Chemical Engineering

BEng

Develop your knowledge of the world of Chemical Engineering, which modern society relies on, discovering renewable energy technologies, industrial biotechnology more.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type
Full-time
Entry requirements
Duration

3 or 4 years

UCAS code(s)

H803

Start date

Course overview

Ranked 3rd in the UK for Chemical Engineering (Guardian University Guide 2024), this accredited world-class degree will prepare you for a diverse career in an in-demand sector.

Vital to modern society, developing solutions to our planet's most pressing challenges such as sustainability and clean energy - chemical engineers change the world. This unique course combines modules in fundamental chemical engineering with those in chemistry, physical chemistry and mathematics, allowing you to gain the in-depth knowledge needed to ensure the safe and profitable production of the chemicals and materials that make the world go round. At the same time, you will be learning a robust selection of practical skills, such as problem-solving, engineering-relevant IT and engineering design skills.

Image of 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."

Michelle Watiki
BEng Chemical Engineering with Placement Year
Graduate Engineer, Rolls-Royce

Why Chemical Engineering at Aston University?

Ranked 2nd in the UK icon
Ranked 2nd in the UK for teaching quality
Chemical Engineering, Sunday Times University Guide, 2023
IChemE logo
Accredited degree
Accredited by IChemE
Ranked 3rd in the UK icon
Ranked 3rd in the UK
Chemical Engineering, Guardian University Guide, 2024

Course description

BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering

The BEng Chemical Engineering degree at Aston University is based on an advanced curriculum that includes theoretical knowledge, practical experiences, world-class facilities, and strong industry connections. The course will empower you to excel in your academic journey and prepare you for a successful and impactful career in chemical engineering.

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What we will provide
First-class teaching, in the UK's second-largest city, delivered by academics and researchers, who will bring the subject to life. Use of world-class facilities for practical labs and computer sessions, with access to simulation packages relevant in chemical engineering.

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What you will provide 
In order to thrive in our chemical engineering degree, we are looking for students who are self-motivated, have a willingness to learn and the curiosity to problem solve. It is important to have a critical, reflective nature and show resilience, as in chemical engineering, every experiment, calculation, failure, and success is an experience and lesson for the future. During studies and in your career, you will be constantly analysing and improving your approach. It's all about learning from your experiences and using that insight to boost your professional development.

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What skills we teach
Our BEng Chemical Engineering programme prides itself on offering a cutting-edge curriculum that reflects the latest advancements in chemical engineering. You will develop fundamental knowledge in engineering, hands-on practical lab skills, hardware skills which will be put to the test by creating a rig, and IT and software skills which will be used for process simulation and design. Our friendly approach to learning enables students to also develop more holistic skills including professional etiquette, teamwork, and the ability to communicate effectively.

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Placement year
A placement year is a fantastic opportunity and highly encouraged with Aston University’s Chemical Engineering course. Our award-winning careers and placement team and strong industry ties will provide you with exciting placement opportunities. Previous students have gained experience with leading companies, such as Rolls Royce, AirBus and institutes such as CERN.

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Career prospects
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.

How you will learn

Chemical Engineering at Aston University has an outstanding reputation, both for high-quality teaching and for research. We are proud to have received positive feedback from NSS 2023. 96% of our students felt that the teaching staff were good at explaining things, and 92% found the course to be intellectually stimulating.

Your learning will take place in our single-site campus in the heart of Birmingham. Along with traditional lectures and seminars, you will have team and individual project work, plant visits, and laboratory practical work. 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 the constructed rig into operation.

Here at Aston University, we are passionate about supporting our students. You will have a personal tutor throughout your studies to provide support and guidance. The Learning Development Centre is there to provide maths support, academic writing development, advice, and strategies for managing your studies.  You will also have the opportunity to get involved in peer-assisted-learning (PAL) sessions, learning from your peers who have been through the course content before you.

Extracurricular activities:

  • You can join a vibrant community of like-minded individuals in our Chemical Engineering and Applied Science (CEAC) Society.
  • Let your creativity run wild in our Design Challenge, whilst you tackle real-world engineering problems and propose innovative solutions.
  • Join our Formula Student team where you will design, build, and race your very own formula-style car.

What you will learn

In this course you will combine a detailed knowledge of chemistry with an understanding of engineering principles in order to design, construct, and operate chemical process plants. After a shared first year with chemistry students, you will learn specialist knowledge in core engineering topics and business, management and sustainability.

First year

During your first year, you will gain fundamental knowledge in principles of chemical engineering, including process and product design, design and build, with 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.

Second year

With the fundamentals mastered, you will build up your understanding of core chemical engineering modules and apply the knowledge therein at laboratory scale, in our process labs. 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 by modules related to process control and instrumentation, engineering materials, and a module giving you an introduction to Business Management.

Placement year

Consolidating your learnings in a work environment. For students who chose to spend a year in industry during their degree, we will support you to find paid, professional placement in the field you will one day thrive within. This placement will help you gain invaluable practical experience in a real work environment giving you a huge boost to future career prospects.

Final year

In the final year, you will specialise 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. In addition, optional modules will be offered to you, to choose two according to your personal and/or future career preferences.

chemical engineering

From BEng Chemical Engineering to Procter and Gamble

BEng Chemical Engineering student Georgina talks about her placement at Procter and Gamble and her future plans

Facilities

As part of our BEng Chemical Engineering degree, 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, in process labs, 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 unique chance to experience how a pilot- scale equipment looks and operates, with visits to our on-site pilot scale plant.
 

Course objectives

  1. Provides you with the opportunities to realise your academic potential through relevant and planned learning experiences.
  2. Provides you with a thorough grounding in the basic principles of chemical engineering.
  3. Provides you with a balanced structured curriculum, combining teaching in theoretical and knowledge-based principles with practical skills training.
  4. Produces graduate engineers with the qualities and skills that are in demand by employers and who are able to make a valuable contribution to society in general.
  5. Offers you the opportunity to obtain relevant industrial experience by providing the option of a sandwich placement year.

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Year 1 modules

In your first year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Mathematics for Chemical Engineers15
Sustainability, Design and Build15
Chemistry for Engineers15
Physical Chemistry for Engineers15
Process and Product Design15
Introduction to Chemical and Biochemical Engineering15
Introduction to Transfer Processes15
Professional Skills for Engineers 15
Total120

Year 1 outcomes 

On successful completion of the first year, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic mathematics, science and technology underpinning Chemical Engineering, its fundamental concept and principles as well as basic design and construction techniques.
  • Apply skills of analysis, synthesis & evaluation to support basic process/product design.
  • Use numerical methods for modelling and analysing simple chemical engineering problems.
  • Demonstrate basic IT skills that are relevant to the design of chemical engineering systems.
  • Demonstrate basic laboratory techniques relevant to experimental work and the knowledge to analyse the results of chemical engineering experiments.

 

Year 2 modules

In your second year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Process Design15
Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer15
Mass Transfer15
Separation Processes in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering15
Reaction Engineering15
Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics 15
Process Simulation and Control15
Introduction to Business Management 15
Total120

Year 2 outcomes 

On successful completion of the second year, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of well-established theories, concept and principles of Chemical Engineering, and higher-level design and construction techniques applicable to Chemical Engineering.
  • Apply basic business and management principles that are relevant to Chemical Engineering.
  • Apply skills of analysis, synthesis & evaluation to support complex process/product design.
  • Use numerical methods for modelling and analysing demanding engineering problems.
  • Demonstrate high-level IT skills that are relevant to the analysis, simulation and design of engineering systems.
  • Demonstrate advanced laboratory techniques relevant to experimental work and the knowledge to analyse the results of chemical engineering experiments.
  • Use a range of techniques to communicate with a variety of audiences.

Placement year modules

If you opt for an integrated placement year, you will spend your third year on placement. You will be fully supported throughout the process by our award-winning Careers and Placements team.

Placement Year

Module TitleCredits
Integrated Placement Year
 
120

Placement year outcomes

On successful completion of the placement year, you will be able to:

  • Get practical experience and have the relevance of the programme's discipline-specific and generic content to the real world of work and employment.

Final year modules

In your final year, you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Advanced Process Design 45
Process Saftey and Sustainability15
Advanced Reaction Engineering15
Advanced Separation Processes15

You will choose two of the following optional modules*

Module TitleCredits
Process Computation15
Advances in Biomaterials Science15
Renewable Technologies15
Biotechnology and Bioprocessing15
Environmental Chemistry 15
Total120

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Final Year Outcomes 

On successful completion of the final year, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the knowledge base and its interrelationship within the subject of Chemical Engineering, advanced design and construction techniques applicable to Chemical Engineering.
  • Apply skills of critical analysis, synthesis & evaluation to support complex advanced process/product design.
  • Use numerical methods for modelling and analysing complicated engineering problems.
  • Demonstrate advanced IT skills that are relevant to the analysis, simulation, modelling, and design of engineering systems.
  • Work effectively in groups to design a whole chemical process.

Entry requirements

  • A Levels

    BBB to include Chemistry and Maths at minimum Grade B (standard offer)
    BBC to include Chemistry and Maths at minimum Grade B (with an EPQ or Core Maths at Grade B)
    BCC to include Chemistry at minimum Grade B and Maths at minimum Grade C (contextual offer)

  • Contextual offers

    Aston Ready is our contextual offer scheme that could reduce your undergraduate offer by one or two grades. Assessed at the point of application, there are no additional forms to fill in.

Contextual offer criteria

  • 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
  • Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering: Distinction plus A-Level Chemistry and Mathematics at 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.
  • 31 points overall with 5, 5, 5 in Higher Level subjects including Chemistry and Maths at Grade 5.

We accept the QAA-recognised Access Diploma which must consist of 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.

Please note that we do not accept the English and Maths components within the Access qualification and you must meet the GCSE entry requirement.

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

You may be able to access this course via our foundation programme route.

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

Maths Grade C/4 and English Grade C/4
 

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. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

International students can enter at Year 2 of this course having completed an undergraduate year one programme at the required academic level with approved teaching partners ONCAMPUS Aston or NCUK.

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

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. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£9,250
During placement year:£1,250

International students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£21,100
During placement year:£2,500

More information on fees

For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy.

For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.

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.

Explore our scholarships 

Assessment

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.

We will always provide you with timely feedback to help you achieve the best that you can, while you are with us.

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, but also in other vital society areas such as government, consultancy, 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 graduates have moved on to roles including Material and Process Graduate, Technical Support Engineer, Business Development Representative, Graduate Engineer, Research Assistant, Business Strategy Graduate, Build Assurance Engineer and Data Analyst. They are working for high-profile companies and organisations such as Procter and Gamble, BP, ExxonMobil, Unilever, the National Grid, Atkins, British Sugar, Smurfit Kappa, BAE Systems, Heineken and HSBC.

Therefore, 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.
 

Graduation

Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

How will a placement year benefit me?

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.

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham

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