Chemistry -> ChemEng with MSc/PGDip? Watch

addylad
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Hi all

I'm studying a BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences with the Open University, and hoping for at least a 2:1. When I finish, I'd like to go into chemical engineering. Fortunately my degree is chemistry-based and my job involves a bit of process chemistry, so I'm not completely clueless.

I was considering using an MSc in Chemical Engineering/Process Design as a way into the field, but I would like to ask:
- How difficult is the work and would I have any trouble with some of the chem eng content, as I have not studied at undergrad level?
- Would you recommend a PGDip/graduate diploma in chem eng to give me the grounding in the engineering aspects? (One is undergrad level - this is the one I'm talking about.) Or should I go straight for the MSc?
- How would you recommend approaching an application for a post-grad course so that the chemistry background is not seen as an issue?

Many thanks in advance. My career depends on this route!

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Cora Lindsay
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(Original post by addylad)
Hi all

I'm studying a BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences with the Open University, and hoping for at least a 2:1. When I finish, I'd like to go into chemical engineering. Fortunately my degree is chemistry-based and my job involves a bit of process chemistry, so I'm not completely clueless.

I was considering using an MSc in Chemical Engineering/Process Design as a way into the field, but I would like to ask:
- How difficult is the work and would I have any trouble with some of the chem eng content, as I have not studied at undergrad level?
- Would you recommend a PGDip/graduate diploma in chem eng to give me the grounding in the engineering aspects? (One is undergrad level - this is the one I'm talking about.) Or should I go straight for the MSc?
- How would you recommend approaching an application for a post-grad course so that the chemistry background is not seen as an issue?

Many thanks in advance. My career depends on this route!

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I think you need to look individually at each of the possible courses. I am not a chemical engineer but I do work with them a bit and it is quite a different discipline from a more chemistry-based degree. It would require a fair degree of numeracy and computer-literacy so do you have that in your background? A background in synthesis and spectroscopy is likely to be less useful than a background in thermodynamics, kinetics and simulation, for example.

My impression is that, for the right person, a switch from chemistry to chemical engineering is possible (certainly academics do it) and an appropriate MSc would be a sensible thing. I suggest you look at each possible course and see if it could accommodate you- if in doubt, contact the course leader and just ask. Chemical engineering is certainly a good career path, and there is an acute shortage of them at the moment.

Hope this helps

Edit- for example the UCL MSc web page says "The programme is suitable for graduates in disciplines such as chemical engineering, material science and chemistry and its allied fields"
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addylad
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(Original post by Cora Lindsay)
I think you need to look individually at each of the possible courses. I am not a chemical engineer but I do work with them a bit and it is quite a different discipline from a more chemistry-based degree. It would require a fair degree of numeracy and computer-literacy so do you have that in your background? A background in synthesis and spectroscopy is likely to be less useful than a background in thermodynamics, kinetics and simulation, for example.

My impression is that, for the right person, a switch from chemistry to chemical engineering is possible (certainly academics do it) and an appropriate MSc would be a sensible thing. I suggest you look at each possible course and see if it could accommodate you- if in doubt, contact the course leader and just ask. Chemical engineering is certainly a good career path, and there is an acute shortage of them at the moment.

Hope this helps

Edit- for example the UCL MSc web page says "The programme is suitable for graduates in disciplines such as chemical engineering, material science and chemistry and its allied fields"
This is really helpful, thanks very much for contributing.

My NatSci degree will cover reactions, separation systems, thermodynamics, etc. I'm very computer-literate and will be studying some A level maths (undecided about taking the exams) to ensure I have no trouble, and I've purchased some chemical engineering books for the fluid mechanics, etc.

From what I've seen, process design has a lot more physics/engineering content than straight chemical engineering courses. So I'm still undecided but leaning towards chemical engineering. The chemistry background and my current job will hopefully be seen as an advantage. I'll definitely ring and speak to a few universities - I've e-mailed Manchester and they haven't said 'no', just mentioned the aforementioned topics that I need to know.

Thanks again!
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Cora Lindsay
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Well, I don't see what you lose by asking the question of the directors of the different courses you're thinking about and, if they're reasonably encouraging, then just apply.
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