The structure of the program consists of a core of 60 credits, four options of 12 credits, three fixed elective packages of 12 credits, engineering and general interest electives of 12 credits and the Master's thesis of 24 credits. The four options focus on materials families or on application domains: Metals and Ceramics, Polymers and Composites, Materials for Nanotechnology, and Materials for Biomedical Applications. The three fixed elective packages have been designed to help the students in imagining themselves in their future professional environment and thus in developing a career profile: research, production and management. The two latter packages include industrial internships.
The programme is crowned with the 24 credits Master's thesis where the student will apply his/her knowledge to a research topic of choice. These topics are usually embedded in a cutting-edge research project in cooperation with other institutions and/or industrial companies.
This programme is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time of part-time basis.
Graduates have access to a wide range of engineering sectors. Prominent technical industries such as the automotive, aerospace, energy, microelectronics, and chemical industries and emerging sectors such as nanotechnology, biomaterials and recycling are keen to hire qualified and talented materials engineers. Materials engineers are also well suited for functions as process engineers, materials or product developers, design specialists, quality control engineers or consultants. Graduates with an interest in research can apply for an R&D position or start a PhD. Several alumni have also gone on to start their own companies.
The Master of Science in Chemical Engineering 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.
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 environmental 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. The core curriculum builds on the basic knowledge obtained during the Bachelor’s. In this part of the programme, you will concentrate on both the classical and the emerging trends in chemical engineering.
Students also take up 9 credits from ‘Current trends in chemical engineering’-courses. These courses are signature courses for the Master’s programme and build on the research expertise present within the department. These courses encompass microbial process technology, process intensification, exergy analysis of chemical processes and product design.
The curriculum consists of a broad generic core, which is then strengthened and honed during the second year, when students select one of the three specialisations: product, process and environmental engineering.
This choice provides 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.
During their Master’s studies, students are encouraged to take non-technical courses (general interest courses), organized for instance by other faculties (economics, social sciences, psychology…) in order to broaden their scope beyond mere technical courses.
An important aspect of the Master’s programme is the Master’s thesis. Assigning Master’s thesis topics to students is based on a procedure in which students select 5 preferred topics from a long list.
The Master’s programme highly values interactions with the chemical industry which is one of the most important pillars of the Flemish economy. As such, some courses are taught by guest professors from the industry.
One or two semesters of the programme can be completed abroad in the context of the ERASMUS+ programme. Additionally, you can apply for an industrial internship abroad through the departmental internship coordinator. These internships take place between the third Bachelor’s year and the first Master’s year, or between the two Master’s years.
The department also offers a new exchange programme with the University of Delaware (United States) and with the Ecole Polytechique in Montréal (Canada).
The faculty’s exchange programmes are complemented by the BEST network (Board of European Students of Technology). This student organisation offers the opportunity to follow short courses, usually organised in the summer months. The faculty also participates in various leading international networks.
You can find more information on this topic on the website of the Faculty website.
The chemical sector represents one of the most important economic sectors in Belgium. It provides about 90,000 direct and more than 150,000 indirect jobs. With a 53 billion euro turnover and a 35% share of the total Belgian export, the chemical sector is an indispensable part of the contemporary Belgian economy.
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:
Apart from the traditional career options, your insight into complex processes will also be much appreciated in jobs in the financial and governmental sector, where chemical engineers are often employed to supervise industrial activities, to deliver permissions, and to compose regulations with respect to safety and environmental issues.
As self-employed persons, chemical engineers work in engineering offices or as consultants. Due to their often very dynamic personality, chemical engineers can also be successful as entrepreneurs.
This master's programme includes a variety of disciplines. In addition to fundamental chemical-scientific course units, the curriculum includes the fields of socio-economics (company management, economics) and chemical technology (engineering, separation techniques, chemical process technology, industrial process technology, surface chemistry, environmental technology, etc.). A flexible cross-campus elective package and a master's thesis conducted in either a research-specific or industrial context enable you to focus your studies according to your specific interests and career goals.
In the Sustainable Process and Materials Engineering option emphasis is placed on reliable technology that meets today's needs without jeopardising the welfare of future generations. This implies that materials and energy must be used efficiently, taking into account their impact on the environment. Thus, on the one hand this option is aimed at sustainable designing, development, and manufacturing of products and systems, and on the other it is aimed at development, properties, characterisation, production and processing of (new) materials.
Add an in-company or project-based learning experience to your master's programme
You can augment your master's programme with the Postgraduate Programme Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Engineering. This programme is made up by a multifaceted learning experience in and with a company, with an innovative engineering challenge as the central assignment. It is carried out in a team setting, has a distinct international dimension, and usually requires a multidisciplinary approach. Entrepreneurs and students alike are encouraged to innovate, transfer knowledge and grow. It is a unique cross-fertilisation between company and classroom.
International Campus Group T
The Faculty of Engineering Technology maintains close ties with universities around the world. At Campus Group T, more than 20% of the engineering students are international students. They represent 65 different nationalities from all over the world. This international network extends not just to Europe, but also to China, Southeast Asia, India, Ethiopia and beyond.
Campus Group T is the only campus of the faculty who offers all the degree programmes in the business language par excellence: English. The language is ubiquitous both inside and outside the classroom. If you've mastered English, you feel right at home. And if you want to explore more of the world, you can do part of your training at a university outside Belgium as an exchange student.
This master's programme brings students to the advanced level of knowledge and skills that is associated with scientific work in the broad sense, and more particularly to those areas of the engineering sciences that are related to chemistry. This programme offers a broad academic training in chemistry and chemical (processing) technology, in which a clear emphasis is placed on chemical analysis in production, quality management and research.
Degree holders are able to apply the acquired scientific knowledge independently in a broad social context. Furthermore, they have the necessary organisational skills to hold executive positions.
The chemical sector (petrochemical, synthetic, pharmaceutical, etc.) offers a broad and fascinating field of work. On completion of this master's programme, you are equipped with the skills to lead and coordinate industrial production units and research, analysis and screening laboratories in technical-commercial, administrative and educational environments. You can also set up applied research and design activities on a self-employed basis.