Chemical engineering applies the physical sciences (chemistry and physics) and/or life sciences (biology, microbiology and biochemistry) together with mathematics and economics to processes that convert raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms. Modern chemical engineers are also concerned with pioneering valuable materials and related techniques – which are often essential to related fields such as nanotechnology, fuel cells and biomedical engineering.
Here's the list of popular specialisations in Chemical Engineering:
ENERGY ECONOMICS & ENGINEERING
This program offers a wide variety of courses which a student can take up which cover technical, economic and environmental aspects of a product or process. Courses like energy engineering, energy economics will be core for the students.
Courses on environmental impact like pollution control, sustainable systems, resource economics and production economics will form one part of the course while technical courses such as nuclear sciences and engineering, industrial heat transfer operations and combustion processes along with courses from other departments like geophysics and electric power systems will have to be studied in order to achieve the holistic perspective of any operation.
The multi-disciplinary courses will surely add an edge to your knowledge compared to a general Masters.
The course structure for a Masters in Environmental engineering is similar with a major thrust on course like environmental microbiology, water and wastewater treatment and water quality chemistry.
The student must be very keen on doing economics and allied courses since they constitute a good amount of the course. Moreover, an overview of energy engineering at the undergraduate level like an introductory course will be very helpful.
A student graduating from this course is likely to get placed easily in any oil and gas or energy sector company like Shell, Schlumberger or Exxon. There are lot of opportunities in other industries for those keen on taking up the environmental line of study. Research work in the field of alternate energy and power sources, energy optimization is fast moving and in a nascent stage as well.
MATERIALS & POLYMER SCIENCES
A very old specialization in the field of chemical engineering which actually has perpetual demand because of the need for materials and the impact polymers have on various kinds of them. Polymer sciences will involve a lot of knowledge of the fundamentals or organic chemistry along with study of the advanced core procedural courses like heat and mass transfer, catalysis, reaction engineering, kinetics and transport phenomena.
Manufacturing of polymer blends and composites and the techniques involved in producing them at a large-scale will be a major part as well. Students will also be covering application areas like usage of various materials in different fields.
Due to the demanding nature of the graduate curriculum one must be very well-versed with all the core courses of 2nd and 3rd year along with a good deal of mathematics and organic chemistry.
A student can go in for research in the field of polymers, there is always a need for various new materials for different purposes so if you think you’re on the path to a ground-breaking material, go ahead and give it a burl. Industrial prospects are rich in core companies.
CHEMICAL & PROCESS TECHNOLOGY
This course will create those engineers who will be equipped to design and maintain large reactors, plants and other production facilities. Integrated knowledge of concepts like transport phenomena, reactor design, mass transfer and fluid mechanics and a number of others will be imparted to the students. Newer advanced concepts like multiphase reactors, multi-scale modelling and reactive separation processes will be added to the curriculum. Economics of processes and resources will be elements of what you’ll learn.
On the whole after graduating one will have complete knowledge and capability of designing different plants for different purposes which will probably be a project you may have to undertake.
A strong grasp over mathematics and the core courses are a must for this program. In all, probability a lot of hardwork will be needed in this course so you should be prepared to face the challenges thrown at you.
This program is largely industrial in nature and core companies across numerous industries be it machines, power or chemicals will need a chemical plant designer. Three broad areas of research are optimization of processes, control of various plants and processes and complex systems. Many of the top universities offer research integrated with others in order that students reach greater depth of research and are able to assimilate knowledge from multiple perspectives of the same issue.