UK chemical engineering applications hit record high

18th July 2011

The number of applications to study chemical engineering in the UK has increased by 11.8%, according to admissions body UCAS, bringing the figure to a record high of just over 12,000.

It also bucks the overall trend, which has seen growth in the number of overall university applicants slow dramatically to only 1.4%, an almost 90% drop compared to last year.

Much of the blame for this has been attributed to an upcoming increase in university fees, which will see the cost of an average education almost triple.

'At a time when students are likely thinking much more carefully about their degree choice and the likely return on their investment, a chemical engineering degree will look very appealing,” explained IChemE communications manager Matt Stalker.

“Chemical engineering graduates command the third highest starting salary in the UK and it’s a career choice with lots of opportunities in lots of different sectors.”

Engineering subjects as a whole saw 4.6% more applicants than they did last year, up to almost 135,000 in total. Of the various disciplines open to prospective students though, chemical engineering saw the biggest growth, followed by mechanical engineering at 10.5%.

Stalker attributed much of the increased popularity to IChemE’s whynotchemeng campaign, which focuses on introducing students to the discipline while still at school: “IChemE research proves that around 1 in 4 of the chemical engineering intake each year has been influenced by whynotchemeng,” he said. “That’s why we continue to see the value in this campaign and so do many of the major industry employers.”

Since the launch of the whynotchemeng campaign in 2001, the UK chemical engineering intake has doubled and there are now a record number of students studying the subject at UK universities.