BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering

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The course

UCAS code
4 years
Delivery type

Heriot-Watt’s strong professional links ensure we provide the theory and practical application expected by industry. Our IChemE accredited BEng (Hons) is a flexible, career-focused degree with specialist pathways.


Got questions about this programme?

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Our BEng programme explores the fundamentals of chemical and process engineering. This grounding in science, maths and engineering will provide you with the practical abilities highly sought after by industry. After graduation, you can build upon these skills to become professional engineers.

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023 ranked Heriot-Watt 2nd in Scotland and 6th in UK for Chemical Engineering.  

Heriot-Watt was ranked 2nd in Scotland and 4th in the UK for Chemical Engineering, based on overall student satisfaction, by the 2022 National Student Survey.

The BEng in Chemical Engineering is a four-year degree. At the end of fourth year, you can choose whether to swap to the five-year, more advanced MEng degree. The career-focused degree has specialist pathways in pharmaceutical chemistry, computational chemistry, biology or materials and nanoscience. This offers the flexibility to decide which degree and pathway best suits your career ambitions.

In the final year of the BEng, you will undertake a group project, drawing upon the knowledge gained through your studies.

As part of the programme, you will receive a student membership for the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), paid for by the department.

Our links with industry

If you wish to obtain a Diploma in Industrial Training (DIT) linked to your degree, you will be assisted to find suitable placements, with the potential to even go abroad. The ten-month placement takes place in the penultimate year of the programme and is supported by Chemical & Process Engineering staff. On successful completion of a DIT placement, you will be eligible to apply for professional registration as an Engineering Technician (EngTech TIChemE) with the IChemE and Engineering Council.

Our Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) is comprised of both alumni and company representatives, who provide input into the development of our degree programme. The involvement of the IAB ensures our programmes stay relevant to the needs of industry and that our graduates are prepared for the jobs of the future.

Hear from an expert

The degree programmes in chemical and process engineering produce graduates who are ready to ‘hit the ground running’. Students are exposed to external industry and the appreciation of where and how the theories fit in practice.

The involvement of the IAB brings real world knowledge and experience to the course. It provides graduates with a different perspective on the work they produce. In particular, the requirement to present final year group design projects to the IAB as a technical and commercial pitch, in competition with other groups, give the students a real flavour of what they can expect to face as they make their way in industry.

Andrew Scott | Business Development Director - LGE
Energy & Marine | Marine & Technology
Babcock International Group

Find out more about some of the careers our graduates have progressed to.

Our facilities

During your studies, you will use the department’s industry-leading and specialist equipment, software and laboratories used by professional chemical engineers. Our labs have a full range of services including modern cooling, steam, and compressed air systems.

You will learn the foundations of electronics and programming through the curriculum, becoming proficient in both Arduino and LabVIEW as graphical programming platforms.

Our research

1st in Scotland and 3rd in UK for engineering research through a joint submission with the University of Edinburgh (REF 2021). 96% of Heriot-Watt University’s engineering research was classed as world-leading.

The Institute of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering promotes excellence across our main research themes: Biomedical Engineering, Energy Harvesting and Conversion, Multiphase Flow and Digital Engineering. Heriot-Watt University is the leader amongst UK universities in promoting energy activities through its Energy Academy, a virtual centre which connects all energy-related research across the University.

Foundation Global College pathway for this degree

The entry requirements for this degree are listed below. If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, have a look at foundation entry with Heriot-Watt Global College, where you can follow an accelerated pathway which will get you onto the second year of this degree.


Institution of Chemical Engineers internationally accredited degree logo

The BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering is accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) on behalf of the Engineering Council*. As part of the programme, you will receive a student membership of the IChemE, paid for by the department.

IChemE accreditation demonstrates the academically sound and industrially relevant nature of our BEng Chemical Engineering and provides you with a pathway to qualify as a Chartered or Incorporate Engineer with the Engineering Council.  

*for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as an Incorporated Engineer and partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer. Candidates must hold a masters or doctorate accredited as further learning for CEng to hold accredited qualifications for CEng registration.

Victoria Neill

My personal tutor has been very supportive and really hands on, helping source placements and projects to make the most of my Royal Academy of Engineering scholarship funding.

Victoria Neill, BEng Chemical Engineering

Course content

Year 1

Provides a general introduction to the subject, emphasising the role of basic mathematics and science. Courses introduce basic techniques and principles of chemical engineering including: Mass Balances; Basic Thermodynamics and Energy Balances. An awareness of professional and personal development forms a critical part of the teaching in this year.

Semester 1

  • Principles of Chemistry
  • Introduction to Process Engineering A
  • Intro to Engineering
  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists 1

Semester 2

  • Chemical Reactivity
  • Introduction to Process Engineering B
  • Introduction to Mechanical Engineering
  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists 2

Year 2

Important themes focus on an understanding of the movement of fluids, heat transfer and how materials behave. Principal components include Fluid Mechanics; Heat Transfer; Mass Transfer and Thermodynamics. A mini design project is also included.

Semester 1

  • Chemical Thermodynamics & Introductory Chemical Kinetics for Chemical Engineers
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Industrial Chemical Processes
  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists 3

Semester 2

  • Thermodynamics
  • Heat Transfer
  • Process Design A
  • Mathematical Modelling for Chemical Engineers

Year 3

Provides opportunities to analyse key operations in the industry, particularly the processing and separation of gases and liquids. In parallel, there are courses looking at chemical reactor theory, how processes are controlled and the prediction of physical behaviour. Material on Safety, Sustainability and Economics is consolidated in a group-based project.

Semester 1

  • Process Control
  • Separation Processes A
  • Business Awareness, Safety and Sustainability
  • Chemical Reaction Engineering

Semester 2

  • Separation Processes B
  • Bioprocessing
  • Process Health and Safety
  • Multiphase Thermodynamics

Year 4

A central theme is the advanced analysis of key processing operations and their control. Specialist topics include Energy Efficiency, Safety and Sustainability. A group-based design project is also undertaken.

Semester 1

  • Sustainability, Health and Safety
  • Research Project A
  • Design Project A
  • Unit Operations A

Semester 2

  • Energy Generation and Utilisation
  • Reaction Engineering
  • Design Project B
  • Oil and Gas Processing

Discover Uni course data

Discover Uni provides data on each university's degree courses across a range of measures including student satisfaction, graduate jobs and salaries.


Work and study

This is what our BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering students are doing 15 months after graduating:

  • 65% are working
  • 5% are studying
  • 15% are working and studying.


  • The average salary of students 15 months after graduating: £27000
  • The average UK salary of students 15 months after graduating from a similar course: £28000

Potential career paths

Our Chemical Engineering degrees develop interpersonal and transferable skills alongside the practical abilities highly sought after by industry and employers.

Our graduates have an excellent track record in gaining employment across various industries, including:

  • Energy, water and utilities
  • Biochemical Industry
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Design/manufacture of process equipment
  • Health and Safety 
  • Sustainable Development
  • Environmental protection
  • Food processing
  • Beverages - brewing and distilling 

Many of our students go on to work in roles such as: 

  • Process Engineer - Manufacturing
  • Energy and Environmental Engineer
  • Production Manager
  • Manufacturing Excellence Engineer
  • Capital Project Engineer - Commercialisation
  • Modelling and Data Analyst
  • Process Engineering Consultant
  • And more

Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements

  • Highers ABBB (including Mathematics and Chemistry at B)
  • A-Levels BCC - BBB (including Mathematics and Chemistry with one at B)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 29 points (with Higher Level Mathematics and Chemistry)
  • BTEC DMM (in relevant science including Mathematics and Chemistry)
  • HNC A in graded unit (in relevant HNC)

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC (including Mathematics and Chemistry BB)
  • A-Levels CCC (including Mathematics and Chemistry)

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements

Year 2

  • Advanced Highers BB (including Mathematics and Chemistry plus Highers ABBB)
  • A-Levels ABB (including Mathematics and Chemistry with one at A)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 33 points (with Higher Level Mathematics at 7 and Higher Level Chemistry at 6)
  • Appropriate HND AB in graded units (in relevant HND)
  • Global College Successful completion of our Engineering with Accelerator Programme

Year 3

Entry to Year 3 is only available via our associate student partnership college route.

Additional information

  • This degree is also available through a Partnership Route at Forth Valley College.
  • For all years, applications are welcomed from holders of non-school qualifications,  mature candidates and overseas students.
  • If you do not see your qualifications here please contact us at
  • Intermediate 2 / National 5 / GCSE English and Mathematics are required for entry to all levels of our Chemical Engineering courses.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will have to show us that your English is good enough to succeed on your course. Please refer to our English language requirements.


Tuition fees for 2024 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland International**
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £24,048

* Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.

** 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above). Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your studies at Heriot-Watt over and above tuition fees in an academic year. Depending on your programme of study, these may include: protective equipment, field trips, professional memberships, studio fees, required course texts or other study resources.

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details about the Heriot-Watt University Bursary

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.