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Chemical Engineering

Course Description

This programme is primarily aimed at applying chemical engineering principles to develop technical products and to design, control and improve industrial processes. Students also learn to take environmental and safety issues into account during all phases of the process (research, development, design and operation).

Two guiding principles of sustainable development - the rational exploitation of resources and energy, and the application of the best available technology - are emphasised, as is the mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle".

As a chemical engineering student, you will learn to think in a process-oriented manner and grasp the complexity of physico-chemical systems. Even more than other specialists, you will be asked to solve problems of a very diverse nature. Insights into processes at the nano and micro scale are fundamental for the development of new products and/or (mega-scale) technologies.

While students should have a foundational knowledge of chemistry, the underlying chemistry of the elements and components, their properties and mutual reactions are not the main focal points of the programme.

With a focus on process, product and planet engineering, the programme does not only guarantee a solid chemical engineering background, it also focuses on process and product intensification, energy efficient processing routes, biochemical processes and
product-based thinking rather than on the classical process approach. The programme itself consists of an important core curriculum that covers the foundations of chemical engineering. In this part of the programme, you will concentrate on both the classical
and the emerging trends in chemical engineering. In addition, you have the opportunity to choose between three options: product, process and planet engineering, providing you with the opportunity to specialise to a certain extent. Since the emerging areas
covered in the programme are considered to be the major challenges within the chemical and related industries, graduating in Leuven as a chemical engineer will give you a serious advantage over your European colleagues since you will be able to integrate new technologies within existing production processes.

This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.


The Department of Chemical Engineering attempts to ally classical with modern chemical technology throughout its education and research. The classical process-oriented way of thinking is more and more complemented with a product-oriented approach. This, combined with the underlying rationale of sustainable development, explains the motivation behind the programme's three subdomains: Process Engineering, Product Engineering and Environmental Engineering.

Upon completion of the programme, graduates will:
- posses a profound knowledge of thermodynamics, transport phenomena, physical and mechanical separation processes, reactor engineering, process optimisation and control, system analysis of chemical processes, bioprocess engineering, polymer engineering and analytical chemistry
- have acquired knowledge and skills for the design of chemical production units and products
- demonstrate dedicated attention for the environment and safety - have acquired skills in the rational usage of resources, energy and the application of the best available technology
- have gained sufficient skills and training to perform scientific research
- have acquired the skills (i) to independently infer new insights to design new methodologies, (iii) to interpret results within the chemical engineering domain and (iv) to apply these skills in a research-oriented or industrial context.

Career paths

As a chemical engineer you will predominantly work in industrial branches involved in (the production of) bulk and specialty chemicals, oil and natural gas (petrochemical companies and refineries), non-ferrometallurgics, energy, waste treatment, food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. The following professional activities lie before you:
-design, planning and building of installations ('project engineer')
-monitoring and optimisation of existing processes ('process engineer')
-design/formulation and optimisation of products ('product engineer')
-R&D of technical products, processes and devices
-customer services, retailing ('sales engineer')

Apart from these traditional career options, graduates are also much appreciated in other sectors for their insight into complex processes. Chemical engineers are often employed in the financial and governmental sector, for instance, to supervise industrial activities, deliver permissions and compose regulations with respect to safety and environmental issues. As self-employed persons, chemical engineers work in engineering offices or as consultants. Chemical engineers are often also quite successful as entrepreneurs.

Entry Requirements


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