What is Chemical Engineering?

Photo of two engineers in front of a plant

Chemical Engineers need to be problem solvers, who also enjoy science and maths. They must be looking for a challenge and be excited by a degree choice that will help them develop a wide range of skills including business, management, IT, health and safety and team work.

Chemical Engineers use their creative ability and technical training to turn discoveries in the lab into products essential in the modern society. The chemical process industries, which produces everyday commodities such as pharmaceuticals, food, toiletries, paints and plastics, are some of the most successful parts of the UK's economy. Today, however, processes, apart from profitable, must also use natural resources efficiently, they must be safe and one must ensure that they do not harm the environment. The challenges for sustainable development demand graduates who are both well trained and flexible.

UCL pioneered the teaching of chemical engineering in the UK. Today the Department of Chemical Engineering is one of the best in the country with high ratings in the government lead Teaching and Research Assessment Exercises. The current programmes are designed to provide flexible training for students to meet the future demands of the process industries.

Photo of chemical plant at night

There are excellent opportunities and career prospects for graduate chemical engineers, both within the UK and overseas. You will have many employment opportunities in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, oil and gas production, contract engineering and manufacturing. You will also be well prepared to consider further study at Master’s or research level at UCL or elsewhere. The rewards open to you are attractive – the average income of a trainee chartered engineer is consistently higher than that of graduates of other engineering disciplines according to the IChemE. Furthermore, you need not restrict your career to the process industry, as you will be highly employable in sectors such as management consultancy and finance.

The department has a Careers Adviser who arranges company visits/presentations, maintains links with the main employers of graduates and works closely with the UCL Careers Service.

Page last modified on 14 sep 12 17:16