Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

MEng Chemical Engineering

UCAS code: H804

Duration: 5 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Engineering

College: Science and Engineering

Study abroad

Introducing MEng Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers transform raw materials into the materials and products we rely on.

They develop, design and produce many of the products and materials that underpin or enhance our everyday lives; from the water we drink and the gas that powers our homes to cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, silicon chips and even synthetic skin.

Chemical engineers are innovators who can be found at the leading edge of new and emerging technologies such as:

  • nanotechnology
  • carbon capture
  • renewable energy

They are also adept at balancing economic considerations with safety and environmental requirements.

The wide-ranging nature of chemical engineering is reflected in the breadth of courses we offer as part of this programme.

If you are interested in learning how to use mathematics and chemistry to solve real problems, that affect all of our lives, then chemical engineering could be for you.

Why Edinburgh?

  • We educate students to become visionary professional engineers, critical thinkers and leaders​.

  • We give students skills to tackle tomorrow’s major societal challenges using Chemical Engineering principles​.

  • We maintain close links with industry to deliver relevant teaching, professional development and innovation​.

  • We foster a community of global thought leaders through research-led teaching​.

  • We build equality in society through our values of inclusion, diversity, and internationalism​.

  • We offer in Year 5 MEng an optional 6-month (paid) Industry Project, or semester 1 Overseas Study or in house semester 1 research project​.

In REF 2021, our joint engineering submission with Heriot-Watt University was ranked 1st in Scotland and 3rd in the UK, based on the quality and breadth of our combined research by Times Higher Education.

Our research directly impacts what you will study and addresses key future global challenges:

  • driving the transition to a lower carbon future
  • next generation materials and processes
  • data-driven innovation, robotics and AI systems
  • making infrastructure and the environment safer and healthier.


Accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

Curriculum renewal

We are undertaking an ongoing curriculum renewal, which may result in changes to this degree programme.

The renewal is being carried out with:

  • our industrial partners
  • accreditation bodies
  • students

This renewal makes sure we equip you for an exciting career in the ever-changing world of engineering.

Year 1

Engineers are creative problem-solvers. They are skilled at working in interdisciplinary teams to deal with society's ever more complex challenges.

Introductory courses

In Year 1, you will take introductory courses and develop skills that you will later rely on as a professional engineer, including:

  • confidence
  • advanced thinking
  • teamwork
  • problem-solving skills

Additional courses

You will also study mathematics and chemistry topics. These topics provide the essential groundwork for your advanced engineering studies.

Year 2

In Year 2, you will specialise in core chemical engineering topics including:

  • separation processes
  • fluid mechanics
  • chemistry and materials
  • thermodynamics
  • biochemical engineering
  • chemical engineering technology

These courses prepare you for further specialisation at honours level.

They cover technical concepts and, where possible, give you the opportunity to apply these in a practical situation.

You will also study essentials in the engineer's toolkit to develop your skills in:

  • programming
  • engineering mathematics
  • professional skills for engineers

Second year entry

Our course structure is designed in such a way that we permit Year 2 direct entry for students. Direct entry students perform just as well as those progressing from Year 1.

The entry requirements for Year 2 entry are higher to ensure that students have the necessary knowledge to start at this level.

Year 3

In Year 3 you will deepen your understanding of chemical engineering with topics usually including:

  • thermodynamics and unit operations
  • heat, mass and momentum transfer
  • process dynamics and control
  • process safety and environmental issues

You will also put your knowledge into practice in the laboratory.

Progression routes

At the end of Year 3, you will have the option to complete one more year for a BEng degree, or a further two years for an MEng degree.

The latter is subject to you achieving an average of 55% or higher in Year 3.

Year 4

Year 4 puts a strong emphasis on design.

You will complete individual and group projects, usually complemented by courses covering topics such as:

  • engineering project management
  • fluid mechanics
  • chemical reaction engineering

Specialist study and innovative coursework will prepare you for your professional career.

Year 5

In your MEng year, you will concentrate on your final project. You can complete this in industry or in academia, in the UK or abroad.

You will also deepen your knowledge in the specialist subjects you choose from a range of advanced courses.

(Revised 7 May 2024 to reflect curriculum renewal changes)

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2024/25)

Our facilities

The majority of your learning will take place at the King’s Buildings campus, depending on courses selected.

The King’s Buildings campus is around 15 minutes from central Edinburgh by bus or bike.

You may also study at various University campus locations in the vibrant city of Edinburgh, depending on the option courses selected.

Access to facilities

You can access the University's:

  • libraries
  • study spaces (some study spaces are open 24 hours)
  • IT facilities
  • social spaces
  • leisure facilities
  • the brand-new shared learning, teaching and social hub, the Nucleus

Take a virtual tour of our school

You can take a closer look at the School of Engineering and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.

Virtual visit – School of Engineering


Six-month placement

In Year 5, you have the opportunity to do a six-month placement in industry or at an overseas research institution or university.

During this placement, you will complete your major individual project.

We will support you in securing a placement. All placements advertised by our school will be paid opportunities.

(Revised 7 May 2024 to remove old statistic)

Study abroad

In Year 3, you will have opportunities to study abroad through the University's international exchange programmes or subject-specific exchanges.

The University has a variety of agreements with international institutions that allow you to study there in Year 3.

Common destinations include:

  • USA (University of California, Caltech, Chicago, Pennsylvania, and others)
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Europe
  • Asia

Subject specific agreements

There are subject specific agreements arranged for chemical engineering.

These subject specific agreements provide additional destinations in:

  • Greece (E.M.P Athens)
  • Italy (Università di Bologna, Genova and Palermo)
  • Switzerland (EPF Lausanne)

Year 5 placement

You can also spend your Year 5 placement abroad, either in industry or in a research institution, which can be anywhere in the world.

What are my choices for going abroad?

How will I learn?

The exciting nature of engineering means you will have a diverse learning experience throughout your degree.

Teaching can be through a mixture of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • laboratory sessions
  • projects
  • group work

In your final years, you will dedicate more time to private study. So you will need to be well-motivated and organised.

You will also receive individual supervision with projects.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through coursework and examinations.

For detailed information you should review the Programme Structure - Degree Programme Table to see compulsory and option courses. You can find this information under 'What you will study'.

Refer to individual course details to see the types of assessment included.

A chemical engineering degree opens the door to a fulfilling and varied career.

Many of our students gain valuable experience by spending six months in industry, in the UK or abroad, as part of their programme.

Further study destinations include UK universities (Cambridge and Edinburgh, among others) and overseas universities in:

  • USA
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong

Where do our graduates find employment?

As a graduate, you will have many exciting opportunities for employment in technical and management roles.

Our changing world presents growing and varied opportunities for Chemical Engineers to make a positive impact.

Challenges include scaling up the production of vaccines and medicines, optimising new sources of renewable energy, and improving desalination technologies of sea water to provide drinking water.

In the meantime, chemical engineers find exciting and challenging roles in:

  • food and drink production
  • the energy industry
  • electronics manufacture
  • biotechnology
  • pharmaceuticals
  • personal products
  • and many other areas

(Revised 7 May 2024 to update employment opportunities)

Careers Service

We support you to recognise the wealth of possibilities ahead, during your time at the University and after graduation.

Our award-winning Careers Service plays an essential part in your wider student experience and provides:

  • tailored advice
  • individual guidance and personal assistance
  • internships and networking opportunities (with employers from local organisations to top multinationals)
  • access to the experience of our worldwide alumni network

We invest in your future beyond the end of your degree and studying at the University of Edinburgh will lay the foundations for your future success.

Careers Service


We encourage you to undertake relevant work experience during your degree.

We advertise internship opportunities and arrange company presentations with the Careers Service. These experiences can feature on your transcript after completing an Edinburgh Award.

Edinburgh Award

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AABB by end of S5 or AAAB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAA - ABB in one set of exams.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL - 32 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: AABB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 32 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: Mathematics at A and Chemistry at B. Higher Applications of Mathematics is not accepted in place of Higher Mathematics. National 5s: Physics or Engineering Science at B and English at C.
  • A Levels: Mathematics and Chemistry at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4 and Physics or Science at B or 6.
  • IB: HL: Mathematics (Analysis and approaches only) and Chemistry at 5. SL: English and Physics at 5.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

For direct entry to second year the standard requirements must be exceeded, including the following:

  • SQA Advanced Highers: AA to include Mathematics and Chemistry.
  • A Levels: A*AA in one set of exams to include Mathematics and Chemistry, or AAA in one set of exams to include Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Chemistry.
  • IB: 38 points with 666 at HL to include Chemistry and Mathematics (Analysis and approaches only) at 6.
Other entry pathways

Entry to many degrees in Science & Engineering is possible via other qualifications (eg HNC/D, Access, SWAP).

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 65 with at least 54 in each component. We do not accept PTE Academic Online.*

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

(*Revised 24 May 2024 to change PTE Academic requirement from total 62 with at least 54 in each component, and to clarify that we do not accept PTE Academic online.)

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MEng Chemical Engineering

Additional costs


Many students do bring their own laptop or computer to access online materials but all students can also access university computing facilities. The university library also provides a laptop loan service, with longer term loans available for those in financial hardship.

Borrowing a laptop


Students purchase some key academic textbooks, but all essential reading materials will be freely available through the University Library.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding

More information

How to apply

School: Engineering

College: Science and Engineering