Chemical Engineering with Foundation Year

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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Chemical Engineering is dynamic and evolving. It provides many solutions to problems facing industries in the pharmaceutical, biotechnological, oil and food and drink sectors.Our foundation course in chemical engineering has been designed to be relevant to the needs of modern industry and to produce students ready to move onto any of our undergraduate degree programmes.

By the end of one of our courses you should be able to:

  • have a systematic and diverse knowledge of Chemical Engineering, including specialisms such as biochemical engineering, sustainability and environment.
  • 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

Programme Outline

This programme gives you experience of teamwork and developing computer literacy and presentation skills as well as the required grounding in maths and science. Following the Foundation Year, a successful student can transfer to any of the Beng/MEng Chemical Engineering programmes

International Students

International students should see the Birmingham International Academy.

Why study this course

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.


Modules include:

  • Introductory Maths
  • Further Maths
  • Introduction to Organic Chemistry
  • Skills
  • Practical Chemistry
  • Mechanics and Waves I and II
  • Foundation Electrical and Electronic Engineering I and II
  • Properties of  Matter
  • Case studies

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

Visit our  tuition fees page for more information.


The University offers a range of additional financial support for students studying at Birmingham in the form of other bursaries, grants and scholarships.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
3 May not include Maths and Chemistry in combination.
Typical offer:
BBB depending on your previous studies
Required subjects and grades:
GCSE Physics and Chemistry or Science double award at grade 7/A; GCSE Mathematics at grade 7/A, Plus three A levels at grade B or above.
General Studies:
not accepted

The Foundation Year Programme is designed for students who have not achieved the normal subjects and grades required for enter our first year, i.e. you have not studied a full A level or IB HL in Maths and Chemistry. 

Additional information:

International Baccalaureate: 32 overall with HL 5,5,5. May not include Maths and Chemistry in combination

BTEC Extended Diploma is  considered on a case by case basis, contact us for further guidance. 

Other qualifications considered, please contact the Admissions Tutor for clarification.

International students:

Please note this course is only open to UK/EU students. Overseas students may apply to 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 H892.

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.

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.


What can you expect

Depending on the modules you select, each week you will have 16-18 hours of lectures and  classes/labs per week, plus possible timetabled extra support classes for some students.

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. We advocate an enquiry-based learning approach and from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates). To begin with you may find this way of working challenging but rest assured we will enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support systems that will assist and encourage you.

Assessment methods

Assessment on the Beng/Meng courses is indicated below:

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.

Employability information relating to our Beng/Meng courses is indicated below:

The Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2016/17 shows that 92% of our Chemical Engineering graduates are in graduate-level 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 to help 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 and job applications will further help to give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed, award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities and is an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

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.

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.