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Chemical Engineering - Admissions & Scope

A whole lot of years ago, our planet came into existence, a bumbling hot mass of elements and gases. Cut to the present and Earth is possibly the only planet in our galaxy that houses life, having been home to a myriad of various creatures and species, some of which no longer walk the face of the planet while others have managed to survive. Out of all the species, the human race is a unique species. Humanity holds many points in common with the other species that inhabit our planet – pack bonding, survival instinct, curiosity and an earnest desire to make life, i.e., survival convenient and comfortable. However, one feature that strongly distinguishes humanity from other species is its tendency to experiment and exploit. For as long as the species has existed, human beings have constantly tried to extract the resources the planet provides and exploit them to the best of their characteristics for human profit and convenience. This is where the essence of chemical engineering lies.

What is Chemical Engineering?

Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that seeks to utilize the principles, methods, elements, and techniques of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and economics to use, create, transform and transfer materials, chemicals, and energy. They are involved in the design, creation, operation, assessment, and upgradation of techniques, technology, procedures and processes that convert chemicals, living cells, raw materials, microorganisms, and energy into various chemical products that are of use to human beings. This is brought about by altering certain characteristics of the elements and subjecting them to high temperature and high-pressure circumstances. Over time, the branch has developed from focusing primarily on unit reactors and production to include other aspects like transportation. Chemical engineering is a dynamic branch of science as it takes new developments into stride in its progression. For instance, the area of chemical engineering takes into consideration the issues of environmentalism while carrying out its operations. In addition to this, chemical engineers were pressurized to undertake proper safety precautions and procedures to ensure that any disasters do not ensure, viz a viz the Bhopal tragedy.

Chemical engineering, like all branches of engineering, is a broad, wide-ranged area, concentrating on various aspects and methods. Institutions teaching the subject usually talk about all of the aspects in a brief while concentrating on a subject or two in particular. In the professional perspective, engineers gain their expertise in an area and related subjects to gain expertise and build up specialization. Some of the topics and aspects that the branch of chemical engineering overlooks:

What are the different branches of chemical engineering?

Chemical Engineering is divided into the following branches and has a wide scope:

Plant Design and Construction: Chemical engineers often study and indulge in the design and construction of new plants and modifications to existing plants. Engineers usually play a consulting role, designing the plant by the needs and demands of the clients. It is important to note that this process of designing is carried out taking into consideration certain limitations like government policies, safety regulations, and budgetary issues if any.

The process of construction is usually managed by a project engineer and a project manager simultaneously. Often, chemical engineers work as project engineers on both a part-time and full-time basis. Courses of chemical engineering usually do not focus on project engineering in particular, but the profession requires certain skills that can be acquired through training modules.

Process design and analysis: Unit processes or unit operations (i.e., the processes concerned in the production aspect of chemical engineering) consist of some steps:

Crystallization

Filtration

Drying

Evaporation

Purifying

Recycling

All these steps are carried out by engineers called process engineers. Process design involves defining the equipment and tools that are part of the process and laying out their roles and how they work in connection.

Transport phenomena: This particular aspect of chemical engineering centers around features like fluid dynamics, heat transfer, molecular transfer, energy transfer and such. Applied mathematics is an integral part of the study of this particular phenomenon to be able to understand the microscopic, macroscopic and molecular perspectives of the subject.

What are the available courses and requirements?

Institutions across the expanse of the world offer education in chemical engineering at all levels – bachelor’s, masters and doctorate. Education in chemical engineering comprises of calculus, biology, and physics. Usually, a chemical engineer can attain employment with a bachelor’s degree and a license. A master’s degree is sought by students looking to further their research in the field of chemical engineering or by students who wish to pursue chemical engineering but studied another subject for their bachelor’s. A doctorate is apt for students who are looking into going into academia as a profession.

Which are the countries offering courses in Chemical Engineering?        

Every year, students across the world choose to study chemical engineering. Most of these students choose to go to foreign countries like the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Japan and Singapore for their education.

Why shall you study the course in Chemical Engineering  Abroad?

  • First and foremost, these countries are developed and hold access to advanced technology that might not be available in a developing or under-developed country.
  • Secondly, these countries hold more employment opportunities owing to their developed economies. Instead of this, countries like Germany provide an extra period after the completion of one’s education to provide one with an opportunity to seek employment.
  • Thirdly, an education from a foreign country would render a student further advanced and trained than his or her contemporaries should they return to their home country. This increases the chances of employability of the student.
  • Fourthly, studying in a foreign environment brings about an exchange of ideas, opinions, cultures, and perspectives that foster greater understanding and learning.
  • Finally, education in a foreign land brings about a sense of independence that is extremely integral to the holistic development of a student.

Which are the premier institutes offering a  degree in Chemical Engineering?

While universities across the world indulge in meting out education in chemical engineering, some institutions have garnered a reputation for being efficient and excellent in their education about the field

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States of America
  • Stanford University, United States of America
  • University of California – Berkeley, United States of America
  • University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Kyoto University, Japan
  • University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech), United States of America
  • Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  • National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore
  • The University of Tokyo, Japan

What is the eligibility requirement of the course?

Most universities conduct entrance exams for admission purposes while others conduct personal interviews, either at the campus or digitally. These interviews or entrance exams usually center around the caliber and interest a student holds for the subject and related topics such as biology, mathematics, and physics. A few universities might also mete out admissions by 12th-grade scores, but that is a rarity. Some institutions might require candidates to submit their family’s financial records for the past few years to ensure that the student is capable of paying the tuition fees and handle other expenses for the first year. However, most universities do not require any such information and offer plenty of financial aid to the students through means like grants and scholarships. Many universities also offer students the opportunities to gain internships or part-time jobs in related fields to ensure practical application of the knowledge acquired in the subject and to help the student handle a part of their expenses, like travel or stationery. Education in the department costs from 20 lakh rupees to around 40 lakh rupees for the first year. Accommodation, transport and stationery costs range up to around 10 lakh rupees for a year. These expenses, of course, are different over the different regions in the world and sometimes, even in different regions of a country.

What are the career prospects of a student after perusing  ChemicalEngineering?

Chemical engineering as an educational field is extremely prosperous in employment opportunities. Chemical engineers work to create economic methods of the usage of materials and energy for human profit. The field is expecting a 4% rise in employment in the coming years. As has been mentioned before, the field is extremely dynamic, constantly having to take into considerations new developments in the world and upgrade and modify designs and projects accordingly. Since education in the field comprises of bookly knowledge of a plethora of topics and subjects and practical training, chemical engineering students hold skills and caliber for a multitude of professions. It is important to note that students might take on jobs or work freelance, from project to project. Many universities offer on-campus placement drives and job opportunities to their students. Students are required by employers to apply their knowledge and choose optimal plans of design and operation that would ensure efficient and economical execution of the required chemical processes. They are also required to assess tools and equipment integral to the process and suggest ways to use them efficiently. Some of the fields available to chemical engineering students are:

Medicine

Petrochemicals

Plastic industry

Waste management and research

Project engineer

Equipment upgrades

Academia

Hence, the field of chemical engineering holds great promise both as an educational area and professional spectrum.

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