Chemical and Process Engineering - College of Engineering - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

‘Engineering at UC is very well recognised in South East Asia and CAPE at UC has a very good reputation...’

Kate Varanyuwatana BE(Hons) in Chemical and Process Engineering and Bioprocess Engineering
Investment Analyst, Kasikorn Asset Management, Bangkok, Thailand
(read profile)

Chemical and Process Engineering

What is Chemical and Process Engineering?

Chemical and process engineers transform bulk raw materials in to the processed goods we use every day. They take small scale lab experiments and operate them on a commercial scale, taking into account economics, safety, the environment and sustainability.

They are concerned with the transformation of materials by chemical, physical and biological changes, for example:

  • Milk into dairy products
  • Timber into paper products
  • Waste water into clean water
  • Crude oil into petrol or plastics
  • Waste products into usable energy

Is Chemical and Process Engineering the degree for me?

Chemical and Process Engineers are interested in:

  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Our physical world
  • Problem solving
  • Creative thinking
  • People

If that sounds like you, read on to find out more about taking this degree at UC.


Bioprocess Engineering minor

Bioprocess Engineering is about using biology for cleaner and more effective manufacturing processes, and for the design of better products.

If you are interested in biochemistry, microbiology, or molecular biology, and also in engineering, then consider our BE(Hons) Chemical and Process Engineering programme with a Bioprocess Engineering minor.

Our programme enables you to study for a top-quality degree in Chemical and Process Engineering while specialising in subjects and projects with a major biological emphasis and content. You can obtain a fully accredited engineering degree with a biological theme!

What and how will I learn at UC?

You will learn to apply your skills with chemistry, mathematics and physics inside the lab and in the classroom to understand the fundamental principles that underlie Chemical and Process Engineering. Principles like:

  • The flow of fluids
  • Heat and cooling
  • Chemical and biochemical reactions
  • Distillation and other separation technologies
  • Energy and thermodynamics
  • Process engineering design
  • Computer programming and modelling
  • Process control and simulation

Along the way you will develop many transferable skills as well, including:

  • Computer literacy
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Practical skills (i.e. mechanical workshop and laboratory skills)
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Time management
  • Leadership

Why is UC the place to study?

The Department of Chemical and Process Engineering has a well equipped chemical engineering lab with equipment for

  • distillation
  • evaporation
  • liquid to liquid and gas to liquid contacting

Other special labs allow you to undertake more complex experiments and there is a Special Purposes Lab for dangerous, dusty and flammable experiments.

You can be at the very forefront of research with UC currently working on

  • reusing plastics to produce house building materials
  • fighting drug resistant flu
  • interactive modeling of process engineering plants.

What should I take at school?

  • Physics (Required)
  • Calculus (or Mathematics) including achievement standards 91578 - Apply differentiation methods in solving problems and 91579 - Apply integration methods in solving problems MUST be included (Required)
  • Chemistry (Required)
  • Biology (recommended, if you're interested in bioprocess minor)
  • English or another language-rich subject (recommended) - you will be writing assignments and reports so strength in this area is important.

What jobs do Chemical and Process Engineers do?

Chemical and Process engineering graduates work in a diverse range of industries. They can be found working in industries that make pharmaceuticals, food and dairy products, aluminium and steel, fertilisers, plastics and more. Find out more about what jobs you might be able to do on the UC Careers website.

Current and past students' experiences