zootzoot
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For an A-Level Chemistry student who doesn't know much about chemical engineering, what would you say chemical engineering is about (Is it all just about maintaining plants).

Is there much understanding of chemistry involved (Mainly refering to using reactions that other people have discovered)?

What are the job prospects like for chemical engineering, compared to chemistry degree?

Would doing a bsc in chemistry and then going onto do a Msc in ChemEng (e.g. UCL) be worthwhile if I decided I want to change career or would I be at a disadvantage compared to pure ChemEng degree students? Or can a chemistry student just apply for a lot of the ChemEng jobs - Mainly in the pharma or petrochemical industries.

Thank you
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LuigiMario
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I have a mate who wanted to be a Chem Eng, applied and got offers from Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Imperial (except imperial rejected her)

I think she wants to do chem reactions by the tonne, work for I N E O S (which seems to be a cycling organisation, too) and she wants to change the world (it is always possible to improve things that exist, new tech is always coming online, new ideas being tested)

I always think where you do your first degree, and what it is exactly in, doesn't matter that much - provided it has the good path through to what you want to do for your Masters, or Doctorate. I work closely with two Chem PhD's one is a world expert in nanotechnology & nanobiotech, and the other is developing international standards for renewable energy systems. My biggest suggestion is choose a first degree that has as much work experience as possible in your first three or four years, to allow you to choose where you want to go, with insider knowledge.
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zootzoot
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(Original post by LuigiMario)
I have a mate who wanted to be a Chem Eng, applied and got offers from Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Imperial (except imperial rejected her)

I think she wants to do chem reactions by the tonne, work for I N E O S (which seems to be a cycling organisation, too) and she wants to change the world (it is always possible to improve things that exist, new tech is always coming online, new ideas being tested)

I always think where you do your first degree, and what it is exactly in, doesn't matter that much - provided it has the good path through to what you want to do for your Masters, or Doctorate. I work closely with two Chem PhD's one is a world expert in nanotechnology & nanobiotech, and the other is developing international standards for renewable energy systems. My biggest suggestion is choose a first degree that has as much work experience as possible in your first three or four years, to allow you to choose where you want to go, with insider knowledge.
That sounds good.

I like chemistry at A-Level but the job prospects don't look to great for it and I'm not sure if I want to go into research either.

Chemical engineering on the other hand looks really interesting from what I've heard, good job prospects, a much more practical subject and is more involved with creating a product on mass, with someone else having done most of the chemistry theory of the reaction beforehand.
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Newcastle University Student Ambassador
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(Original post by zootzoot)
For an A-Level Chemistry student who doesn't know much about chemical engineering, what would you say chemical engineering is about (Is it all just about maintaining plants).

Is there much understanding of chemistry involved (Mainly refering to using reactions that other people have discovered)?

What are the job prospects like for chemical engineering, compared to chemistry degree?

Would doing a bsc in chemistry and then going onto do a Msc in ChemEng (e.g. UCL) be worthwhile if I decided I want to change career or would I be at a disadvantage compared to pure ChemEng degree students? Or can a chemistry student just apply for a lot of the ChemEng jobs - Mainly in the pharma or petrochemical industries.

Thank you
Hi zootzoot, if you enjoy Chemistry as a subject you would enjoy both Chemistry and Chemical Engineering degrees, you will need a good understanding of chemistry however, there is a lot less direct chemistry involved in Chemical Engineering as there are other non-chemistry-related modules. In Chemical Engineering some of the topics you're taught are how to perform, measure, analyse and manipulate chemical reactions and the design criteria for heat exchangers and other plant equipment used in process plants. You also typically learn about sustainable engineering, bioprocessing and process control.

You may find it helpful to have a look at Chemistry and Chemical Engineering modules to see which degree appeals to you more -
BSc Chemistry modules at Newcastle University: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/undergraduate/...#coursedetails
Chemical Engineering modules at Newcastle University: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/undergraduate/...#coursedetails
You can also check out the MSc Chemical Engineering modules: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/c...g-msc/#modules

Something else you may want to consider when choosing to do a BSc in Chemistry then an MSc in Chemical Engineering or a Chemical Engineering degree is that you can do an MEng. This is one degree (although it includes Bachelor teaching and Master teaching) for which you will only have to apply once and will be considered as one degree with regard to student finance in the UK, as opposed to doing a BSc + MSc for which you will have to apply once for each and will be considered as two separate degrees. If you decide to do a BSc in Chemistry and then an MSc in Chemical Engineering you may also need relevant industrial experience to apply for the MSc as most universities require a Chemical Engineering bachelor's degree to apply.

The job prospects are great for both degrees and Chemistry graduates can apply for some Chemical Engineering jobs, the Graduate Prospects website (the UK's Official Careers Website) can hopefully offer a lot more insight for you:
Chemistry: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-...gree/chemistry
Chemical Engineering: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-...al-engineering

If you have any other questions you can contact [email protected]
I hope this helps
- Jasmine
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zootzoot
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(Original post by Newcastle University Student Ambassador)
Hi zootzoot, if you enjoy Chemistry as a subject you would enjoy both Chemistry and Chemical Engineering degrees, you will need a good understanding of chemistry however, there is a lot less direct chemistry involved in Chemical Engineering as there are other non-chemistry-related modules. In Chemical Engineering some of the topics you're taught are how to perform, measure, analyse and manipulate chemical reactions and the design criteria for heat exchangers and other plant equipment used in process plants. You also typically learn about sustainable engineering, bioprocessing and process control.

You may find it helpful to have a look at Chemistry and Chemical Engineering modules to see which degree appeals to you more -
BSc Chemistry modules at Newcastle University: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/undergraduate/...#coursedetails
Chemical Engineering modules at Newcastle University: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/undergraduate/...#coursedetails
You can also check out the MSc Chemical Engineering modules: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/c...g-msc/#modules

Something else you may want to consider when choosing to do a BSc in Chemistry then an MSc in Chemical Engineering or a Chemical Engineering degree is that you can do an MEng. This is one degree (although it includes Bachelor teaching and Master teaching) for which you will only have to apply once and will be considered as one degree with regard to student finance in the UK, as opposed to doing a BSc + MSc for which you will have to apply once for each and will be considered as two separate degrees. If you decide to do a BSc in Chemistry and then an MSc in Chemical Engineering you may also need relevant industrial experience to apply for the MSc as most universities require a Chemical Engineering bachelor's degree to apply.

The job prospects are great for both degrees and Chemistry graduates can apply for some Chemical Engineering jobs, the Graduate Prospects website (the UK's Official Careers Website) can hopefully offer a lot more insight for you:
Chemistry: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-...gree/chemistry
Chemical Engineering: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-...al-engineering

If you have any other questions you can contact [email protected]
I hope this helps
- Jasmine
Thank you for your reply.
I would like to ask how useful is work experience when applying for your Chemical engineering degree, as I haven't been able to find any engineering placements, but I have done work related to chemistry.
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GreenCub
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(Original post by zootzoot)
For an A-Level Chemistry student who doesn't know much about chemical engineering, what would you say chemical engineering is about (Is it all just about maintaining plants).

Is there much understanding of chemistry involved (Mainly refering to using reactions that other people have discovered)?

What are the job prospects like for chemical engineering, compared to chemistry degree?

Would doing a bsc in chemistry and then going onto do a Msc in ChemEng (e.g. UCL) be worthwhile if I decided I want to change career or would I be at a disadvantage compared to pure ChemEng degree students? Or can a chemistry student just apply for a lot of the ChemEng jobs - Mainly in the pharma or petrochemical industries.

Thank you
Year 12 maths applicant here - I used to want to do chemical engineering so I know quite a bit about it.

Chemical engineering is about designing and optimising the chemical processes used to produce a variety of products. For example, at a chemical plant an engineer would be in charge of design and calculations to maximise the amount of product produced and ensure the plant is safe.

There is far more applied maths and physics in chemical engineering than there is chemistry. Liking chemistry is not a good reason to do the ChemEng course. You might use pressure and fluid dynamics equations to work out the rate of flow of a liquid through a pipe, or thermodynamics to determine the temperature that a reactor could get to. I hear there's also a lot of calculus and differential equations (at least in the degree - you use less maths on the job because software does the more advanced maths). You still have to have a decent understanding of chemistry though.

As for job prospects, you can't directly compare chemistry and ChemEng because graduates from each of those degrees tend to work in different fields, but if you go to a good university and get a good degree classification (usually first or 2.1) your prospects should be good, especially considering that chemical engineers are in demand for things like renewable fuels and energy or pharmaceuticals. There's also always the option of going into career paths that don't require a particular degree subject (e.g. finance or management).

If you like chemistry more than engineering, I'd recommend you just go for a pure chemistry course, although having a BSc in chemistry would open up some pathways for you.

For your uni application you certainly don't have to have any work experience - only Medicine, Dentistry and Vet Med require work experience and it would be very difficult for a 6th former to find experience on a chemical plant anyway.
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zootzoot
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(Original post by GreenCub)
Year 12 maths applicant here - I used to want to do chemical engineering so I know quite a bit about it.

Chemical engineering is about designing and optimising the chemical processes used to produce a variety of products. For example, at a chemical plant an engineer would be in charge of design and calculations to maximise the amount of product produced and ensure the plant is safe.

There is far more applied maths and physics in chemical engineering than there is chemistry. Liking chemistry is not a good reason to do the ChemEng course. You might use pressure and fluid dynamics equations to work out the rate of flow of a liquid through a pipe, or thermodynamics to determine the temperature that a reactor could get to. I hear there's also a lot of calculus and differential equations (at least in the degree - you use less maths on the job because software does the more advanced maths). You still have to have a decent understanding of chemistry though.

As for job prospects, you can't directly compare chemistry and ChemEng because graduates from each of those degrees tend to work in different fields, but if you go to a good university and get a good degree classification (usually first or 2.1) your prospects should be good, especially considering that chemical engineers are in demand for things like renewable fuels and energy or pharmaceuticals. There's also always the option of going into career paths that don't require a particular degree subject (e.g. finance or management).

If you like chemistry more than engineering, I'd recommend you just go for a pure chemistry course, although having a BSc in chemistry would open up some pathways for you.

For your uni application you certainly don't have to have any work experience - only Medicine, Dentistry and Vet Med require work experience and it would be very difficult for a 6th former to find experience on a chemical plant anyway.
Thank you for your reply aswell

Ive enjoyed chemistry at A-Level (Probably my best subject), but I don't want to do a degree and then work in an unrelated field and not have to use it as ive heard that the chemistry field is quite saturated and that half (or more than half) of those from top unis don't even go into a science related field and I don't want to end up as a lab technician the whole time either. But at the same time it's a good degree to use to get into grad scheme that allows any degree.

But at the same time ChemEng looks very interesting has better prospects, but I don't have much experience in it as to what it's actually going to be like, although I've done a taster day on Bioengineering and that was quite good (and apparently that is one of the modules of chemical eng). And I also like the design and problem solving part of it
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GreenCub
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(Original post by zootzoot)
Thank you for your reply aswell

Ive enjoyed chemistry at A-Level (Probably my best subject), but I don't want to do a degree and then work in an unrelated field and not have to use it as ive heard that the chemistry field is quite saturated and that half (or more than half) of those from top unis don't even go into a science related field and I don't want to end up as a lab technician the whole time either. But at the same time it's a good degree to use to get into grad scheme that allows any degree.

But at the same time ChemEng looks very interesting has better prospects, but I don't have much experience in it as to what it's actually going to be like, although I've done a taster day on Bioengineering and that was quite good (and apparently that is one of the modules of chemical eng). And I also like the design and problem solving part of it
I see what you mean, although if you're determined enough it's certainly possible to get very far in chemistry.

It's important to consider that chemistry is a science degree and ChemEng is obviously an engineering degree which will be more focused on applying science and maximising gains than how the science itself works. Are you generally more interested in 'pure' science, or applying scientific ideas and designing real-world things?

Also, what are your other A levels and how interested are you in maths and the mechanics part of physics?
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zootzoot
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(Original post by GreenCub)
I see what you mean, although if you're determined enough it's certainly possible to get very far in chemistry.

It's important to consider that chemistry is a science degree and ChemEng is obviously an engineering degree which will be more focused on applying science and maximising gains than how the science itself works. Are you generally more interested in 'pure' science, or applying scientific ideas and designing real-world things?

Also, what are your other A levels and how interested are you in maths and the mechanics part of physics?
I do Maths, Bio and Chem. But now deeply regret not picking either Further Maths or Physics (instead of bio).

I enjoy learning about chemistry in class but I'm not sure the jobs in chemistry are that interesting.
But designing things and putting a chemical reaction that someone else has discovered into mass production does sound like something I'd much rather do than being sat in a lab all day.
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(Original post by zootzoot)
I do Maths, Bio and Chem. But now deeply regret not picking either Further Maths or Physics (instead of bio).

I enjoy learning about chemistry in class but I'm not sure the jobs in chemistry are that interesting.
But designing things and putting a chemical reaction that someone else has discovered into mass production does sound like something I'd much rather do than being sat in a lab all day.
Have you considered biochemical engineering?
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(Original post by zootzoot)
For an A-Level Chemistry student who doesn't know much about chemical engineering, what would you say chemical engineering is about (Is it all just about maintaining plants).

Is there much understanding of chemistry involved (Mainly refering to using reactions that other people have discovered)?

What are the job prospects like for chemical engineering, compared to chemistry degree?

Would doing a bsc in chemistry and then going onto do a Msc in ChemEng (e.g. UCL) be worthwhile if I decided I want to change career or would I be at a disadvantage compared to pure ChemEng degree students? Or can a chemistry student just apply for a lot of the ChemEng jobs - Mainly in the pharma or petrochemical industries.

Thank you
Theyll be lots of info on google.

But chemical engineering is much more about commercial and industrial use of chemistry, understanding how to practically manage chemical systems.

Wheras a chemical science degree is more about chemistry in its 'purest form' if that makes sense.

I would also imagine chemical engineering covers many more engineering principles, design, some thermofluid mechanics perhaps etc.

Get on google and have a look! Yes you could always do a chem BSc + ChemEng MSc (or the other way round etc.) If you want to do engineering I would do it from day 1, but if you really want to do chemistry then do it the other way round.
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unowna
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(Original post by zootzoot)
For an A-Level Chemistry student who doesn't know much about chemical engineering, what would you say chemical engineering is about (Is it all just about maintaining plants).

Is there much understanding of chemistry involved (Mainly refering to using reactions that other people have discovered)?

What are the job prospects like for chemical engineering, compared to chemistry degree?

Would doing a bsc in chemistry and then going onto do a Msc in ChemEng (e.g. UCL) be worthwhile if I decided I want to change career or would I be at a disadvantage compared to pure ChemEng degree students? Or can a chemistry student just apply for a lot of the ChemEng jobs - Mainly in the pharma or petrochemical industries.

Thank you
Hi zootzoot,

I personally think ChemE is an outdated name for the degree; probably better to interpret it as Process Engineering with specialisation in chemical industries. If you're interested in doing a BSc in Chemistry then MSc in ChemE, try browsing this book as it gives you a sense of what's not in a Chem degree but core for a ChemE: "Concepts of Chemical Engineering for Chemists" (https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...page&q&f=false)

You probably know what chemistry is all about from previous courses, so if you're interested in what kind of problems you'll see in ChemE try visiting learncheme.com for their tutorials and simulations.

For job prospects, I wouldn't worry too much about the differences in opportunities between chem and chemE grads, unless it's a very specific technical job that you want.
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UoB - Engineering and Physical Sciences
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(Original post by zootzoot)
For an A-Level Chemistry student who doesn't know much about chemical engineering, what would you say chemical engineering is about (Is it all just about maintaining plants).

Is there much understanding of chemistry involved (Mainly refering to using reactions that other people have discovered)?

What are the job prospects like for chemical engineering, compared to chemistry degree?

Would doing a bsc in chemistry and then going onto do a Msc in ChemEng (e.g. UCL) be worthwhile if I decided I want to change career or would I be at a disadvantage compared to pure ChemEng degree students? Or can a chemistry student just apply for a lot of the ChemEng jobs - Mainly in the pharma or petrochemical industries.

Thank you
Hey I've done 3 years of chemical engineering at Birmingham and am currently on placement doing research and development at an international food company.

I'd say that chem eng is not paticularly chemistry heavy despite the name! Alot of the course is devoted to mass and heat transfer, fluid flow etc but chem eng crosses into finance and management, biology, bio chemistry even statistics. Through out my degree and now on my placement, I'm dealing with all of these different aspects.

Im slightly biased but in my opinion a chemical engineering degree is slightly more marketable than a chemistry degree, but both are great degrees! It really depends what you're more interested in.

Id really recommend going to open days to get a proper feel for what you think interest you most.

https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/undergr...ays/index.aspx

Harry
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zootzoot
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Thank you everyone for your replies.
So is chemical engineering just about designing a layout of a factory? Or does it also involve designing and manufacturing the equipment and the actual machinery that will be used in the process (Or is this more Mechanical engineering?)
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mnot
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(Original post by zootzoot)
Thank you everyone for your replies.
So is chemical engineering just about designing a layout of a factory? Or does it also involve designing and manufacturing the equipment and the actual machinery that will be used in the process (Or is this more Mechanical engineering?)
Your describing 'manufacturing engineering' or 'logistics/process engineering' these are separate subjects in their own right.

I would say their is definitely a process engineering part to chemical engineering, but its more about the industrial and commercial application and manufacture of chemicals. FYI industrial chemical manufacturing is different to actually designing the manufacturing process for chemical production.
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zootzoot
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(Original post by mnot)
Your describing 'manufacturing engineering' or 'logistics/process engineering' these are separate subjects in their own right.

I would say their is definitely a process engineering part to chemical engineering, but its more about the industrial and commercial application and manufacture of chemicals. FYI industrial chemical manufacturing is different to actually designing the manufacturing process for chemical production.
So chemical engineering is about upscaling a chemical process?
An example would be if a chemist had discovered how to make a certain substance (E.g. 2 chemicals added together and then purified -Asprin- ect), a chemical engineer could design the process and plant to upscale it (E.g. Designing a "machine" to purify the chemicals). Would this be correct?
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mnot
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(Original post by zootzoot)
So chemical engineering is about upscaling a chemical process?
An example would be if a chemist had discovered how to make a certain substance (E.g. 2 chemicals added together and then purified -Asprin- ect), a chemical engineer could design the process and plant to upscale it (E.g. Designing a "machine" to purify the chemicals). Would this be correct?
loosly speaking yes.

Chemical engineering, in theory: design the process to produce and manufacture industrial materials & chemicals.

But theres much more too it than that, and the theory of that is broken down into more sub-subjects, and with modern day engineering theres numerous other expected expertise you would start to develop at uni.

I would think of chemical engineering in broad terms as the production and management of commercial & industrial chemicals.
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zootzoot
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(Original post by mnot)
loosly speaking yes.

Chemical engineering, in theory: design the process to produce and manufacture industrial materials & chemicals.

But theres much more too it than that, and the theory of that is broken down into more sub-subjects, and with modern day engineering theres numerous other expected expertise you would start to develop at uni.

I would think of chemical engineering in broad terms as the production and management of commercial & industrial chemicals.
Okay thank you
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(Original post by zootzoot)
Thank you everyone for your replies.
So is chemical engineering just about designing a layout of a factory? Or does it also involve designing and manufacturing the equipment and the actual machinery that will be used in the process (Or is this more Mechanical engineering?)
As part of my placement I spend alot of time designing equipment for the plant! There's less on the actual manufacturing of the equipment, but the design ie size, specifications, purpose that all ties into chemicall engineering alot!

Thanks
Harry
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WillJabine
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Ucl lets u do a chemical engineering degree with chemistry so like a BEng chem eng and Msc chem
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