First semi-virtual IChemE degree accreditation awarded to Heriot-Watt during COVID-19

First semi-virtual IChemE degree accreditation awarded to Heriot-Watt during COVID-19

6th July 2020

Heriot-Watt University has had its chemical engineering degree programmes at its campuses in Dubai and Malaysia accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). The semi-virtual accreditation of the Malaysia campus was a first for IChemE, which successfully adapted its processes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The degree programme accreditation in Dubai is also the first for IChemE in the Middle East region. Heriot-Watt’s original programmes at its base in Scotland has also been reaccredited.

Eighteen programmes were accredited, including a Bachelors in Engineering (BEng) Chemical Engineering course at all three campuses, and Master’s in Engineering (MEng) Chemical Engineering courses in Malaysia and Scotland. IChemE accreditation provides a benchmark against other programmes across the world and the BEng provides students with evidence of meeting educational-based requirements when applying for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status, while accredited MEng programmes provide evidence for Chartered Engineer (CEng).

Assessment visits are carried out by three IChemE member volunteers who together provide a comprehensive assessment on the degree programmes and make recommendations to IChemE’s Education Accreditation Forum which ultimately determines if degree programmes meet the required standard. Assessments were undertaken at the Scotland and Dubai campuses in person, but due to travel restrictions in Malaysia, just one assessor attended its campus and undertook conference calls with the other assessors to successfully complete the assessment.  

Colin Webb, University Accreditation Assessor at IChemE, said:

“IChemE sets the professional standards required for accreditation of chemical engineering degree programmes and undertakes rigorous assessments, with arrangements taking place over several months, to ensure these standards are upheld.

“Thanks to the rapid adaptations made by IChemE volunteers and employees, working closely with the faculties at Heriot-Watt in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we successfully continued the process with a semi-virtual visit to one of the campuses. I’m pleased Heriot-Watt could be awarded this recognition for their excellent programmes with strong academic subject leads across all three campuses.

“Adapting our processes successfully has paved the way for us to look at conducting four more semi-virtual university accreditation visits, which is a positive step towards more sustainable practices.” 

Graeme White, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, said:

“Heriot-Watt is proud to be a global university, offering the same student experience no matter where students study. This accreditation is proof of the commitment and hard work of our faculty members and students to ensure our programmes meet requirements set by IChemE.

“It is particularly pleasing for colleagues in Dubai to acknowledge that Heriot-Watt University is offering the only accredited chemical engineering programme in the Middle East. The COVID-19 outbreak added another challenge to running an accreditation visit across three international campuses and it is thanks to all those involved, the IChemE assessment panel, staff and students at the three campuses, who made the process the success it was.”

IChemE accredits programmes at more than 60 universities in 15 countries. Heriot-Watt is the second university to simultaneously have three identical programmes accredited across three separate campuses. The first was the University of Nottingham with its campuses in China, Malaysia and the UK.


IChemE university accreditation


For more information please contact:

Rachael Fraser, Communications Executive, IChemE
t: +44 (0) 1788 534435

Ketna Mistry, Communications Executive, IChemE
t: +44 (0) 1788 534484

What is chemical engineering?

Chemical, biochemical and process engineering is the application of science, maths 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. Oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, food and drink, synthetic fibres and clean drinking water are just some of the products where chemical engineering plays a central role.


The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) advances chemical engineering's contribution worldwide for the benefit of society. We support the development of chemical engineering professionals and provide connections to a powerful network of around 35,000 members in 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 to award Chartered Chemical Engineer status and Professional Process Safety Engineer registration.

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