BlogUniversityPros and Cons of Chemical Engineering at UNSW

Pros and Cons of Chemical Engineering at UNSW

You now know all the facts and stats about UNSW Chemical Engineering. If you don’t, have a quick look here.  

But, are you still curious about how people feel about this degree? Wonder no more! We chatted with Tomas, a Chemical Engineering student at UNSW, about what this degree is really like to study. 

Have a look! 

Why should you study a Chemical Engineering degree at UNSW?
Top 3 Pros of a Chemical Engineering Degree
Top 3 Cons of a Chemical Engineering Degree
Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make
Things to Know Before Starting UNSW Chemical Engineering
What Makes this Degree Different
Motivations for Studying UNSW Chemical Engineering
Potential Career Paths

Why should you study a Chemical Engineering degree at UNSW?

There are many different reasons students choose to embark on a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering at UNSW! 

Students may decide to come for the reputation UNSW has — UNSW is currently #4 in all of Australia in QS rankings for Chemical Engineering. Tomas tells us why he decided to study Chemical Engineering at UNSW:

“UNSW in my eyes is a really great university. I moved down from Queensland to attend UNSW for Chemical Engineering. I felt instantly welcomed — there is a great cohort and campus atmosphere,” Tomas tells us. 

Top 3 Pros of a Chemical Engineering degree

#1: The versatility of this degree 

Though Chemical Engineering is a major within the Bachelor of Engineering at UNSW, it doesn’t mean that you need to replicate the paths of other Chemical Engineering students.

“Chemical Engineering is a sect of the Bachelor of Engineering. You can choose disciplinary electives in the direction of your interest within the course of Chemical Engineering. Students can pick up to three specialisation subjects,” Tomas says.

Disciplinary electives within the Bachelor of Chemical Engineering at UNSW Include:

#2: Industrial Training 

For this degree in particular, Industrial Training is a requirement in order to graduate, involving 60 days of on-site training. You’ll need to have the autonomy to organise your own placement, but it should be noted that UNSW and societies often advertise opportunities and placements.

Students can also obtain some extra help from the Student Academic and Career Success team! They can help you with writing resumes and applying for placements.

#3: The cohort and tutors 

You will be taught by very knowledgeable people — your peers included!” says Tomas

Chemical Engineering at UNSW is filled with passionate staff and students! Chemical Engineering students can be found having discussions with each other on topics and ideas presented within classes.

The teachers and tutors are also very helpful, and are always there to be a guiding force. If you’ve got any questions, they’re just an email away.


Top 3 Cons of a Chemical Engineering degree

#1: Long Hours 

With the Bachelor of Chemical Engineering being a content-heavy degree, students will often find themselves on campus for long hours just to soak in all the knowledge they’re being taught.

In saying this, for the first two years of uni, you will be on campus for what seems like a huge amount of time (20-25 hours per week!). As time progresses your time on campus will decrease.

“From the third year, you will likely only be on campus for around 10-20 hours per week! Fourth-year is even less, with usually below 10 hours a week on campus,” Tomas reveals.

#2: The ATAR needed to gain admission 

To be guaranteed admission into this degree, you’ll need to achieve an ATAR of 91. This is definitely not an easy ATAR to attain, but don’t worry if it’s not the ATAR you receive — there is another way into Chemical Engineering at UNSW.

The Faculty of Engineering Admissions Scheme has been curated by UNSW. If you manage to attain an ATAR that is within 10 points of the guaranteed entry ATAR, you’ve got the potential to be accepted into this degree.

All you need to do is apply with a personal statement, attach your Year 12 report and send in a short video of why you think you are suited to study within the UNSW Engineering discipline!

#3: Assessments 

Typically, you’ll mainly be assessed through exams and they tend to be the highest weighted assessments. However, it won’t always be this way.

“For the first two years, generally you will be assessed with exams, quizzes and stuff like that. In third year you’ll get more of a mix — some courses are project and assignment based rather than just exam based!” Tomas says. 

Any regrets?

Tomas tells us about how his first year of uni was a little intimidating and proved to be a challenge.

In the first year everything is a bit overwhelming. I think it’s because of the change in learning style. It’s not heaps more difficult than high school, but it’s definitely a step up. In saying this, a positive is that you get to take on a lot more responsibility for your own learning and engagement,” says Tomas.

It’s only normal for the first year of uni to be a difficult transition with the very different teaching style you become used to in high school. It’s important to realise this and not put yourself down too much when figuring out your own groove and learning style! 

What do you wish you had known before starting the degree? 

Do not go into this degree assuming anything — go in with an open mind and you will be pleasantly surprised! This degree may be vastly different to what students may assume so it is important to do your research before commencing this degree at UNSW.

I think people have this idea that Chemical Engineering has a lot more Chemistry subjects than it really does. I think there are only three subjects that have Chemistry involved — it might even be less now. It’s a lot of thermodynamics and understanding how processes work,” Tomas says.

What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities? 

The Bachelor of Chemical Engineering at UNSW is different from other institutions due to its requirement for Industrial Training. 

Not all universities give students the opportunity to have a practical based learning aspect to their engineering degree — UNSW makes it a requirement! 

What inspired you to choose this degree?

You honestly can’t beat the passion the teachers and tutors have here. UNSW has such a fun and productive atmosphere,” Tomas recounts. 

While Tomas adores the passion that the educators of UNSW Chemical Engineering have, you may want to pursue this degree because of the uni’s reputation, its resources or connections. You might even choose UNSW for its social side!

What are the possible career paths?

UNSW Chemical Engineering - Careers

Just because you’ll graduate from a degree in Chemical Engineering, it doesn’t mean that you have to stick with it as an occupation. You may find yourself in roles such as a chemical and plant system operator, manufacturing production technician, food scientist, biotechnician, consultant, or even a processor.

There are heaps of different directions this degree can take you in. Tomas tells us a little more!

UNSW Chemical Engineering - Student Quote

Can’t get enough of Chemical Engineering? Check out what a career as a Chemical Engineer is like in our article here!

Matilda Elliott is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and a Communication graduate with a major in Journalism at Western Sydney University. You can find some of her published work in a range of platforms including SBS World News, The Music Network and within her own creative exploits with her twin sister. Matilda is a lover of listening, helping people to tell their stories, making genuine connections, clowning around in her circus troupe and dancing like no one is watching at live music shows!

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