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Chemistry vs. chemical engineering

Chemistry vs. chemical engineering
Hello everybody

I've just graduated from high school and I'm desperate about the choice of course. It has been clear to me for a long time that I want to study chemistry and I hope that I will manage it too. However, I'm slowly wondering where to work later. So I looked around a bit and found that process engineers and chemical engineers are more sought after than chemists per se ... Ok, chemical engineering is partly a different course, but is the course so very different? Because the technical modules also appear in normal chemistry studies. And is it realistic to switch to a master’s degree after a chemistry BS in chemical engineering?

Thank you for your answers 😁
Malcolm Gillespie  πŸ“… 14.06.2019 10:01:24
Re: chemistry vs. chemical engineering
If you enjoy chemistry, but who still care about (reliable) professional usability, you can't go wrong with VT. The thought processes that you find interesting in chemistry easily cover the requirements of process engineering and you can study with a clear conscience that you do not have to do a doctorate. The industries that are basically open to you are far more diverse than with chemistry.

I consider the path to a chemistry bachelor's degree to be completely pointless.
lilied1  πŸ“… 14.06.2019 10:39:15
Re: chemistry vs. chemical engineering
As a graduate process engineer, I can tell you that process engineering in itself contains very little chemistry. Personally, I only had one module with 6 CP chemistry in my entire course and that in the first semester. This module still had a 2-week laboratory internship and until the end of my master's degree I was never again in a chemistry laboratory.
The process engineering course contains a lot of thermodynamics and fluid mechanics but very little chemistry. I can imagine that one could perhaps delve a little further into chemistry, but more than 2-3 modules can no longer be included.
At the beginning of my studies I also thought that I would have a lot of chemistry in my studies, but that's really not the case. With what I know now, I would only recommend this course if one finds thermodynamics and fluid dynamics very interesting. In addition, process engineering itself is one of the more difficult engineering courses. At least at the university. In addition to thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, there are also electrical engineering, measurement and control engineering, mechanics and a lot of mathematics and numerics. The mean duration of study was 11 semesters at my university.

As far as I know, chemical engineering has more chemistry than classical process engineering, but thermodynamics is still the focus.
So if you only find chemistry interesting but don't have a weakness for thermodynamics and math, then you will not find this degree particularly interesting.



Edited 4 times. Last on 6/14/19 10:44 AM.
Schemofusiga  πŸ“… 14.06.2019 13:27:41
Re: chemistry vs. chemical engineering
I asked myself the same question that you and I ended up choosing chemistry.
Both areas of work are very different, the chemist develops new products and their syntheses on a laboratory scale or analyzes existing ones.
The process engineer or chemical engineer creates the framework conditions determined by the chemist on a large scale for production.
Process and chemical engineers usually only learn the absolute basics of chemistry. This is enough to passively understand the processes that take place in a reactor, but the independent development of a synthesis or exploration of a chemical process is outside the skills of an engineer, just as the construction of large machines is outside the skills of a chemist.
Chemical engineering usually does not involve significantly more chemistry than process engineering, the former are predestined for the chemical industry, while the latter is often found in the food industry, for example.
A cheming. Studying is hardly a substitute for studying chemistry if you are interested in chemistry itself.
Of course, the boundaries aren't always that clear. At some universities, such as Berlin, there is chemistry. Studies are much more chemistry-oriented, here it is also possible to be admitted to the master's degree with a bachelor's degree in chemistry under certain conditions, and if the master's focus is appropriate, a doctorate in chemistry and the professional fields of chemists should also be open.
If a chemist specializes in technical chemistry, occupational fields similar to those of engineers are open to him.
The decision for one of the subjects is therefore not final. It only takes a certain amount of effort to change the direction later. In Karlsruhe, where the focus is technical, there is a change to chemistry. Master's degree from the chemistry bachelor's degree practically impossible.


Studying at ETH Zurich could be of interest to you. Here, the focus in chemistry is on technical and physical chemistry, which is why the focus in the first semesters of the degree is on mathematics and computer science modules and so it is possible to choose between chemistry and chemical engineering up to the fourth semester. Until then, you might be more aware of where your interests and talents lie.
Little bear  πŸ“… 21.06.2019 18:16:56
Re: chemistry vs. chemical engineering
Hey Schemofusiga,

you said that with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, you can also do a master's degree in chemical engineering. Do you also know whether you have to have taken modules such as technical chemistry or macromolecular chemistry in your bachelor's degree for admission?


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