Best University to Study Chemical Engineering??(35 Posts)
DS1 wants to study Chem Eng in 2016.
So far he has looked at Leeds, Imperial, Loughborough, UCL and heading off to Manchester this weekend.
His dream Uni would be Imperial, but he realises it's very hard to get in.
Does anyone know anything about these courses/universities?
His AS grades were As in Maths and Chemistry, B in Physics and C in Economics (he's now dropped Economics)
He's just informed me that his predicted A2 grades will be As in Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Physics.
I've recently started working full time so feel very much out of the loop re Uni applications.
He showed me his personal statement last night which looked very complicated and not some,thing I feel I can help him with!
Most top courses require AAA or A*AA at A2, so the expectation would be AAA at AS.
Most universities will offer based on teacher predictions, so are his teacher predictions AAA? If he got a B in Physics for AS, why are they predicting an A for A2?
If his predictions are in line with his AS results, ie AAB, then he should focus on the next level of university, such as Surrey.
If it is mathematically possible go get AAA (ie with a judicial resit of Physics modules), then he can put one Russell group uni, followed by three medium places (AAB - ABB) and then one lower (and probably called something different (BBC). If he is gung-ho at getting AAA, then apply for 2 top, to middle and one lower place.
One thing to check for Engineering courses is the structure of the first year. Is it general engineering, or is it Chem Eng from the beginning? Personally, I think it is good to do a general first year, as the actual job is multidisciplinary so it is vital to have an understanding of the other branches. Also, a general first year allows some movement. Signing up for Chem Eng offers maximum flexibility as it is a requirement to study chemistry.
DS1 tells me that the teachers' predictions are always higher than the AS results? I'm honestly in the dark about it all and need to make the time (somehow!) in my working day to talk to,someone at his sixth form.
Thanks for the advice about which Unis to apply to.
You could also look at the Scottish universities - Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Heriot Watt and Aberdeen - which all have good reputations (all are top 12 in the Complete Uni Guide). You have the option of direct entry to second year with good A levels results.
Incidentally, Heriot Watt and Bath score very highly on student satisfaction and employability, neither of which are Russell Group, so personally I wouldn't get too hooked up on RG being the absolute be all and end all.
Manchester and Loughborough are quoting AAA and Leeds and UCL are needing A*AA. Imperial will be the same or even worse. Therefore he could try one aspirational, requiring the A*, but Manchester and Loughborough look ok. Have a look at all the better universities for Chemical Engineerung using any league table you wish and check up the entry requirements on the Engineering Faculty website of the preferred universities. This will not take long and he may dislike the idea of some on the list.( Loughborough and UCL could not be more different!) This is easy to do. Not sure what A levels the Scottish universities ask for but some may feel remote if you live in Brighton, for example. BEng at some universities may ask for AAB so there may be wriggle room if AAA does not work out.
Also, some courses are broad, UCL says theirs is and it is 3 years. You and your DS need to be aware that the MEng course is now the quickest route to being a Chartered Engineer (the highest professional qualification for Engineers). I think details about qualification can be found on the relevant website for Chartered Chemical Engineers (Institution of Chemical Engineers?). The 3 year BEng course usually leads to Incorporated Engineer status, which is lower, unless you do an MSc or spend a lot more time working as a graduate Engineer to get the necessary experience to become Chartered. Manchester and Loughborough both offer MEng courses which could be accessed by his predicted grades. There will be others but he may want to apply for, say, 3 MEng and 2 BEng. Good BEng students can often swap to the MEng course so look into this. Russell Group universities are not out of the question, but select carefully. Some are more difficult to get into than others. Has he looked at MEng or BEng so far?
BEng can also lead to Chartered status, with the required level of experience. It's also worth checking out courses with work placements, as these can be a good source of experience and income.
Chemical Engineering is currently more popular in terms of applications than it has ever been. At my university we have moved from accepting all applicants who had the minimum academic requirements to having a typical AAA offer at A-level (AAAA at Higher, we are a Scottish university) in the last six or seven years. Demand looks strong again, judging by open day attendances over the summer so our requirements (and by implication everyone else's) will not be dropping this year. S
I would always recommend an MEng, this gives automatic qualification for membership of the IChemE, and is the degree that major employers require. Graduates with BEng do find employment in the industry but will have a slower career progression in general. In order to get full IChemE membership with a BEng you need to show that your work experience has provided equivalent learning to the Masters degree, or do an MSc. Students can swap from BEng to MEng on our programmes but we don't have lower entrance requirements for BEng anyway.
In my opinion the vast majority of Chem Eng programmes in the UK offer a very high standard of education, accreditation by the IChemE tends to keep all standards up. Since the "Milk Round" does not really exist any more and most recruitment is online all employers are open to all applications, the old ICI-type tradition of recruiting from Imperial, Cambridge, Edinburgh and a few others has gone (or Unilever from Strathclyde, Imperial, and UMIST etc). I think everyone understands that there are good graduates coming out of every university.
I always recommend that applicants look at the soft elements of a university rather than delving into excruciating detail about the programme; under the skin the accreditation process narrow the differences between degrees. The exception would be programmes which do and don't emphasise biochemical engineering and those with placements as part of the degree. So look at location, campus vs. city, talk to students, look at accommodation (first year and beyond - can you live close to the university in second year?), do the staff seem friendly (mind you we will hide "difficult" staff in cupboards on open days if necessary!), does it seem like there is refurbishment/development going on ie does the place seem prosperous, what is the student body like - is there a high proportion of local students/women/mature students/etc, is there the possibility of changing course if Chem Eng isn't right? You need to visit as many of your candidate universities as possible. If you are shown round by a tired looking middle aged woman say hello.
mind you we will hide "difficult" staff in cupboards on open days if necessary!)
Interesting thread, DS2 who is in Y11 is interested in this, so we have a while to look a the options.
I was recently at Imperial with DS1 who is interested in a different course, but was shown around by a girl doing ChemEng, and I thought she said that hers was one of the rare courses that require 4 A levels.
May have been mistaken, didn't follow it up as we weren't there for that.
I just had a quick look at Imperial and their typical offer is, indeed, A*A*AA, reflecting both the demand and the high quality of their intake. They do consider applications with AA*A and A*AAA. Nice position to be in - those students could probably teach themselves .
Accidental bolding there three A*s and seems to be their lowest considered entry.
Swansea? My brother is a lecturer in chemistry there, and a doctor in chem engineering.
They've got a brand new campus for the engineering faculty, and a good reputation world wide.
Imperial grad here - it's a fab course with absolutely stellar industry links but the first year of all Imperial engineering courses is extremely maths-intensive. Don't underestimate how good you need to be at maths to really do well there - there is plenty of help if you are struggling though. If he's doing Further Maths he should be okay though.
Does he have any practical experience? That would help if he is worried he might not get A*s - IIRC Imperial interview so if he can talk eloquently about engineering and his experience then, he'll do well.
I also came on to suggest Swansea. They've just opened a huge Engineering campus and ex students of mine have done very well there. It's worth a look.
I think it's important not to underestimate the importance of maths in any engineering degree. It's much more important to love maths than chemistry for chemical engineering.
Hi chemenger, I hope my DS waved to you last Saturday. Perhaps I shouldn't be encouraging a surge north of the border if competition for places is strong.
Hi Squirrelled, I was actually not there, first open day I've missed for ages.
many many moons ago I was planning to go to Imperial to study chemical engineering. god knows why but that is another question.
Anyway - when I got my A levels I had dropped a grade, in physics, and after keeping me waiting for a day or two they rejected me.
Excellent course, great prospects, but bloody tough to get into. I'd definitely say the best course by some way if he wants to put that as his first choice.
Totally agree with the person who said a love of maths is essential for engineering, to be honest even for the straight chemistry or physics course too!
good luck to him!
My son has just started Edinburgh Uni to do Mechanical Engineering with Renewable Energy. I've been really impressed with it so far. And Edinburgh is a very vibrant city to live in. Because it's in the City Centre, the Campus is spread across the City in various buildings. This means that all the nightlife is minutes from the Halls - no transport needed - you can walk everywhere. The Halls are lovely too. Really clean and comfy. My son is having the time of his life. The High School should be helping your son write his personal statement! They all had to be signed off at our High School. Teachers know best what the Uni want to see. Good luck!
Do any of the courses give you any work experience? A year in industry for example? Does it matter re cost of living in each place? There can be quite a difference.
Even work experience in an industrial process \ factory would be of help I think.
Thanks all. Yes he wants to do an MEng course and it's nice to know it stands you in better stead re job prospects as DH was moaning about it being another year of Uni i.e. The finances!
He hasn't considered Swansea or any of the Scottish universities so will encourage him to look into that.
His 6th form is helping him with his personal statement, I just feel that I should be having more of an input? Maybe that's me forgetting that he is nearly an adult (yet again.....)
Re the Maths, it's probably the favourite of his subjects. He even enjoys Further Maths
millymolly how are Loughborough and UCL so different?
Regarding being interviewed , DS has Asperger's so this is an element of the whole process I'm concerned about, though I'd definitely say he's capable at expressing his interest in the subject.
Sorry, he wants to do a 4 year ChemEng degree!
Lboro is a campus Uni, dominated by its sporty & engineering feel, more convenient location than London (for most). Town is a bit of a dump but it's a very easy place to live (many students have own car there).
UCL is probably weaker on pastoral care and is in the heart of the capital (so poorer campus identity), and all the London feel.
Lljkk has probably said it all re Loughborough and UCL. UCL is in a very expensive area of London and very popular with overseas students. Living near to the university is expensive for 2nd and subsequent years. Most students are spread out all over North London. The less money you have, the longer the commute. Loughborough is not London! The differences between the locations are obvious I think. "Dump" or world renown capital city? However, that is not judging the courses but UCL is usually hard to get into. However they do not appear to do an MEng. I think Imperial require 4 A levels because they require Further Maths as the 4th A level. Again they have high numbers of overseas students. The person showing you round on an open day if often not a "typical" student - they have already left the college to go home or have yet to return.
DS2 missed his AAA offer for 4 year undergraduate masters in Chem Eng by two grades, ended up with ABB and still got accepted by Newcastle. Sheffield were offering AAB 4 year masters through clearing. Your son will be able to study what he wants with his grades. He might want to consider one of the above as his insurance, both good unis and nice courses.
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