Surrey’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering is the only school of its kind at a university in England. It brings together two closely-linked disciplines – chemistry and chemical engineering – which means students gain a broad overview of the chemical industry as well as the opportunity to specialise in a field that fascinates them.
As an international student, choosing Surrey for your chemistry or chemical engineering studies has many advantages. You will study on a leafy campus in the vibrant town of Guildford, which is only 35 minutes by train from London. The university is one of the most culturally diverse in the UK, with more than 140 nationalities represented, and offers scholarships for international students (the International Excellence Award) at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Surrey’s chemistry and chemical engineering degrees are ranked in the UK top 20 by the Complete University Guide 2023, and boast high levels of student satisfaction – with 93% of chemistry students saying they were satisfied with their course in the National Student Survey 2022. It is also ranked 5th in the UK and 18th in the world for petroleum engineering in the QS World University Rankings 2022.
Surrey offers undergraduate BEng (Hons)/MEng degrees in Chemical Engineering, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and BEng (Hons)/MChem degrees in Chemistry, Chemistry with Forensic Investigation and Medicinal Chemistry. It also offers highly respected MSc (master’s) programmes in Information and Process Systems Engineering, Petroleum Refining Systems Engineering, Process Systems Engineering, and Renewable Energy Systems Engineering.
At Surrey, students benefit from innovative teaching methods, industry-standard facilities, high staff-to-student ratios and excellent personal support. Its tutorial system ensures that students have timetabled one-to-one sessions every week with their personal tutor – giving them the opportunity to talk through any topics they’re finding particularly challenging. The emphasis throughout Surrey’s courses is on “learning by doing” through extensive lab work, and team and individual projects.
Forming a central part of its chemical engineering courses, its 1.7 million pounds Fluor pilot plant – one of few facilities of its kind at a UK university – enables students to experience the entire chemical process in an industry-standard environment. Chemistry students benefit from the many advanced laboratories where they work closely with academics and technicians in small groups. Across the school, teaching integrates the latest technological advancements: for example its chemical engineers use virtual reality software to get familiar with chemical engineering processes before setting foot in the physical plant.
Surrey’s young and diverse team of academics are very approachable, with an “open door” policy for students. Many are leading research in areas such as green energy, pharmaceuticals, wastewater processing, and industrial chemistry, and this expertise informs their teaching. The courses they offer are forward-looking, with a focus on helping to solve global issues through advanced technologies and processes. Depending on your course, you may learn about battery technology and green hydrogen, or forensic science and medicinal chemistry.
Surrey has an excellent reputation for graduate outcomes, and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022. One reason for this is the university’s renowned Professional Training placement programme which enables undergraduate students to spend a year working in the industry with a leading organisation in the UK or abroad. Recently, students have spent their placement year at companies such as AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment), GlaxoSmithKline, ExxonMobil and EDF Energy.
Ishanki De Mel, from Sri Lanka, pursued Surrey’s MEng Chemical Engineering. “One of the highlights of my degree has been working in a team to operate the Fluor pilot plant,” she says. “This gave me excellent hands-on operational experience and helped to prepare me for my Professional Training placement at EDF Energy at Sizewell B nuclear power plant.”
She is now studying for a PhD in chemical engineering at Surrey. “Life at Surrey, for me, is a doorway to wonderful opportunities,” she says. “Meeting new people, and expanding my appreciation of different cultures and backgrounds, has made me feel connected to the world.”
Deborah Brako-Amoafo, a Chemistry BSc (Hons) graduate, shares similar sentiments. “The lecturers at Surrey go above and beyond for students,” she says. “There is an open office policy which enables students to contact teaching staff at any time. This availability and readiness to support students are impressive.”
Studying at Surrey’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering opens up many different career routes. Chemistry graduates go on to work in areas such as drug discovery, developing new materials for batteries, or analytical science linked to forensics. Surrey’s chemical engineers forge their way in high-growth sectors such as pharmaceuticals, energy, food, and water and waste management.
Find out more about studying chemistry and chemical engineering at Surrey.