Graduate careers advice: you and your chemical engineering degree

A chemical engineering degree is recommended for anyone interested in how the physical world functions or who wishes to be involved in the development of ground-breaking technologies.

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Graduate careers advice for what career options you can pursue with your chemical engineering degree.

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Work experience

Seek out an industrial placement to help you narrow your focus on the area of chemical engineering that interests you the most. If a placement isn’t offered as part of your course, seek one out during your holidays.

Valuable sources for work experience are the petrochemical, pharmaceutical and food and drink industries. If you’re willing to travel abroad to gain experience, opportunities may be available through IAESTE (The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) .

For more opportunities, visit our work experience section here .

What sectors?

Chemical engineers are sought after by any company whose business involves the large scale conversion of raw materials into products, and as such employment is possible across a wide range of diverse sectors.

The major employers are those involved in oil refining and extraction, gas, nuclear and other power generation industries such as fine and heavy chemicals, pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. Suppliers of plastic and metals, food and drink, toiletries, fibres and polymers, and pulp and paper are also potential employers.

Chemical engineering graduates will often find employment with engineering consultancy and contracting firms. Opportunities also exist in such fields as environmental protection, pollution control, recycling, energy conservation and alternative energy.

A chemical engineering degree will also equip you for business roles and the possibility of a career in law, management or financial services.

Your chemical engineering CV

A chemical engineering degree will give you knowledge of the global and societal context in which engineering solutions are applied. It will also provide you with technical knowledge as well as giving you a theoretical base for developing new technology and advancing existing technology.

Some of the transferable skills you might acquire include:

  • project management;
  • problem solving and analytical skills;
  • teamwork;
  • leadership;
  • research and presentation;
  • communication;
  • initiative.

Postgraduate study

Chemical engineering graduates may decide to go on to postgraduate study with a view towards gaining professional status as a chartered engineer (CEng) or incorporated engineer (IEng). For more information on further study see:

Alternatively you may opt to pursue study in areas like design, science or management.

More information on suitable courses can be found in our Further Study section.

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