The latest statistics published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), UK, show the number of students starting chemical engineering courses grew by over a quarter in 2013.
UCAS’s ‘end of cycle statistics’ for 2013 indicated that 2,790 undergraduates started a chemical engineering course – an increase of 26 per cent, compared to the previous year. Since 2001, the number of chemical engineering students has nearly trebled.
Overall, 495,600 students started a UK course in 2013 – a 6.6 per cent increase and the highest number every recorded.
Courses in biology, mechanical engineering, physics and chemistry also achieved above average growth figures in 2013. Courses in maths and electrical engineering grew, but at a below average level. The intake for civil engineering courses declined in 20131.
Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) deputy president, Geoff Maitland, said: “This tripling of the undergraduate intake in little more than a decade represents a big vote of confidence in the profession.
“However, this expansion presents some significant challenges for the academic chemical engineering community. Maintaining teaching standards and ensuring that undergraduates enjoy a high quality experience and the appropriate amount of contact time becomes more difficult as numbers grow.
“Nonetheless, I know that heads of department are up to the challenge and IChemE will continue to provide support through its trusted course accreditation mechanisms, by assisting with staff recruitment and by supporting the development of a world class research base. We will also work in partnership with universities to ensure that government and industry provide the resources required to meet these challenges”
IChemE director of policy and communication, Andy Furlong, said: “These numbers offer compelling evidence that chemical engineering matters. Over 2,700 of the brightest and best students have voted with their feet and opted to study chemical engineering at UK universities.
“In a few years from now, those who graduate will be presented with an outstanding range of career opportunities in sectors as diverse as the water industry, food, pharmaceuticals and energy production. In addition, many will go on to achieve great things in research, in teaching and in key roles in some of the world”s leading companies.”