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How to chose between a Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Degree Watch

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    (Original post by Mike93L)
    They are very different degrees. Chemistry is an experimental science whereas Chem eng is essentially specialised engineering.

    You'll do a lot of theoretical stuff in chemistry like quantum and organic etc whereas in Chem eng it's all about production of useful products eg petrol or pharmaceuticals on an industrial scale.

    Essentially there is little actual chemistry in Chem eng with maybe some basics and some reaction and catalyst chemistry. There's a lot of maths though.

    It depends whether you prefer the theory or practical side of things. Eg in chemistry you'll focus on synthesising something whereas Chem eng is about mass producing and making the process efficient.
    Disagree. Whilst the degrees are different, the careers are varied and do overlap somewhat. Chemistry can lead to a production role, and chemical engineering can lead to pilot plant work and research later on. And the line blurs even more as many experienced professionals with CEng also have the CChem designation too. So it's really about where you are, what connections you have, and the path you want to pursue.

    Agree with the rest of your post though.
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    Had no idea chemistry and chem. engineering degrees were so different until doing some research. I'm having the same dilemma as OP - I'm torn between chemistry and chem. engineering. I hope to work in R&D of alternative energy sources when I graduate.
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    (Original post by theoaze)
    Had no idea chemistry and chem. engineering degrees were so different until doing some research. I'm having the same dilemma as OP - I'm torn between chemistry and chem. engineering. I hope to work in R&D of alternative energy sources when I graduate.
    For undergrad, I imagine you can do either at this stage. If you're looking at pure R&D then you'll probably be looking at doing a PhD, and I think a lot of the energy ones i've seen take applicants across a wide-ish background, chemistry and chem eng both being possible. I'd have a look on some current PhD advertisements though. Without a PhD it's very hard to crack into large companies. For smaller companies, I guess it's probably possible without still, but I imagine chemistry is a better bet as you'll actually undertake a research project during your undergraduate degree. I don't know enough about chemeng to comment on that but someone else here i'm sure can.
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    (Original post by addylad)
    Disagree. Whilst the degrees are different, the careers are varied and do overlap somewhat. Chemistry can lead to a production role, and chemical engineering can lead to pilot plant work and research later on. And the line blurs even more as many experienced professionals with CEng also have the CChem designation too. So it's really about where you are, what connections you have, and the path you want to pursue.

    Agree with the rest of your post though.
    I wasn't talking about the careers though. That's a different story. I stand by that the degrees are very different from each other. Though, that's not to say a Chem grad can't end up doing work in industry or even switch into chem eng field or that a chem eng grad can't do research.
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    (Original post by Mike93L)
    I wasn't talking about the careers though. That's a different story. I stand by that the degrees are very different from each other. Though, that's not to say a Chem grad can't end up doing work in industry or even switch into chem eng field or that a chem eng grad can't do research.
    :confused: I agreed that the degrees are different, so no need to 'stand by' it.
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    Why don't you think you could hack a chemistry degree?
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    ChemEng is more physics related then chemistry, I would say out of 6 modules (different classes) we always have 1 pure chemistry lesson, and for the majority of the other lessons it's about using slightly basic chemistry such as properties of certain materials and substances to design reactors etc, we also have bio engineering lessons where biology is incorporated.

    If you enjoy chemistry more I would say go with that, but if you can hack doing about 70/30 (rough estimate) physics and chemistry then ChemEng is for u.


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