Study Chemical Engineering

What do Chemical Engineers do? Have you ever imagined that it is a really cool, dynamic and fun career with an impact on every aspect of our daily working lives?

Study Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineers are employed around the world in a first-class, largely graduate profession. They work in a variety of sectors, ranging from chemicals to energy, food and drink, pharmaceuticals and health care. The roles they undertake are numerous and include inventing, designing, constructing, operating and controlling industrial processes for a wide range of products on which everyone's standard of living depends.

These products may be bulk commodity chemicals and polymers, such as plastics, or more specialised products manufactured on a small scale, such as enzymes. Products are made by inducing chemical or physical changes in materials, through reaction or separation and mixing, for example - a Chemical Engineer must understand these processes at the molecular level as well as on a factory scale.

Many of the companies employing Chemical Engineers are names that are instantly recognised all over the world, such as Cadbury Schweppes, GlaxoSmithKline, Procter and Gamble, Esso and Unilever, to name but a few. There are opportunities to work in small and medium sized businesses that frequently provide technical services to the larger concerns. For the adventurous, there are also opportunities to operate either as a consultant within a particular industry sector, or to run your own business.

Practical Solutions

At the forefront of tomorrow's scientific and technological development, tackling some of the world's most urgent problems, Chemical Engineers are also rising to the challenge of finding innovative and practical solutions which are economically viable, environmentally benign and safe.

If you are bright, a good communicator, motivated, able to work on your own or as part of a team, and are interested in a challenge, you are a prime candidate to study Chemical Engineering at university. A good level of education with a strong scientific element, preferably including Maths and Chemistry, is required, although other science subjects are acceptable.

For a number of years, students have had the opportunity to combine the study of Chemical Engineering with other areas, such as languages or management, giving a broader feel to the degree. There have also been opportunities for increased specialisation while still studying at undergraduate level by taking courses that focus on specific areas, such as the environment. Further examples of combined courses have featured Applied Chemistry, thus adding a further dimension in terms of both depth and breadth. Graduates from these courses continue to be valued in areas that are considered 'traditional' Chemical Engineering.

We live in a fast-moving world, and 'new technologies' are beginning to feature as major employers of graduates in science-based and technological areas. This has resulted in a need for an increased number of graduates with a greater understanding of science, combined with the skills offered as a result of studying Chemical Engineering. The Institution has therefore collaborated with the Royal Society of Chemistry to develop a scheme that recognises a combined course in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. To date, one such course has been accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), with the potential for others to follow suit.

Completion of an accredited degree and four or five years industrial experience (possibly through a formal training program) can lead to full membership of the IChemE (meaning you can use the letters MIChemE after your name) and be accorded status as a Chartered Chemical Engineer - essential in any successful career in Chemical Engineering.

Universities welcome international students, and most have lively international communities with good support systems that often extend to your family during the period you are at university.

Universities recognise most foreign qualifications, but if you are unsure about whether your qualifications are suitable for your chosen degree programme, universities are happy to advise. They can also offer advice on all other matters relating to living and studying in the UK. In these circumstances, the International Office or the Admissions Tutor in the Department should be the first port of call.

Career Opportunities

Clearly, a degree in Chemical Engineering has always provided the skills to open doors to the careers of the future - and combined degrees will only increase these opportunities. There has been a steady growth in the worldwide demand for graduate Chemical ngineers, and since the move to combined courses has been in response to an industrial need, there is no reason to doubt that these graduates will also be in demand.

It is the multi-disciplinary skills that a Chemical Engineering degree affords that enables graduates to keep their options open. They are a valuable resource to many employers and are thus well rewarded. The latest salary survey undertaken by the IChemE shows that Chemical Engineers consistently earn more on average than those in other engineering disciplines.

So, if it all sounds like the future for you, why not find out more at and take the first step on your journey to a fun-packed, well rewarded and fulfilling career. Chemical Engineering - could it be for you?

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