04 January 2013

UK chemical engineering bucks the trend


The number of students opting to study chemical engineering in the UK has risen again despite a 6% overall decline in student numbers nationally. 

Figures published by the UK higher education admissions service (UCAS) show that the chemical engineering student intake has risen by 4% totalling 2201 students across the country. Elsewhere, physics and mechanical engineering intake are both up by 6% and 3% respectively.

There are a record number of students now studying chemical engineering in the UK and student intake has doubled over the last decade.

IChemE Head of Communications Matt Stalker says that the latest figures may reflect a shift in student attitudes to higher education: “More than ever, students are going to be thinking about which disciplines represent best return on investment, in terms of career opportunities and earning potential. Chemical engineering scores highly in both cases.

“Chemical engineering graduates command a typical starting salary of £28,000/y – the third highest graduate starting salary in the country and there is a wealth of international career options available to graduates in the discipline that are very much in demand,” adds Stalker.

In recent years, new chemical engineering courses have been launched at both the University of Hull and Westminster University, whilst Bradford University has opted to reinstate its degree offering in the subject.

IChemE research has revealed that the Institution’s careers campaign whynotchemeng? has been a key driver behind the rise in student interest throughout the last ten years.  Independent data also shows that the percentage of overseas students opting to study chemical engineering in the UK has been largely unchanged during the same period.

More information about IChemE’s accredited universities is available on the website 

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IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).