Chemical engineering or chemistry for electrochemistry

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Calebnotts
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In September, I will (hopefully) start my second year of A levels in maths, further maths, physics, and chemistry. My favourite subject is chemistry, especially electrochemistry.

In my future career I think I would like to work on electrochemical cells such as new batteries (solid state?), fuel cells, solar cells, electrocatalysts, etc.

Should I apply for my degree in chemistry or chemical engineering?

Also, are jobs in this field more innovative in the private sector/industry or at universities?

Thanks.
Caleb
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Lkathryn08
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First of all, it’s great that you’re so passionate about something you want to pursue already. I had no idea when I was doing my a levels. I’m in my final year of studying chemical engineering and I just want you to make sure you know what you’d be getting yourself into If you do it.

I cannot say this enough, if you really like chemistry and that’s your passion don’t study chemical engineering.

There isn’t that much chemistry content in a chem eng degree, to put that in numbers I did 3/4 chemistry modules (on the more basic/fundamental side) out of around 40 total. If you want to learn about chemistry in-depth, it isn’t the subject for you. As core chemical engineering only requires an understanding of the main principles that’s all you learn and we leave the complicated stuff to the chemists.

Chemical engineering will go far more in depth into topics such as: heat and mass transfer, thermodynamics, particle mechanics, fluid mechanics, process control etc and will focus a lot more on manufacturing plant operation and design.

I think electrochemistry and fuel cells is partially touched on but I’m talking like part of one module in 4th year (integrated masters).

I can’t say that much about a chemistry degree as I’ve never studied one but I imagine if you want to go more in depth into chemistry then it’s probably a better choice for your interests.
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Proxenus
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(Original post by Lkathryn08)
First of all, it’s great that you’re so passionate about something you want to pursue already. I had no idea when I was doing my a levels. I’m in my final year of studying chemical engineering and I just want you to make sure you know what you’d be getting yourself into If you do it.

I cannot say this enough, if you really like chemistry and that’s your passion don’t study chemical engineering.

There isn’t that much chemistry content in a chem eng degree, to put that in numbers I did 3/4 chemistry modules (on the more basic/fundamental side) out of around 40 total. If you want to learn about chemistry in-depth, it isn’t the subject for you. As core chemical engineering only requires an understanding of the main principles that’s all you learn and we leave the complicated stuff to the chemists.

Chemical engineering will go far more in depth into topics such as: heat and mass transfer, thermodynamics, particle mechanics, fluid mechanics, process control etc and will focus a lot more on manufacturing plant operation and design.

I think electrochemistry and fuel cells is partially touched on but I’m talking like part of one module in 4th year (integrated masters).

I can’t say that much about a chemistry degree as I’ve never studied one but I imagine if you want to go more in depth into chemistry then it’s probably a better choice for your interests.
u know anyone who a struggling to find a graduate job in chemeng?
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Lkathryn08
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(Original post by Proxenus)
u know anyone who a struggling to find a graduate job in chemeng?
Yes and no, a few have after graduation but honestly I don’t think they put as much work into their job hunt.

I also know a lot of people in my year who have secured graduate jobs, in general I think they put more effort into finding a job.
I don’t want to generalise but if I being honest I would say it’s manageable, I also think having some form of work placement whether it be a year long one or summer can definitely help when applying for grad jobs.
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Proxenus
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(Original post by Lkathryn08)
Yes and no, a few have after graduation but honestly I don’t think they put as much work into their job hunt.

I also know a lot of people in my year who have secured graduate jobs, in general I think they put more effort into finding a job.
I don’t want to generalise but if I being honest I would say it’s manageable, I also think having some form of work placement whether it be a year long one or summer can definitely help when applying for grad jobs.
do you have an exp and are you applying for jobs rn
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Lkathryn08
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(Original post by Proxenus)
do you have an exp and are you applying for jobs rn
Well I did a placement last year and managed to get a grad job (hopefully corona won’t impact it) so yeah I’ve done my fair share of applications and interviews and the like.
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mnot
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(Original post by Calebnotts)
In September, I will (hopefully) start my second year of A levels in maths, further maths, physics, and chemistry. My favourite subject is chemistry, especially electrochemistry.

In my future career I think I would like to work on electrochemical cells such as new batteries (solid state?), fuel cells, solar cells, electrocatalysts, etc.

Should I apply for my degree in chemistry or chemical engineering?

Also, are jobs in this field more innovative in the private sector/industry or at universities?

Thanks.
Caleb
I deal with electrochemical energy operation as part of my work (its a PhD),

I would think this could also encompass physics.

I would think your best bet might even be electrical engineering. I would have a search for degrees which have this as optional modules as I think any degree is unlikely to have a large amount of this in at undergrad.

I work on next generation hybrid vehicle systems, and all of the energy recovery, power electronics & plugin systems utilise electrochemical energy (either via LMC/LTO batteries or supercapacitors). I now work with this stuff and I did mechanical engineering at undergrad...

I guess my point is shop around a lot of degrees and see which ones have specialist modules on this, might be something to look at more at masters level after a bachelors.
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holly.chemist
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(Original post by Calebnotts)
In September, I will (hopefully) start my second year of A levels in maths, further maths, physics, and chemistry. My favourite subject is chemistry, especially electrochemistry.

In my future career I think I would like to work on electrochemical cells such as new batteries (solid state?), fuel cells, solar cells, electrocatalysts, etc.

Should I apply for my degree in chemistry or chemical engineering?

Also, are jobs in this field more innovative in the private sector/industry or at universities?

Thanks.
Caleb
Hi Caleb,

I studied for an MChem Chemistry and did a year in industry at a pharmaceutical company. We covered electrochemistry in years 3 and picked an optional module that included it in year 4 (integrated masters). One of my colleagues did an organic chemistry PhD and used electrochemistry as an analytical method.

It may be worth emailing the outreach staff for chemistry and chemical/physical/electronic engineering courses at universities to see what they think as I don't know what's covered in other courses. Usually these staff are also lecturers for the subject too.

Kind regards,
Holly
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