporting scholarships to attract outstanding students and to support faculty research.