Chemical and Bio-Systems Engineering MEng (Hons) – 2017 entry

I was instinctively drawn to the friendly atmosphere in the Department of Chemical Engineering. The class sizes are relatively small, and the lecturers take the time to get to know the students.

The course also offers a varied range of modules in engineering that are relevant to a successful future career.

What you'll study

Our programmes will challenge and encourage you to work with leading scientists to develop ground­breaking solutions to world problems. Our prize-­winning researchers investigate and analyse a range of subjects, including pharmaceutical manufacture, water purification and fluid mechanics.

Without the contributions of chemical engineers, we would be living in the 1930s, with no planes or cars. There would be no soap powders or shampoo, the NHS could afford fewer drugs, and electronic devices such as mobile phones and computers would be true luxuries.

Programme overview

Chemical engineers make a real difference to society by applying science and technology to everyday problems.

We believe that, to keep pace with industry, tomorrow’s engineers not only need to be able to design, implement and operate increasingly diverse processes, but must also be capable of evaluating the true cost of investment decisions to society and the natural environment.

Our degrees in Chemical Engineering will suit students wanting to enter the oil and gas sector or other traditional chemical industries; our courses in Chemical and Bio-Systems Engineering contain more biologically based material and so are more geared to working in the pharmaceutical, water or food sectors; and our Chemical and Petroleum Engineering programmes (which include oil-specific modules and a major project on gas or oil) will be relevant to those aiming for a career in the oil and gas industry.

One of the unique features of these programmes is the opportunity for you to put the theory learnt in lectures into practice in our purpose-built facilities. This hands-on approach is further enabled by our highly regarded Professional Training placement programme.

Programme structure

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

In Year 1, we provide you with a strong base in the scientific fundamentals of chemical engineering. The first year is common across all our programmes.

Compulsory modules:

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

In Years 2 and 3, we deepen your knowledge of core chemical engineering subjects. This allows you to consolidate a strong common set of competencies whilst developing your specialist skills and understanding.

Compulsory modules:

Professional Training placement (optional)

Most of our students take a Professional Training placement, which provides an outstanding opportunity to gain practical experience, giving you a head start in your future career. Companies that have participated in our scheme include:

  • Heatric
  • BP
  • British Sugar
  • ExxonMobil
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Shell

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)

In Year 3, you will undertake a pathway-specific process design project and an equipment design project.

Compulsory modules:

Year 4 (FHEQ Level 7)

In Year 4, you will work in multidisciplinary teams, under the supervision of senior industrial experts, where you will design a whole industrial process, factory or system. You will also undertake a research project and there is a choice of lectured modules specific to your chosen pathway.

Compulsory modules:

There is no formal language option in the programmes, although foreign languages can be taken informally.

Professional recognition

All programmes are accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), except for Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, which is pending accreditation.

Professional Training placements

Our academic work in all areas is enhanced by strong industrial links, both in the UK and overseas. These links have enabled us to arrange professional placements in which we have built up considerable experience and expertise.

Placements provide the opportunity for you to gain invaluable first ­hand experience of how industry operates, and to apply your theoretical knowledge to real-­life technical problems.


Teaching involves conventional lectures combined with coursework, tutorials, case studies, projects, practical and discussion classes.

Methods of teaching and assessment in the early stages of the programmes aim to ensure your acquisition of techniques and relevant knowledge, including practice in finding information and deciding whether it is relevant.

The methods adopted in Years 3 and 4 (MEng) are influenced by the need to broaden and deepen the knowledge you have gained at the earlier levels, and to develop the higher order skills you will need as a professional engineer.

Our degrees in Chemical Engineering equip you with problem­solving, analytical and other transferable skills to enable you to succeed in whatever career you pursue. You learn to assess business proposals which require capital investment but bring long­term profits.

You are allocated a personal tutor to guide you through the programme, advising on option choices and future careers.


Continuous assessment operates in the form of written assignments associated with many modules.

Laboratory modules are continually assessed on the basis of written reports and presentations. 

Design and research projects are assessed mainly on written reports. Written examinations are held at the end of each semester. In the BEng programmes, Years 2 and 3 contribute to the final degree award, whilst for MEng programmes, it is Years 2, 3 and 4.

Contact hours

The following represents an indicative estimate of how you can expect your time to be split on this programme, based on the information available at the time of publication (February 2016):

  • 5 per cent personal tutorial/small group study
  • 22 per cent large group study
  • 73 per cent studying and revising in your own time


We are one of the very few chemical engineering departments in the world able to offer you the chance to learn on a complete chemical process, and not just pilot­scale individual operations such as distillation.

In Year 3, you undertake a realistic exercise in operating the process and taking responsibility for factors such as safety, profitability and environmental impact.

Other laboratory experiments are a centrifugal pump test, a heat exchanger and the mysterious tank investigation (thinking inside the box). You also receive 24-­hour access to our computer rooms.

Career opportunities

Chemical engineers work across a range of sectors in the UK and overseas, and are increasingly sought by speciality chemical industries that manufacture high-­value­-added products.

Chemical engineers on average earn more than any other engineering discipline and graduates are consistently paid more than chemists and other scientists. The high salaries paid reflect the level of responsibility and importance which chemical engineering graduates quickly attain.

At Surrey, our graduate employment record is excellent. This demonstrates the strength of our programmes in preparing you for the world of work and the substantial benefits of undertaking our Professional Training placement programme.

Our Personal and Professional Skills programme is undoubtedly another factor in the exceptional employment record of our graduates.

Demand for graduates with the specific skills and knowledge gained on our specialised programmes is expected to be high, especially within modern, high-­growth sectors, including:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Healthcare
  • Cosmetics
  • Energy
  • Land remediation
  • Water and waste management
  • Oil
  • Chemicals

We have worked closely with industrial organisations to design these programmes around their needs, to ensure that there will be excellent opportunities available to you upon graduation.

Graduate prospects

Recent graduates have entered employment in roles such as:

  • Air Products, Graduate Trainee
  • BP, Chemical and Process Engineer
  • Fluor, Graduate Process Engineer
  • Foster Wheeler, Graduate Process Engineer
  • KBR, Associate Technical Professional
  • Shell, Graduate Engineer
  • UOP, Graduate Technical Advisor

Personal and professional skills

We recognise that in order for chemical engineers to perform to the highest level, they need a wide range of skills in addition to technical proficiency. We also recognise that experience is the principal driving force in development of these skills.

Chemical engineers often work in teams to solve problems; they adopt leadership roles and are  required to be effective communicators. Our Personal and Professional Skills programme is designed to give you a head start in developing your skills in these areas.

Employers will see the personal development skills which our programmes provide as giving you ‘something extra’, in addition to your technical competence.


In addition to general University scholarships and bursaries, our extensive contacts in industry have resulted in prizes being awarded to undergraduates by:

  • Atkins
  • Halliburton KBR
  • Air Products
  • UOP
  • IChemE
  • The Worshipful Company of Engineers

Global opportunities

The international exchange programme offers undergraduate students the opportunity to study abroad at a partner university for either one semester or a full academic year as part of their degree.

Currently, for students on the Chemical Engineering programmes this is possible in your second year at one of the partner institutions:

  • USA (Texas, North Carolina, Cincinnati or Florida)
  • Australia (La Trobe, Monash or Swinburne in Melbourne or at the University of Queensland or Sydney)
  • Singapore
  • South Korea

The exchange programme enables you to study and live in another country without paying additional tuition fees to the partner. In doing so you will broaden your horizons meet other students from around the world and experience student life in some of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Studying abroad also enables you to become more independent, teaching you how to adapt and adjust to the culture and climate of another country.

In addition, or alternatively, you may wish to consider spending your Professional Training year working in another country. Students have worked at Grace in Germany, Labo Derva in Brussels or in Malaysia.

If you work in another part of Europe you will be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant. This is an excellent opportunity not only to acquire valuable work experience but also improve or learn another language.

2017 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?



We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking in our offers.

Applicants taking either Physics, Biology, Chemistry or Psychology are also required to pass the Science Practical Certificate in the subject.

Access to HE Diploma

QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 45 Level 3 credits at Distinction

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma


European Baccalaureate

76 per cent

International Baccalaureate

36 points

Scottish Highers


Scottish Advanced Highers AAA/Scottish Highers AAAAB


Scottish Advanced Highers AAB/Scottish Highers AAABB

Welsh Baccalaureate


Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AA


Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AA

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year.

Select your country:

Required subjects

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C/4 or above (or international equivalent – see relevant country page).

Mathematics A-level and Chemistry A-level required.

Selection process

Offers are normally made in terms of grades.

Suitable candidates will be invited to an Applicant Day. During the visit to the University the candidate can find out more about the programme and meet staff and students.

English language requirements

6.5 IELTS minimum overall

6.0 IELTS minimum in each sub-skill

If you are an international student and you are concerned that your English is not to the required standard, you may benefit from the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Please note that the University of Surrey offers English language programmes and is also an IELTS Test Centre.

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
MEng (Hons) 4 years H8C1 View KIS data set
MEng (Hons) 5 years H8CC View KIS data set

Tuition fees

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate programmes.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

Bursaries and scholarships

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.

Find out more

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

How to apply

Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.

More info


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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