21 February 2016

UK chemical engineering intake almost quadruples since millennium


Following the success of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)'s whynotchemeng campaign, figures released by University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) have shown a dramatic increase in UK students opting to study for a degree in chemical engineering.

The Institution released an infographic of the findings, which show intake figures rise from 979 students in the year 2000, to 3775 students in 2015.

Chemical engineering was also one of the strongest engineering disciplines for women, who represented 27% of the total 2015 intake figure.

UCAS figures 2000 to 2015

IChemE's director of communications, Andrew Furlong said: "With more than 23,000 applications to study chemical engineering in the UK last year, it’s clear that the discipline has never been in better shape at undergraduate level. The intake has reached a record figure and we now have more than 10,000 students at various stages in their chemical engineering education in the UK. We are the fastest growing engineering discipline by some margin.

To cope with this demand, new departments have opened at Chester, Huddersfield, Hull, Lancaster and Wolverhampton, with Sheffield Hallam set to follow shortly.

The number of students from outside the UK is holding steady at around one quarter of the intake total and getting on for a third of the intake is female. This bodes well for the future diversity of the profession.

The linked challenges of energy, water, food and climate change; coupled with ageing populations and rapidly increasing living standards in much of the developing world require safe, sustainable chemical engineering solutions.

IChemE remains committed to supporting the next generation of chemical engineers throughout their careers and we will also work with universities in the UK and beyond to maintain standards of teaching excellence via our internationally recognised course accreditation programmes which are offered at more than 200 departments in 13 countries."

IChemE's whynotchemeng campaign was launched in 2001, aimed at tackling the UK's chemical engineering skills shortage. The campaign is supported by a network of advocates for the profession, who take part in outreach programmes in secondary schools around the UK.

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