What careers can chemical engineering graduates go into?


University of Greenwich graduate Shivani Aggarwal talks about the exciting and varied career paths open to herself and other chemical engineering graduates.

Shivani Aggarwal

As a child, Shivani enjoyed watching her father, an electrical engineer, take things apart and put things back together. When choosing her A levels, she came across an article that talked about spray-on clothing and how chemical engineers had designed aerosol cans to make this possible. Intrigued by the possibilities a career in chemical engineering could offer, Shivani decided to study the subject at university.

She chose to embark upon the BEng Chemical Engineering degree at the University of Greenwich.

“The labs are amazing, and the university had recently spent money in creating a new chemical engineering lab. Also, I liked the location of the Medway Campus, as it guarantees an environment favouring common engineering approaches.”

The course is accredited by IChemE, which highlighted the integration of contract industrialists as teaching staff and visiting lecturers.

Some of the modules Shivani studied at the university include thermodynamics, reactor engineering and separation processes. She was fascinated by the Engineering Mathematics module she studied, which showed her how mathematics can be applied to real life situations and how it links to her industry. She also enjoyed having joint lectures with other groups of engineering students, allowing her to meet new people, network and learn more about other engineering disciplines.

In particular, she valued the group work she was involved in throughout her course, which included an ‘Engineers without Borders’ project, where her group researched Nairobi and its social, political and environmental contexts.

Careers that impact everyday lives

Shivani stresses that there are many varied career paths open to chemical engineers. “From petroleum to nanotechnology to water treatments, the subject looks at chemicals and how they can be used to design and develop manufacturing processes.” She goes on to explain that graduates have the opportunity to begin careers in a number of exciting areas of work that “impact people’s everyday lives drastically.” These include “food engineering, nuclear engineering, biochemical engineering, material sciences and the energy and renewable energy industries.”

BEng Chemical Engineering graduates at the University of Greenwich can expect to earn up to £30,000 on graduation (HESA, 2021).

Become the best in your field

Shivani graduated from the university in 2021 with a First Class Honours degree and now works as a Graduate Trainee for a global company. Her advice to future chemical engineering students is to work hard and stay organised, and that to become the best in their field, they should read around the information taught in lectures to develop their knowledge further. She adds that having a real interest in a subject will always benefit students on their educational and professional journeys.

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