Chemical Engineering BEng

Start date
3 years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:
£9,250 (UK/EU)
£23,400 (International)
Further information

Our inspiring Chemical Engineering BEng degree programme equips you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary to shape and transform the future of chemicals, fuels and products, services and processes made and developed using chemical engineering expertise.

Chemical Engineering BEng

Birmingham has one of the largest concentrations of chemical engineering excellence in the UK and we consistently rank among the country’s top five chemical engineering schools for research. This means our courses provide first-class opportunities to learn core technical and transferrable skills from the world’s best academics in their field, as well as through industrial collaborations with leading multinational companies.

If you love solving problems and relish the idea of combining science, maths and engineering to develop new technologies, processes and products, then this Chemical Engineering BEng degree has been formulated for you. On the course you will study the fundamentals of chemical engineering – including reaction and catalyst engineering, thermodynamics, energy systems, process control, safety, ethics and environmental impact and transport phenomena – and how this knowledge is applied to real-world challenges; even to problems that haven’t yet arisen.

Project work – highly valued by employers – is a thread that runs throughout our degree programmes in order to create well-rounded chemical engineers. Problems are posed in a ‘real-world’ environment where decisions need to be made when data and information are scarce. There is significant industry input on the third-year design project, which will see you designing a specific and realistic chemical process, championed by an industrial partner.

Our courses are flexible, allowing you to transfer between chemical engineering degree programmes if you want, and also to choose optional modules so as to tailor your degree to your interests and skills. Chemical engineering has a profound impact on our daily lives – and you can be part of that.

Why study Chemical Engineering BEng at Birmingham?

  • A multi-million-pound investment in new state-of-the-art buildings with purpose built laboratories
  • All students undertake a design project in third year to design a particular chemical process, championed by an industrial partner
  • Excellent industrial links with major national and international companies such as BP, Shell, AstraZeneca, GSK and ExxonMobil
  • CV and interview workshops led by industrial representatives to give students first-hand experience of the job application route
  • The Birmingham Centre for Cryogenic Energy Storage in the School of Chemical Engineering is the first in the UK to have a research facility for energy storage using cryogenic liquids, comprising new laboratories, state of the art equipment, and a major demonstration plant

The undergraduate course here is very well supplemented in the first 2 years with a range of lab sessions which allowed me to learn outside of lectures and tutorials. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to gain technical skills and investigate some real Chem Eng principles in a welcoming, friendly environment. Over the course of my degree, I came to realise that I loved working in a lab, with people passionate about the same things I am. The hands-on experiences offered as part of the course, coupled with excellent facilities and approachable lecturers steered me towards applying for a PhD, also at UoB!

Matt Keith, MEng Chemical Engineering

Interested in Computer Science?

Our ' Year in Computer Science'  offers students from non-computing disciplines the chance to gain in-depth knowledge of computing and enhance their work-based skills through the study of Computer Science. 


Year 1

Here you are introduced to the fundamentals of chemical and energy engineering and the chance to learn about other engineering disciplines.  Here, also, you will begin to develop the transferable skills that will carry you through your course, and beyond, into your life as a professional engineer. All modules compulsory.

  • Chemistry and Materials - 20 credits
  • Modelling Concepts and Tools 1 - 10 credits
  • Modelling Concepts and Tools 2 - 10 credits
  • Introduction to Transport Phenomena 1 - 10 credits
  • Introduction to Transport Phenomena 2 - 10 credits
  • Process Design and Analysis 1 - 10 credits
  • Process Design and Analysis 2 - 10 credits
  • Reaction, Equilibria and Thermodynamics - 20 credits
  • Labs and Data Analysis 1 - 10 credits
  • Labs and Data Analysis 2 - 10 credits

Year 2

Themes begun in the first year are developed to the standard you need as a professional engineer. You study advanced heat and mass transfer, reactors and catalysis and unit operations. Emphasis is placed on teamwork and the use of our research laboratories is exploited.

Core modules

  • Reactors, Catalysis and Thermodynamics - 20 credits
  • Sustainable Process Engineering - 20 credits
  • Process Systems and Principles of Process Control - 20 credits
  • Mass Heat and Momentum Transport - 20 credits
  • Process Integration and Unit Operations - 20 credits
  • Computing for Chemical Engineers - 10 credits
  • Product Design Exercise - 10 credits

Year 3

Your third year develops the chemical engineering fundamentals further, to graduate level. You will undertake an industry-linked design project which enables them to put into practice all of the skills they have gained.

Core modules

  • Advanced Reactions and Thermodynamics - 20 credits
  • Multiphase Systems - 20 credits
  • Design Project - 40 credits

Optional modules will be themed in Industry, Healthcare, Formulation and Energy

Select 40 credits of options. Example modules may include:

Industry theme:

  • Petrochemical Engineering - 10 credits
  • Plant Optimisation - 10 credits

Healthcare theme:

  • Introduction to Healthcare Technologies - 10 credits

Formulation Theme:

  • Processing for Formulation - 10 credits
  • Engineering of Food - 10 credits

Energy Theme:

  • Efficient use of Energy - 10 credits
  • Energy Economics - 10 credits

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2020. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to core modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Annual tuition fees 2020/21

  • £9,250 - UK/EU
  • £23,400 - International

Visit our  tuition fees page for more information.


At Birmingham we ensure that fears about finance do not constrain prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded.


Tuition fees for placement years (where applicable)

There is a reduced tuition fee for the academic year spent in industry or whilst studying abroad (where available). Fee information and further clarification is available on the University fees and funding page.


For students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the website.

How To Apply

Apply through the UCAS website using code H800.

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

View advice on how to apply for undergraduate courses.

Standard offer

International Requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
A level Mathematics and Chemistry required. A level Physics is advantageous but not required. AS Physics required if mechanics module is not taken with Mathematics A level. You must also pass the practical element of any reformed science A levels which include Biology, Chemistry and Physics taught from 2015.

General Studies, Critical Thinking and Use of Maths A Levels are not accepted.

International Baccalaureate Diploma:

7,6,6 at Higher Level including Mathematics and Chemistry at Higher Level grade 6 with a minimum of 32 points overall.  We will consider Standard Level Mathematics grade 7.


Only considered when combined with other qualifications.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

Foundation Year

Would you like to study for one of our degrees but lack the entry qualifications we require? Consider a Foundation Year programme which can lead to entry onto one of our courses.

International Students

We accept a range of international qualifications, please contact the admissions tutor for more information.


Standard English language requirements apply, learn more about international entry requirements.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

The benefits of studying at our world-renowned School are many: You will be taught by academic staff, who are global leaders in their field; we attract an average of £10 million-plus in research income each year; we have excellent industrial links with companies from BP and GSK to Unilever and Procter and Gamble, and we boast world-class teaching and laboratory facilities.

How you will learn

Development of core technical and transferable skills is at the heart of our teaching from day one. You’ll learn through a combination of lectures, tutorials and project work.

Companies with whom we enjoy close links, such as BP, ExxonMobil and AstraZeneca, regularly come into School to give guest lectures. Industry will also have significant input in your third/final-year design project. You’ll take part in team-based project work in each year of the degree course, where the knowledge you learn in lectures and tutorials is applied in a small-group environment. Other ways you will learn include the opportunity to attend our transferable and teamworking skills weekend held at the University’s pioneering Raymond Priestley outdoor education centre on the shores of Lake Coniston in the Lake District.

How you will be assessed

Modules are assessed in a variety of ways: exams, written assignments and laboratory and project reports. The exam-coursework balance for each module is dependent on the study subject. There’s a strong emphasis on project work in the final year/s of your degree course.

Your personal tutor

As soon as you join us, you’ll be assigned a personal tutor, who will remain with you throughout your studies. Their role is to help you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and dealing with any welfare issues that might arise. You’ll be able to talk to your personal tutor about anything that is troubling you.

Seminars and tutorials

The course modules are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorial problem classes, lab and project work.

Small-group and one-to-one tutorials run alongside lectures. Their aim is to address any problems you may have and to consolidate lecture material, as well as testing your understanding through problem-solving exercises.

Self-study is an essential part of the programme. As well as developing self-motivation, it also allows you to pursue your own lines of inquiry and to think independently.

Lecturers and world-leading researchers

Your lecturers are not only experts in their fields; they are passionate about passing on their knowledge and expertise. Our School has long been at the forefront of global research, carried out in collaboration with industry, to address some of the world’s biggest challenges – energy, healthcare technology advancement and the manufacture of healthier food, among others. The international reach of our research is evidenced by our top result for impact in the UK Research Excellence Framework in 2014 and a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011.

Resources and facilities

Our world-class teaching and laboratory facilities include state-of-the-art study spaces and computer suites, and the jewel in the crown – a new £40 million Collaborative Teaching Laboratory, where we use the latest educational technologies to reinvent lab classes and showcase the fundamental principles behind chemical engineering. The space has been designed to enable and encourage collaborative and interdisciplinary working, something valued by employers.

Our award-winning  Chemical Engineering Society (BUCES) greatly enhances the life of the School, hosting academic and social events throughout the year.

About the Collaborative Teaching Laboratory

Contact Hours

Throughout your Chemical Engineering degree you can expect an average of about 14 hours of contact time per week comprising approximately nine hours of lectures, four hours of tutorial and one hour of laboratory based activity. This will vary from module to module throughout the programme.

Your chemical engineering degree from Birmingham will equip you with the technical, analytical and professional skills needed to lead future change and innovation in a variety of sectors – from oil and gas and pharmaceuticals to energy and finance. 

The Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2016/17 shows that 92% of our department's graduates are in graduate-level employment or further study six months after graduation.

As a School, we enhance your employability further by providing a dedicated Industrial Tutor who helps students with sourcing placements, CV writing and interview preparation, as well as working closely with industry to strengthen our links and build new relationships.

Our degrees provide you not only subject-specific skills such as advanced analytical expertise and problem solving; they also furnish you with confidence in leadership, evaluation and team-work, creating a well-rounded graduate.

Chemical Engineering prepared me for my career by teaching me the core principles of engineering so I could then apply them to technical problems within the workplace. I applied these when I worked in my placement year at Dow Corning.

Will Davies, MEng Chemical Engineering graduate

Graduates who have studied our courses:

Example employers

  • BP
  • ExxonMobil
  • Unilever
  • Glaxosmithkline
  • Tata Steel
  • Imerys
  • AstraZeneca
  • Cadbury

Example careers

  • Process engineer
  • Design engineer
  • Analytical scientist
  • Formulation engineer
  • Production engineer
  • Patent attorney
  • Project manager
  • Investment banker

I was extremely lucky to get an industrial placement at Unilever, one of the world's largest FMCG companies. At the core of the company is the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which is what I really wanted to work on when I joined the company. I was working in a detergent factory in Port Sunlight. It was a great experience knowing that products from the lines I was working on, like Persil, Cif and Domestos, were being used by people every day.

I did a lot of work towards making the factory more sustainable, by using less water and I also got involved in new factory technology. My work got noticed by some very high-up people in the company, so much so that they offered me a job! On returning to University for my final year, I have been able to pick modules to do with sustainability and the environment, which I think will help me when I return to Unilever in September.

Seb Gibson, MEng Chemical Engineering with Industrial Study

Careers Network

We provide a wealth of opportunities to develop your career. From your first day at Birmingham to after you graduate, the Careers Network  is here to help you identify and achieve your individual career aspirations through its wide range of services.

Our dedicated careers team brings you information, advice and guidance tailored to your specific needs. Careers advisers offer one-to-one advice appointments where you can discuss your career plans and explore your options. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning  Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

Visit the Careers Network website for more details


Our multi-award-winning work experience team has dedicated internship officers to help find the right work experience for you. Make the most of these opportunities and apply for our Work Experience Bursary Scheme, the Birmingham Undergraduate Internship Programme or one of our successful mentoring schemes. 

The video below talks to students, staff and employers about their internship experience:

Professional Accreditation