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How to chose between a Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Degree Watch

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    I have to apply for uni in September and need to start choosing my courses. My A Levels are Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Geography (Planning on dropping Geography at AS and picking up Further Maths AS). I can't decide between doing a Chemistry or Chemical Engineering Degree- I love Chemistry and Maths which is where the idea of the chem eng degree came from and I am worried that I only love Chemistry because of the teachers I have had and couldn't do a 4 year degree course? Has anyone done either of these degrees and could give me some help?Also how much Chemistry do you do in a Chem Eng Degree?
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    What about physics - do you like it?
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    Do you like learning about the small scale?

    Or using what has been found to scale up to industrial use?

    If you like maths and physics more than the chem, then chemeng is the one.
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    i think the that in chem eng, its about applying your chemistry knowledge although i would think you wouldn't need to be reading books by the bucket load.
    Chemistry however, you've got to really think about it, lot of theory as you might expect
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    (Original post by Smack)
    What about physics - do you like it?
    I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Physics. I find some areas really interesting and some parts awful. I enjoyed the second unit (G492) containing the mechanics, quantum and waves bits but hated the G491 paper with the lenses and electricity.
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    (Original post by LJflowrie)
    I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Physics. I find some areas really interesting and some parts awful. I enjoyed the second unit (G492) containing the mechanics, quantum and waves bits but hated the G491 paper with the lenses and electricity.
    Well Chem Eng would be the G492 stuff mainly
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    (Original post by L'Evil Fish)
    Well Chem Eng would be the G492 stuff mainly
    Thats helpful to know! Thanks!
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    (Original post by LJflowrie)
    I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Physics. I find some areas really interesting and some parts awful. I enjoyed the second unit (G492) containing the mechanics, quantum and waves bits but hated the G491 paper with the lenses and electricity.
    I'm not sure on what the A-level physics syllabus covers, but have you done things like fluids, heat transfer, thermodynamics? If so, did you enjoy them? Chemical engineering involves a lot of the above, and lots of chemical engineering jobs are going to be based largely on that, rather than actually doing chemistry on a small or even large scale.
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    (Original post by LJflowrie)
    Thats helpful to know! Thanks!
    Although as seen below, you won't have covered most things.
    (Original post by Smack)
    I'm not sure on what the A-level physics syllabus covers, but have you done things like fluids, heat transfer, thermodynamics? If so, did you enjoy them? Chemical engineering involves a lot of the above, and lots of chemical engineering jobs are going to be based largely on that, rather than actually doing chemistry on a small or even large scale.
    That's more A2 and even then isn't covered in great detail.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    I'm not sure on what the A-level physics syllabus covers, but have you done things like fluids, heat transfer, thermodynamics? If so, did you enjoy them? Chemical engineering involves a lot of the above, and lots of chemical engineering jobs are going to be based largely on that, rather than actually doing chemistry on a small or even large scale.
    Im not sure if that gets covered next year but I attended a Cambridge Engineering Summer School and did a fluid lab there which was enjoyable, not sure about the other areas though. Thanks
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    Chemistry degrees contain a reasonable amount of quantum mechanics and thermodynamics/thermochemistry material. I think there's more lab work involved in a chemistry degree, versus ChemEng. Most chemical positions are smaller scale, although it doesn't all have to be tiny. I work generally on a kilogram scale which is quite good.

    I think if you want to be the guy in the lab, doing the chemistry and developing the materials and products then chemistry is probably your boat.

    If you want to be involved in the process side of it, involved in manufacture, and generally about the large scale application of it then chemical engineering is a far better choice. It is more engineering than chemistry though.
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    (Original post by Nymthae)
    Chemistry degrees contain a reasonable amount of quantum mechanics and thermodynamics/thermochemistry material. I think there's more lab work involved in a chemistry degree, versus ChemEng. Most chemical positions are smaller scale, although it doesn't all have to be tiny. I work generally on a kilogram scale which is quite good.

    I think if you want to be the guy in the lab, doing the chemistry and developing the materials and products then chemistry is probably your boat.

    If you want to be involved in the process side of it, involved in manufacture, and generally about the large scale application of it then chemical engineering is a far better choice. It is more engineering than chemistry though.
    :woo: can't wait for Chemistry!

    Quantum mechanics wise, do you use Schrödinger's and that?
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    (Original post by Nymthae)
    Chemistry degrees contain a reasonable amount of quantum mechanics and thermodynamics/thermochemistry material. I think there's more lab work involved in a chemistry degree, versus ChemEng. Most chemical positions are smaller scale, although it doesn't all have to be tiny. I work generally on a kilogram scale which is quite good.

    I think if you want to be the guy in the lab, doing the chemistry and developing the materials and products then chemistry is probably your boat.

    If you want to be involved in the process side of it, involved in manufacture, and generally about the large scale application of it then chemical engineering is a far better choice. It is more engineering than chemistry though.
    Thank you so much. A chemistry degree always seems to appeal to me more and sounds amazing, its just how much I wanted to use my maths and physics. The chemistry lab work also sounds amazing! Are you doing a Chemistry degree? Where are you studying?
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    (Original post by L'Evil Fish)
    :woo: can't wait for Chemistry!

    Quantum mechanics wise, do you use Schrödinger's and that?
    It certainly got mentioned a good few times, I can't claim to be that much wiser about it though... not my strong point modelling particles in boxes is useful. I did some quantum mechanics in both first and second year. Not done anything in third year but i've had reduced module content because i'm doing it by distance learning while i'm placement. It was surprisingly interesting stuff though, and I had a really good lecturer.

    (Original post by LJflowrie)
    Thank you so much. A chemistry degree always seems to appeal to me more and sounds amazing, its just how much I wanted to use my maths and physics. The chemistry lab work also sounds amazing! Are you doing a Chemistry degree? Where are you studying?
    If you really are into maths and physics then there's no reason why you can't specialise in physical chemistry down the line. It's not pure physics, but it's physics in a chemical context and plenty of maths if you want it. I'm just finishing my third year (sort of) - i've been on placement this year working for a major chemical company. Studying at Sheffield the lab work is quite daunting at first but it's easily been the best part of my degree so far because it's so much more engaging than sat in lectures and you feel like you're actually learning skills rather than some information you'll probably never need again.
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    (Original post by Nymthae)
    It certainly got mentioned a good few times, I can't claim to be that much wiser about it though... not my strong point modelling particles in boxes is useful
    Oh haha, I mentioned it in my PS but I don't know *that* much about it.
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    (Original post by LJflowrie)
    Im not sure if that gets covered next year but I attended a Cambridge Engineering Summer School and did a fluid lab there which was enjoyable, not sure about the other areas though. Thanks
    Okay. What do you actually think of the practical side of engineering? Is it something that interests you?
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    (Original post by Smack)
    Okay. What do you actually think of the practical side of engineering? Is it something that interests you?
    It seems really interesting. Its something that would always keep my interest and would never allow me to get bored (I think so anyway, its hard to know!). Im just worried whether I will be able to keep up with the work, I know it is one of the most demanding degrees out there.
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    (Original post by LJflowrie)
    It seems really interesting. Its something that would always keep my interest and would never allow me to get bored (I think so anyway, its hard to know!). Im just worried whether I will be able to keep up with the work, I know it is one of the most demanding degrees out there.
    I think you're going to end up in a demanding degree regardless, by the looks don't worry about the reputations of difficulty, you get out what you put in with courses like science and engineering.
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    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.
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    (Original post by LJflowrie)
    It seems really interesting. Its something that would always keep my interest and would never allow me to get bored (I think so anyway, its hard to know!). Im just worried whether I will be able to keep up with the work, I know it is one of the most demanding degrees out there.
    Engineering isn't any more (or less) demanding than other science degrees like chemistry or physics, so I wouldn't let that put you off if you've got your heart set on such a degree.
 
 
 
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