Chemical Engineering LabUCAS code: H802
ECTS: 270 credits
Start date: October 2017
Duration: 4 years full-time

LocationSouth Kensington

Chemical engineering is the design of processes for creating products that we all depend on, from petrol to pharmaceuticals.

This professionally accredited degree combines core foundation subjects, laboratory work, design and specialised modules. It includes the opportunity to spend the third year abroad at one of our partner universities.

About the course


This integrated Master's course begins with the study of the discipline in its own right from the very first week.

It is strongly rooted in science and mathematics, which is incorporated alongside practical applications in engineering subjects.

You take advantage of practical teaching and assessment methods, with over half of the course centred around project work as opposed to formal lectures.

You will be practical both within and outside of your studies, with all students expected to take advantage of the opportunity to complete an industry-based project toward the end of the course.

Our MEng courses are always evolving in content while the educational aims are retained, and our intention is to demonstrate how you can apply scientific and technological expertise to achieve material, commercial and environmental benefits.

The course provides a number of specialised and advanced options in the later years to meet the way individual students’ needs and career preferences develop.

You typically spend the third year studying abroad at a leading partner institution, where you will complete a series of modules and assessments similar to those at Imperial, although this could be in the fourth year depending on your destination (see below).

In the fourth year you have the freedom to tailor the course to your interest through a broad choice of specialised chemical engineering, management and humanities options, as well as technical options from across the Faculty of Engineering.

Year Abroad

You typically spend your third undergraduate year abroad at one of our partner universities and will then return to Imperial for the final year. If the year abroad destination is France, the Netherlands or Sweden, you will spend the fourth year abroad instead. In Spain there is the option to spend either the third or the fourth undergraduate year abroad.

Ordinarily only students who are on track to achieve at least a 2:1 by the end of year two (or year three for final year placements) are eligible for selection. If you do not reach this level you will be able to transfer to the standard course.

You may transfer to the standard course at any earlier time. Similarly, there are opportunities for students from the standard course to transfer to the Year Abroad course.

Other streams

This degree is one of three undergraduate courses in the Department.

The first two years are shared by all three degrees, covering fundamental science and mathematics and how that applies to practical engineering problems. During this time you will analyse a variety of chemical processes, and learn about the many ways of contacting, reacting and separating different gases, liquids and solids on a large scale.

We also introduce you to the basic social, economic and environmental factors that affect industrial operations.


Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Year 1

You take a pathway of core modules in the first year, as well as two mini-design projects:

  • one on the scheduling of maintenance and repair work on a pressurised-water reactor power station
  • one on the synthesis of a heat exchanger network for a solvent manufacturing plant

Key aims in these projects are success in definition and solving of the problem, and experience of working in groups.

Core modules
  • Business for Engineers 1
    (Business Ethics for Chemical Engineers)
  • Chemistry
  • First Year Design Project
  • Fluid Mechanics 1
  • Foundation Laboratory
  • Heat and Mass Transfer
  • Introduction to MATLAB
  • Mastery for Engineers 1
  • Mathematics 1
  • Process Analysis
  • Properties of Matter
  • Separation Processes 1
  • Spring Test
  • Thermodynamics 1

Year 2

In the second year you take a series of core modules and two design projects:

  • for a catalytic reactor – you will write your own computer program to size the reactor in order to achieve a specified conversion
  • for control of a furnace for heating a crude oil stream – you will use an existing real-time simulation package
Core modules
  • Biochemistry
  • Business for Engineers 2
    (Economic Evaluation of Projects)
  • Fluid Mechanics 2
  • Heat Transfer
  • Industrial Chemistry
  • Knowledge Laboratory
  • Mastery for Engineers
  • Mathematics 2
  • Pilot Plant Project
  • Process Dynamics and Control
  • Reaction Engineering 1
  • Reactor Design and Control Project
  • Separation Processes 2
  • Thermodynamics 2

Year 3

You typically spend this year at a partner university abroad, unless you are on the exchange in France, the Netherlands or Sweden.

The main difference from the standard course (H801) is that you will take language classes instead of some topics in the first two years. If you are already fluent in the language, you will follow the standard course before you go abroad.

For destinations where teaching is in the host country's language, you will have to achieve a satisfactory level of proficiency in French/German/Spanish six months before you go abroad.

There is competition for the limited number of exchange places to the USA, Australia, and Singapore. You are therefore not guaranteed a place on these exchanges even if you are enrolled on the Year Abroad course.

You will normally need to be achieving at least a 2:1 degree standard academically to be eligible for a placement abroad.

The modules to be taken at the partner university will closely match the course structure of the third year at Imperial.

Year 4

In the fourth year you have the choice of over 20 optional modules, which you take alongside two projects.

Advanced Chemical Engineering Practice: Research Project

You complete an advanced research project at Master's level over one or two terms.

Advanced Chemical Engineering Design Practice: Final Year Design

You undertake a major project covering all aspects of the design of a chemical plant:

  • the synthesis of a process
  • detailed design of key units
  • plant control (including start-up and shut-down procedures)
  • plant safety and layout (including environmental impacts of the plant);
  • development of a sound business plan
Optional modules

You choose six of the below optional modules.

  • Advanced Bioprocess Engineering
  • Advanced Process Operations
  • Advanced Process Optimisation 1
  • Biochemical Engineering
  • Carbon Capture and Clean Fossil Fuels
  • Colloid and Interface Science
  • Downstream Separation in Biotechnology
  • Dynamic Behaviour of Process Systems
  • Dynamical Systems in Chemical Engineering
  • Introduction to Nuclear Energy
  • Long Research Project
  • Membrane Science and Membrane Separation Processes
  • Modelling of Biological Systems
  • Molecular Modelling of Fluids
  • Nuclear Chemical Engineering
  • Nuclear Materials I
  • Nuclear Reactor Physics
  • Nuclear Thermal Hydraulics
  • Pharmaceutical Process Development
  • Process Heat Transfer
  • Product Characterisation
  • Transport Processes in Biological Systems
Business, humanities and exchange

You may choose one of the below modules as one of your optional modules.

Course prerequisite

In order to undertake this MEng course, you will need to have a laptop computer for some classes and coursework of the following minimum specification:

  • Windows 10 capable
  • Intel i5/i7 5th Gen processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256 GB SSD HDD

If you do not have your own laptop, the Department has a number of laptops available for loan for the duration of your course – a deposit of £100 will be required, refundable on return of the laptop at the end of your programme of study.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

You can expect to spend approximately two-thirds of your time in lectures in the first and second years, with the remainder of the time spent on projects, coursework and complementary projects.

Lecture-based courses in the first two years are supplemented by tutorials in small groups and by seminars, with some written assignments as appropriate.

The teaching methods you can expect will vary in the third and fourth years, as this will depend on which optional modules you choose.

The fourth year is approximately 49% lecture-based, with the majority of the year being made up of projects, coursework and complementary projects.

You are mainly assessed by yearly examinations, which are backed up with various open-book assessments, which allow you to demonstrate mastery of key course content, and consolidate the knowledge gained from lectures.

Most of the formal teaching takes place in the mornings. This includes lectures, problem classes and small group tutorials. The afternoons are kept free for a series of projects undertaken either singly, in a pair, or in a larger group. This enables you to develop important teamwork skills.

There is a continuous design element running through the degrees for all four years, with projects that increase in complexity each year.

Most students will have the opportunity to carry out an industrial internship following the third year. In these projects, you work in industry or research institutes during the summer vacation and carry on with aspects of the work during the autumn term of the fourth year.

Marking scheme

In order to pass each year you must achieve a mark of 40% in each individual examination, an average mark of 40% in each module, and an average mark of 40% in the combined coursework assessments.

Project work

The project work is completed in pairs and sometimes larger groups, and ensure collaboration with academic teaching staff (who assess progress) and the development of vital team work skills.

For laboratory projects you work in pairs on for 4 weeks in each of the first 3 years, supervised by a lecturer. Sessions typically begin with a discussion of the background to the experiments and the lecturer supplies a list of suitable reading. You are tested on your understanding in tutorials.

As with all projects, the work is finally reported fully in writing for assessment of the technical merit and effective communication.

Teaching and departmental staff

To cope with the needs of around 500 undergraduate students and over 200 postgraduates there is a teaching staff of some 40 Professors, Readers, and Lecturers, 11 technical support staff, and 20 administrative and clerical staff. These people are the major resource for running the undergraduate course.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Additional details about how this course is taught and assessed are provided in the KIS (Key Information Set).

The KIS is a set of statistics which all universities use to describe how their courses are taught and assessed. This allows students to compare similar courses at different institutions.

The KIS describes the percentage of time which students typically spend in timetabled activity and in independent study for each year of their course as well the percentage of assessment which is exams, coursework or practical. An overview of the KIS is shown in the widget at the bottom of the page and further detail (including a year-by-year breakdown) is available via unistats.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis. If your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page, which gives the minimum entry requirements for a range of international qualifications.


All applications that meet the minimum grade requirement of A*A*A will be considered.

Actual offers may vary and the majority of offers are A*A*AA to include:

  • A* in Mathematics
  • A* or A in Chemistry
  • Remaining A-levels in relevant subjects, including Physics, Biology, Further Mathematics, and Economics

We also consider GCSE achievements, or their equivalent.

Chemical Engineering with a Year Abroad

If you are applying for a course with a year in France, Switzerland, Spain or Germany you must show ability in the appropriate language.

Grade A in GCSE, or a pass at AS-level, will usually be required. You must be willing to continue language study once at the College.

Practical endorsement (practical science assessment)

If you are made an offer you will be required to achieve a pass in the practical endorsement in all science subjects that form part of the offer.

International Baccalaureate

For students following the International Baccalaureate, all applications that meet the minimum grade requirement of 39 points overall will be considered. This should include:

  • 7 in Mathematics at higher level
  • 6 in Chemistry at higher level
  • 6 in Physics or Biology at higher level - Economics at higher level may also be considered

Actual offers may vary and the majority of offers typically require an overall score of 41 points overall, to include:

  • 7 in Mathematics at higher level
  • 7 or 6 in Chemistry at higher level
  • 7 or 6 in Physics, Biology (or Economics) at higher level

Other qualifications

We also welcome applications from candidates attending Baccalaureate (International, European and French), Scottish Advanced Highers or Irish Leaving Certificate qualifications.

English language requirements (all applicants)

All applicants must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for undergraduate applicants.

Selection process

Due to the demanding nature of courses, you need to be highly qualified and motivated to enter. As a result, both academic and personal qualities are taken into account when we make offers.

You will normally be invited to visit the Department if your UCAS application shows that you are likely to satisfy our requirements and if you live within reasonable travelling distance of the College.

During this visit, you will meet members of the teaching staff and a number of current students. You will attend an interview on a one-to-one basis and be shown the teaching facilities of the Department, as well as various features of the College. This includes a tour of our residential accommodation and some of our recreational facilities.

We also conduct interviews in south-east Asia for our applicants there.

We will take into account the comments of the member of staff who has met you when we make an offer and when we decide (for example after A-levels) whether to confirm our offer should you fail marginally to satisfy the entry conditions.

Tuition fees

Home and EU students

2017 entry:

£9,250 per year

Year Abroad:

15% of the relevant fee for that year

The UK government has confirmed that universities that have achieved a ‘meet expectations’ award – which includes Imperial – will, under the first year of the new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), be able to raise their fees in 2017. The rise is an inflationary amount of 2.8% to a maximum of £9,250. The measure of inflation used is RPI-X (the retail price index, excluding mortgage interest payments). You should expect the fee to increase beyond 2017 for each year that your course lasts, subject to UK government regulations on fee increases.

The UK government has also confirmed that EU students starting or continuing their studies in the 2017–18 academic year will continue to pay the Home rate of tuition fees for the duration of their course. EU students will also remain eligible for the same government funding support as they are now, including the Tuition Fee Loan. This access to government funding will continue throughout your course, even if the UK exits the EU during this time. 

Islands and overseas students

2017 entry:

£27,750 per year

Year Abroad:

100% of the relevant fee for that year

Please note that the tuition fee amount you will pay may increase each year.

Government funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation. Find out more about fee status assessments.

Home and EU students (with the exception of Graduate Medicine students) can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the Government to cover the full cost of their fees each year.

Home students may also be eligible for a Maintenance Loan to help with their living costs.

Bursaries and scholarships

Imperial Bursary

The Imperial Bursary is available to any Imperial Home undergraduate student (except Graduate Medicine students) whose household income falls below £60,000 per year.

It is designed to ease the cost of London living by providing support on a sliding scale, from £2,000 up to £5,000 per year.

As long as your household income remains below £60,000 you will automatically qualify for a bursary for every year of undergraduate study.

The bursary is paid on top of any government loans to which you are entitled and does not need to be paid back. Find out more about the Imperial Bursary.


Our President’s Undergraduate scholarships are available to all undergraduate applicants studying an undergraduate degree for the first time who have applied to the College by 15 October.

They’re worth £1,000 for each undergraduate year of study. There are up to 112 awards available for students starting their studies in 2017–18.

A wide range of other scholarships is also available. Find out which scholarships you may be eligible for by using our scholarships search tool.

To find out more about the range of financial support available please see our Fees and Funding website.

How to apply

UCAS Apply system

To apply to study at Imperial you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

The UCAS code for Imperial College London is I50.

Application deadlines

All applications which include choices for medicine at Imperial must be submitted to UCAS by 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2016 for entry in October 2017.

The deadline for other courses at Imperial starting in 2017 is 18.00 (UK time) on 15 January 2017.

Students at a school/college registered with UCAS

All UK schools and colleges and a small number of EU and international institutions are registered with UCAS.

To make it clear which school or college you are applying from you will need to ask one of your teachers or advisers for the UCAS buzzword. You will need to enter this in UCAS’s Apply system when you register.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.

Independent applicants and students at schools/colleges not registered with UCAS

If you’re applying independently or from a school/college not registered with UCAS you will still need to use UCAS’s Apply system. You will not need a UCAS buzzword.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

An ATAS certificate is required for overseas students applying for this course.

Your Tier 4 visa application, or extension of stay, will automatically be refused if you need an ATAS certificate and cannot provide one.

For further guidance on obtaining an ATAS certificate please see the information on our International Student Support team website.

Tracking your application

Once you’ve completed your application and it’s been submitted through UCAS’s Apply system, you can use UCAS’ Track system to follow its progress and manage your choices.

Professional accreditation and associateship


This degree is professionally accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE).


It leads to the award of a Master’s level qualification and the Associateship of the City and Guilds of London Institute (ACGI).

What our graduates do

Our graduates enjoy a wide choice of careers in the process, energy and healthcare industries, and in companies involved in the design and construction of chemical plants. Many graduates have also entered research organisations, public utilities, consultancy, and the information technology industry, with many opportunities for employment overseas.

Around a quarter of graduates take up opportunities in the petrochemical industry, with a sixth of graduates entering further study.

Recent graduates of the Department have become:

  • Subsea Engineer, Shell
  • Process Innovation Engineer, SCG Chemicals
  • Process Control System Engineer, ABB Limited
  • Process Engineer, Sygenta
  • Strategy Associate, PwC