Study chemical and biological engineering

Students studying chemical engineering

Chemical and biological engineers design the best manufacturing processes to make each product. They rely on specialist skills in chemistry, maths, physics and biology. 

Chemical engineering at the University of Sheffield

Sheffield’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering ranks 11th in the UK (The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2023). One of the UK’s largest departments for Chemical Engineering, it tackles major world challenges, including disease and clean energy.

Learning takes place in the £81m Diamond building, which has state-of-the-art laboratories. These include a fluid mechanics lab, a thermodynamics lab and an analytics lab. At the Diamond Pilot Plant, you’ll use large scale process equipment that prepares you for industry. 

Degrees are designed with your career in mind. You’ll gain hands-on industry experience from early in your degree, and you’ll develop key skills that you can use in a career. Sheffield graduates find jobs quickly – 90% of MEng Chemical Engineering graduates are in work or further education within six months of graduating.

Chemical engineering degree options at the University of Sheffield


International Foundation Year students can progress to degrees including: 

  • BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering
  • BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering with an Industrial Placement Year
  • MEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering
  • MEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering with an Industrial Placement Year

Related degrees

  • BSc (Hons) Biochemistry
  • BSc (Hons) Biochemistry with an Industrial Placement Year
  • BSc (Hons) Chemistry with Biological & Medicinal Chemistry
  • BEng (Hons) Bioengineering
  • BEng (Hons) Bioengineering with an Industrial Placement Year
  • BEng (Hons) Materials Science and Engineering
  • BSc (Hons) Chemistry
  • BSc (Hons) Chemistry with an Industrial Placement Year
  • MChem (Hons) Chemistry
  • MChem (Hons) Chemistry with an Industrial Placement Year
  • MChem (Hons) Chemistry with Biological & Medicinal Chemistry
  • MChem (Hons) Chemistry with Study Abroad
  • MEng (Hons) Bioengineering
  • MEng (Hons) Bioengineering with an Industrial Placement Year
  • MEng (Hons) Materials Science and Engineering


Pre-Masters students can progress to degrees including: 

  • MSc Chemistry
  • MSc (Res) Chemistry
  • MSc Chemistry and Sustainability
  • MSc Material Science & Engineering

Related degrees

  • MSc (Eng) Environmental and Energy Engineering
  • MSc (Eng) Process Safety and Loss Prevention

Places are limited on some degree courses, so you are advised to apply and confirm your place as soon as possible.

Degree preparation at the International College

The University of Sheffield International College offers specialist preparation for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Find your pathway to studying chemical and biological engineering with the International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering or Pre Masters in Science and Engineering.

Why study chemical engineering or biological engineering?

Amazing inventions

Chemical and biological engineers find solutions to major world challenges. They make life-changing breakthroughs in food supply, sustainable energy and clean drinking water. With a biological or chemical engineering career, you could make ground-breaking innovations that affect millions of people around the world.

Practical skills

Throughout your degree and career, you’ll develop a huge range of practical skills. You’ll learn how to design new processes, install production plants and test production methods. You’ll also be an expert in managing resources, protecting the environment and meeting health and safety standards.

Career diversity

A chemical engineering degree gives you a huge range of employment options. You could work with water, energy, food or pharmaceuticals. Some graduates become chartered engineers, others follow completely different career paths. Transferrable skills make you highly employable in a range of careers.

What can I do with a chemical engineering degree?

Chemical engineering careers often focus on specialist areas, such as petroleum, plastics or crystals. Biological and biomedical engineers apply the principles of biology and the tools of engineering to develop new products and materials, such as prosthetics, tissue-engineered organs, biopharmaceuticals and bioenergy. Many engineers achieve chartered status. This international qualification verifies your expertise and leads to a pay increase.

Chemical engineering graduates from the University of Sheffield are sought after. You could apply for a job as a chemical engineer or a related profession.

Career options include:

  • chemical engineer
  • energy engineer
  • petroleum engineer
  • product development scientist
  • analytical chemist
  • manufacturing engineer
  • mining engineer
  • production manager.

Chemical and biological engineering FAQs

What is the study of chemical engineering?

Chemical engineering is about turning raw materials into useful products, such as fuel, clothes, food and plastics. Important in every aspect of daily life, these two areas of engineering can improve food production, make medical breakthroughs and invent new materials.

How can I study chemical engineering?

You can study a degree in chemical engineering but you will need to meet certain entry requirements. You will typically need three A Levels graded AAA, but entry requirements are different for each university. If you want to study chemical engineering in the UK as an international student, you could study the International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering, which will help you meet the entry requirements as well as prepare you to study in the UK.

How much money can you make in chemical engineering?

Studying a chemical engineering degree means you can pursue a career as a chemical engineer where you can expect to earn around £28,000 after graduation. As you progress and become a more experienced engineer you could be earning up to £54,000. If you become a chartered chemical engineer and have a degree, you could be looking at earning up to £78,500.

How long is a chemical engineering degree?

A chemical engineering undergraduate degree typically lasts three years, but at some universities, it can be up to four. You could also spend a year working in industry, gaining valuable work experience before continuing your degree.

What subjects do I need to study chemical engineering?

Subject requirements are different for each university but to study a chemical engineering degree you will almost certainly need Chemistry, Maths, Physics and Biology. Other subjects that can help you can include Engineering, Statistics, Further Maths and Design Technology.

Do you need maths for chemical engineering?

Maths is highly desirable for students who want to apply to study a chemical engineering degree. Maths is used in chemical engineering to solve chemical problems as well as using mathematical models and analysing results.

Why is chemical engineering important?

Chemical engineering plays a very important part of human development. It helps us to make advances in healthcare, technology and medicine. It develops the way we use, produce, design, transform and transport energy and materials - which impacts everything from waste disposal and food processing to the clothes we wear and the energy we use.

Should I study chemical and biological engineering?

Sheffield IC student Mohammed

Born in Dubai. Made in Sheffield.

If I am going to do something for my whole life I might as well do something that will make me love it. I am going to do it with passion. That is why I chose Sheffield and I am glad I made this choice. I want to go into the nuclear sector or perhaps solar energy. I just want to apply this greater understanding and depth of knowledge that the UK provides.

Studied International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering
Progressed to Beng (Hons) Chemical Engineering