The Student Room Group

MEng Chemical Engineering with Industrial Experience UoM review

The topics I will be touching on in this review include the aspects of university which were most important to me before starting uni as well as those which stood out during my university experience:
Academic
o Teaching style
o Exam difficulty
o Workload
o Interest in content
o Networking
o Support from tutors
Year in industry
o Work required to get internship
o Workload
o Pay
o Location
Social life
I’ll give you some background about myself to provide some insight into this review. I went to school and sixth form in a 20,000 person town in England and got 4A*, 4A, 4B GCSE, B (Physics) AS level and A,A,B (Maths, Spanish and Chemistry respectively) A level. I applied to uni in my final year of sixth form and got an offer of AAA for MEng Chemical Engineering. I did not meet the grades but was accepted anyway. In my 1st year at uni, I got 64%. To transfer to MEng with industrial experience I needed 65% but I got accepted anyway (the first year is the same for both courses). I applied to industrial placements in 2nd year and in March, I applied to one of the final opportunities available and got accepted by a pharmaceutical company, in Liverpool. I got 66% in 2nd year and got 70% in 3rd year. I am currently in my final year and on track to get a 2:1 in MEng Chemical Engineering with Industrial Experience.

Academic
In this section I will discuss my experience during 1st, 2nd and 4th year as these where I had a proper uni life and wasn’t doing a year in industry.
Teaching style

Teaching consisted of lectures, tutorials, labs and group work.
All the lectures were recorded and posted on a website where you can download them and then watch at speeds of up to x16 with Windows Media Player, they also give a booklet with all the slides in that course. The lecturers varied from difficult to understand Chinese natives to slow and clear speaking people. The lectures were mostly there for us to make notes on and to re-watch if we couln’t do a tutorial or past paper question and was the basis for revising for our exams. The courses covered all the required topics required for chartership as a chemical engineer and the main topics of importance were: fluid dynamics, heat transfer, thermodynamics and design of chemical plants. We could ask questions in lectures and some lectures asked questions to the class but overall, engagement was far less compared to other degrees like law.
Tutorials were questions which the lecturers set and which were done at uni for which we were supported by lecturers and PhD students. They were never compulsory and they were accessible online. They strongly advise us to go, but personally, I didn’t go to many to tutorials, only going because I wanted help from lecturers/PhD students or because It was at a convenient time in my day at in uni.
Labs were compulsory and taught by a PhD student and taught in groups of 4 in 2nd year we could chose your group. The labs were much better than other unis I had visited e.g. Surry and Nottingham. UoM are currently building a massive engineering building which will improve labs even more (https://www.mecd.manchester.ac.uk/). We did experiments which were engineering based and we had to write reports as a group or individually.
Group work consisted of on average 1 groupwork project during every semester which often meant meeting up independently at uni in meeting rooms which are bookable, and some are available 24/7.
Exam difficulty

Exam season was more difficult compared to other degrees. 5/6 exams per exam period and not necessarily well scheduled, I had 3 exams in 3 days once. Many modules didn’t have past paper solutions or have a full set of past papers available to practice. The exams were mostly calculation based however to get a really good grade, we had to explain our reasoning and understanding. Some exams followed tutorials but others don’t, so for some exams, they’re not too difficult to cram but others require a full understanding of the subject to do well in which means talking to lecturers, posting on the discussion board, talking to our course mates and researching. We could also review our exams and appeal our marks and I got 2 marks more by doing this once.
Workload

The workload of this degree was substantial and I cannot think of any degree which would have made me work more than this one however there were some ways of reducing it if I worked smart.
The number of lectures was a lot, however we could watch them at sped up pace and followed along even at x3.5 speed sometimes. We also don’t need to go into uni for the lectures if we wanted to save time and this was common.
Coursework built up with deadlines at least every 2 weeks and consisted of online tests and reports. Sometimes the online tests were leaked by the years above and sometimes an excel file was created to ensure everyone got 100% but not always and they were there to ensure that we were keeping up with the content and are not leaving all the lectures to cram before exams. Reports are long and I completed many of them by doing all-nighters, fuelled by caffeine pills.
My ability to absorb new information was forced to improve if I wanted to do well on this course and I feel like some of the modules had as much or more content than an A level for which we had 5/6 modules every 4 months.
Typically, the content of the modules wasn’t much more difficult than A level, just the amount of content for example part of 2nd year maths we had to learn 7 integration techniques and that was only around 1/3 of that module. There were some modules which were more difficult and had concepts which were difficult to visualise like Momentum Heat and Mass Transfer (MHMT 2nd year) were we had to set up differential equations then solve them using the integration methods which were learnt in maths. There’s also Computer Aided Process Design (CAPD 4th year) were we had to write programmes to find the optimal solution to completely new problems.
My Interest in the content
The content of the modules were rarely things to write home about because the things that I learned about weren’t applicable to daily life but to industry. Having said that, the most interesting things I learned about were about the science of explosions which they taught as part of a safety module. The usefulness of the content of the modules to industry was what motivated me to carry on learning and the development of my computer skills which came along with that was an added bonus.
Networking
I had ample opportunity to meet other Chem Eng students through the group work projects, lectures and the Chem Eng society. The Chem Eng society was good because they had so many events like cheap drinks at a bar, nights out and a curry night, they had a sports team and you could play football against the lecturers sometimes.
Frank Morton is an annual sports day held at a different uni every year where all the unis send a group of Chem Eng students to compete at a sports event followed by a night out at that uni. A great way to see another uni and meet Chem Eng students from other unis. But it’s can be a 24 hr commitment depending on how far the other uni is and when your coach finally leaves.
You could also get a student subscription to ICHEME which means that you can go to events with actual chemical engineers such as dinners and conferences, although you had to pay for this.
Support from tutors
We got allocated a personal tutor when we got into uni and they tried to see us once a year. Most people didn’t have much of a reason to see their tutors but it is useful to have them there some support is required. They told us that the more we met with your tutor, the better of a personal reference they would be able to write when we graduate.
Year in industry
In this section I will discuss my experience during my 3rd year where I did a 12-month industrial placement at a pharmaceutical company near Liverpool. I was in a research and development site and worked on a project investigating the flow of powders.
Work required to get internship

I put in a substantial amount of work to get my internship, writing my CV, 40 applications, 4 interviews and an assessment centre led to me getting my placement.
Workload

During my placement, my responsibilities at work was to complete a project. For uni I had to complete 2 modules, 2 reports on my placement, a presentation and a dissertation.
My manager at work allowed me to work on my uni responsibilities during work hours however I have heard from some other students that they were expected to only work on work related stuff when at work, they had to do their uni work in their own time.
My hours were roughly 10:00-4:30 and had some support from my manager for uni work, were we spent many meetings reviewing my reports and dissertation. This was secondary to the project I was doing, for which I also got a lot of guidance but also a lot of responsibility which included:
leading monthly technical and steering meetings with senior managers
Entrusted with undertaking a 1 week scientific research trip to the University of Birmingham to work alongside a colleague to perform an experiment using a novel piece of equipment. This resulted in being awarded a bonus as a commendation for the successful work which I led.
Organising the repair of a piece of equipment with the manufacturers via multiple tele conferences which lead to a visit from an engineer.
I also had lots of lab work to do to collect data for my project which resulted in sitting in an lab for the whole day for 3 months on end. This meant that I had a lot of time between experiments, doing nothing, so I had a lot of time to myself and I watched many hours of youtube during this time.
Pay
I got payed £20,000. And my tuition for uni was reduced to: £1,850.
Location
Chemical engineering placements are done on a chemical processing site or a research and development site. The chemical processing site placements are often in the countryside and R&D sites maybe a bit closer to cities.
I was very happy that my placement, Liverpool, was only an hour away on the train because this meant that I could visit my friends on the weekends. I lived in a house of Liverpool students which helped with missing proper uni life.
Was it worth it?
I felt like doing this placement, missing out on uni life, was a sacrifice I had to make for my career, I don’t regret it, the benefits of doing the placement were huge and outweighed the negatives.
The people that were working there were some of the most intelligent people I had ever met.
Seeing where chemical engineers would be doing 15 years after graduating was inspirational. They were working on interesting and important projects, meetings for most of the day, mostly just sharing their knowledge and perspective. When they did work, they were really engaged with it, drawing graphs and writing equations on the windows and coming up and doing experiments which would help their project.
I now have links to industry, and although I’m not planning on returning to work there, it is comforting to know that that this option is there.
I was able to dig myself out of a £2k overdraft which I had amassed by the end of 2nd year.
I improved how to write a lot.
Made my career direction a lot clearer.
Social life
Everyone’s social goals are different but, given around 100,000 students in and around Manchester (https://www.investinmanchester.com/why-manchester/education/universities ) I think any social experience I may have wanted, I could probably find. There were always people about to do things with and I have loved the social freedom which came along with that.

Overall, I know I scraped my way to where I am right now, regardless, I feel confident in my chem eng skills going into industry. I loved my time at UoM and I cant recommend enough to anyone thinking about doing it.
Reply 1
What a great report. Did you feel that not having a level physics (or further maths) was a disadvantage. Did you have any opportunity to develop language skills?
Reply 2
Original post by ajj2000
What a great report. Did you feel that not having a level physics (or further maths) was a disadvantage. Did you have any opportunity to develop language skills?

I never thought I would have benefitted from doing a level physics, (I think chemistry is way more important) there were times where I had to learn some further maths content, but not too much. Interestingly though, I actually did better at maths modules than some of my coursemates who did do further maths.

The Spanish/Latin american society is huge, and I went on many nights out with them and made a lot of Spanish friends. Overall, I think my Spanish has worsened but not forgotten.
If you hadn't got in first time around would you have done a foundation year in engineering and get an extra year of debt just to go to the uni you wanted to go too, or would you have gone to a worse uni that you didnt like very much? Weird question I know but it may be the situation I might be in when I get my results.
Reply 4
Original post by chrismanning0711
If you hadn't got in first time around would you have done a foundation year in engineering and get an extra year of debt just to go to the uni you wanted to go too, or would you have gone to a worse uni that you didnt like very much? Weird question I know but it may be the situation I might be in when I get my results.

Retrospectively, I would have chosen to do a foundation year and get the extra year of debt. Economically, an extra year of dept is outweighed by when you're in a higher paying graduate role compared to a (more likely) less well paid graduate role from a worse uni. Also, If you get into the year in industry course then you'll get 1 year of reduced fees because you have to do year 3 while working, this is one of the rare courses where you can do this. There are a lot of people here who did a foundation year or are doing an extra year b/c they changed degree or took a year out.
Original post by Ssttll
Retrospectively, I would have chosen to do a foundation year and get the extra year of debt. Economically, an extra year of dept is outweighed by when you're in a higher paying graduate role compared to a (more likely) less well paid graduate role from a worse uni. Also, If you get into the year in industry course then you'll get 1 year of reduced fees because you have to do year 3 while working, this is one of the rare courses where you can do this. There are a lot of people here who did a foundation year or are doing an extra year b/c they changed degree or took a year out.

Thank you! This is the exact argument I'm trying to make to my mum but she is saying she doesn't want to support me through an ''unnecessary extra year'' when I could just go to QUB. Yeah unfortunately sheffield don't offer the year in industry as a part of one of years, maybe if I have to do a foundation year I should go to Manchester instead.
Original post by chrismanning0711
Thank you! This is the exact argument I'm trying to make to my mum but she is saying she doesn't want to support me through an ''unnecessary extra year'' when I could just go to QUB. Yeah unfortunately sheffield don't offer the year in industry as a part of one of years, maybe if I have to do a foundation year I should go to Manchester instead.

Most people don't pay off their student loan debt by the time it gets wiped out after 30 years (Unless ur in the top 0.1% that get into a 1st job at over £60k), so taking an extra year of debt will make no difference to how much u will repay over ur lifetime.
The only downside to a foundation year is ur at uni for an extra year that u could be working, but u will be at a much better uni.
Hi I am a current year 12 student studying maths chemistry and German. Manchester is my top choice and I am keen to do chemical engineering with study abroad. Do you know much about this or happen to know anyone that did it? thanks so much for this post as I am currently contemplating whether I wouldn’t be able to do chemical engineering due to my lack of physics and the fact I only do two sciences as I’ve been told i am likely to struggle because of it? is this true? also would you say this is a good choice for someone who enjoys maths and is keen to follow a route that applies it to the real world? thanks again!
Original post by zarararar
Hi I am a current year 12 student studying maths chemistry and German. Manchester is my top choice and I am keen to do chemical engineering with study abroad. Do you know much about this or happen to know anyone that did it? thanks so much for this post as I am currently contemplating whether I wouldn’t be able to do chemical engineering due to my lack of physics and the fact I only do two sciences as I’ve been told i am likely to struggle because of it? is this true? also would you say this is a good choice for someone who enjoys maths and is keen to follow a route that applies it to the real world? thanks again!

Cant answer most of the questions but in terms of your subjects your fine, I remember thinking that I wouldn't get offers cause I didnt have a level physics or cause my GCSEs are bad and just other dumb ****. What unis say they want is what they want, get an a in maths and an a in chem and you will be fine.
Edit: also loads of people go in without physics at Sheffield where I am going 45% don't have physics, that's almost the majority. Your uni will catch you up on all the physics you need to know in first year
(edited 4 years ago)
Original post by zarararar
Hi I am a current year 12 student studying maths chemistry and German. Manchester is my top choice and I am keen to do chemical engineering with study abroad. Do you know much about this or happen to know anyone that did it? thanks so much for this post as I am currently contemplating whether I wouldn’t be able to do chemical engineering due to my lack of physics and the fact I only do two sciences as I’ve been told i am likely to struggle because of it? is this true? also would you say this is a good choice for someone who enjoys maths and is keen to follow a route that applies it to the real world? thanks again!

If the requirements say u only need maths and chem, then they will teach u all the alevel physics u need. The only difference will be others in ur year who have done alevel physics might find the 1st term slightly easier than u as they already know some of the content, but u will catch up
Reply 10
Original post by Ssttll
The topics I will be touching on in this review include the aspects of university which were most important to me before starting uni as well as those which stood out during my university experience:
Academic
o Teaching style
o Exam difficulty
o Workload
o Interest in content
o Networking
o Support from tutors
Year in industry
o Work required to get internship
o Workload
o Pay
o Location
Social life
I’ll give you some background about myself to provide some insight into this review. I went to school and sixth form in a 20,000 person town in England and got 4A*, 4A, 4B GCSE, B (Physics) AS level and A,A,B (Maths, Spanish and Chemistry respectively) A level. I applied to uni in my final year of sixth form and got an offer of AAA for MEng Chemical Engineering. I did not meet the grades but was accepted anyway. In my 1st year at uni, I got 64%. To transfer to MEng with industrial experience I needed 65% but I got accepted anyway (the first year is the same for both courses). I applied to industrial placements in 2nd year and in March, I applied to one of the final opportunities available and got accepted by a pharmaceutical company, in Liverpool. I got 66% in 2nd year and got 70% in 3rd year. I am currently in my final year and on track to get a 2:1 in MEng Chemical Engineering with Industrial Experience.

Academic
In this section I will discuss my experience during 1st, 2nd and 4th year as these where I had a proper uni life and wasn’t doing a year in industry.
Teaching style

Teaching consisted of lectures, tutorials, labs and group work.
All the lectures were recorded and posted on a website where you can download them and then watch at speeds of up to x16 with Windows Media Player, they also give a booklet with all the slides in that course. The lecturers varied from difficult to understand Chinese natives to slow and clear speaking people. The lectures were mostly there for us to make notes on and to re-watch if we couln’t do a tutorial or past paper question and was the basis for revising for our exams. The courses covered all the required topics required for chartership as a chemical engineer and the main topics of importance were: fluid dynamics, heat transfer, thermodynamics and design of chemical plants. We could ask questions in lectures and some lectures asked questions to the class but overall, engagement was far less compared to other degrees like law.
Tutorials were questions which the lecturers set and which were done at uni for which we were supported by lecturers and PhD students. They were never compulsory and they were accessible online. They strongly advise us to go, but personally, I didn’t go to many to tutorials, only going because I wanted help from lecturers/PhD students or because It was at a convenient time in my day at in uni.
Labs were compulsory and taught by a PhD student and taught in groups of 4 in 2nd year we could chose your group. The labs were much better than other unis I had visited e.g. Surry and Nottingham. UoM are currently building a massive engineering building which will improve labs even more (https://www.mecd.manchester.ac.uk/). We did experiments which were engineering based and we had to write reports as a group or individually.
Group work consisted of on average 1 groupwork project during every semester which often meant meeting up independently at uni in meeting rooms which are bookable, and some are available 24/7.
Exam difficulty

Exam season was more difficult compared to other degrees. 5/6 exams per exam period and not necessarily well scheduled, I had 3 exams in 3 days once. Many modules didn’t have past paper solutions or have a full set of past papers available to practice. The exams were mostly calculation based however to get a really good grade, we had to explain our reasoning and understanding. Some exams followed tutorials but others don’t, so for some exams, they’re not too difficult to cram but others require a full understanding of the subject to do well in which means talking to lecturers, posting on the discussion board, talking to our course mates and researching. We could also review our exams and appeal our marks and I got 2 marks more by doing this once.
Workload

The workload of this degree was substantial and I cannot think of any degree which would have made me work more than this one however there were some ways of reducing it if I worked smart.
The number of lectures was a lot, however we could watch them at sped up pace and followed along even at x3.5 speed sometimes. We also don’t need to go into uni for the lectures if we wanted to save time and this was common.
Coursework built up with deadlines at least every 2 weeks and consisted of online tests and reports. Sometimes the online tests were leaked by the years above and sometimes an excel file was created to ensure everyone got 100% but not always and they were there to ensure that we were keeping up with the content and are not leaving all the lectures to cram before exams. Reports are long and I completed many of them by doing all-nighters, fuelled by caffeine pills.
My ability to absorb new information was forced to improve if I wanted to do well on this course and I feel like some of the modules had as much or more content than an A level for which we had 5/6 modules every 4 months.
Typically, the content of the modules wasn’t much more difficult than A level, just the amount of content for example part of 2nd year maths we had to learn 7 integration techniques and that was only around 1/3 of that module. There were some modules which were more difficult and had concepts which were difficult to visualise like Momentum Heat and Mass Transfer (MHMT 2nd year) were we had to set up differential equations then solve them using the integration methods which were learnt in maths. There’s also Computer Aided Process Design (CAPD 4th year) were we had to write programmes to find the optimal solution to completely new problems.
My Interest in the content
The content of the modules were rarely things to write home about because the things that I learned about weren’t applicable to daily life but to industry. Having said that, the most interesting things I learned about were about the science of explosions which they taught as part of a safety module. The usefulness of the content of the modules to industry was what motivated me to carry on learning and the development of my computer skills which came along with that was an added bonus.
Networking
I had ample opportunity to meet other Chem Eng students through the group work projects, lectures and the Chem Eng society. The Chem Eng society was good because they had so many events like cheap drinks at a bar, nights out and a curry night, they had a sports team and you could play football against the lecturers sometimes.
Frank Morton is an annual sports day held at a different uni every year where all the unis send a group of Chem Eng students to compete at a sports event followed by a night out at that uni. A great way to see another uni and meet Chem Eng students from other unis. But it’s can be a 24 hr commitment depending on how far the other uni is and when your coach finally leaves.
You could also get a student subscription to ICHEME which means that you can go to events with actual chemical engineers such as dinners and conferences, although you had to pay for this.
Support from tutors
We got allocated a personal tutor when we got into uni and they tried to see us once a year. Most people didn’t have much of a reason to see their tutors but it is useful to have them there some support is required. They told us that the more we met with your tutor, the better of a personal reference they would be able to write when we graduate.
Year in industry
In this section I will discuss my experience during my 3rd year where I did a 12-month industrial placement at a pharmaceutical company near Liverpool. I was in a research and development site and worked on a project investigating the flow of powders.
Work required to get internship

I put in a substantial amount of work to get my internship, writing my CV, 40 applications, 4 interviews and an assessment centre led to me getting my placement.
Workload

During my placement, my responsibilities at work was to complete a project. For uni I had to complete 2 modules, 2 reports on my placement, a presentation and a dissertation.
My manager at work allowed me to work on my uni responsibilities during work hours however I have heard from some other students that they were expected to only work on work related stuff when at work, they had to do their uni work in their own time.
My hours were roughly 10:00-4:30 and had some support from my manager for uni work, were we spent many meetings reviewing my reports and dissertation. This was secondary to the project I was doing, for which I also got a lot of guidance but also a lot of responsibility which included:
leading monthly technical and steering meetings with senior managers
Entrusted with undertaking a 1 week scientific research trip to the University of Birmingham to work alongside a colleague to perform an experiment using a novel piece of equipment. This resulted in being awarded a bonus as a commendation for the successful work which I led.
Organising the repair of a piece of equipment with the manufacturers via multiple tele conferences which lead to a visit from an engineer.
I also had lots of lab work to do to collect data for my project which resulted in sitting in an lab for the whole day for 3 months on end. This meant that I had a lot of time between experiments, doing nothing, so I had a lot of time to myself and I watched many hours of youtube during this time.
Pay
I got payed £20,000. And my tuition for uni was reduced to: £1,850.
Location
Chemical engineering placements are done on a chemical processing site or a research and development site. The chemical processing site placements are often in the countryside and R&D sites maybe a bit closer to cities.
I was very happy that my placement, Liverpool, was only an hour away on the train because this meant that I could visit my friends on the weekends. I lived in a house of Liverpool students which helped with missing proper uni life.
Was it worth it?
I felt like doing this placement, missing out on uni life, was a sacrifice I had to make for my career, I don’t regret it, the benefits of doing the placement were huge and outweighed the negatives.
The people that were working there were some of the most intelligent people I had ever met.
Seeing where chemical engineers would be doing 15 years after graduating was inspirational. They were working on interesting and important projects, meetings for most of the day, mostly just sharing their knowledge and perspective. When they did work, they were really engaged with it, drawing graphs and writing equations on the windows and coming up and doing experiments which would help their project.
I now have links to industry, and although I’m not planning on returning to work there, it is comforting to know that that this option is there.
I was able to dig myself out of a £2k overdraft which I had amassed by the end of 2nd year.
I improved how to write a lot.
Made my career direction a lot clearer.
Social life
Everyone’s social goals are different but, given around 100,000 students in and around Manchester (https://www.investinmanchester.com/why-manchester/education/universities ) I think any social experience I may have wanted, I could probably find. There were always people about to do things with and I have loved the social freedom which came along with that.

Overall, I know I scraped my way to where I am right now, regardless, I feel confident in my chem eng skills going into industry. I loved my time at UoM and I cant recommend enough to anyone thinking about doing it.


could u use calculators in the exam

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