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.
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Professor Mark Simmons
Head of Chemical Engineering
“The future of Chemical Engineering lies in the production of molecules and materials which enhance our everyday lives for example foods and personal products. Drug molecules targeted to specific parts of the body, and new energy systems to reduce emissions. Our progressive new courses in Chemical Engineering place our undergraduates at the forefront of these exciting new challenges.”
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.
The industrial placements are within companies in the UK, therefore you are eligible for this programme if you are able to work legally in the UK.You need to be accepted by the industrial sponsor hosting the placement. Their selection process is usually done through interviews.
The course offers a modular programme of study, which normally leads to the award of Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) with industrial study in four years. A breakdown of modules and credits can be seen on the Curriculum Summary (pdf) for this course.
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. One major, optional, opportunity to hone these skills and put many of them into practice, is attendance on our residential course at the University’s own outward bound centre in the Lake District. IT skills will be taught in our purpose-built computing facility.
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.
The third year develops the chemical engineering fundamentals further, to graduate level. All students undertake an industry-linked design project which enables them to put into practice all of the skills they have gained.
Year in Industry
You have the option to spend a year in industry at the end of your second year. We have strong links with a large number of key companies to assist you, including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, BP, EDF, ConocoPhilips, PepsiCo, Jaguar/Land Rover, ExxonMobil, Cadbury, AstraZeneca, Johnson Matthey and GlaxoSmithKline as well as with smaller to medium enterprises. Typically you will have to pass the interview process run by the company with which you are seeking a placement. The industrial placement gives you experience of working in the chemical engineering field which will enhance your CV and allow you to acquire further knowledge and employability skills. Our industrial liaison tutor will be able to advise you about the application procedures.
What's an industrial placement like?
An industrial placement is a great way to experience work and enhance your career prospects. But what is it like? What do you do on a placement? John, one of our students, wrote a blog about his period in industry.
Read John's blog
Generic skills-training, focusing on transferable skills and employability, is embedded throughout the course from the outset, and will ensure that you are equipped with the ICT, presentation, team-working and problem solving skills which will enhance your employability on graduation.
BEng or MEng? The first two years of the BEng course are identical to our Master of Master of Engineering (MEng) programme H802 , which means that you can delay your final choice of degree until the end of your second year. Entry onto the MEng programme is dependent upon successful completion of your second year and you must provide excellent results (i.e. be on target for a minimum of a high 2ii).
At Birmingham, we provide diverse, yet balanced, courses, enabling our graduates to gain employment in a wide range of industries. Teaching is provided by lecturers who are global experts in their field, with multi-million pound investment providing leading-edge teaching facilities and laboratories.
We produce graduates who can function in today's fast-changing marketplace, and your career prospects will be excellent. Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment.
Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends.
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 compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:
Funding opportunities are available.
Chemical Engineering Scholarships
Please view scholarships and prizes for Chemical Engineering undergraduates for further information.
Tuition fees for placement years
There is a tution 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.
- 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. We will consider Standard Level Mathematics grade 7.
Only considered when combined with other qualifications.
Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.
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.
You will need to submit an application through UCAS to be considered for study using the UCAS code for this course.
Demand for places is high and we advise applicants to apply early. Please remember to provide full information on your education
history when you apply www.ucas.com.
Learn more about
Key Information Set (KIS)
Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.
All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.
The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.
The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.
You will be taught by a mixture of professors, doctors and postgraduates, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience.You can find out more about the members of staff in the School
of Chemical Engineering where you can read about their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest.
Collaborative Teaching Laboratory
The Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL), planned to open in 2018/19, will become a hub for science & engineering teaching, with multifunctional labs suitable for subject-specific and cross-disciplinary teaching and team working.
What you can expect
Throughout your BEng and MEng 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.
At the start of your degree, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor who will remain with you throughout your studies to help you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and dealing with any welfare issues. During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into University. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.
Delivery of the course
In your first and second years, the course is delivered as lectures, small group workshops, laboratories, computer-based activities, enquiry-based learning and tutorials. A strong emphasis is placed on design and research project work in your third and fourth years respectively
Practical work forms an integral part of the School's degree programmes. Laboratory classes are embedded within modules in years 1 and 2 and used, not only to develop your experimental practical skills, but also to reinforce concepts introduced in lectures or to explore a particular phenomenon. Many of these classes take place in the Dearden Laboratory created in 2011.
Tutorials/personal tutorials run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate the lecture material, as well as test your understanding through problem-solving exercises. Your Personal Tutor is assigned to you at the start of your course and remains with you until graduation, helping you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and helping with welfare issues.
Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) provides an environment where your learning process is driven by enquiry. The lecturer's role is purely as a facilitator. Typically a group activity; this requires working in a team and you can be assessed in a variety of ways: in either a group or individually, by written reports and sometimes as a presentation. EBL will give you a research-orientated approach to a problem, and has a synergy within research-led institutions like the University of Birmingham.
Plant design is critical to chemical engineering and this is taught through the design project. The projects are run in collaboration with industrial partners and taught by small group tutorial consultations where emphasis is on developing your design and communication skills to solve problems. If you are an MEng you will undertake a research project. You can choose from a wide range of topics and will be supported by an academic whose research interests have lead to that project being offered.
The course modules are taught through lectures, tutorial problem classes, laboratories and/or project work. Assessment methods used are examinations, written assignments and laboratory and project reports. The balance of examinations and coursework for an individual module reflects the nature of the subject being covered. Some courses are evaluated purely by examination while others only by coursework. A strong emphasis is placed on project work in the third and fourth years. Examinations are taken in May and June.
We place strong emphasis on providing prompt and informative feedback on all pieces of work that you submit during your studies. Feedback comes in a variety of forms, including written feedback on pieces of assessment, class feedback sessions and one-on-one discussions with your tutors. In all cases, the feedback will highlight the good points as well as those areas that require more attention.
During your first year the University will require you to undergo a formal 'transition' review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in the School and can help with any academic issue you encounter.
At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed for your particular programme of study. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build upon what you have done. You will be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.
The Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survy 2015/16 shows that 90% of our graduates are in employment or further study six months after graduation.
The chemical, pharmaceutical, oil, energy and food industries are amongst the wealthiest and can afford to pay top salaries to high-flying graduates from accredited courses such as ours. Manufacturing and other areas of science and technology, such as environmental protection or sustainable energy, also have employers with large power bases where great careers can be forged. Other areas that favour the skills you will acquire are finance, law and marketing as well as teaching and/or research; all vital areas of society requiring input from the finest young minds.
Superb opportunities exist for you to gain industrial experience before you graduate and a rich vein of expertise will be available for you to tap into to help you to find employment:
At School-level, you can opt to add a year to your programme, whatever the course you are studying, and spend this time on placement in industry. You will gain relevant work experience, and earn money putting into practice the skills and knowledge gained from your degree. Students on placement get involved in serious projects which ask searching questions that require good engineering answers - and which often lead to sponsorship and/or the offer of a graduate job. On successful completion of a placement in industry organised by the School, and success in your studies, you will be awarded the Certificate in Industrial Studies to add to your degree and improve your employability prospects.
At University-level, our unique careers guidance service is tailored to academic subject areas, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team sources exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge. 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.
Whichever of the above forms of careers guidance, or combination of such, you select you will find your prospects for employment after graduation considerably enhanced. If you make the most of the wide range of careers advice we can offer, you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
Emma Roberts, who studied one of our courses, said:
'Both my work and placements helped to put my studies in context and make informed career decisions.' 'The course I took gave me an excellent foundation for a career in chemical engineering; good lab work in the first few years really put the lectures in context.
An emphasis was placed on how engineering applies to the real world, which was exactly what I was looking for in a degree course. Industrial experience taught me a lot about time management, working in a team and being flexible; and the course gave me an excellent foundation for my career with BP.'
The graduate employment market is competitive, many employers require evidence of employability or being ready for the world of work.
Internships represent a great way for you to gain experience of the workplace. They also offer employers the opportunity of clarifying what they are looking for and perhaps even assessing interns for future employment.
We offer our students the opportunity of internship placements during their time at Birmingham.
The video below talks to students, staff and employers about their internship experience:
University Careers Network
Preparing for your future career should be one of the first things you think
about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future
aspirations lie or would rather consider the broad range of opportunities that
are available to you once you have your degree, our Careers
Network are there
to help you to achieve your goal.
Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject
area, offering specialised expert advice and mentoring, as well as guidance
you to secure exclusive work-experience opportunities and global internships,
all of which will help you to stand out from the competition. Once you have
a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs, interview practice
applications will further help to give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed,
Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular
activities and is an accredited employability programme designed to improve
If you make the most of the wide range of services
you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
Visit the careers section of the University website for further information.
Our Chemical Engineering programmes are accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers.
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.
Engineering Society is extremely
active and organises many social, industrial, sporting and charity events throughout
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.
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.