Chemical Engineering BEng

Chemical Engineering is dynamic and evolving. It provides many solutions to problems facing industries in the pharmaceutical, biotechnological, oil, energy and food and drink sectors.  It is vital to many issues affecting our quality of life; such as better and more economical processes to reduce the environmental burden, and more delicious and longer lasting food due to the right combination of chemistry, ingredients and processing.  

Birmingham is a friendly, self-confident, School which has one of the largest concentrations of chemical engineering expertise in the UK. The School is consistently in the top five chemical engineering schools for research in the country. It also has a first-class reputation in learning and teaching, and regularly ranks highly in league tables.


Guardian University Guide top ten

Times top 5 2019
Chemical Engineering Top 10 Complete University Guide

Chemical Engineering at Birmingham top 100 world-wide QS Ranking

Please be reassured that the vote to leave the European Union does not mean there will be any immediate material change to the UK university sector's participation in EU programmes such as Erasmus and study abroad programmes. Visit our EU Referendum information page for more information.

Stephen Watson

Stephen Watson

BEng Chemical Engineering, 1991

“The University of Birmingham Chemical Engineering program provided an excellent coverage of all the key chemical engineering topics (as you would expect). With this knowledge I was able to design the new plant for Shell. I was exposed to a wide range of cultures while at Birmingham, which was excellent preparation for working internationally both for Shell and then Arthur D. Little.”

This course has been designed to be relevant to the needs of modern industry and to produce graduates who have the personal and intellectual qualities to be successful in their chosen careers. By the end of the course, you will be equipped to play leading roles in a professional capacity in both industry and academia, and thus able to deal with issues at the forefront of the discipline. Once fully qualified you will:

  • have a systematic and diverse knowledge of modern Chemical Engineering, which embeds biochemical engineering, sustainable processing and environmental impact
  • work effectively as a Chemical Engineer in a professional capacity
  • understand novel developments and problems at the forefront of the discipline
  • evaluate current research critically, and be original in the application of your knowledge
  • be self-motivated and work autonomously
  • apply your technical knowledge and intellect to solve Chemical Engineering problems
  • make sound engineering judgements in the absence of complete information
  • use transferable skills to communicate effectively and work as part of a team
  • take responsibility for your continuing personal and professional development
  • have the fundamental grounding required to take you to the next part of your journey to becoming a professional chemical engineer.

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. 

Why study this course

  • 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


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.

  • Modelling Concepts and Tools - 20 credits
  • Introduction to Transport Phenomena - 20 credits
  • Process Design and Analysis - 20 credits
  • Chemistry for Engineers - 10 credits
  • Properties and Applications of Materials - 10 credits
  • Reaction, Equilibria and thermodynamics - 20 credits
  • Widening Horizon Modules - 20 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

  • Liquid Mixing in Industrial Systems - 10 credits
  • Reactors and Catalysis - 10 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 Design - 10 credits
  • Product Design Exercise 10 credits

Optional modules

Select 20 credits of options.

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

  • Processing for Formulation - 10 credits
  • Environmental Engineering and Life Cycle Analysis - 10 credits
  • Process and Project Management - 10 credits
  • Multiphase Systems - 20 credits
  • Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics - 10 credits
  • Design Project (Chem Eng) 40 credits

Optional modules

Select 20 credits of options.

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 2019. 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.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees 2019/20

UK/EU £9,250
International £22,260

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.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
A*AA / AAAA with A level Mathematics and Chemistry required
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.

Additional information:

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:

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.

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', including advice for UK, EU and overseas applicants.

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. 

Chemical Engineering employabilityThe 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.

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

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

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

The Chemical Engineering Society is extremely active and organises many social, industrial, sporting and charity events throughout the year.


Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.

International students

The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.

We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.