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Life as a Chemical Engineering student

Published: Tue 1 Apr 2014
Life as a Chemical Engineering student

Ryan Jones
Chemical Engineering BEng (2010-2014)

“In the labs we use desktop models of plant equipment we’ll find in industry – and not every uni has that.”

I really liked core science subjects, but had no specific career path in mind.  I wanted to choose a degree that would give me a strong grounding to keep my career choice as wide as possible. Chemical Engineering offered everything I was looking for.

I’d narrowed my university choices down to five, then I visited them all to get a real feel for the character of the campuses, the tutors and the city.

Bradford was the one:  the school had a good reputation with industry, and although the course was fairly new, it felt like an ‘up and coming’ one. It was a close-knit, friendly environment, and Bradford has the added bonus of being extremely good value for money – my sister studies in London and pays three times more than me for her weekly rent.

Having dyslexia, I was worried that I might not keep up with note taking and reports, but the University helped me secure a grant to buy a dictaphone and special software that aids writing, which has really helped. 

In the labs we use desktop models of plant equipment we’ll find in industry – and not every uni has that. For example distillation columns are huge cylinders made of metal with all the workings inside, but we have scaled versions with glass walls in our labs so we can see exactly how everything works.

After a tough interview, I secured a year’s placement with Tracerco in Middlesbrough. They diagnose and fix problems in the petroleum industry. I joined the teams sent out on location and visited plants across the UK, Amsterdam and Norway; it was great - I learned so much.  I really felt I matured a lot in that year and it will look great on my CV.

The strong emphasis on teamwork and peer review here is really helping us to pull together to produce our final year dissertation and I can also see how this teaches management skills for our future careers. 

I’ve loved my time at Bradford. We’re pushed to achieve but are supported all the way. I can approach any professor in the department and ask for help and advice, and I know that this is not always the case in larger universities.

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