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Good scope: Chemical engineers are employed by petroleum refineries and other industrial units.
Good scope: Chemical engineers are employed by petroleum refineries and other industrial units.

GOPAKUMAR KARAKONAM

An engineering branch that involves the design and maintenance of chemical processes for largescale manufacture, chemical engineering is crucial to running an industrial economy.

Chemical engineering is an amalgam of chemistry and engineering for the production of chemicals and related equipment. Mathematical ability, imagination, capacity to draw inferences from observational and experimental data and logical reasoning are the skills needed to succeed in this branch.

Prominent institutes

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) at Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Roorkee and the Institute of Technology of Banaras Hindu University are among the top study centres offering degree courses in this discipline. These are of four-year duration.

The IITs at Kanpur, Kharagpur and Chennai also offer five-year integrated B.Tech. and M.Tech. dual degree programmes. IIT-Delhi offers this course with M.Tech. in computer application in chemical engineering or process engineering and design.

IIT-Roorkee offers the M.Tech. course in hydrocarbon engineering in the dual degree programme. IIT-Bombay offers the M.Tech. course in process systems design and engineering.

Admission is based on the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) of the IITs. Those who have passed Plus-Two or equivalent examinations with at least 60 per cent marks (55 per cent for students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and people with disabilities) in aggregate may appear for the test. Students appearing for the qualifying examination are also eligible.

The Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT-Kanpur, ranked among the top schools in the subject in the country, is endowed with a vibrant graduate programme. Every year, about 45 students graduate in B.Tech. and 40 in the dual degree programme from this school. The integrated programme enables the students to earn the two degrees within five years.

The Institute of Chemical Technology of the University of Mumbai, Matunga, is another prominent institute offering the engineering degree course. Sixty-three seats are filled under all-India merit. The Indian chemical industry supports the institute. For details, visit www.udct.org.

Some other universities and institutes offering B.E. or B. Tech. in chemical engineering are:

* * Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar - 608 002, Tamil Nadu.

* * Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka - 576 104, ( www.manipal.edu).

* * VIT University, Vellore, Tamil Nadu - 632 014: selection is based on a national-level entrance test ( www.vit.ac.in)

* * SRM University, Chennai, ( www.srmuniv.ac.in).

* * Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology and Research Academy (SASTRA), deemed university, Thanjavur - 613 402 ( www.sastra.edu).

* * Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, Rajasthan - 333 031 ( www.bits_pilani.ac.in). B.E. (Honours) is offered on the Goa campus also. Those who have passed Plus-Two with physics, chemistry and mathematics may apply. The candidates should have scored 80 per cent marks in aggregate in the three subjects and 60 per cent marks in each. Admission is based on the BITS Admission Test (BITSAT) score.

* * The School of Engineering and Technology (Centre of Excellence of Bharathidasan University), Tiruchi - 620 024, Tamil Nadu: B.Tech. in chemical technology with specialisation in pulp and paper technology; cement technology; fertilizer technology; and petrochemical technology ( www.bdu.ac.in).

Higher studies

Meritorious chemical engineering graduates have several higher study options. A score in the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is a prerequisite for getting admission to M.E. and M. Tech. programmes and securing a monthly scholarship or stipend. The IITs and other top-level institutions such as the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) offer these programmes.

Several institutes offer Ph.D. programmes, with scholarships for meritorious students.

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore ( www.iisc.ernet.in), offers M.Sc. engineering and Ph.D. chemical engineering programmes.

Candidates having a high GATE score are eligible for admission. Chemical engineering graduates with at least a second class can join the M.E. course. Selection is based on the GATE score.

These graduates can do higher studies in biotechnology; polymer technology; process control and instrumentation; plant design; energy engineering; sugar technology; environmental engineering; bioinformatics; computational engineering and networking; pharmaceutical technology; petrochemical engineering; and so on.

To enter the management field, one can choose MBA programmes with specialisations in pharma management, biotechnology, oil and gas management and so on.

Career prospects

Chemical engineers are employed in the chemical process and petrochemical industries. They work in pharmaceuticals; health care; pulp and paper; food-processing; polymers; biotechnology; and environmental health and safety sectors. Fertilizer plants; petroleum refineries; plastic and yarn manufacturing companies, and food and mineral processing industries also offer jobs.


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