Chemical Engineering at Manchester is a healthy mix of learning the core theory, developing your problem-solving skills and then putting the theory into practice.
How do you make sure that the course is up-to-date and relevant? What have you had to update this year?
Lecturers are active collaborators with Industry and researchers at the cutting edge of their respective fields. They are up to date with the latest research findings, and often incorporate examples into their lectures. All course units are reviewed annually by all unit contributors on content, balance of formative and summative assessment and importantly in the light of student feedback. Appropriate changes are made in response and communicating to students at the start of the next semester.
This academic year we have added new units to the Business Management programme in light of student feedback. In addition we have rebalanced the Year 4 assessments to allow more time for the research dissertation in Spring Semester.
What kind of balance do you strike between teaching facts and developing skills?
Chemical Engineering units combine concepts and factual material together with practical and industrial examples of how these concepts can be or have been used to solve problems. Laboratory skills, numeracy skills and communication skills, such as working in teams, management of teams as well as presentation skills are also developed in several design units and in Year 2 and 3 laboratory projects. Group-projects and poster sessions help develop skills which are valued by employers.
How does research feed into the syllabus?
This happens in several ways but in brief, lecturers use topics and examples from the latest research, often carried out at Manchester. Also the development of innovative technology at Manchester leads to Industrial collaboration and spin-off companies which then generate third year labs and fourth year dissertation topics.
What structure does your course have? Any shared modules with other courses? What kind of lectures or practical work will students be involved in?
Year 1 and 2 is about basic theory and practice and Year 3 and 4 really pull the theoretical parts together with Design project running for 18 weeks and the Research Dissertation running over two semester
On the courses from outside of Engineering, the social responsibility of Chemical Engineers is encouraged by the School through the Manchester Leadership Programme taken as an optional unit in Year 2 by around 30% (typically 55 students per year). This programme established in 2006 allows students in addition to attending lectures over one Semester to complete between 20 - 60 hours service in the community for a bronze, silver or gold award. A number of inspirational speakers are invited annually from a wide cross-section of society including broadcasting, business, political, research and sporting professionals (for example, Sir Terry Leahy, former CEO of Tesco and round the world yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur).
What are the key features of your course?
A wide range of advanced lecture options to choose from in years three and four, together with a very wide range of research projects in the final year, which is made possible by the large number of academic staff. Small-group teaching in tutorials takes place during years one to three of the course. Equipment and facilities for projects are outstanding. The practical labs are very modern and highly rated by our students. Pastoral support from personal tutors is highly appreciated by students. There is flexibility to transfer between programmes, e.g. into the Chemical Engineering with Industrial Experience and with Study Abroad for one or two semester.
What kind of employment can graduates go into following this degree?
As well as chemical engineering-based careers in industry, our students also go into the banking and financial sector, environmental consultancies, marketing and management.
Why do graduates from your course stand out in the job market?
Chemical Engineering graduates have a specialised engineering and scientific knowledge together with skills in problem solving, quantitative and analytical skills, numeracy, and communication skills, which means they are highly sought after (well paid) by employers. Our excellent employability record within six months of graduation is testament to this. Our graduates have been trained in group working, both in planning and carrying out project work, and in presentation of their results at poster sessions.
What kind of industry relations do you have? How do students benefit from them?
We have long-standing relationships with most of the major chemical, pharmaceutical, petrochemical and energy companies in the UK, as well as many smaller chemical and technology-based companies. Many of these companies are involved in providing placements for our Chem. Eng. with Industrial Experience programme (this year 45 students were on placement with 27 individual companies in Europe, India, Singapore and UK.
We have scholarships donated and presented by several multinational companies with regular visits to the School during both semesters.
What distinguishes this course from similar ones in other institutions?
The philosophy at Manchester is to educate students of the highest calibre to be Chemical Engineers for senior management and leadership roles in the process industries.
The Chemical Engineering School at Manchester is the largest in the UK and through its diversity of staff and research topics maintains programmes which are internationally relevant with regularly refreshed content.
The James Chadwick Building Phase 1 opened in 2012 has superb facilities for both teaching and research; with a dedicated enquiry-based learning suite for 240, state of the art computer cluster and presentation rooms but most importantly, integrated Year 1, 2 and 3 laboratory and pilot-scale facilities.
Industrially-linked research projects regularly develop into Year 2 and 3 labs in areas such as water purification, process tomography for improved mixing and the development of micro-structured fluids for personal care products.
Peer assisted study sessions (PASS) introduced in 2007 have second year student leaders helping first years with a range of technical and pastoral issues. PASS was developed here in Manchester and Chemical Engineering has the 'Scheme of the Year' for 2013 and was recognised as the most outstanding PASS scheme across the four faculties of the University.