Find a Subject Undergraduate Chemical Engineering

Our philosophy is one of world-class teaching in an atmosphere of research. Staff in the School have won national awards, and strong links with industry ensure teaching is in line with today's requirements.

Why Aberdeen?

Engineering is one of the most satisfying professions. You get results. You make things happen. You generate new solutions to other people's problems and at the end of the day, you have the job satisfaction of being able to see your work in action. Engineering is an intellectually demanding profession, mainly because of the wide range of skills you need to deploy. You are expected to be good at mathematics, to have a sound grasp of basic sciences, to be inventive and creative, to be able to sell your ideas to clients and colleagues and, in due course, to organise and lead fellow professionals.

  • Integrated Engineering School, containing award-winning staff and modern, well-equipped laboratories
  • Common core in years 1 and 2 for all engineering students
  • Programmes reflect 'systems engineering' approach in modern industry
  • Final choice of specialisation can be made at start of year 3
  • Philosophy of world-class teaching in an atmosphere of research



Most engineers achieve professional status in the UK through membership of one of the Engineering Institutions and register as Chartered Engineers. Chartered Engineers can practice in Europe and our Honours degrees are recognised by the European Federation of National Engineering Associations.

The Engineering Institutions regularly review degree programmes and accredit those they find suitable on behalf of the Engineering Council (UK) and Engineering and Technology Board.

According to your choice of curriculum, our MEng Honours degree is accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineering, Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology or by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The BEng Honours degree is also accredited, but to complete the academic requirements for professional membership, you would need to follow your degree studies with advanced study equivalent to the final year of an MEng programme.

The Petroleum Engineering programmes will be accredited as part of the portfolio of programmes offered by the School of Engineering to the Engineering Council.

Our degrees are also recognised world-wide as an accredited route to professional engineering status. 


Study Abroad

Study abroad information 

The Aberdeen Difference

The opportunity to take Enhanced Study options as part of your degree and participate in co-curricular activities. See for more information.

Honours Degrees of MEng & BEng

The MEng is a five-year Honours programme and the BEng is a four-year Honours programme both of which are fully accredited by the Engineering Institutions (see Professional Accreditation section). For the first two years you study a common core covering the basic principles of all branches of engineering. In these two years you will follow courses which will give you choice of at least three of the School's main disciplines to specialise in. In the later years you specialise, following your chosen discipline in greater depth, including design applications.  

Pre-Honours Years

In the first year you can study topics such as Engineering Mathematics, Electronics, Engineering Chemistry, Mechanics, Fundamentals of Engineering Materials and Computer Aided Design & Communication.

Following this, in the second year, the topics covered can include, Engineering Mathematics, Engineering Chemistry, Transport Processes, Fluids and Thermodynamics, Solids and Structures, Electronic Systems, Geology, Electrical and Mechanical Systems and Design & Computing. The first and second year courses are complement4ed by hands on practical exercises and case studies from real–life engineering projects.

Honours Years

You do not need to finalise your choice of specialisation until you begin third year. This is also the point at which a final decision between MEng and BEng must be made. Successful BEng candidates will be offered the chance to change to the MEng programme. A wide range of both MEng and BEng programmes are available across the entire engineering spectrum, reflecting the multi-disciplinary nature of the School.

In your third year, you have the opportunity to study from a range of courses leading to specialisation in your chosen discipline. The major feature of the fourth year is the undertaking of an individual project in the area of your specialisation. The project occupies half of your study time and can be undertaken in Aberdeen or abroad. The opportunity exists to study a European language to support this study. Formal courses continue to develop your specialist interests.

If you are studying for the MEng degree then in fifth year you undertake a group design project in addition to courses in Engineering Analysis & Methods and Engineering & Project Management. The study of Advanced Special Topics further deepens your specialist knowledge.

The specialisations come under five main disciplines. Some more information on each of these is detailed below. 

Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering is concerned with manipulating the chemical, biochemical or physical state of substances in order to convert raw materials into products in a safe and cost-effective manner.  For example, petrol, plastics and the synthetic fibres which make up much of our clothing are all derived from oil which is extracted from the ground as a mixture of oil, water and gas.

Chemical Engineers contribute to society by engaging in activities such as helping to manage resources, protecting the environment and controlling health & safety procedures.

In designing, optimising and operating the processes which make the products we use in our lives on a daily basis, Chemical Engineers play a critical role in making key decisions including: selecting the best reaction pathway to the desired product in order to minimize formation of unwanted by-products; determining how to purify the product; designing the best control system to ensure the process is safe; developing the most cost effective process; what to do with by-products of the process; how to deal with unreacted raw materials; optimising the process to maximise yield and recycle energy to maximise efficiency.

Chemical Engineers are employed across a broad spectrum of industries including: Energy; Water; Pharmaceuticals; Food & Drink; Oil & Gas; Fast Moving Consumer Goods; Agrochemicals, fine chemicals & petrochemicals; Mining & Minerals; Biotechnology; Management; Consultancy; Environmental Protection; Safety.

The benefits of a career in Chemical Engineering include:

  • Excellent job prospects.
  • Competitive graduate starting salaries (~£28k/yr based on IChemE Salary Survey 2012).
  • High earning potential throughout your career (CEng Chemical Engineers command salaries akin to those of accountants, doctors & lawyers).
  • Real responsibility from the outset, exciting challenges & travel opportunities.
  • The opportunity to contribute to society’s drive towards a sustainable future.

If you have an aptitude and fascination for how the physical world works, are interested in how chemical reactions and the physical properties of matter can be harnessed to create world changing technologies and want to contribute positively to making the life of the human race better and to the development of a sustainable future, then you should consider chemical engineering as a career choice.

Aberdeen is at the heart of the energy industry in Europe and of international importance as a centre of excellence in exploration and production of oil and gas. The combination of these factors makes it possible to offer a curriculum that is both influenced by the cutting edge research of our academics and highly relevant to the needs of employers.

Our MEng/BEng Chemical Engineering Degree Programmes deliver the learning outcomes required of any general Chemical Engineering degree programme giving our graduates the opportunity to find employment across the broad spectrum of Chemical Engineering employers.  Our location in Aberdeen, the energy capital of Europe, and our engagement with local industry means that our students have the opportunity to engage with the local upstream oil and gas industry from the moment they embark on their studies.

The lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratories within which the programmes are delivered are supported by site visits and contributions from collaborators in industry.

Following specialisation in third year Honours studies will include:

Level 3: Engineering Analysis & Methods; Fluid Mechanics; Chemical Thermodynamics; Heat, Mass & Momentum Transfer; Chemical Engineering Design; Project & Safety Management; Process Modelling; Chemical Reaction Engineering; Separation Processes 1.

Level 4: Individual Project; Biochemical Engineering; Process Control; Process Safety; Separation Processes 2 (MEng Only); Group Design (BEng only); + 30 credits of courses chosen from a list of approved options as agreed with Adviser of Studies.

Level 5 (MEng only): Upstream Oil and Gas Processing; Environment, Sustainability & Ethics; Membrane Processes; Computational Fluid Dynamics; Group Design; Engineering Management; Mathematical Optimisation or Advanced Chemical Engineering.

Note: An SQA Higher or GCE A Level or equivalent qualification in Chemistry is required for entry to year 1, in addition to the general engineering requirements.


Teaching and Assessment

The main methods of teaching are lectures, tutorials, laboratory and design classes. You can expect an average of 20 hours of lectures, labs and tutorials per week, which you are expected to supplement with private study. Self-study is vital as it develops the confidence to enable you to tackle unfamiliar problems, an essential skill for the professional engineer.

Laboratories and design classes are used to develop practical and communication skills. They are also valuable for giving practical demonstrations of the concepts covered in the lecture courses.

A number of coursework exercises are carried out each year, aimed at developing and improving communication skills. These include written laboratory reports, dissertations, and presentations. The main method of assessment is examinations in January and May. Presentations, laboratory reports and other coursework are submitted and marked individually throughout the year. 


A degree in Engineering is fundamental to a career as an engineer today. At the moment there is a shortage of good engineers, which means that there are many and varied employment opportunities throughout the country and, indeed, the world. It will also hold you in good stead for more specific careers such as accountancy or management consultancy. The School of Engineering at Aberdeen is justifiably proud of its students and graduates, believing them to be the best advert for the work of the School. With their excellent reputation our graduates are in high demand from employers.

An Engineering degree at the University of Aberdeen can also lead to the opportunity of further study. Every year many of our students come back for postgraduate study either on one of our taught programmes or to gain higher degrees by research.

Finding your direction

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success.  The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us – from first to final year – and beyond.

Minimum Entrance Requirements

Note: An SQA Higher or GCE A Level or equivalent qualification in Chemistry is required for entry to Year 1, in addition to the general engineering requirements.

For details on entrance requirements please click here

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Further Information

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