We are proud of our established history as the oldest continuing chemical engineering programme in England. Offering flexible BEng and MEng undergraduate programmes in chemical engineering.

About our Department

With strong industrial links and the option of a fully integrated year of professional training, our graduates have a great insight into the chemical and process engineering sectors, amongst many others.

We are proud to teach a number of undergraduate courses accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers. Our suite of versatile postgraduate courses cover the subject areas of:

  • Process systems engineering
  • Information and process systems engineering
  • Petroleum refining systems engineering
  • Renewable energy systems engineering.

Our real-life teaching environment and purpose-built facilities offer students the chance to work on complete pilot chemical manufacturing processes and we have strong links with major industry players.

Outreach for schools and colleges

We run a number of different activities for schools and colleges to raise awareness of engineering and its applications, which range from talks at careers days through to residential courses on campus and lots in between.

Get in contact

If you have a specific idea, or you would like to find out what we can offer, please get in touch with Elena Fragkoudaki:

Timeline of our history

1909: John William Hinchley launches Battersea Polytechnic’s first Chemical Engineering course, delivering a programme of 25 lectures.
1911: The first students graduate from Hinchley’s course with diplomas.
1915: The course’s popularity prompts Hinchley to publish an expanded syllabus.
1917: Hinchley retires from teaching, handing the reins over to Hugh Griffiths.
1934: Frank Rumford succeeds Griffiths.
1936: William Peck delivers lectures until 1947, when he is replaced by Russell Tailby.
1949: Tailby becomes head of the department and is joined on the staff by Dr W J Thomas.
1950: Battersea produces its first BSc graduates following Chemical Engineering’s transition into a degree course.
1968: The Chemical Engineering department moves to Guildford following the formation of the University of Surrey in 1966.
1981: Tailby is replaced as head of department by Roland Clift.
1991: Dr John Lamb becomes the latest department chief, followed by Prof Hans Muller-Steinhagen in 1993 and Prof Ugur Tuzun in 1999.
1990s: The Hess Rig – a pilot chemical process plant – is constructed on campus.

2000: The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons uses the Hess Rig during its summer course at the University of Surrey.
2007: Prof Rex Thorpe is named as the newest head of department.
2011: The University of Surrey celebrates 100 years of continuous graduations in Chemical Engineering.
2011: Retired Professor John Smith makes a gift to the department to fund a PhD student.
2015: Neil Chapman (BSc Chemical Engineering 1984) - Senior Vice-President with Exxon Mobil—makes a substantial donation to the department that is used to provide new laboratory facilities.
2015: Prof Sai Gu joins as the new Head of Department.
2016: The department receives a legacy gift from retired Professor John Smith.
2016: Professor Jonathan Seville is appointed President of the IChemE.