Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that is concerned with turning raw materials into useful products, for example food, drinks, metals, and beauty products. You will utilise chemistry, physics, mathematics and economics to use, transform and transport chemicals, materials and energy.
Highlighted courses and degrees in Chemical Engineering
An undergraduate degree in chemical engineering will give you a foundation of knowledge in the area. You will study modules on material science, organic chemistry and physical chemistry, among others. Throughout your degree, you will develop your practical skills and theoretical knowledge, preparing you for employment.
Your degree will be delivered in a mixture of modes. These will include lectures and seminars, as well as practical and laboratory sessions. You may be required to take part in a work placement module or year.
Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. This specialisation can influence where you choose to work after you have graduated. Common specialisations include:
If your degree required you to write a dissertation in your final year, this will give you an opportunity to further explore a favoured area of chemical engineering.
The accreditation of your chemical engineering course will depend on your institution, as well as the content of your degree. Typically, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng), or a Bachelor of Science (BSc).
In some countries, you may be required to gain professional accreditation before you are able to work as an engineer. Some degree courses are accredited or approved by a professional body of chemical engineering. Your institution will be able to provide you with more information about this.
Generally, an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering will take three to four years to complete. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years, when studied full-time.
Once you have successfully completed your degree, you can choose to either seek employment in your chosen area, or further your studies. Continuation of your studies could be in the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a masters or a PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate.
The entry requirements for a degree in chemical engineering will depend on where you choose to study. Some universities might require you to sit an entrance exam, where others may rely on previous exam results. Some universities may prefer you to have studied certain subjects, and others might consider previous relevant work experience.
You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their chemical engineering programmes.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary greatly from institution to institution. You should make sure that you are aware of how much your course will cost you.
You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.
The most common destination for chemical engineering graduates is working within jobs directly related to their degree. You might work as a chemical engineer, energy engineering and petroleum engineer. As well as this, you could work in the processing industries, managing and developing chemical processes.
If you choose to work within an industry not related to chemical engineering, you will be able to make use of your transferable skills. Skills gained include problem solving, project management, attention to detail, and research skills.
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