Chemical Engineering Lab

MEng Chemical Engineering with a Year Abroad

UCAS code H802 | 4 years | 270 ECTS


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 degree is one of three undergraduate programmes in the Department. It includes an integrated year abroad during the third or fourth year, depending on where you go.

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. 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 anyone from the standard course to transfer to the Year Abroad course.

The first two years are shared by all three degrees, covering basic science and mathematics and how they apply 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. 

In years three and four, we introduce more specialised subjects.


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 teamworking skills.

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


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

Year 1

Core modules
  • Mathematics 1
  • Properties of Matter
  • Chemistry
  • Thermodynamics 1
  • Process Analysis
  • Separation Processes 1
  • Fluid Mechanics 1
  • Heat and Mass Transfer 
  • Mastery for Engineers 1
  • Business for Engineers 1 - Business Ethics for Chemical Engineers
Practical work

You carry out projects in chemical engineering laboratories on the use of computing, and on process design:

  • Matlab
  • Foundation Labs
  • Design Project

Year 2

Core modules
  • Mathematics 2
  • Process Dynamics and Control
  • Thermodynamics 2
  • Reaction Engineering 1
  • Industrial Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Fluid Mechanics 2
  • Heat Transfer
  • Separation Processes 2
  • Mastery for Engineers
  • Business for Engineers 2 - Economic Evaluation of Projects
Practical work

Projects in this year include computer-aided design of reactors and process control, the use of computer-controlled pilot plants and further laboratory work.

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 language tuition will normally be substituted for some topics. If you are fluent in the language on entry, you will be expected to follow the standard course prior to going abroad.

For those destinations where instruction is in a foreign language, you will have to demonstrate a satisfactory level of proficiency in French/German/Spanish six months before the planned start of the year abroad. You will also be expected to have maintained at least a 2:1 degree standard academically for any of the exchange destinations.

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.

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

Year 4

Core modules
  • Advanced Chemical Engineering Practice – industrial internship or a research project (lasting for one or two terms)
  • Advanced Chemical Engineering Design Practice – a major plant design project

Students returning from a year abroad may be required to take certain mandatory modules from the third year curriculum if they are required for accreditation purposes (e.g. in process safety) and they could not fulfil this requirement at the partner university.

You also have a wide choice of optional modules from across the Faculty of Engineering which allows you to tailor the programme to your interests. This currently includes:

  • Advanced Bioprocess Engineering (Chemical Engineering)
  • Advanced Process Operations (Chemical Engineering)
  • Advanced Process Optimisation 1 (Chemical Engineering)
  • Clean Fossil Fuels (Chemical Engineering)
  • Colloid & Interface Science (Chemical Engineering)
  • Downstream Separation in Biotechnology (Chemical Engineering)
  • Dynamic Behaviour of Process Systems (Chemical Engineering)
  • Dynamical Systems in Chemical Engineering (Chemical Engineering)
  • Long Research Project (Chemical Engineering)
  • Membrane Science (Chemical Engineering)
  • Modelling of Biological Systems (Chemical Engineering)
  • Nuclear Chemical Engineering (Chemical Engineering)
  • Nuclear Thermal Hydraulics (Chemical Engineering)
  • Pharmaceutical Process Development (Chemical Engineering)
  • Process Heat Transfer (Chemical Engineering)
  • Product Characterisation (Chemical Engineering)
  • Transport Processes in Biological Systems (Chemical Engineering)
  • Nuclear Materials (Materials)
  • Nuclear Reactor Physics (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Introduction to Nuclear Energy (Mechanical Engineering)
Humanities/Business options
  • Languages
  • Lessons from History
  • Advanced Creative Writing
  • Global History of Technology and Industry
  • Science Culture and Society Extended Essay
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Science and Beauty
  • Science and Humanism
  • Technology, Justice and Security
  • Visual Culture, Knowledge and Power
  • Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance and Financial Management
  • Innovation Management
  • Managerial Economics
  • Managing Organisations
  • Marketing
  • Strategy Management
  • Sustainable Business

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.

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.

A pass at 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.

IInternational 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 and funding

Home and EU students

2016 entry:

£9,000 per year

Year abroad


Please note the tuition fee you pay may increase slightly each year in line with inflation and subject to UK government regulations. If you have applied for a Tuition Fee Loan (see below), your loan entitlement will automatically increase to reflect any changes; you will need to reapply for a loan each year at the new fee rate.

Islands and overseas students

2016 entry:

£26,750 per year

Year abroad 

100% of the relevant tuition fee for that year

Please note that the tuition fee amount you will pay may increase slightly each year in line with inflation.

Fees for 2017 have not yet been confirmed. Please check back for details.

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.

Funding from Imperial

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.

Professional accreditation

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.

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

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 must be submitted to UCAS by 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2016 for entry in October 2017.

The deadline for other courses 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.