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Studying chemical engineering

UK universities celebrate record chemical engineering intake  

The number of students opting to study chemical engineering at UK universities increased by 16% this year, with record student numbers totalling more than 2000 for the first time.

New figures published by UCAS (The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) show that 2117 students began studying chemical engineering this year, compared to last year’s previous record-high of 1820. The latest figures represent the biggest ever year-on-year increase in student numbers in a subject that has seen a 125% increase in student numbers over the past eleven years.
 
The chemical engineering growth rate dwarfed that of other science and engineering disciplines including chemistry (+3.5%), mechanical engineering (+3.7%), civil engineering (-1.3%) and maths (+4.9%). A decade ago, there were more than three times as many first-year students studying chemistry undergraduate programmes as there were chemical engineering. That gap has now closed to 2.1 chemistry students for every chemical engineering counterpart.
 
New courses at Bradford and Westminster have helped to boost the chemical engineering intake figures but many established courses continue to find room to accommodate the growing number of students opting to study the subject.
 
IChemE CEO David Brown says that the latest student numbers are good news for both chemical engineering and the UK economy: "Chemical engineering is a degree choice that equips students with the skills they need to work in wide range of industries.
 
"We know that chemical engineering graduates pursue careers throughout the chemical and process sector, but many also get snapped up by other lucrative industries because employers recognise the unique skill-set that a chemical engineering graduate will likely acquire through their studies.”
 
IChemE research suggests that around 1 in 4 of the chemical engineering intake each year has been influenced by the Institution’s whynotchemeng campaign. This year, whynotchemeng volunteers have visited more than 250 secondary schools to talk to students about the benefits of a career in chemical engineering.  The campaign is funded by IChemE, UK universities and corporate donations.
 
Shirley Elen, VP Human Resources at Davy Process Technology Limited added: "Increasing the number of students who study Chemical Engineering is absolutely vital to the future success of our business. That is why we chose to sponsor the IChemE’s whynotchemeng initiative. It inspires young people to take an interest in our industry and opens their eyes to the enormous variety of work and career opportunities available to chemical engineers."