Chemical Engineering MEng


Fact file - 2019 entry

MEng Hons Chemical Engineering
UCAS code
4 years full-time
A level offer
Required subjects
Maths and either chemistry or physics (including a pass in the practical element). If A* in maths is achieved, alternative A level subjects could be considered, excluding citizenship studies, critical thinking and general studies.

GCSE mathematics grade 5 (B), and GCSE English grade 4 (C) are required.

A foundation year is available for those with BBB grades.
IB score
36 (higher level subjects to include maths plus either chemistry or physics)
Course location
Course places
100 (across all undergraduate courses in the department)


This course gives you in-depth knowledge and technical skills in all aspects of chemical engineering, from underpinning science to advanced engineering design.
Read full overview

Our students develop core scientific and engineering knowledge through practical laboratory experience, teamworking and problem solving. Their technical training and transferable skills make our graduates highly sought after by global companies, in a diverse range of careers.

Professional recognition

Engineering Council accredited degree

This degree has been accredited by the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and IOM3 (Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining) under licence from the UK regulator, the Engineering Council.

Accreditation is a mark of assurance that the degree meets the standards set by the Engineering Council in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC).

IChemE accreditation logo    IOM3 accreditation logo

An accredited degree will provide you with some or all of the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills for eventual registration as an Incorporated (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).

Some employers recruit preferentially from accredited degrees, and an accredited degree is likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords.

Year one

The department teaches a common first year across chemical engineering and environmental engineering courses. The transition between school/college and university is very carefully managed, with extensive staff support.

Year one takes students with backgrounds in science and maths and introduces the fundamental engineering sciences including heat and mass transfer and fluid mechanics. Safety and environmental aspects are also covered, as are the development of professional skills. The material is taught using a wide variety of methods, from problem-based learning to tutorials and laboratory classes.

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

Year two

The focus of year two is to develop the fundamental engineering sciences into the key processes and operations that are common within chemical engineering, such as process control, separations, process engineering and plant design. Laboratory work is a major component and the exposure to industry and cutting-edge research also increases. Safety and environmental aspects are an important aspect of this year, allowing students to become more independent in their approach to learning.

Year three 

In year three we develop the practical application of the knowledge and skills that have been gained in years one and two. Laboratory exercises are more open-ended, using large-scale and industrial equipment. Project management, business and finance are covered and there is a significant amount of input from industry.

Year-three students undertake a group design project, which simulates a commercial environment where companies tender for a design contract. Projects are industry driven and allow you to develop and demonstrate the skills and competencies necessary to be professional chemical engineers.

Year four

Year four allows you to develop specialist expertise, with a range of module options available. You will be completely independent in your learning and will be able to tackle a wide variety of complex, multidisciplinary problems and more advanced chemical engineering concepts. A research and design project is undertaken, giving you first-hand experience in cutting-edge research and the opportunity to develop the more advanced skills that set masters-level students apart from other graduates.


Entry requirements

A levels: A*AA-AAA, including maths and either chemistry or physics (including a pass in the practical element). If A* in maths is achieved, alternative A level subjects will be considered, excluding citizenship studies, critical thinking and general studies.

IB: 36, including maths and either chemistry or physics at Higher Level at grade 6. (Standard Level maths will also be accepted at grade 7).

English language requirements

IELTS: 6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications 

For details please see alternative qualifications page.

Foundation year - a foundation year is available for this course.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.

Notes for applicants

Course options

The department teaches a common first year across chemical engineering and environmental engineering courses. The transition between school/college and university is very carefully managed, with extensive staff support and formative feedback mechanisms. At the end of year one you will be able to transfer to any of the courses offered by the department.

At the end of the year two you will have the opportunity to transfer between BEng and MEng courses; this is also the most common time for students to undertake a study abroad programme.



The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules

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.

Engineering Mathematics

This module introduces the algebra of complex numbers to provide a key mathematical tool for analysing linear mathematical and engineering problems. It introduces the complexity of general (large) systems of equations and their study using matrix techniques. You’ll also study the calculus of a single variable to develop techniques used in the analysis of engineering problems. Topics include:

  • algebra of complex numbers
  • matrix algebra and its applications to systems of equations and eigenvalue problems
  • functions and their properties
  • advanced differential and integral calculus of one variable

You’ll have a one-hour lecture and a two-hour workshop every week for this module.

Heat and Mass Transfer

The module will introduce the basic concepts of heat and mass transfer with particular emphasis on the chemical process industries. In addition, you’ll use the concept of dimensionless analysis and the use of dimensionless numbers for the correlation of data.

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 including:

  • 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.

Separation Process Fundamentals

The module aims to introduce basic principles and concepts behind basic unit operations used in chemical and environmental processes and applications. Topics include:

  • gas absorption
  • single and multiple effect evaporation
  • vapour recompression integrated with evaporator
  • cascade and counter-current leaching process
  • stagewise and continuous liquid-liquid extraction process

You’ll spend around three hours in lectures each week.

Introductory Chemistry

This module aims to provide you with the necessary pre-requisite skills and foundation in chemistry required for further study.

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.

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 Principles

This module comprises two distinct parts. The first part is a revision and extension of important aspects of A-level physics. The second part of the course covers engineering materials used by chemical and environmental engineers in relevant process industries. Every week you’ll have three weeks of lectures and a one-hour tutorial.

Chemistry in the Environment

This module will provide you with a strong foundation in basic chemical principles and practice. You’ll spend three hours in lectures every week and have regular lab sessions in which you’ll gain practical skills and learn how to solve complex problems.

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 industry. Each week you will have two three-hour workshops and one one-hour computing session.


Typical year two modules

Separation Processes

This module establishes the principles of mass transfer separation processes, with a focus on binary distillation, gas absorption/stripping and drying. Every week you’ll have a two-hour lecture and a one-hour tutorial. You’ll also have regular practical workshops.

Plant Design

This module aims to ensure that students understand the fundamental basis of design, and the design tools most commonly used by engineers in industry. There is a strong focus on the design criterions for process equipment such as pumps, heat exchangers, and phase separators. You’ll also learn the basics of process plant economics and plant optimisation using cost models. Every week you’ll spend six hours in practical workshops and two hours in computing sessions.

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 practicals per week studying for this module.

Particle Mechanics

In this module you’ll study the flow of fluids through beds of particles. You’ll study modules including: simultaneous flow of gas and liquid through packed columns dynamics of a single particle, terminal velocity, solid/liquid separation processes, solid/ centrifugal separations particle size reduction; drops and bubbles; conveying. You’ll spend three hours in lectures and three hours in practicals per week.

Differential Equations and Calculus for Engineers

The majority of the module is concerned with providing techniques for solving selected classes of ordinary differential equations (ODEs). This module provides the fundamental concepts for solving partial differential equations relevant to modelling of thermodynamic, fluid or elastic problems which is then introduced and illustrated by obtaining fundamental solutions using techniques developed within the module. You’ll spend one hour in lectures and two hours in practicals per week.

Probabilistic and Numerical Techniques for Engineers

The module is divided into two sections: numerical techniques for ordinary differential equations and probability theory and introductory statistical inference. The module aims to develop the foundations of probability theory and to apply large sample statistics within an engineering context. You’ll spend one hour in lectures and two hours in workshops per week.

Engineering Materials

This module provides an introduction to the properties of engineering materials including topics such as: chemical bonding and structure, mechanical properties, elasticity, viscoelasticity, creep, fatigue and fracture. The module also provides elements of mechanical and structural design using engineering materials. You’ll spend three hours in lectures 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.

Waste Management

This module will help you develop the knowledge and skills needed for the successful management of waste. Increasingly, waste is viewed as a valuable resource that must be managed and utilised effectively to minimise environmental impact.

The first part of the module introduces you to conventional waste management practices. You’ll study the development of legislation and how directives from the European Union impact on our daily lives. Current waste treatment techniques and technologies will be studied:

  • Biological methods (composting, anaerobic digestion)
  • Thermal methods (energy from waste, gasification, pyrolysis)
  • Mechanical biological treatment and landfilling

Techniques and approaches for the recovery and recycling of waste products will also be a core component. You’ll explore how successful waste/resource recovery schemes are increasing due to the application and adaptation of technology from other industries. You’ll also analyse case studies on topical aspects such as materials recovery and reprocessing of specific waste streams.

Teaching is delivered through three hours of lectures each week.

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.

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.

Fundamentals of Process Control

This module forms an introduction to computational techniques and computing and process dynamics and control. It aims to provide you with experience in computer programming, dynamic process simulation and process control concepts. You’ll spend four hours in lectures and three hours in computing per week.


Typical year three modules

Process Dynamics and Control

This module aims to provide you with a basis for understanding the dynamic behaviour of a process system and the options available for its safe single loop control. It aims to help you develop an appreciation of:

  • the dynamic behaviour of processes
  • effects of disturbances and single loop controllers
  • the features and constraints on choice of conventional process control instruments and equipment
  • a basis for process analysis and design using dynamic process models and dynamic simulation

You’ll spend two hours in lectures and two hours in computing sessions every week.

Reactor Design

The lectures in this module include problem solving and interactive computer modules (ICM). You’ll work on problems in advance of the sessions. 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 
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 practicals 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.

Biochemical Engineering

This module aims to introduce to students and build fundamental knowledge and skills in the utilization 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 lectures per 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 exemplar 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 (for example, 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.

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.

Design and Project Management

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 will also gain an appreciation of project and financial planning.

You’ll spend one hour in a tutorial and make use of self-study sessions each week studying for this module.


Typical year four modules


MEng Project

In this module, you’ll undertake a combined design and research project in a team of two to four students. In addition, you’ll gain detailed knowledge in the specific topic of study.

The aim is for you to gain skills in planning, executing and reporting on an individual research study thereby developing their powers of analysis, independence and critical judgement. You’ll spend one hour in tutorials and make use of group-study sessions each week studying for this module.



Advanced Biochemical Engineering

This module covers the design of processes and equipment that make use of biological entities for the synthesis of chemicals and materials. Key elements include:

  • principles of mass and heat transfer in biological systems
  • sterile operation
  • bioreactor design
  • downstream processing
  • specialist instrumentation
  • regulatory environment and biosafety

The module enables you 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. You’ll learn problem solving skills to design bioprocessing unit operations. Every week you’ll have three hours of lectures and tutorials.

Advanced Reaction Engineering

The intent of this module is to help the student master advanced concepts in chemical reaction engineering. You’ll study topics such as: advanced reactor design; chemical reaction mechanisms and rate theories, transport effects in reactive systems, and rate expressions for complex and heterogeneous catalytic reaction system. You’ll spend three hours in lectures per week.

Multiphase Systems

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 and the principles of design methods. You’ll spend three hours in lectures per week.

Process Synthesis and Design

This module develops the student's ability in directed group work to synthesising and designing sustainable chemical processes. The group project will involve teams of three to four students. Two projects covering flow-sheet synthesis and resource conservation will be undertaken. You’ll spend three hours in lectures per week.

Advanced Computational Methods

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
  • the dynamics package to simulate (a) fluid flow in tanks in series (b) the control of a separator drum

You’ll spend three hours per week in computing sessions.

Computational Fluid Dynamics

In this module you’ll develop an advanced understanding of fluid mechanics. You’ll use computational methods in fluid mechanics to further understand how techniques are applied to real fluid engineering problems. For example, you’ll study fluid/structure interactions, air flow, channel flow and water wave propagation. You’ll spend between two and four hours in lectures and two hours in computing sessions each week.

Advanced Rheology and Materials

This module will introduce you to the flow properties of complex fluids. It will cover rheological models, outline characterisation techniques and explore selected applications. Case study supervisions are carried out in groups of three to five students and are intended to support your research into an industrial application of rheology and/or materials. You’ll spend three hours in lectures per week.

Petroleum Production Engineering

This module covers:

  • the formation and location of petroleum hydrocarbon reserves
  • drilling and completion engineering including well control techniques
  • basic reservoir physics and evaluation
  • production management and enhancement
  • primary separation

You’ll spend two hours in lectures every week.

Power Generation and Carbon Capture

The following topics are covered:

  • fossil fuels, occurrence, use and world-wide availability
  • fossil power generation, conventional and advanced technologies
  • current environmental/climate change issues in power generation using fossil fuels
  • emission problems and reduction technologies
  • climate-forcing carbon emissions and fossil energy de-carbonisation
  • co-firing of fossil fuels and biomass
  • carbon (CO2) capture and storage (CCS)

The challenges in tackling climate change call for a sustainable re-structuring of our energy infrastructure, particularly the fossil fuel fired power generation sector. The primary aim of this module is to address the major issues and challenges facing the power generation sector using fossil fuels. This will be related to emissions problems and their abatement technologies and will address both conventional and advanced power generation technologies.

There will be a particular focus on various aspects of CCS technologies and their application in a range of fossil energy sectors, from the technical and deployment status of CCS to related financial and environmental challenges and opportunities. You’ll have two hours of lectures a week for this module.

Process Risk Benefit and Analysis

The module will explore decision making in the presence of uncertainty. Risks of particular interest are those associated with large engineering projects such as the development of innovative new products and processes. The module will present and interpret some of the frameworks helpful for balancing risks and benefits in situations that typically involve:

  • human safety
  • potential environmental effects
  • large financial and technological uncertainties

Case studies will be used to illustrate key points and these will centre on the use and recovery of plastics, metals, industrial minerals and energy. You’ll spend three hours in tutorials per week.

Energy Storage

This module aims to provide you with the fundamental knowledge of energy storage science and the practical skills related to this area. It covers the following topics:

  • fuels storage (coal, oil, natural gas, biomass, hydrogen etc)
  • mechanical energy storage (springs, compressed air, fly wheels etc)
  • heat or thermal energy storage (phase transformation, endothermic and exothermic reactions etc)
  • electricity storage (electrochemical means, such as batteries, fuel cells, redox flow batteries, supercapacitors)
  • integration of storage with supplier and users (power electronics for interfacing energy stores with power grid, renewable sources and users)

You’ll spend two hours in lectures and three hours in practicals per week.

Polymer Engineering

This broad-based module covers the chemistry, material properties and manufacturing methods relevant to polymers. Topics include:

  • polymer chemistry and structure
  • routes to synthesis, polymerisation techniques, practical aspects of industrial production
  • viscoelasticity, time-temperature equivalence
  • rheology of polymer melts, heat transfer in melts, entanglements
  • properties of solid polymers, yield and fracture, crazing
  • manufacturing with polymers, extrusion, injection-moulding
  • design/processing interactions for plastic products

Every week you’ll have two hours of lectures and a one-hour seminar.



You will have developed your knowledge of science and engineering, together with a wide range of transferable skills including IT, communication, analysis, problem solving, teamworking and management.

Our graduates are well-regarded and find career opportunities in a range of industries, including energy, chemical manufacturing, pharmaceutical, food, oil and gas, as well as government agencies worldwide.

Average starting salary and career progression 

In 2016, 92% of undergraduates in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £26,000 with the highest being £31,500.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates, 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

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.  

Boost your earning potential

Which university courses boost graduate wages the most? Studying with us could help you to earn more.

  • We are second highest in the UK for female engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation
  • We are second highest in the Midlands for male engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation

(Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies data:



Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 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/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

Faculty-specific funding

In addition to the above, students applying to the Faculty of Engineering may be eligible for faculty-specific or industry scholarships.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.

How to use the data

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.


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