Chemical and Biological Engineering

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There are lots of starting points for choosing a career and using your subject is just one of them. You are not restricted to the career ideas below and you may wish to consider additional factors which are important to you for your future career using our Understand yourself and your options section.

Remember too that the vast majority of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any subject and so your options are much broader than the examples given below.

Firstly, have a think about what ‘using your subject’ means to you and what you’re really looking for. Do you want to apply your subject-specific knowledge or skills to the real world? Or maybe you want to continue to practice and develop these skills? Maybe it’s a broader interest in your subject that you want to keep alive by working in a relevant type of organisation?

Using your subject can help provide you with some focus for your career research, but the broader your interests the more career options you will have open to you. Use our resources below to stimulate your thinking.

Generating career ideas with Chemical and Biological Engineering

Using the resources below you can start to create your own list of career ideas to research

  • Look at what alumni from your department have done using the DLHE data we collect and through the University of Sheffield alumni page on LinkedIn.
  • Search for and contact alumni in your subject through our Graduate case studies database.
  • Browse the career ideas for engineering graduates on Prospects and TargetJobs but keep in mind that these are not a comprehensive list of all the careers related to your subject.
  • Brainstorm ideas and do some initial investigation to find out about research, organisations, start ups, government bodies and freelancers connected to your subject. Our Information resources - Occupations section is a good place to start.

Some career ideas for Chemical and Biological Engineering graduates

Chemical engineer

Chemical engineers use their technical skills and knowledge to design and produce products for a range of industries, including consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and oil and gas. Essentially, you would be turning raw materials into products.

You may be lab, plant or office based and will need to implement new technologies, configure equipment and work to stringent safety regulations.

Energy engineer

Energy engineers are involved in producing energy from natural, such as oil and gas, or renewable sources such as wind, solar or hydro power. This may involve researching new methods of energy production which are more environmentally friendly and efficient and will require an up to date knowledge and understanding of environmental legislation.

You may be required to carry out site inspections and look at ways of improving performance on existing sites.

Nuclear engineer

Nuclear engineers may be involved in all aspects of nuclear energy production, from the design and building of power plants to the day to day running and the decommissioning of out date sites.

They may use modelling systems to gauge energy production and usage and will have to ensure that safety and security regulations are closely followed and to solve operational problems. You may be required to facilitate the storage and disposal of radioactive material.

Petroleum engineer

Petroleum engineers can be involved at different stages of oil and gas production, such as oilfield exploration, process development and petroleum production. You may be required to design wells, optimise oil and gas recovery techniques and control the flow of oil and gas.

The role may be office or oilfield based and can involve maintenance of equipment, liaising with clients and adherence to strict health and safety standards.

Product development scientist

Product development scientists develop new scientific ideas to improve products, as well as develop new products to take to market.

The role can involve analysis of existing processes and materials and can be plant, lab or office based. Data on safety and reliability of a product will be studied, as well as evaluation and setting of performance objectives.


If you want to apply your understanding of engineering processes, equipment and components within a more commercial role, then procurement may be an option to consider. This can involve purchasing and supply of components or services from second and third tier suppliers, negotiating contracts and quality guidelines.

This role requires communication, negotiation and persuasion skills, numeracy and the ability to build and maintain strong client/customer relationships.

Supply chain management

Similar to the above this requires an understanding of engineering components and processes but involves the planning, design, supply, monitoring and logistics of getting components and services of the right quality to the right place at the right time within budget.

This requires exceptional time management, planning, problem solving and commercial awareness.

Business analyst

This role may suit you if you enjoy evaluating and analysing data, creating solutions and communicating with a variety of people. As a business analyst, you'll work with an organisation to understand their products, services and the industry sector they operate within.

You’ll identify their future needs and challenges and help them to plan for the future and manage change in line with their company goals often in relation to information and software systems.


Away from technical roles, you can apply your numeracy, business awareness and analytical skills to a more commercial role in finance.

This could vary from investment management and banking to financial management or accounting roles.

Subject specific resources