Course overview

Chemical engineers have a crucial role in addressing challenges within our world. As the population grows, we need to create processes that convert raw materials into products in an efficient, safe and sustainable way.

You will focus on changing the chemical, biochemical and physical state of raw materials. Chemical engineers are vital to key industries such as food and drink and energy.

As well as chemical engineering, you will focus on process design. This will include process and plant design, starting from year one of your programme.

Throughout the duration of your degree, you will learn the fundamental skills needed to enter the engineering profession. You will also develop transferable skills:

  • Project management
  • Business management
  • Finance
  • Analytics
  • Teamwork

Why choose this course?


in The Guardian University Guide 2023 for Chemical and Environmental Engineering

The Guardian University Guide 2023

Expert Teaching

Learn from research, industrial and teaching experts

Top 15

in the Complete University Guide for Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Complete University Guide, 2022

Year in industry

Get paid experience with a year out in industry

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level AAB in Clearing for home students

Please note: Applicants whose backgrounds or personal circumstances have impacted their academic performance may receive a reduced offer. Please see our contextual admissions policy for more information.

Required subjects

A in maths and B in either chemistry or physics.

General studies, critical thinking and citizenship studies are not accepted.

GCSE English grade 4 (C) are required.

IB score 34; 6 in maths: analysis and approches or maths: applications and interpretation at higher level or 7 in maths: analysis and approaches at standard level and 5 in physics or chemistry at higher level in Clearing for home students

Excluded subjects in Clearing for home students

  • General studies
  • Citizenship studies
  • Global perspectives
  • Critical thinking

Foundation progression options

You may access this course via an integrated honours foundation course with A level grades of BBB.

Mature Students

At the University of Nottingham, we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on the mature students webpage.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Group study
  • Independent study
  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Practical classes

How you will be assessed

Assessment methods

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

Contact time and study hours

On average, you will have around 20 contact hours a week in year one and two. Combined with coursework and self-study, you may spend over 40 hours a week on your studies.

Study abroad

There are study abroad options for this course.

Year in industry

There is the opportunity to spend a year in industry and we have a team of careers experts to support you in finding the right placement. During the placement you are classed as an employee of the host company and will receive a salary.

Placements are usually undertaken in the UK, but can be anywhere in the world.

Find out where our students have been on placement in the past.

Please use UCAS code H81B/H81D for Chemical Engineering including an industrial year BEng/MEng.

Study Abroad and the Year in Industry are subject to students meeting minimum academic requirements. Opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update information as quickly as possible should a change occur.

Discover Chemical Engineering at the University of Nottingham

Explore a typical day in our UK top 10 Chemical and Environmental Engineering department and discover why it's meant to be the course for you.


We have a common first year across the department that introduces the principle engineering sciences together with the fundamental aspects of process engineering design.

At the end of year one you can elect to transfer to any of the courses offered by the department.

Fundamentals of Engineering Design
This module introduces the deliverables, constraints and conventions of the design process. It will enable you to understand the fundamental basis of design, and the design tools most commonly used by engineers in the industry. Each week you will have two three-hour workshops and one one-hour computing session.
Fluid Mechanics
This module covers the essential fluid mechanics needed by engineers to design tanks, vessels, piping systems and pumps. It also forms a basis for later modules on heat and mass transfer in fluids. You'll spend three hours in lectures per week and have regular practical sessions.
Chemistry for Engineers

Content for this module will be confirmed later in 2022 - please keep checking back on this page.

Process Engineering Fundamentals

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the fundamental material and energy balances that underpin process engineering. You'll study material balances incuding:

  • once-through and recycle systems
  • flowsheets for continuous processes
  • batch processes
  • steady and unsteady state operation
  • reacting and non-reacting systems
  • energy balances
  • combustion calculations
  • heat balances in chemical and physical systems
  • enthalpy/composition diagrams

You'll spend three hours in lectures and have regular practical workshops for this module.

Mathematical Methods for Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Content for this module will be confirmed later in 2022 - please keep checking back on this page.

Introductory Geology

This module provides a basic understanding of geology and includes topics such as:

  • introduction to the main rock types and minerals
  • rock forming processes
  • the composition of the Earth
  • geological structures
  • natural hazards including volcanism and earthquakes
  • geological map interpretation
Engineering Thermodynamics
This module will present the basics of thermodynamics with particular emphasis on applications to process plant. By the end of the module you should be able to analyse most of the common energy-based operations found on process plant.
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 Friday 02 September 2022.

During this year you will become familiar with key process engineering concepts including process control, plant design, separation and particle technologies, material properties and sustainable processing.

BEng students wishing to take a year in industry, usually do so between their second and third year.

Chemical and Phase Equilibria

This module is an introduction to chemical thermodynamics and its applications to chemical, vapour/liquid/liquid and solid/liquid equilibria, and correlation and prediction of data. You'll spend two hours in lectures and one hour in a practical session per week studying for this module.

Interfacial Chemistry
This module covers the essential principles of key 'liquid' based surface phenomena, such as surface tension, capillary rise/depression, micelle formation and design of surfactants/interfacial agents. The aim of the module is to give you an appreciation of the essential aspects of surface chemistry in relation to heterogeneous catalysis and aspects of surface tension as relevant to chemical engineers. You'll spend three hours in lectures per week for this module.
Analytical Measurement
This module is designed to give you a theoretical and practical introduction to the principles of analytical measurement. Particular emphasis of the module is on quality control, quality assurance and accreditation. Teaching is delivered through a blend of lectures, practical workshops and computing sessions.
Separation and Particle Technology

Content for this module will be confirmed later in 2022 - please keep checking back on this page.

Advanced Mathematical Modlelling for Process Engineers

Coming soon

Coming soon

Process Engineering Project

This module builds on and applies the principles of particle mechanics, separation processes, interfacial chemistry and chemical and phase equilibria. You’ll utilise current technical chemical engineering knowledge to plan and operate a multi-step process in order to produce a series of products to a given specification.

Consideration is also given to appropriate safety and environmental guidelines. You’ll spend two hours in lectures and one hour in tutorials per week.

Materials and Sustainable Processes

Content for this module will be confirmed later in 2022 - please keep checking back on this page.

Process Design and Control

Content for this module will be confirmed later in 2022 - please keep checking back on this page.

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

This year you'll put your knowledge and skills into practice. Laboratory exercises are open-ended, using large-scale and industrial equipment. Project management, business and finance are covered and there is input from industry.

Biochemical Engineering
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.
Industrial Process Analysis

This module aims to provide you with a thorough understanding of how process, hygiene and material characteristics influence the total transformation design of chemical process plants via the reverse / forensic engineering based analysis of examplar plant designs. You'll learn how to:

  • assess the physical-chemical basis for safe process design, including handling of extremely hazardous materials, appropriate safety and control measures and the effect that such considerations have upon influence of scale-up
  • evaluate the basis for selection of construction material based on the characteristics of the materials being processed, conditions required to achieve the transformation, etc.
  • critically evaluate physical-chemical basis for application of novel/alternative processes and plant designs (e.g. green chemistry/process intensification/process integration)
  • explain the physical-chemical and practical factors which influence process economics, for example achievable yields, economies of scale of process, work-up and purification, sue stages
  • demonstrate what influence whole system thinking, total life-cycle and critical analysis have upon the physical-chemical basis of process designs
  • explain control choices with respect to the material, physical and chemical properties of the process relating them to product specifications and legislation requirements etc.
  • evaluate interactive risk within a complex system
  • understand the potential influence of that environmental impact and societal opinion has upon process design

Every week you'll have two hours of lectures and a one hour tutorial.

Reactor Design

This section is made up of eight topics, which are detailed below.  Each topic covers a fundamental principle in reactor design, also how students can combine those principles to derive/optimise the reactor design equations. The textbook Fogler, H. Scott "Elements of chemical reaction engineering", 4th ed., Prentice Hall, 2005 is closely followed. The main topics are:

  • mole balances
  • conversion and reactor sizing
  • rate laws and stoichiometry
  • collection and analysis of rate data
  • isothermal reactor design
  • multiple reactions
  • steady-state non-isothermal reactor design
  • catalysis and catalytic reactors
Design Project
This is a group design project involving the preparation of heat and mass balances and flow sheets for a particular process scheme and the detailed design of certain important plant items. A study of the control, operational, safety, environmental and economic aspects will be included. You'll spend one hour in a tutorial and make use of self-study sessions each week studying for this module.
Process Engineering Laboratory

In this module you'll be given a laboratory-based problem and you'll need to plan experiments to collect the data required to solve the problem. You'll work in groups but write individual reports covering process assessment, experimental procedure and the description and discussion of the experimental results.

By solving a laboratory-based problem, you should gain the confidence in making decisions in a technical/scientific environment and adopt a rational, efficient approach to problem solving. You'll also become more familiar with the operation of commonly-encountered chemical engineering equipment and improve your skills in collecting, analysing and interpreting experimental data.

Process Simulation 1
This module is an introduction to steady-state process simulation by computer. Students will use a commercial package in a design environment and will develop an understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of such tools. You'll spend one hour in lectures and around three hours in practical sessions per week.
Multicomponent Separations

In this module you’ll look in detail at the process of mass transfer in multi-component separation equipment and multicomponent separation processes. You’ll learn principles of design for distillation and absorption columns and use computer applications. You’ll spend two hours in lectures and one hour in workshops per week studying for this module.

Advanced Transport Phenomena

This module aims to provide an in depth knowledge of heat, mass and momentum transport that is necessary in assessing, analysing and developing chemical, biochemical and environmental processes.

Furthermore, this module fills the gap between first year transport phenomena and the fourth year CFD module while introducing the multi-physics aspect of the discipline. You’ll spend three hours in lectures and three hours in practicals each week studying for this module.

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

Fees and funding

UK students

Per year

International students

Per year

*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

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) .

Additional costs

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

  • Books - You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries. If you wish to purchase your own copies, please budget around £40-90 per book.
  • Printing – Black and white printing costs 4p per side.
  • Trips – The department covers the travel cost of compulsory field trips.
  • PPE – The department shall provide; boots, lab coat and hardhat. If you lose these, you are responsible for the cost of replacing them. A standard PPE set (coat, boots, specs and hardhat) costs in the region of £45.
  • Year in Industry - If you do a work placement, any costs associated with travel or accommodation will need to be factored in.
  • Year abroad - If you study abroad, you will need to consider the travel and living costs for the country you choose. This could include visa costs and medical insurance.
  • Laptops – Although there are PCs available for your use in our computer labs, you may wish to purchase your own laptop, read more about our recommended specification.
  • Calculator - While the calculator you used for your former study is usually sufficient some students will choose to purchase a new calculator which will cost around £10.

Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.

There may also be costs issued by the university for rep

Scholarships and bursaries

The University offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. Engineering students may be eligible for faculty-specific or industry scholarships.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

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

International scholarships


During this course you will develop your knowledge of science and engineering, together with a wide range of transferable skills including IT, communication, analysis, problem solving, team working and management.

Our graduates are well-regarded and find career opportunities in a range of industries, including:

  • energy
  • chemical manufacturing
  • pharmaceutical
  • food and drink
  • oil and gas
  • government agencies worldwide

Average starting salary and career progression

89.5% of undergraduates from the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £31,426.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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).

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" One of my favourite features of this course is the ability to study design from year one rather than starting in year three like many other institutes. I find this rewarding as it allows you to experience more and to learn from others, helping you to integrate with more of your peers. "
Bryony Borrowdale

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Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.