BEng Hons Chemical Engineering (distance learning)


Key facts

  • Accreditation: Institution of Chemical Engineers
  • Part-time study: course designed specifically for part-time distance learning

  • 4th in the UK (1st in Scotland) for Chemical Engineering (The Times/ Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023)

Study with us

  • ideal if you're already working as a technician and want to become an engineer
  • open to engineers or scientists working in another discipline, who want to move into chemical engineering
  • can be completed in three years part-time
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Why this course?

This course is the perfect way to progress your career into chemical engineering. You can study to Honours level without leaving your job.

It's ideal if you're already working as a technician and want to become an engineer. Or, if you're an engineer or scientist working in another discipline, and want to move into chemical engineering.

If you're successful in getting into the course, you'll receive half of your credits:

  • in recognition of prior study 
  • in recognition of your current industry experience 

You'll get the remaining credits from studying the course part-time over three or four years, distance learning.

This unique opportunity to study the BEng course by distance is very useful for people like myself who wish to build the industry experience while studying. It was not an easy task but I have gained a lot of theoretical knowledge which underpins my engineering decisions in my day to day work.

Zohrab Bagirov, Process Engineer at BP Azerbaijan
BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering distance learning graduate


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 partly meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you'll study

You’ll learn about the core fundamentals of chemical engineering such as:

  • thermodynamics
  • process analysis
  • fluid flow
  • heat transfer and reactors

You'll then learn about advanced separations and process control. In your final semester, you'll complete a chemical engineering design project. This project will bring together everything you've learned. 

Major projects

Project work is core to your chemical engineering education. It develops your ability to apply technical knowledge, manage your time, communicate and negotiate within a team, make decisions and judgements and write and present reports.

The BEng and MEng chemical engineering degrees incorporate a range of major design projects enabling you to practice your skills in chemical engineering, whether technical or related skills such as teamwork and management.

Year 6 of the degree features a mini design project where you work in student teams on aspects of plant and process design. In Year 7 the detailed and conceptual design projects cover a full semester, involving independent work in teams. It demands skills ranging from technical calculation to decision making, communicating and reporting to research and innovation.

The final year of the MEng degree includes a major industry project which is carried out in your own workplace.


You'll be based in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering. We have state-of-the-art research laboratories that feature a comprehensive suite of experimental facilities including:

  • light scattering
  • spectroscopy
  • adsorption measurements
  • High-pressure viscometry

As a distance learning student, you'll have access to the University library online. You can borrow online books and download academic papers and journals. The library also offers a postal service for distance learning students.

Postgraduate study

When you complete the course, you'll have the option to progress on to postgraduate study. You can advance to the Chemical Engineering (MEng).

Another option is our taught masters courses:

You can also take a look at our postgraduate research degree programme(s) Chemical & Process Engineering.

Course awards

Our staff have been nominated in the annual University of Strathclyde Teaching Excellence Awards, voted for by Strathclyde’s students. Our staff have also received external awards from organisations like the IChemE and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Student competitions

There's a certificate and prize for the top-performing distance learning student on the BEng Honours course.

Learning & teaching

The course is delivered from our Virtual Learning Environment MyPlace.

Your lecturers will provide support through:

  • online tutorials
  • webinars
  • forums
  • email
  • telephone

Classes are taught by our academic staff, external consultants, and industry specialists.

You're also welcome to attend full-time lectures and tutorials and use the facilities on campus.


You'll be assessed using online tests and assignments. Your major project will be assessed by a written project report. You will also be required to attend written exams.

Students from the UK

Students from the UK will attend exams on campus, here in Glasgow. We will make the odd exception, on occasion, in compelling circumstances. This includes staff working in offshore installations. In these circumstances,  a suitable examination arrangement can be agreed with the University.

Students from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can take the exam at an approved international centre.

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Course content

Year 5 entry possible.

Chemistry for Chemical Engineering

The module will teach the following:

  • Units and dimensions
  • Chemical principles and states of matter
  • Molar mass and reaction stoichiometry
  • Chemical analysis
  • Specific heat and latent heat
  • Enthalpies of reaction and formation
  • Ideal gases and gas mixtures
  • Molecular kinetic theory of gases

Mathematics for Chemical Engineering

The module will teach the following:

  • Indices, logarithms, simultaneous equations and partial fractions.
  • Differentiation - This includes introduction to differentiation, polynomials, chain rule, product rule, quotients; and implicit, parametric and partial differentiation.
  • Integration - This includes introduction to integration, integration by partial fractions, integration by parts, double integration and applications of integration.
  • First Order Differential Equations - This includes an introduction to differentials equations and the methods used to solve them.
  • Second Order Differential Equations - This includes methods used to solve second order differential equations.
  • Complex Numbers - This involves the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of complex numbers, the polar and exponential form of complex numbers and complex logarithms.
  • Laplace Transformations - This includes introduction to Laplace transformations, the inverse Laplace, transformation of higher derivatives and using Laplace transformations to solve differential equations.

Basic Principles of Chemical Engineering

The module will teach the following:

  • Units and Conversion factors
  • Mass and moles
  • Chemical Reactions
  • Reaction Kinetics
  • Material Balances
  • Thermochemistry and Thermophysics

Professional Engineering and Project Management

This module aims to give an introduction to various professional engineering skills including project and time management, effective communication, group working, and a consideration of ethics and professional registration.

The module is designed specifically for distance learning students currently working in chemical engineering related industries and following the BEng honours chemical engineering degree. It requires them to develop skills that will help them to be successful in both the degree and their career in engineering.

Process Analysis and Statistics

This module aims to provide students with:

  • knowledge in material and energy balances, the behaviour of gases, vapour pressure, vapour liquid equilibrium and thermochemistry/physics (Process Analysis). This knowledge forms the foundation of Chemical Engineering
  • a fundamental understanding of the basic statistical techniques (probability distributions, method comparisons and regression analysis), that are routinely used in the chemical industries (Statistics)

Chemical Principles and Thermodynamics

Chemical Principles

You'll learn to calculate molar quantities and flowrates commonly used in chemical engineering environments. You'll learn how to calculate heats of reaction and apply the knowledge to elevated temperatures. This knowledge will be applied to mass and energy balances for simple unit operations.


You'll learn how thermodynamics underpins many chemical engineering classes as well as domestic phenomena and societal issues. The principles will be developed firstly with single-component systems followed by binary systems.

Chemical Engineering Safety

This module will cover:

  • introduction to Hazard Identification and Quantification as applicable to process plant
  • fault/event outcome trees
  • emission
  • dispersion
  • fires/radiation
  • blast and effects
  • risk assessment & consequence analysis
  • industry standards and procedures for Permit to Work (as a procedure)
  • general legal framework
  • toxicology and design for safety - including layout, relief systems, safety reviews (in general terms)

Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer

The module will cover:

  • material and energy balances of systems involving fluids in motion
  • visualisation of fluid flow patterns and perform calculations on fluid flow in pipework
  • principles of fluid flow measurement
  • fluids in motion sufficient to determine the power requirements of different types of pumps and their applications
  • Fourier’s Law for both plane and radial situations
  • standard convection equation, which includes the heat-transfer coefficient (h)
  • construction of the double-pipe heat exchanger for both co-current and counter current
  • flow paths in a multi-pass heat exchanger
  • simple condensers where a saturated vapour is the inlet flow and a mixture of saturated vapour/liquid is the outlet flow
  • difference between boiling and evaporation
  • plate-and-frame and finned-tube heat exchangers
  • other cases of unsteady-state heat transfer


This module aims to introduce the students to the principles of chemical reactors. On completion of the module, you're expected to be able to understand the basis of chemical reactor design in terms of mass balances, kinetics, energy balances and stoichiometry. You'll also know how to take into account multiple reactions (parallel and series reactions), and multiple reactors operating series in the design and analysis of reactors.

Mass Transfer and Separation Processes

The module will teach the following:

  • material and energy balances for separation processes
  • binary fluid vapour-liquid equilibria including construction of x-y diagrams
  • principles of mass transfer (diffusion, including diffusion through varying cross-sectional area and path length, and across a vapour-liquid interface
  • principles of binary distillation in staged and packed towers, including the McCabe-Thiele model and batch processes
  • principles of gas absorption and stripping in staged and packed towers
  • an introduction to evaporator processes
  • gas adsorption in porous materials, including basic thermodynamics of adsorption, gas-solid equilibria for pure gases, and the Ideal Adsorbed Solution Theory for mixed gases
  • introduction to gas adsorption processes and scale-up

Biochemical Engineering

This module aims to introduce the students to the principles of biochemical engineering. On completion of the module you're expected to be able to understand the basics of biological processes such as:

  • anabolic and catabolic processes
  • processes involved in the central dogma of biology, organisms and groups of biochemical substances that are important in biochemical engineering and produce simple models for enzyme kinetics and perform simple analysis of batch, fed-batch and continuous fermenters

Process Design and Simulation

This module aims to build your competence in the analysis of existing processes and preliminary process design. An element of the module involves the use of computer packages for the purpose of process calculation and design.

Numerical Methods and Programming

This module aims to

  • provide you with an introduction to programming in an engineering context
  • provide you with fundamental understanding of scientific programming and the operation of MATLAB
  • provide you with an opportunity to obtain hands-on experience with solving problem using MATLAB
  • enable you to present outcomes/analysis using professional software

Process Control and Environmental Technology

This module aims to introduce you to:

  • the basic principles of water pollution, wastewater treatment and effluent treatment plant design
  • the basic principles of air pollution and air pollution control technology
  • process control

Advanced Separations and Problem Solving

Advanced Separations

This module aims to instil in students the principles of advanced unit processes relating to separation: multicomponent distillation, membrane technology and drying.

Problem Solving

The module strives to strengthen and deepen problem-solving skills in the students through applying their knowledge from previous modules (for example, mass/energy balances, chemical kinetics, fluid flow, etc) to practical examples with chemical engineering themes. This will reinforce and integrate the learning outcomes from previous modules and prepare them for the Design Portfolio in the second semester of Year 4 and their future careers.

Chemical Engineering Design

This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to apply chemical engineering knowledge, design principles, and problem-solving skills in the context of a project that develops innovative designs for processes or products to fulfil a practical industrial or societal need.  The project requires students to demonstrate creativity and critical thinking in making decisions in areas of evaluating and handling uncertainty, resulting in process specifications and evaluation of how designs could be developed into a detailed working design plan. It also develops students' teamwork, communications, planning, and self- and peer-evaluation skills.

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Entry requirements

Experience and prior education

As the full-time BEng Honours degree takes 4 years to complete, the part-time degree is spread over 7 years. This course is designed for students with relevant prior education and experience, and currently, there are only two possible entry points for part-time distance learning students.

Students joining the course in year 4 of 7, receive 180 academic credits for prior learning and relevant industry experience. Students joining in year 5 of 7 receive 240 academic credits for prior learning and relevant industry experience.

Applicants who apply to year 5 entry may be offered year 4 entry if they do not meet the entry requirements for year 5. However, if you apply for year 4 entry, it is presumed that this is your preferred entry point. While year 4 entry means that it will take longer, and cost slightly more, year 4 should be considered unless you are confident that you have the skills and knowledge in mathematics, chemistry, and basic principles of chemical engineering, at the level of year’s 1-2 of a full-time honours degree.

In the past, we've admitted students with:

  • Higher National Diploma (HND), or international equivalent, in chemical engineering with some chemical engineering-related industrial experience
  • Higher National Certificate (HNC) (or international equivalent) in chemical engineering with significant related industrial experience
  • Similar qualifications to HND or HNC, or higher, in a related discipline, eg applied chemistry, mechanical engineering etc. You may need to complete some bridging courses
  • Other combinations (like the above) that's given you enough relevant background information to enter the degree at the equivalent to Year 3 in the full-time programme

We can also offer our year 4 classes as an automated bridging programme at a lower cost, for students who meet the entry requirements for year 5 but feel that they would benefit from revision of engineering mathematics and chemical engineering fundamentals.

If you're not sure if you're eligible to apply for this course, just get in touch and we'll be happy to advise. 

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are per academic year and are subject to change.

This programme is designed for students with relevant prior education and experience. Currently, we offer two possible entry points for part-time, distance learning students, with advanced entry at Year 4 or Year 5 of the programme.

Students joining the programme in Year 4 receive 180 academic credits in recognition of their prior learning and relevant industry experience.

Students joining the programme in Year 5 receive 240 academic credits in recognition of their prior learning and relevant industry experience.

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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All students (Scotland, England, Wales, N. Ireland & International)

Per year, as a graduating student undertaking the full degree:

  • Year 4 - £5,100 (60 credits)
  • Year 5 - £5,100 (60 credits)
  • Year 6 - £8,500 (100 credits)
  • Year 7 - £6,800 (80 credits)
  • MEng - £10,200 (120 credits)

Per 10 credit class, as a non-graduating student:

  • £850 per 10 credits
Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Additional costs

Course materials: we do not charge students for course notes. All course notes are uploaded to myplace and students have the facility to print if required (costs would be incurred by the student). Recommended texts are communicated to the library - students may wish to purchase their own copies.

Examinations: there may be in person exams as part of your course. We don’t charge for examinations on campus, but if you are unable to come to Glasgow to sit exams, you will need to arrange a local examination centre, and it is likely that you will incur local invigilation costs. Please contact us if you would like more information.

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Life in Glasgow

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Chemical engineers are among the best rewarded engineers globally, and work across all sectors of industry from energy and foods to pharmaceuticals and medicine, as well as branching out into other areas such as finance and management.

The department works closely with the University Careers Service through every year of our course, to support students in building excellent employability skills and portfolios of experience.

Many of our graduates go on to roles such as:

  • Facilities Engineer
  • Lecturer
  • Operations Specialist
  • Process Chemical Engineer
  • Site Technical Manager
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Start date:

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Contact us

Faculty of Engineering

Telephone: +44 (0)141 574 5306


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