CBE students in Pilot Plant

Chemical Engineering MEng

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

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    You are viewing this course for 2023-24 entry. 2024-25 entry is also available.

    Key details

    Course description

    You'll learn about the design of processes and products that produce, transform or transport materials and energy. We'll develop your technical, research and problem-solving skills to give you the best start for a career in the sector of your choice.

    Our graduates work across all fields of chemical engineering, including biological and pharmaceutical engineering and are and are well-equipped for a future in digital manufacturing.

    We place significant emphasis on learning through practical experience. You'll develop practical skills and build up experience through lab work, projects and open-ended problem-solving.

    Our pilot plant gives you the chance to apply what you learn in lectures and labs on larger scale process equipment through hands-on experimentation. This unique facility is designed to prepare you for the challenges of industry.

    In your third year, you'll take part in a process design project, which will give you the design skills you need to succeed as a chemical engineer.

    In your fourth year, you'll carry out an independent research project under the supervision of one of our academic staff, and specialise in an area that interests you.

    We are accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as an Incorporated Engineer and partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.


    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:

    Title: Chemical Engineering MEng
    UCAS code: H800
    Years: 2022, 2023
    First year

    Core modules:

    Mathematics (Chemical)

    This module aims to reinforce students' previous knowledge and to develop new basic mathematical techniques needed to support the engineering subjects taken at levels 1 and 2. It also provides a foundation for the level 2 mathematics courses in the appropriate engineering department. The module is delivered via online lectures, reinforced with weekly interactive problem classes.

    20 credits
    Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics

    This unit covers the principles of thermodynamics with applications in chemical engineering. Thermodynamics is a framework which tells us about energy utilisation and efficiency and hence is significant in the design and operation of sustainable processes. The module introduces key concepts such as thermodynamic equilibrium, and the use of thermodynamic tables (e.g. steam tables).  The requirements for chemical and physical equilibria are examined, and their response to changes in composition, temperature and pressure. The first law of thermodynamics is introduced for closed and open systems and used to analyse power and refrigeration cycles. The second law of thermodynamics is introduced. Thermodynamic cycles and property relations are investigated. The teaching of the course is supplemented by several embedded labs which explore the key concepts covered in lectures.

    By taking this course students will be: 

    1. Able to demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the key principles of macroscopic thermodynamics with applications in chemical engineering.

    2. Challenged to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems associated with energy changes in closed and open systems.  

    3. Provided opportunity to develop professional and transferable skills including numerical and practical skills. 

    15 credits
    Chemical Principles

    Chemical engineering drives the transition from lab scale discovery to full scale industrial process. Thus, it is vital that chemical engineers are well versed in the fundamental science to aid and drive communication with other scientific disciplines, and therefore to understand and implement the key concepts from physics and chemistry that are fundamental to an understanding of the way the desired chemical processes and systems operate. Key topics include stoichiometry, physical chemistry, equilibria and kinetics, organic chemistry, units and dimensions, statics, kinetics, electricity and energy. Emphasis throughout is placed on application of concepts, to prepare students for core chemical engineering courses. This is further enhanced through the use of embedded labs.

    By taking this course students will be: 

    1. Able to demonstrate a systematic understanding of core aspects of chemistry. 

    2. Equipped to solve sophisticated problems, using ideas and techniques from physical chemistry.

    3. Able to bring together concepts from across the discipline, and to apply them to real-world problems 

    4. Introduced to aspects of molecular and bulk physical chemistry with a mathematical treatment so as to provide a firm scientific base that can be transferred into core chemical engineering units 

    5. Expected to demonstrate a professional approach to professional and transferrable skills and be able to explain chemical topics to a non-scientific audience. 

    15 credits
    Fluid and Particle Mechanics

    Fluid mechanics plays a vital role in any chemical plant. Components flowing through pipes must arrive at the correct rate and pressure. Furthermore, the way fluids move influences heat and mass transfer and the progress of chemical reactions, and so a sound basis in fluid mechanics is a key precursor to the study of heat transfer and reaction engineering. Particles and particle processing are found in a wide variety of industries, such as the pharmaceutical sector. The way the particles interact with surrounding fluid, and with each other, governs key process parameters and behaviours. This unit aims to introduce basic fundamentals of fluid and particle mechanics. It includes the properties of fluids, ideal flow and flow measurement, laminar and turbulent flow, boundary layer development and pipe flow, both with and without particles in fluids. Dimensional analysis will be included for characterising flow regimes. Material is illustrated using problems associated with chemical engineering practice, as well as through formative labs.

    By taking this course students will:

    1. Be introduced to fluid and particle mechanics and thus have their relevance in chemical engineering established.

    2. Develop the fundamental principles underlying the momentum transport for both systems with and without particles.

    3. Demonstrate how these are used for the design of chemical processes and units.

    15 credits
    Heat Transfer

    Most processes of interest to chemical engineers do not occur at ambient temperatures. Additionally, many important processes either produce heat, or require heating. To make the most efficient use of resources and to make processes as sustainable as possible, it is vital that chemical engineers have a sound understanding of heat transfer.

    Heat transfer is a discipline of thermal engineering that concerns the generation, use, conversion, and exchange of thermal energy (or heat) between physical systems. Heat transfer is classified into various mechanisms, such as thermal conduction, thermal convection, thermal radiation, and transfer of energy by phase changes.

    The fundamentals of these modes of heat transfer will be introduced to allow students the opportunity to design practical heat transfer equipment with emphasis on chemical processes. Teaching is supported by several embedded labs which will allow students to both deepen their understanding of the fundamental concepts, and to further develop their practical skills.

    By taking this course students will be: 

    1. Introduced to heat transfer and have its relevance to chemical engineering established. 

    2. Familiar with  the fundamental principles underlying heat transfer. 

    3. Required to design and select heat exchange systems and units and evaluate different types of heat exchangers

    4. Introduced to the process safety and sustainability issues around heat transfer. 

    15 credits
    Principles of Chemical Engineering 1

    Whilst the list of industries employing chemical engineers continues to grow, the basic principles underpinning them all remain the same. Fundamentally, chemical engineering is the discipline that transforms scientific breakthroughs into large scale industrial processes. This course serves as an introduction to the principles and techniques used in the field of chemical and process engineering by developing knowledge and expertise in the basic principles of chemical engineering design. 

    Students will also actively engage with the concepts of professional responsibility, safety, sustainability and ethics of chemical engineers, which will come to define the 21st Century chemical engineer.  The module begins by developing and applying the process synthesis method to design a chemical process. This is then extended to the development of material balances, which are a fundamental tool of chemical engineering, and are presented in the context of industrially relevant unit operations such as crystallisation, distillation columns, evaporators, reactors and boilers. This concept is further reinforced through embedded labs, and the introduction of industry standard process modelling software.

    By taking this course students will be: 

    1. Introduced to the chemical industry. 

    2. Engaged by the challenges of professional responsibility, safety, sustainability and ethics for 21st Century chemical engineers. 

    3. Introduced to systems of units commonly used in different industries.

    4. Given the opportunity to develop and practice problem solving skills. 

    5. Able to apply mass conservation to a variety of chemical processes and carry out material balances with and without chemical reactions.

    6. Practised in team working and communication skills. 

    7. Taught to apply both general and relevant chemical engineering  IT skills.

    15 credits
    Principles of Chemical Engineering 2

    Energy usage is a key economic factor in chemical plants, and the sustainable usage of energy is of ever increasing importance. Following on from CPE130, which introduced material balances, this module will introduce the next key balance that is vital in the development and deployment of chemical processes, namely the energy balance. 

    This course expands the chemical engineering design toolkit to include the development of energy balances. The concept is applied to a wide range of chemical processes such as chemical reactors, heaters/coolers, mixers, distillation columns, evaporators, and cooling towers. Such processes make up the bulk of the unit operations seen in both existing and emerging chemical industries. The module also provides elementary techniques for the evaluation of vapour-liquid and gas-liquid equilibria, and gives an introduction to the unit operation - distillation. A firm understanding of separation processes such as distillation is vital in ensuring the energy requirements for processes are minimised and hence the processes are as sustainable as possible. 

    This module is supported by embedded labs, and also hosts the first 'Design Week' of the programme, which gives students the opportunity to work together on an extended problem as a more detailed introduction to the design process.

    By taking this course students will be: 

    1. Able to identify common ground and differences between this unit and the Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer and Principles of Chemical Engineering 1 units.2. Comfortable with the definition and calculation of energy balances for batch and continuous processes. 3. Confident in the application of energy balances to various unit operations. 4. Introduced to simultaneous mass and energy balances for analysing and designing processes. 5. Allowed to further develop problem solving, team working, IT and communication skills. 

    15 credits
    Engineering with Living Systems 1

    As we face some of the emerging challenges of this century, from global pandemics, the environment to energy, water and health, it has become increasingly evident that engineering biological systems represent some of the most sustainable and advanced solutions. To progress these innovative approaches, there is an increasing need to train the next generation of engineers with knowledge of fundamental science applied with chemical engineering principles.  

    This module will provide students with knowledge of fundamental biological processes, whilst enabling a clear link to how these are exploited within industry for biomanufacturing. More specifically,  this module is an introduction to biological engineering covering the basics of host cell systems (e.g. yeast, E. coli) exploited within the biomanufacturing industry i.e. cell types, structure, function. The working of the cell will be introduced; cell chemistry (biochemistry) and cell structure (macromolecules). These will be described in terms of products (e.g. protein biopharmaceuticals, fatty acid fuels), cell cultivation (basic and industrial microbiology, fermentation) and methods to improve cell productivities e.g. metabolic engineering, synthetic biology. Modelling of fermentation processes will be expanded through enzyme catalysis and Michelis Menten kinetics and linked to applications e.g. departmental relevant research. The concepts described in the module will be reinforced through labs embedded at relevant points of the semester.

    By taking this course students will be: 

    1. Introduced to biological engineering.

    2. Shown that manufacturing can be achieved using living systems.

    3. Introduced to microorganisms and microbiology. 

    4. Introduced to novel products such as biopharmaceuticals, and new environmental processes such as bioremediation.

    5. Introduced to enzymatic catalysis.

    6. Introduced to the key process of fermentation.

    7. Introduced to synthetic biology and metabolic engineering.

    10 credits
    Global Engineering Challenge Week

    The Faculty-wide Global Engineering Challenge Week is a compulsory part of the first-year programme. The project has been designed to develop student academic, transferable and employability skills as well as widen their horizons as global citizens. Working in multi-disciplinary groups of 5-6, for a full week, all students in the Faculty choose from a number of projects arranged under a range of themes including Water, Waste Management, Energy and Digital with scenarios set in an overseas location facing economic challenge. Some projects are based on the Engineers Without Borders Engineering for people design challenge*.

    *The EWB challenge provides students with the opportunity to learn about design, teamwork and communication through real, inspiring, sustainable and cross-cultural development projects identified by EWB with its community-based partner organisations.

    Skills for Employability - Level 1

    This module is designed to help students in planning their career development, and to equip them with the essential knowledge, know-how and practical skills needed to succeed in the recruitment process and be competitive in the job market.The information in this form applies to all three levels of the Skills for Employability module.

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Learning and assessment


    Our teaching puts engineering practice at its core with integrated laboratory activities, computer modelling and simulations, and hands-on activities in our state-of-the art pilot plant all supporting your lectures and tutorials.

    We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

    Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

    Learning support facilities and library opening hours

    We're an international department with 45% of our academic teaching staff coming from overseas, giving our course content truly international relevance. Many of our staff have key links with major industry including AstraZenca, Shell, BOC, Process Systems Enterprise and MedImmune.


    Our courses use a range of teaching and assessment modules aligned to the topic being taught. Teaching methods include lectures, integrated lab sessions, tutorials and project work; assessment methods include written examinations, online assessment and project submission.

    Programme specification

    This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

    Find programme specification for this course

    Entry requirements

    With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible.

    Standard offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    including Maths and a science or technology subject

    A Levels + additional qualifications AAB, including Maths and a science or technology subject + A in a relevant EPQ

    International Baccalaureate 36, with 6 in Higher Level Maths and a science

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDD in Engineering or Applied Science + A in A Level Maths

    BTEC Diploma DD in Engineering or Applied Science + A in A Level Maths

    Scottish Highers + 2 Advanced Highers AAAAB + AA in Maths and a science or technology subject

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels A + AA in Maths and a science or technology subject

    Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 39 at Distinction (to include Maths and Science units), and 6 at Merit + Grade A in A Level Maths

    Other requirements
    • Science or Technology subjects include Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Electronics, Environmental Science, Further Maths, Physics and Design & Technology (including Textiles, Food Production, Product Design, Systems and Control Technology)

    Access Sheffield offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    including Maths and a science or technology subject

    A Levels + additional qualifications AAB, including Maths and a science or technology subject + A in a relevant EPQ

    International Baccalaureate 34, with 6, 5 in Higher Level Maths and a science

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDD in Engineering or Applied Science + B in A Level Maths

    BTEC Diploma DD in Engineering or Applied Science + B in A Level Maths

    Scottish Highers + 2 Advanced Highers AAABB + AB in Maths and a science or technology subject

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AA in Maths and a science or technology subject

    Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 36 at Distinction (to include Maths and Science units), and 9 at Merit + Grade A in A Level Maths

    Other requirements
    • Science or Technology subjects include Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Electronics, Environmental Science, Further Maths, Physics and Design & Technology (including Textiles, Food Production, Product Design, Systems and Control Technology)

    English language requirements

    You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for an International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

    Chemical engineers conceive and design processes to produce, transform and transport materials - beginning with experimentation in the laboratory followed by implementation of the technology in full-scale production.

    We combine intensive teaching with practical experience to produce the kind of graduates employers want.

    All our non-foundation year courses are accredited by the IChemE, putting you on the path to chartership.

    You'll be taught in the Diamond, one of the very best teaching spaces in the UK. This unique facility will provide you with a safe environment in which you'll apply your learning from lectures, tutorials and labs on larger scale process equipment through hands-on experimentation.


    The Diamond Pilot Plant (DiPP) is the cornerstone for educating the Sheffield chemical engineer. The plant has three cutting edge integrated manufacturing processes at a pilot scale. Its software and products are sponsored by major industrial companies including, GEA, Solaris Biotech and NiTech and is also used to up-skill employees of UK companies.

    Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

    Why choose Sheffield?

    The University of Sheffield

      Number one in the Russell Group
    National Student Survey 2023 (based on aggregate responses)

      92 per cent of our research is rated as world-leading or internationally excellent
    Research Excellence Framework 2021

      Top 50 in the most international universities rankings
    Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022

      Number one Students' Union in the UK
    Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

      Number one for teaching quality, Students' Union and clubs/societies
    StudentCrowd 2023 University Awards

      A top 20 university targeted by employers
    The Graduate Market in 2023, High Fliers report

    Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

    Top five in the UK for student satisfaction

    National Student Survey 2022

    Second in the Russell Group for student satisfaction

    National Student Survey 2022

    Graduate careers

    Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

    Our graduates work in sectors including chemicals, consumer goods, oil and gas, consultancy, pharmaceuticals, energy, water, food and drink, materials, process plant and equipment, biotechnology and the nuclear industry.

    We produce chemical engineers equipped to work in industrial teams designing and operating new processes. Our recent graduates are working for global companies including BASF, Cargill, Johnson Matthey, GlaxoSmithKline, BOC, Shell, EDF, Total Lindsey and Sellafield.

    Lucy Sherbrun

    Take advantage of everything the University and department have to offer

    Lucy Sherburn MEng Chemical Engineering

    Lucy received a global scholarship and attended a semester in South Korea and she spent her third year in the University of Pittsburgh. She is now a graduate engineer at the UK's leading heat network consultancy.

    Placements and study abroad


    You may have the opportunity to add an optional placement year as part of your course, converting the four year course to a five-year Degree with Placement Year.

    A placement year will help you to:

    • gain an insight into possible careers
    • develop a range transferable skills 
    • build a professional network
    • get a feel for what you do and don’t like doing
    • add valuable work experience to your CV
    • gain experience of applying for jobs and interview practice
    • apply elements of academic learning in the workplace

    Study abroad

    Spending time abroad during your degree is a great way to explore different cultures, gain a new perspective and experience a life-changing opportunity that you will never forget.

    You can apply to extend this course with a year abroad, usually studying abroad between the second and third year at Sheffield. Or you can apply to replace a year of your time at Sheffield with a period abroad without adding an additional year to your course. 

    We have over 250 University partners worldwide. Popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. 

    Find out more on the Global Opportunities website.

    Fees and funding


    Additional costs

    The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

    Examples of what’s included and excluded

    Funding your study

    Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

    Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

    Additional funding

    Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering scholarships

    Visit us

    University open days

    We host five open days each year, usually in June, July, September, October and November. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

    Open days: book your place

    Subject tasters

    If you’re considering your post-16 options, our interactive subject tasters are for you. There are a wide range of subjects to choose from and you can attend sessions online or on campus.

    Upcoming taster sessions

    Offer holder days

    If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our offer holder days, which take place between February and April. These open days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

    Campus tours

    Our weekly guided tours show you what Sheffield has to offer - both on campus and beyond. You can extend your visit with tours of our city, accommodation or sport facilities.

    Campus tour: book your place

    Apply for this course

    Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

    How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

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