The department’s tradition of excellence is reflected in the fact that almost a third of South Africa's chemical engineers graduate from UCT. As the custodian of the largest national research programme, the Department is recognised as the leading academic department of its kind in Africa. UCT chemical engineering graduates are highly sought after in the workplace, and occupy key positions in top companies. Our degree programmes are fully accredited by the Engineering Council of South Africa.

Undergraduate studies

The four-year undergraduate degree prepares graduates for careers in the chemical, metallurgical, and process industries. There is a limited amount of specialisation in the areas of minerals processing, bioprocess engineering, catalytic processing, and environmental process engineering. The degree focuses on the development of technical expertise, problem-solving, teamwork and communication skills.

Postgraduate studies and research

The department has dynamic research programmes and students who have obtained satisfactory results in their undergraduate courses are encouraged to return for postgraduate study. Postgraduates may register as Masters or PhD students. The purpose of the MSc degree is to master the scientific method, with emphasis on critical evaluation of all information and data. The purpose of the PhD degree is to develop new insights in the field of Chemical Engineering. Both the MSc degree and the PhD degree incorporate the planning and execution of a research project within a particular time frame.

For detailed information please visit the Department of Chemical Engineering website.

What is chemical engineering? 


Almost everything you use in daily life – plastics, metals, textiles, paper, food and beverages, toiletries, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals – has been made with the help of a chemical engineer. Chemical engineers are instrumental in the process of converting raw (and sometimes recycled) materials into finished products. This process is complex and involves research and development, design, construction, daily plant operation, and management.

Career opportunities

Chemical engineers work in many different and exciting workplaces – not only in the expected settings of the petrochemical and mining industries, but also in a wide variety of process-based disciplines, such as the food, beverage, paint, and pharmaceutical industries. As UCT-trained chemical engineers have excellent general problem-solving skills, they also end up in fields like banking, marketing, and IT.