Prospective students often enquire about the difference between chemical engineering and chemistry as a field of study. Roughly speaking, chemistry deals with chemical reactions, i.e. the binding together and splitting of molecules. When chemical reactions are carried out on a large scale - as is typically the case in a chemical plant – a variety of additional issues have to be considered. They involve the transport and mixing of the reactants, the evacuation or supply of the heat involved in the reaction, the purification of the products, the energetic optimization of the entire process, etc. All these issues are the bread-and-butter of chemical engineers.
The Wikipedia page on Chemical Engineering provides the following definition, which highlights the multidisciplinary nature of the field: “Chemical engineering is a branch of engineering that applies physical sciences (physics and chemistry) and life sciences (microbiology and biochemistry) together with applied mathematics and economics to produce, transform, transport, and properly use chemicals, materials and energy.”
The training in chemical engineering at the University of Liège consists in a three-yearly general Bachelor program in “Engineering” followed by a two-yearly specialized Master program in “Engineering and Materials Sciences.” We also offer a PhD training.
The employment opportunities for chemical engineers are myriads. Over the years, our alumni have found employment notably in the following fields of industry:
In all these fields, chemical engineers hold a wide variety of jobs including research and development, process design and optimisation, production management, as well as environmental, quality and safety management.