Chemical Engineering BEng

Think you know about chemical engineering? Join our course here at Aston to learn how chemical engineers shape the world and get ready for a career in this exciting industry. This course introduces all the important knowledge and skills, thus enabling our graduates to work in a wide variety of industrial, economic and social sectors, crucial for the development of society and its sustainable growth.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type

Full-time (Hons)

Course format

Optional placement year

Duration

3 or 4 years

UCAS code(s)

H803

Start date

Overview
Explore Chemical Engineering at Aston University

Callum discusses his experiences of studying Chemical Engineering at Aston.

Take a look at the laboratory spaces for chemical engineering and applied chemistry at Aston and the equipment our labs feature. 

Michelle watiki

"Aston University allowed me to push myself academically while pursing an industry-accredited degree and also encouraged me to gain practical experience in the process through a placement year. Both of these attributes have allowed me to start my career with a strong footing. I am currently a graduate engineer at Rolls-Royce, an opportunity given to me after completing a placement year in the company. I had initially met recruiters at an Aston Careers event and received support from the careers department during my application."

Michelle Watiki
BEng Chemical Engineering with Placement Year Graduate 

 

Michelle watiki

"Aston University allowed me to push myself academically while pursing an industry-accredited degree and also encouraged me to gain practical experience in the process through a placement year. Both of these attributes have allowed me to start my career with a strong footing. I am currently a graduate engineer at Rolls-Royce, an opportunity given to me after completing a placement year in the company. I had initially met recruiters at an Aston Careers event and received support from the careers department during my application."

Michelle Watiki
BEng Chemical Engineering with Placement Year Graduate 

 

Course outline and modules

Chemical engineers change the world by designing sustainable process routes to supply society with essential products, such as industrial solvents, bulk and fine chemicals, including pharmaceuticals, food, clean air and drinking water. Thus, during this course, you will be trained to ensure safe and profitable production of valuable chemical and allied products as you acquire in-depth knowledge in core areas of Chemical Engineering.

Our programme combines modules in fundamental Chemical Engineering with those in Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Mathematics, all in order to provide to our students a deep knowledge in Chemical Engineering, whilst at the same time teaching them a robust selection of practical skills, such as problem-solving, engineering-relevant IT and engineering design skills. A range of core and optional advanced modules is offered in year 3 and the final year, thus significantly widening advanced level knowledge and skills. Our friendly approach to learning enables our students to develop life-long skills including professional etiquette, teamwork and ability to communicate effectively.

You will have the opportunity to increase your capability and employability in emerging fields of Chemical Engineering, on which modern and future society will rely, such as renewable energy technologies and industrial biotechnology.

What you’ll learn

During your first year, you will be provided with introduction to fundamental knowledge in principles of Chemical Engineering, including process and product design, design and build, and health and safety. This will be accompanied with engineering related knowledge in Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Mathematics and professional skills for engineers. In this way, you will combine introductory modules with practical ones, all related to chemical engineering subjects, having the chance to get hands-on in the workshop and laboratory.

In the second year, you will build up your understanding of core Chemical Engineering modules and apply the knowledge therein at laboratory scale. You will learn, in theory and laboratory practice, how common Chemical Engineering units - pumps, chemical reactors, heat exchangers, distillation and absorption columns - work and learn how to apply Chemical Engineering principles to design them. This will be accompanied with modules related to process control and instrumentation, engineering materials and a module giving you an introduction to Business Management.

At Aston University, after your second year, you have the option to spend a year on placement in industry. Many students take advantage of this opportunity because it helps them to gain real-world experience and aids their development as professional engineers. It has also shown to improve their final year performance and overall degree classification.

In the final year, you will specialize in core engineering topics at a more advanced level. You will study process economics, safety and sustainability, including process and pollution control, with a common purpose to further develop your problem-solving and professional skills. Computer modelling will be introduced through process computation. Finally, you will integrate all the knowledge and skills you have learnt across the modules in all three years into the advanced level design of an entire process, as part of a group and individual project. You will be given the opportunity to work in a group and individually, to design a process and related equipment, relevant to your project task. In addition, five optional modules will be offered to you, to choose two according to your personal and/or future career preferences.

Modules

Year 1

Core Modules:
•    Mathematics for Chemical Engineers
•    Sustainability, Design and Build
•    Process and Product Design 
•    Introduction to Transfer Processes 
•    Introduction to Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
•    Physical Chemistry for Engineers
•    Chemistry for Engineers 
•    Professional Skills for Engineers 

Year 2

Core Modules:
•    Process Design 
•    Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer
•    Mass Transfer
•    Process Simulation and Control
•    Separation Processes in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
•    Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
•    Reaction Engineering
•    Introduction to Business Management 

Year 3 - Optional Placement Year

Find out more about the Aston placement year

•    EPS Study Placement Year
•    EPS Industrial Placement Year 
•    EPS Study/Work Placement Year 

Final Year 

Core Modules:
•    Advanced Process Design 
•    Process Safety and Sustainability 
•    Advanced Reaction Engineering 
•    Advanced Separation Processes 

Choose 2 optional modules:
•    Advances in Biomaterials Science 
•    Renewable Technologies 
•    Process Computation
•    Biotechnology and Bioprocess
•    Environmental Chemistry I

 

Accreditation

Our BEng is accredited by our professional engineering body, the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). Accreditation means that the course meets the criteria set out by IChemE, which puts you a step forward on the path to acquiring Chartered Chemical Engineer status.

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year and Aston is not only a great place to study, based in the centre of Birmingham, it’s also a great place to live. Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability and our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Choosing to start your Aston journey with one of our foundation programmes will help you develop specialist knowledge to ensure that you are fully prepared to study your chosen undergraduate course. During your foundation year, you’ll have excellent support from academics and group projects will give you the chance to meet new people, make new friends and build a network of peers who will share your university journey. We also have a Learning Development Centre that can provide additional support and offer pre-sessional English language programmes.

For International Students intending to do a foundation year, visit ONCAMPUS.

Entry requirements

Typical offers:

A Levels
  • BBB to include Chemistry and Maths at minimum Grade B. 
     
  • BBC to include Chemistry and Maths at minimum Grade B (with an EPQ or Core Maths at Grade B)
     
  • BCC to include Chemistry and Maths at minimum Grade B (contextual offers and for DTUS applicants)
     
IB
  • 31 points overall with 5, 5, 5 in Higher Level subjects including Chemistry and Maths at Grade 5.
BTEC
  • Extended Diploma and National Extended Diploma (any subject): DDM, plus 2 A-levels in Chemistry and Mathematics at minimum Grade B.
     
  • National Diploma and Diploma (any subject): DM, plus 2 A-levels in Chemistry and Mathematics at minimum Grade B.
     
  • Foundation or 90 credits Diploma (any subject): DM, plus 2 A-levels in Chemistry and Mathematics at minimum grade B.
     
  • National Extended Certificate or Subsidiary Diploma (any subject): M, plus 2 A-level Chemistry and Mathematics at minimum Grade B.
     
  • Certificate/ National Certificate Level 3: Not accepted.
Access & Other

Access to Higher Education

Subject related Access with at least 30 Distinctions and 15 Merits at level 3 including at least 15 credits at Level 3 in Mathematics and at least 15 credits at Level 3 in Chemistry.


Non-standard qualifications

Degree: 

  • Year 1 entry: We may consider applicants for year 1 entry who are undertaking a 1st year degree elsewhere. You must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
     
  • Year 2 entry: Please note that second year transfers are not part of the standard admissions process and is up to the discretion of the admissions team and tutor. Applications are only considered if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, applicants for second year entry must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have gained (or be expected to gain) 65% overall and 120 credits  on an equivalent programme at another recognised university.

    The equivalency of the programme is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor and you will be required to provide an official copy of the programme specification of this. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
     
  • Year 3: We will not be able to consider any application for Year 3.
T Levels

T Levels are not currently accepted as an entry requirement for this course.

Students completing T levels in 2022
T levels in the following subjects are not accepted for entry to this course: Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction; Digital Production, Design and Development; Education and Childcare.  Please note that where a T level is listed as 'Not acceptable' this is because the T level does not cover subject specific knowledge that we normally require at A level.  If you have taken both a T level and an additional A level or A levels please consult the admissions team for advice in relation to any degrees where T levels are listed as 'not accepted.'

Students completing T levels in 2023 and beyond
There are now an additional seven T Level qualifications in: building services; engineering for construction; digital business services; digital support and services; health; healthcare science; onsite construction and science. The first student cohorts from these subjects will complete their courses in the summer of 2023. We will publish details of the progression opportunities to our degree programmes from these T Levels by September 2022.

GCSEs

Additionally to our Level 3 requirement, you will also need to have achieved:

Maths Grade C/4 and English Grade C/4

View our Admissions Policy

Whilst the grades listed here are our entry requirements, we understand that predicted grades are only an estimate. We will therefore consider applicants with predicted grades that fall below these entry requirements if the application is of a high standard (however, initial offers will not be lower than stated above).

Entry onto our Foundation Year maybe offered as an alternative to the degree course if lower entry grades are achieved.

*For details on our Aston Ready contextual offer scheme, please see here.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

International students

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements. For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage.

Facilities, teaching and assessment

Our delivery methods for teaching are varied. They include conventional lectures and tutorials, team and individual project work, plant visits, laboratory practical work and specialist guidance from consultants working in industry.

Your practical training will include working in chemical and process laboratories and being part of exciting projects, such as design, build and, after testing, putting into operation of a nuclear reactor control system.

Your learning process will be monitored continuously by a variety of assessments, which include a combination of written examinations or class tests, online class tests, coursework, design and research project reports, technical reports and oral presentations. And we will always provide you with timely feedback to help you achieve the best that you can, while you are with us.

As part of our Chemical Engineering degrees you will have access to our high quality laboratories. There you will learn the skills to design and build a process rig, work safely and effectively in a chemical laboratory and operate different units for reaction, separation, fluid flow and heat exchange; just like in a real process plant! Alongside these practical skills you will utilise advanced software packages to create drawings for industrial scale processes and to simulate the operation of chemical and biochemical plants.

Finally, our students have the chance to experience how industrial scale equipment looks and operates with visits and activities based in our on-site pilot scale plant.

Women in Engineering

Marcia campus photo

We spoke to Chemical Engineering student Marcia, about her experience being a woman pursuing a career in Engineering and what she thinks the future holds for female engineers. 

 

Fees and scholarships

UK students (2023/24)

Annual tuition fees: £9,250

During placement year: £1,250

International and EU students (2023/24)

Annual tuition fees: £20,650*

During placement year: £2,500

* The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as Home students.
Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/student-support-in-england

Tuition fees are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs. Find out more about our scholarships here.

Career prospects

Chemical Engineering opens the door to an exciting range of career opportunities! In addition to the traditional oil and chemical-based companies, you will be well equipped to work in a wide range of other industrial sectors - pharmaceutical, water treatment and waste management, food & beverage, energy industries and IT sector, but also in other vital society areas such as government, consultancy sector, transport or environment.

Our chemical engineering graduates have a strong track record in securing graduate roles, reflecting the varied range of skills they acquire during their degree. Recent examples of graduate destinations for chemical engineering students include Procter and Gamble, BP, ExxonMobil, Unilever, the National Grid, Atkins, British Sugar, Smurfit Kappa, BAE Systems, Heineken and HSBC.

Choosing to study Chemical engineering at Aston, will put you at the heart of a creative and career-focused culture, with a vibrant teaching team, ready to start your life-changing career.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why study Chemical Engineering at Aston?

If you’re interested in a career in industry or commerce, using a combination of chemistry and engineering, this course will give you the necessary academic knowledge and understanding as well as practical skills if you choose to take an optional year in industry.  

What will I be doing on the Chemical Engineering course at Aston?

You will be learning through a variety of means from conventional lectures and tutorials, to project team and individual work, plant visits, lab work and specialist supervision from consultants working in industry. 

Why should I take a year out in industry?

Our excellent links with the chemical industry allow you to test and expand your knowledge, skills and understanding through a paid placement. Placements provide integrated industrial and professional training, often in a position of responsibility, in areas such as the design, development, commissioning or operation of a chemical plant.   

We will help you arrange your placement and provide opportunities for you to visit companies, undertake commercial project work and compete for sponsorships and prizes. 

Does accreditation matter?

Yes. Accredited engineering degrees offer students, their parents and advisors, and employers a mark of assurance that the degree programme meets the standards expected by the engineering profession. Accredited degrees also give confidence that the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills for registration with a professional engineering institution have been met. 

You can find out more about this here: https://www.engc.org.uk/acad 

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 different countries chose to study with us every year and Aston is not only a great place to study, based in the centre of Birmingham it’s also a great place to live. 

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career.
 
Choosing to start your Aston journey with our foundation programme will help you develop specialist knowledge to ensure that you are fully prepared to study your chosen undergraduate course. 

 

Chat with current students

 
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