Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering will enable you to translate fundamental scientific principles into real-world applications to address key global challenges. Sitting at the interface of science and engineering, it brings together maths, chemistry, physics, biology, design, economics, and management, to shape the world around us. Chemical engineers are highly sought after for their versatility and problem solving skills, allowing them to take up leading roles in many different areas, such as energy, materials, artificial intelligence and medicine. 

Top 5 in the UK for Chemical Engineering The Guardian University Guide 2023
Top 10 in the UK for Graduate Prospects The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022
£29.5k average starting salary Graduate Outcomes Survey, 2019-20 graduates

Chemical Engineering at Loughborough

A Chemical Engineering degree from Loughborough will give you a significant advantage in the jobs market. Opening doors to a well-paid and successful career, you’ll be provided with a toolkit of engineering and soft skills to set you on your path to industry. 

We have an outstanding reputation for producing highly trained, well-educated and much sought-after Chemical Engineering graduates, equipped to succeed in today’s global economy. Our teaching ensures our students respond to a changing world by embedding key values in our teaching, such as safety, sustainability, resource efficiency and ethics. 

Our courses are taught by practitioners spanning a wide range of complementary expertise, supported by world-class facilities. The Department of Chemical Engineering is housed in a newly refurbished building with state-of-the-art laboratories, containing bench and pilot-scale experiments, a 360-degree virtual reality environment 'the Igloo' and modern computing facilities. Close links with industry and an established placement scheme provide opportunities to gain vital paid work experience in a professional environment. On the MEng programme, you have the opportunity to participate in world-leading research to address key global challenges, including low carbon technologies, sustainable healthcare or clean water.

Our Chemical Engineering courses provide thorough training in the fundamentals of Chemical Engineering, but also allow you to undertake optional specialist modules in a range of areas, including topics such as energy and the environment, healthcare, and biotechnology. You also have the option to take language and management modules.

Links with industry

Companies such as BP, Exxon, Sellafield, Unilever and Pepsico deliver guest lectures, workshops and feedback to our students. We also have an industrial advisory board which ensures our courses remain industrially relevant.

During your degree, you will have the option of completing a paid one-year placement in industry. Our placements are recognised through a Diploma in Industrial studies (DIS) and you will be allocated a dedicated placement supervisor to support you and to ensure you get the most out of your placement.

Placements are an excellent opportunity to gain real-world experience and apply the knowledge from your degree in practice. Students returning from placements often do considerably better during the remainder of their degree. Placements are also a great stepping-stone into a permanent job. Many of our students return to their placement employer for their graduate role, having demonstrated their worth to the organisation and gaining an insight into what they can expect from a graduate position. On top of that, placement students also earn a salary, typically over £17,000 per year.

Whilst applying for a placement is competitive, our experienced career services team provides a wide range of training, drop-in and interview practise sessions to maximise your chances of success. Our close links with industrial partners ensure that we can provide considerable help to our students in identifying and securing their placement.


Our world class laboratories allow you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, with over 50 bench and pilot scale experimental rigs offering students an enhanced learning opportunities.

We have invested £25 million into S-Building, home to our Chemical Engineering Department. Our facilities include:

  • State of the art pilot Engineering facilities – housing new equipment and providing flexible student space for computational and modelling work.
  • A new 87-seater IT Laboratory – for taught sessions, but also available for project work and private study.
  • The ‘Igloo’, a virtual-reality learning facility unique to Loughborough, uses its state-of-the-art software to create simulations of real-life engineering scenarios, e.g. working in hazardous areas of industrial plants. The Igloo allows small groups of students to engage with realistic situations in a safe and accessible environment.

In addition to this, STEMLab is a state-of-the-art laboratory facility that forms part of a wider £25M investment in the West Park of our campus, the home of our Engineering Schools, which includes an adjacent student learning and teaching hub.

STEMLab offers new ways to learn and collaborate, with a ‘drop-in’ engineering workshop, teaching laboratories, workshops, computer-aided design and rapid prototyping facilities, a design studio and informal learning spaces. These enhanced facilities further increase our ability to train and develop skilled graduates that are targeted by major employers from across the world.

Career opportunities

Chemical engineers are, above all, problem solvers. Many different types of employers seek their analytical and trouble-shooting skills, making chemical engineers some of the highest-paid professionals in the country.

Having a basis in chemical engineering prepares you for any number of exciting and fulfilling careers in science, engineering, business, and politics.

We are committed to helping you develop the skills and attributes needed to progress successfully in your chosen career. Our widely respected courses are designed to develop your talents and put you ahead in today’s global careers market with a skill set to put you amongst the strongest candidates in the field.

Our graduates benefit from an average starting salary of £30,000* (Graduate Outcomes Survey, 2018 graduates). Many of our graduates are employed by companies in the oil & gas, water, food & drink, pharmaceutical, plastics, and general chemical industries and they go on to hold senior positions in major companies.

*Average salary 15 months post-graduation – UK domiciled

Research-informed teaching

Our Chemical Engineering courses are designed to provide you with a strong foundation for a successful and future-proof professional career. We use industrial case studies and practical teaching laboratories to demonstrate how fundamental chemical engineering principles (e.g. thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, mass and energy balances) are applied within current state-of-the art processes. Our courses place strong emphasis on safety and sustainability, alongside economic performance, as these are vital to ensure the long-term viability of any chemical engineering design.

During your third and final years, you can choose from a wide range of optional modules, to deepen your understanding of specific areas of engineering or broaden your understanding of complementary subjects, such as business and management. Most of these courses are closely linked to our cutting edge research in the department, in areas such as low-carbon technologies, circular economy, healthcare and artificial intelligence.

All students complete a major design project within their third year, bringing together all the different subjects from the course to conceptualise a fully functional chemical plant. Projects are allocated according to student’s personal preferences, to maintain alignment with their previous courses and career aspirations. Students on the MEng degree also complete a semester-long professional development project (PDP), where they can join a research group at Loughborough, in industry or abroad, to develop new knowledge within a particular field of science and engineering