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MEng Chemical Engineering (distance learning)


Key facts

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

  • Ranked: Top 10 in the UK for Chemical Engineering (Complete University Guide 2022)/ 5th in UK for Chemical Engineering (The Independent Complete University Guide 2022)

  • The Times/ Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022: 4th in UK for Chemical Engineering

Study with us

  • third-year entry: students start at the equivalent to Year 3 of the full-time course
  • the BEng honours component can be completed in three years and the subsequent MEng in one to two years
  • our top graduates reach a starting salary of £35k


Accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

How could the Covid-19 pandemic affect my studies?

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Why this course? 

If you wish to study for an MEng in Chemical Engineering you must first complete the three year BEng (Honours) degree. The MEng is considered to be an integrated first degree made up of the BEng curriculum and an additional year of full-time study (two years by part-time distance learning).

The MEng year(s) can be completed in one of two ways:

  • you attend full-time classes for 12 weeks (semester 1) then return to your workplace to complete the final project (semester 2)
  • a part-time distance learning route, spread over two years, with the work project taking place in Year 2

The Department of Chemical & Process Engineering is one of the largest such departments in the UK. We've strong links with employers worldwide and we're particularly pleased with our graduates’ excellent record of achievement.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you’ll study

You’ll focus on basic principles and fundamentals of chemical engineering as well as core chemical engineering areas such as process analysis and statistics, fluid flow and heat transfer and safety.

You’ll later study a range of advanced options, including, nanotechnology, emerging technologies and safety management.

For BEng students, the final year of study includes particle technology, multiphase systems and process control. The second semester is entirely devoted to the chemical engineering design project.

MEng students who have an interest in management/business may also select a limited number of modules from this area including Finance for Engineers, Strategic Management and HR Management.

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, 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.


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

The University has a number of services to help online students including access to IT and administrative support through email and telephone along with software to help with your learning.

The course uses leading technology to deliver the distance learning experience including a Virtual Learning Environment and GoToWebinar for live tutorial sessions. 

You're also welcome to attend lectures and tutorials within the full-time course and access on-campus facilities if you're in the Glasgow area either temporarily or as a local resident.

Our department has extensive teaching, research and computer laboratories, including newly-refurbished labs and new offices and computer rooms.

Postgraduate study

Graduates have many options for further postgraduate full-time or part-time distance learning study, including MSc taught degrees and PhD and MRes research degrees. The department regularly recruits the top graduates as PhD research students, giving you the opportunity to take your experience, interests and qualifications further.

Course awards

Our staff regularly receive nominations in the annual University-wide Teaching Excellence Awards, voted for by Strathclyde students. Staff have also been in receipt of external awards from organisations such as the Institution of Chemical Engineers and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Ranked Top 10 in the UK for Chemical Engineering by Complete University Guide 2021

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Course content

The part-time distance learning BEng/MEng courses are closely aligned with the full-time courses, featuring access to the same resources and materials alongside virtual webinars, video lectures and electronic forums.

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.

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 (eg 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.

Numerical Methods and Programming

This module aims to:

  • Provide students with an introduction to programming in an engineering context
  • Provide students with a fundamental understanding of scientific programming and the operation of MATLAB
  • Provide students with the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience with solving problems using MATLAB
  • Enable students to present outcomes/analysis using professional software
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.

MEng only

You choose your own classes from a range of options including:

  • Model based Process control
  • Advanced Process Design 
  • Petrochemical engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Nanotechnology
  • Process Safety
  • Programming and Optimisation
  • Lean Six Sigma and Engineering Risk Management
  • Management of Technological Innovation
  • A range of MBA style business, management and IT modules
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.

Learning & teaching

The course is based on printed lecture notes and material delivered from the University's virtual learning environment, ‘Myplace’.

In this environment, you'll have access to a page where you can communicate with the course director and other students on the course. You'll also have access to general information about the course administration including regulations and registration for external examinations. You'll be able to see a course site for each of your classes. These host the materials and activities for that particular class and allow students on that class to communicate with each other and the class tutor.

You can also interact with tutors through webinar events. Many of the full-time lectures are captured to give you the benefit of lectures without attending in person.  

Lecturers provide support through online tutorials, forums, email, telephone and if demand is sufficient face-to-face on-campus tutorials.

We also welcome a number of industry-based visiting professors from sectors including oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and nuclear energy.

Guest lectures

Many of our classes involve guest lecturers from industry, covering subjects from environment and safety, to the latest energy-efficient chemical plant design and the promise of the ‘digital oilfield’.

The Year 3 design project includes masterclasses on safety and risk analysis from oil and gas representatives. The MEng final year classes include options on emerging technologies delivered by a number of highly experienced industrial engineers and scientists.


Assessment is normally by written assignment and exam although some modules will require a project report or practical piece of work to be completed in place of an exam.

The final year of the MEng includes a major project which is intended to be completed in your own workplace.

Examination procedures

Exams are held at the university campus in Glasgow on dates and times specified for each semester. Students within the UK and Ireland are normally expected to attend exams at the University campus. Occasional exceptions may be made in compelling circumstances such as staff working in offshore installations, provided that a suitable examination arrangement can be agreed with the University.

In more distant parts of Europe and outside of the continent students may apply to sit the exam at an external centre. This would normally be a British Council office, although other venues may be considered. Any additional costs incurred by you when sitting exams outside of the University are payable by you.

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Entry requirements

Due to the wide variety of education and experience of applicants to this course, the selector considers each application on its own merits. Your experience and education must be at a sufficient level to allow the University to award the 240 credits (equivalent to Years 1 & 2 of the full-time Chemical Engineering BEng).

Example profiles of successful applicants include:

  • Higher National Diploma (or international equivalent) in chemical engineering with some chemical engineering-related industrial experience
  • Higher National Certificate (or international equivalent) in chemical engineering with significant related industrial experience
  • Degree in a related discipline, eg Applied Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering
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Fees & funding

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

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All students (Scotland/EU, Rest of UK & International)
Per year, as a graduating student undertaking the full degree
  • Year 1 - £4,500 (60 credits)
  • Year 2 - £6,000 (80 credits)
  • Year 3 - £7,500 (100 credits)
  • Year 4 - £9,000 (120 credits)

Students can follow a four, five or six-year programme pathway. Fees quoted above are for the four-year pathway only, studying the number of credits indicated in each year. Fees for undertaking the programme over five or six years will be charged proportionately to the number of credits taken in each year based on the class price indicated below.

Per 10 credit class, as a non-graduating student
  • £750 per 10 credits

For students who have successfully completed the BEng Honours programme and met the progress requirements for MEng study. The MEng level modules can be studied over one or two years and fees will be proportionate to the number of credits taken. Further information is available in the prospectus and on the relevant programme page.

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Additional costs

Course materials

We don't 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.

Other costs

Locker deposit (£10 refunded when locker no longer required).

Students are not required to purchase any specific software licenses – all software used is available on campus machines, either locally or remotely.

All undergraduates are provided, for the duration of their course, with student-membership of IChemE  (Professional Body) paid for by an industrial sponsor (currently BP).

Students contribute to the ChemEng Soc, a Union affiliated group, paying yearly subs. The department helps subsidise some events.

A key social activity for students is the Annual Sports Day (Frank Morton) held at a different UK location each year - students can apply for bursaries from the union to help cover costs (£70/student/yr).

How can I fund my studies?

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Students from Scotland

If you're a Scottish student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) for a Part-Time Fee Grant (PTFG) help towards your tuition fees.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

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Students from England

If you’re a student from England, you may be able to apply to Student Finance England for a tuition fee loan and depending on your circumstances a living cost loan.

Visit the Student Room for more information on Part-Time Funding from Student Finance England.

Students from Wales

If you’re a student from Wales, you may be able to apply to Student Finance Wales for a tuition fee loan and depending on your circumstances a living cost loan.

Visit the Student Finance Wales website for more information on Part-Time Funding from Student Finance Wales.

Students from Northern Ireland

If you’re a student from Northern Ireland, you may be able to apply to Student Finance NI for a tuition fee loan and/or grant, and depending on your circumstances a living cost grant.

Visit the Student Finance NI website for more information on Part-Time Funding from Student Finance NI.

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International Students

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

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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:

  • Accountancy Trainee
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Chemical Process Engineer
  • Engineering Audit Intern
  • Graduate Commissioning Engineer
  • Management Trainee
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Polymer Scientist
  • Process Engineer
  • Process Improvement Analyst
  • Quality Assurance Associate
  • Research Assistant
  • Surface Operations Engineer
  • Technical Support Engineer

The BEng (Hons) is a very flexible learning degree program where I completed my degree with a full time job along with giving time to my family and friends. Although it needed a continuous hard working but I still think it is the best choice available for the operators/technicians, working in the chemical and process industries, to build their career to the professional engineering level.

Muhammad Afzal, Control Room Operator at Qatar Petroleum Company

BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering distance learning graduate

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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Please email the completed form to chemeng-online@strath.ac.uk along with copies of your qualifications and any other relevant documentation.

Start date: Sep 2022

Fill in application form to apply

Start date: Sep 2022

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Contact us

Faculty of Engineering

Telephone: +44 (0)141 574 5306

Email: chemeng-online@strath.ac.uk

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