Course overview

Our MSc Chemical Engineering programme provides extra training companies expect from the next generation of chemical engineers, producing employable graduates with the potential to be future leaders of industry.

You will have an engineering first degree such as environmental or chemical engineering. Based on the modules selected, you will gain experience in areas including:

  • chemical and petroleum processing
  • energy efficiency
  • carbon capture
  • water treatment

The course offers you access to an accredited masters level degree, which is an educational requirement for Chartered Engineer status.

Why choose this course?


in The Guardian University Guide 2023 for Chemical and Environmental Engineering

The Guardian University Guide 2023


in the Complete University Guide for Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Complete University Guide 2024


highest in the UK for female engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation.

Top 10

in the UK for Chemical and Environmental Engineering

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide


most targeted university by top employers in the UK, and have been in the top 10 since 2013

Course content

The course follows a modular structure, with students completing 180 credits over a 12-month period. Students will complete:

  • 70 credits of core modules;
  • 20 credits of optional modules;
  • 30 credit development project providing skills in advanced design practice;
  • 60 credit summer project which develops skills in research.

The course utilises an integrated educational approach in which lectures, example classes, laboratories and information technology form key elements.

We provide English-language support from the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), including: in-class support, a technical writing course designed specifically to support our summer project, and one-to-one English tuition on request.  CELE are accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.


Core modules

Accelerated Design Training (Autumn & Spring) 30 credits

The aim of this module is to help our graduates gain the necessary skills-set required for process engineering design and project management skills for future career development; be it Chemical, Environmental or Food. Student-led under the guidance of an academics who are all industrial specialists with extensive experience working for chemical, environmental and food manufacturing companies. Workshops and lectures are held by department staff in key areas. AutoCAD instruction is also provided. Regular mentoring sessions by an appointed team tutor to support your group work.

Modern engineering is not just motivated by profit and productivity, we must make decisions considering the technical, safety, economic and sustainability aspects, and these four factors will form the basis of our design. The focus of your process project is multi-disciplinary and rooted in “cutting-edge” research taking place around the world.

Assessment: 100% coursework

Coursework 1 (30%) Conceptual group design task

Coursework 2 (70%) Detailed group design task

Viva and Team peer assessment to compute individual marks

Advanced Rheology and Materials (autumn) 10 credits

The module gives the student a detailed introduction to the fascinating world of non-Newtonian fluids. We will cover the different mathematical techniques used to understand and characterise these materials and cover the instruments required to measure them. Each week features a two hours of lectures and an hour-long problem class.

Food Processing (autumn) 10 credits

This module gives the students an introduction to industrial scale food processing. A $12 trillion industry that represents greater than 10% of global consumer spending and 40% of employment. Topics covered included: Food structure, food safety and hygiene, freezing, baking, frying, separation, drying and packaging. There is a large amount of industrial context with several guest lectures delivered by industrial engineers working within the fast-growing food and drink sector.

Assessment: 100% exam

Renewable Energy from Wastes (autumn) 10 credits

This module will look at the potential of various waste streams in industry, domestic sources, and agriculture, as well as the different combustion technologies available. It will include a strong international focus, particularly on small to medium scale renewable energy schemes in developing countries. The module will also have dedicated socio-cultural, socio-economic, policy and guidance and techno-economic seminars to introduce students to the interdisciplinary nature of the subject.

Assessment: 30% group coursework, 70% exam

Research Planning (spring) 10 credits

The module develops the skills required to design, plan, implement and manage a research project. Students will be given instruction and practice in problem definition; collection, synthesis and critical review of information from a range of traditional and electronic sources; definition of scope, aims and objectives; development of a project plan and schedule; management of project progress.

Particular emphasis of the module is towards quality control and quality assurance and how these underpin measurement activities. The use of statistics for the assessment of data quality in measurement is also emphasised. Students will also develop their writing and practical skills through exercises and coursework.

Assessment: 100% individual coursework

Coursework 1 (70%) 3,000-word laboratory report

Coursework 2 (30%) 1,000-word critical review

Multiphase Systems (spring) 10 credits

This module will identify the industrial occurrence of the simultaneous flow of more than one phase and highlight the implications for design. It will establish the principles of flow and heat transfer in gas/liquid systems.

Assessment: 30% individual coursework, 70% exam

Advanced Reaction Engineering (spring) 10 credits

This module introduces students to the principles of catalytic reactions and non-ideal reactors with a focus of heterogeneous gas phase reactions and liquid phase reactors. Delivered through a mix of lectures, problem classes and computing sessions. Students will derive catalytic reaction mechanism, define mass transfer & reaction in a catalytic system and develop models to evaluate real reactors via ideal reactors. Students will use computer software (i.e. Matlab, SPSS) to determine the parameters of a heterogeneous catalytic reactions used in the oil & gas industry.

Assessment: 30% individual coursework; 70% exam

Advanced Computational Methods (spring) 10 credits

The module is designed to give you experience of advanced software applications in chemical engineering, and their potential application to research projects. You will learn how to use advanced features of HYSYS, including the optimiser for (a) a two-stage compressor (b) an economic assessment of a refrigeration process; and the dynamics package to simulate (a) fluid flow in tanks in series (b) the control of a separator drum.

Assessment: 100% individual coursework

MSc Project (Summer) 60 credits

In this module a student will be assigned to an individual supervisor who will be a staff member in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering. The student will carry out a practical or theoretical project chosen from the current interests of the staff member concerned.

The principal aims of the module are to develop the student's ability to work as part of a group to develop and analyse a proposed process design and to identify research need. Then to develop the student’s ability to evaluate and select information and apply this knowledge to propose and execute a research programme to address the identified need.

The module is composed of four major deliverables, a mixture of group and individual project work.

Assessment: 100% coursework

Task 1 (30%) Group design project

Task 2 (Formative) Individual research proposal

Task 3 (50%) Individual research paper

Task 4 (20%) Individual design re-evaluation

Optional modules

Biochemical Engineering (autumn)

This module aims to introduce to students and build fundamental knowledge and skills in the utilisation of biological systems in bio-manufacturing and bioconversion. Students will learn basic biological science applied to the exploitation of living systems and their components. Fundamentals of bioprocess safety will be developed. You'll spend three hours in practical sessions each week studying for this module.

Water Treatment (autumn)

This module will introduce you to a range of knowledge and skills applicable to water and wastewater treatment. You'll gain an understanding in water availability, sources of pollution and the legislative framework for water quality from an EU perspective.

Municipal water and wastewater treatment processes will be covered, focusing on key unit processes including sedimentation, filtration and disinfection. You’ll spend three hours per week studying for this module. Teaching is also complemented by site visits.

Geoenergy Engineering (autumn) 10 credits

This module covers traditional petroleum geology and reservoir engineering topics such as geophysics, reservoir rock core and fluid characterisation, drilling and well control together with gas storage and CO2 sequestration. It also covers both unconventional hydrocarbon resources and more sustainable energy sources including geothermal.

Assessment: 100% exam

Advanced Biochemical Engineering (spring) 10 credits

This module covers the design of processes and equipment that make use of biological entities for the synthesis of chemicals and materials. It aims to apply chemical engineering principles to processes involving biological systems and to appraise the significant issues of reactor engineering, product recovery, isolation and purification specific to biotechnology. Further to apply problem solving skills to design bioprocessing unit operations, the application of enzyme technology in the chemical industry: soluble and immobilized enzymes and downstream processing and protein purification.

Assessment: 100% individual coursework

Water Treatment Engineering 10 credits

This module will give you a detailed understanding of design considerations, current industry challenges, emerging issues, and technological solutions in water treatment. The module is delivered through case studies for you to experience and learn what water treatment engineering really means to different industries. Guest speakers will also introduce you to their challenges and solutions, including how these problems are driving investment into developing and emerging technologies.

Assessment: 30% individual coursework, 70% exam

Process Risk Benefit and Analysis (spring) 10 credits

In this module, you form a small start-up business based on the development of new technologies and work in teams to develop technological applications, assess market opportunities, explore competitor technologies, evaluate and consider risks—and then develop a full business case for specific technologies in specific market areas. Classes will revolve around group clinics/consultancy sessions, Q&A, lectures and guest lectures and two presentation sessions to a panel of ‘dragons’.

Assessment: 100% group coursework

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Tuesday 18 July 2023.

Due to timetabling availability, there may be restrictions on some module combinations.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Lab sessions
  • Group study
  • Practical classes
  • Self-study
  • Independent study
  • Tutorials

How you will be assessed

  • Coursework
  • Group coursework
  • Examinations
  • Presentation
  • Research project

You will be assessed with a combination of methods, regarding to the module learning outcomes and activities. You must pass each module with at least 50% to progress.

Contact time and study hours

On average, you will have around 30 contact hours a week. This include lectures, practicals, meeting with project supervisors and personal tutors. Combined with coursework and self-study, you may spend over 50 hours a week on your studies. Class sizes depends on the nature of the module (e.g., compulsory or optional) and can be between 50-100.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 in a relevant engineering degree.
Work experience

Applicants who do not meet the entry criteria, but have significant work industry experience may be accepted on to the programme.


Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply


Qualification MSc
Home / UK £11,850
International £28,600

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, you could factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.


There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have gained top jobs with major companies. This course equips students with an understanding of existing and emerging technologies, advanced design skills and strong skills in research, problem solving and project management.

Students have found jobs in a range of industries, including:

  • oil and gas
  • petrochemicals
  • food
  • environmental protection
  • nanotechnology
  • consultancy and management

Career progression

100% of postgraduates from the School of Chemical Engineering secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £34,125.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on data from graduates who completed a full-time postgraduate degree with home fee status and are working full-time within the UK.

Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)

This course is accredited by the IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers)

Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3)

This course is accredited by the IOM3 (Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining).

We have a dedicated staff in the department to work with the Careers and Employability and Industrial Placements Teams, helping support our students to find summer and graduate jobs.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" "The people and sense of community and collegiality make this department a special place to study and work together. We have a fantastic diversity in our students and staff and an amazing breadth in future destinations and skills from energy to food and everywhere in between" "
Prof Chris Dodds, Head of Department

This content was last updated on Tuesday 18 July 2023. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.