Study Chemical Engineering

What is the difference between a university (BScEng) and a university of technology (BTech) chemical engineering qualification?
This is a commonly-asked but important question by prospective students in the undergraduate programme. Both qualifications have a prescribed minimum time of 4 years (although at a university of technology, one may qualify with a diploma after 3 years).

A BTech degree has a much higher proportion of its time focused on hands-on “on-the-job” training, while at a university, the focus is on producing both theoretically-strong and practically-minded graduates (in addition to completing all undergraduate modules in our intensive 4-year degree programme, every undergraduate is expected to complete a workshop training course, as well as undertake 12 weeks of supervised vacation work in industry, to graduate).

The advantages of having a university degree are several fold:

  • You have a greater chance of being employed in a wider range of career paths.
  • Admission into a university postgraduate degree programme (masters or doctoral) is straightforward i.e. you will not need to first study towards an MTech at a university of technology (technikon), before being considered for admission to a university postgraduate degree programme.
  • You are eligible to register as a candidate engineer with ECSA and this may ultimately lead to you being awarded PrEng (professional engineer) status. With a BTech, you will be only be eligible for Professional Engineering Technologist status (technikon graduates are formally recognised as engineering technologists rather than as bona fide engineers).

The degree of Bachelor of Science in Engineering in the field of Chemical Engineering is an Honour equivalent, professional Bachelors degree that extends over four years. It is offered in the School of Engineering within the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science. Instruction is through lectures, tutorials and laboratory practicals. Extensive use is made of computers in well-equipped facilities.
  • In the 4-year program, learning shifts progressively from fundamental science at first year/level to applied science and engineering from third level to fourth.
  • 2nd and 3rd year introduces Chemical Engineering science. e.g. the unifying concepts of heat, mass and momentum transfer.
  • 4th year includes reactor technology, distillation and enhanced separation techniques, process modelling and optimisation, as well as major laboratory and design projects.
  • The use of computers (programming and simulation/process design) is important with introductory courses at first and second year and exit level assessments in third and final year courses.
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Chemical engineering brochure

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