Chemical engineering student at the University of Leeds

What is chemical engineering?

Chemical engineering is the science of combining raw materials to create something new. Chemical engineers use their knowledge of reactions to come up with solutions to problems. They work in a huge range of sectors, from pharmaceuticals to healthcare. Whatever your goals for the future, a chemical engineering degree will set you up for success.

Why study chemical engineering at university?

There are many reasons to choose chemical engineering, from its fascinating course content to its great career opportunities.

Exciting graduate prospects

Chemical engineering is a varied and well-paid career. According to a recent salary survey by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), graduates earn a median salary of around £28,600, and this is rising. Graduates are always in demand across a wide range of industries, including energy, oil and gas and pharmaceuticals. Chemical engineering job prospects include specialising in product design, research or safety.

Modern and relevant

Chemical engineering is a field that is constantly evolving. There will always be something new to learn or a new technology to discover, making it a fascinating job to do. Chemical engineers develop the materials and products we use every day, so your knowledge will always be relevant and in demand. There are always opportunities to specialise in fields such as nanotechnologies and bioengineering.

Develop a wide skill set

You will build skills such as:

  • project management
  • resource management
  • teamwork
  • leadership
  • oral and written communication
  • problem-solving

You will also gain a strong understanding of engineering principles and mathematics, as well as IT. Creativity and innovation is key, to question established processes and ask if there is a better way. All of these skills are highly transferrable across different industries and careers.

Not limited to being a chemical engineer

If you don’t want to be a chemical engineer, you could choose to become an environmental engineer, manufacturing engineer, or something else entirely. The transferrable skills you will build during your degree – like problem solving, management and attention to detail – will mean there are many other careers you can pursue.

Change the world

Chemical engineering is responsible for the production of insulin and antibiotics, among many other lifechanging – and lifesaving – discoveries. As a chemical engineer, you could play a part in improving people’s quality of life, working to combat climate change, deliver vaccines, or develop the fertiliser that grows their food. If you want a career that makes a positive impact on the world you live in, look no further.

Challenging but rewarding

Chemical engineering degree programmes generally have high entry requirements because they are academically challenging. This means your studies will be worthwhile and interesting and you will gain satisfaction in knowing you have succeeded in a difficult field.


Chemical engineers are in demand all over the world, so you will have many options when it comes to jobs. If you’ve always dreamed of travelling, the international career options for a chemical engineer make it a great choice.


Chemical engineering requirements for university in the UK include high A Level grades — or equivalent — and a good IELTS/TOEFL score. If your grades aren’t yet high enough to go straight to university, or you think you could benefit from extra support, choose Leeds International Study Centre for progression to the University of Leeds. Here, you will receive expert tuition in small classes, with a combination of academic teaching and English language practice. It’s a welcoming, friendly, multicultural place to start your studies and you will be surrounded by other international students as you adjust to life in the UK.

The International Foundation Year in Science, Engineering and Computing is a one-year pathway programme that prepares you for an undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds. You will study chemical engineering content as well as English and when you complete the programme, you will progress to your degree with confidence.

Why study chemical engineering at the University of Leeds?

The University of Leeds is a World Top 100 university with a long history of academic success. It is based in the heart of Leeds, a multicultural city with amazing food, sports and culture. Studying chemical engineering here, you will benefit from:

  • Specialist facilities
  • World-leading research
  • Extensive practical experience
  • Leading academics
  • IChemE accreditation.

The University’s School of Chemical Engineering and Process Engineering is ranked Top 10 in the UK for Chemical Engineering (Complete University Guide 2022). It is world renowned for its research and innovation and has strong links with industry.


Is chemical engineering a good career?

One of the biggest benefits of chemical engineering is the large variety of job opportunities available. These roles also come with high earning opportunities and the variation in daily tasks means you will never be bored.

What is interesting about chemical engineering?

Chemical engineers are at the forefront of scientific and technological developments. The projects they work on often tackles some of the world’s most urgent problems. Making these breakthroughs and developments means you are having a direct, positive impact on society. 

Is chemical engineering a hard career?

Due to the high-level skills and knowledge required, chemical engineering comes with its challenges. However, the ability to make exciting breakthroughs and test new theories makes these challenges rewarding.