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Homepage / So, what exactly does a Chemical Engineer do?

So, what exactly does a Chemical Engineer do?


One of the most common questions I get asked as a chemical engineer is “So what do you do exactly…?”.

On Google, chemical engineering is defined as the study of operation and design of chemical plants, however its much much more than that! I decided to study chemical engineering because of how versatile a degree it is.  It allows you to gain knowledge in technical areas such as chemistry and materials, but also exposes you to  ‘non-traditional’ engineering disciplines such as as management, economics and the environment.

The unique combination of these skills allows chemical engineering graduates to help improve the quality of peoples lives across a vast number of industries. We help develop renewable methods of energy production. We help to find ways to maximise efficiency and yields to reduce or eliminate waste. We also help create common household items that you find in supermarkets. The list is endless!

My time in Cranfield studying Advanced Chemical Engineering (ACE) MSc allowed me delve deeper into an area that not only interests me but is growing in importance across the world; sustainability. Each module exposed me to a different area within renewable energy production and inspired me to focus my thesis on geothermal power within Eastern Africa.

Furthermore, I was provided with an opportunity to apply my chemical engineering knowledge by participating in the Unilever Innovation Accelerator – a fantastic opportunity. The focus was on sustainable agriculture; an area that I hadn’t yet encountered within my studies (and probably wouldn’t have had it not been for Cranfield) till that point!

Overall, I’m very confident in saying that my year spent as an Advanced Chemical Engineering MSc student broadened my horizons not only as a multi-disciplinary chemical engineer but an engineer that is better equipped with the transferable skills needed to address some of challenges that we face as a society today.

Michelle Watiki

Written By: Wayne Coulter

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