University student intake rises for chemical engineering

University student intake rises for chemical engineering

22nd January 2024

Intake data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) for September 2023 shows a 6.6% annual increase in the number of students entering a UK undergraduate degree in chemical, process and energy engineering.

UCAS’s statistics also show an increase in the number and proportion of female students entering undergraduate courses in chemical, process and energy engineering, rising to 33% of the total entry. The proportion of UK-domiciled chemical engineering students from an ethnic minority group has also steadily increased, from 34% of the 2007 intake, to 49% in 2023.

The data shows a 9.3% annual increase in the number of applications for these courses - the highest of all the main engineering disciplines, and a stark contrast to an overall drop of 2.3% in applications to Higher Education courses.

The data was warmly welcomed by IChemE.

IChemE CEO Yvonne Baker OBE said: “This growth in subject popularity is very encouraging for our profession, indicating a strengthening and increasingly diverse pool of talented students who are feeling inspired to study chemical, process and energy engineering at UK universities. I am delighted to see more female students and students from other under-represented groups featuring in this year’s data. From personal experience, I know what a fantastic springboard a chemical engineering education is for young people of all backgrounds. I, the Institution, and all our members, want more and more of our young people to have that chance, and we will continue to support them through our efforts and activities.”



UCAS undergraduate end cycle data resources 2023 

Download link (112.2 MB): UCAS sector-level end of cycle data resource CSV files 


For more information please contact:

Ann Baylis, Communications Executive and PR Lead, IChemE
t: +44 (0) 1788 534477

Dan Owens, Communications Executive, IChemE  
t: +44 (0) 1788 534458  

What is chemical engineering?

Chemical, biochemical and process engineering is the application of science, mathematics and economics in the process of turning raw materials into everyday, and more specialist, products. Professional chemical engineers design, construct and manage process operations all over the world. Energy, pharmaceuticals, food and drink, synthetic fibres and clean drinking water are just some of the industry sectors and products where chemical engineering plays a central role.


The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) advances chemical engineering's contribution for the benefit of society. We facilitate the development of chemical engineering professionals and provide connections to a powerful network of 30,000 members in more than 100 countries.

We support our members in applying their expertise and experience to make an influential contribution to solving major global challenges, and are the only organisation permitted to award Chartered Chemical Engineer status and Professional Process Safety Engineer registration.

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