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Study abroad : Subject Guides

What is chemical engineering?

Chemical engineering plays a part in everyone’s life and a degree in this field can lead to several incredible careers. We take a deeper look into why you should study chemical engineering.

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There is so much that we use daily that we take for granted. This is even true of those things that would have been out of place just a few decades ago. Whether it’s smart technology or life-changing medical equipment, much of these modern tools wouldn’t be possible without the field of chemical engineering. A degree in chemical engineering appeals to students from all over the world. With chemical engineers in high demand and the field constantly growing, now is a great time to join this area of expertise.


What is chemical engineering?


While you might not have delved into chemical engineering in detail, it impacts almost everyone’s life, even in small ways. Chemical engineers put chemistrybiology and physics into practice to create products and materials for everyday use or a specific industry.


The day-to-day role of the average chemical engineer includes:


  • converting raw materials into something more useful. 
  • developing and designing new products and putting them through several rigorous tests.
  • presenting test results and findings to relevant businesses and governing bodies. 


While you may graduate with a degree in Chemical Engineering, this field can take you down several specific paths in this field, including:


  • biotechnology
  • energy engineering
  • nuclear engineering
  • product development
  • environmental engineering


Why pursue a career in this field?


Those with a science background in their education may be interested in pursuing a career in chemical engineering. Although relatively recent compared to other areas of science, it is rapidly growing and making changes that impact the entire world regularly. 


Chemical engineers can find themselves in many industries, including at the forefront of the fight to protect the environment. Chemical engineering can be a rewarding career path as it provides many different roles to work in and high earning potential. Popular chemical engineering roles include:


  • materials engineer
  • analytical chemist
  • manufacturing engineer
  • quality manager
  • water engineer
  • waste management officer


Haven’t applied to university yet? Find out more about the process.


Who can study chemical engineering?


While each university and course will have its entry requirements, students with a background in science, engineering, chemistry, or mathematics can usually apply to study chemical engineering. You'll usually need an A-Level result of AAB or equivalent to gain entry. That's a minimum of 36 points for the International Baccalaureate or an SAT score of 1320.  


While a relevant educational background will benefit you, the comprehensive education most chemical engineering courses provide means that you can still go down this path, even if you have found an interest in this area much later in your educational journey.


A course like this requires a lot of work with maths and physics as it involves regularly working with complex calculations to achieve a specific result or present certain findings. Students with a background in maths may also find that this degree suits them well.


The UK and US have some of the best chemical engineering courses in the world as well as offering great student experiences, take a look at how they compare.


Where to study chemical engineering?


Chemical engineering degrees can be found globally, which is great to hear if you’re a student already interested in this subject and want to study abroad. Like many degrees, some universities are known for their top engineering courses and can offer an unmatched education.


Some of these are:



Each of these universities, and many others, offer chemical engineering courses that will not only expand on any science education you’ve already had. They'll also give you the knowledge and skills needed to hit the ground running in a relevant career from the start.


The world of chemical engineering is vast and is only becoming more so. Graduates with a chemical engineering degree under their belt will find a challenging yet rewarding line of potential career options.


Find the perfect chemical engineering course for you with our course matcher tool.


Want to check which program suits you the best?
Find out with our new "Course Matcher" tool!

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