CPUT Chemical Engineering

CPUT Chemical Engineering

CPUT Chemical Engineering, The Department of Chemical Engineering is a leader in chemical engineering education and technology and we stand tall amongst Chemical Engineering Departments at the Universities of Technology in South Africa. This department is the only Chemical Engineering Department in the Western Cape that offers Chemical Engineering technological education to the people of this province. Our students come from all over South Africa as well as internationally.
We have well resourced infrastructure at both our operating campuses in Cape Town and Bellville.  With these excellent facilities and dedicated staff, graduates from our department have found employment, among other industries, in chemical, metallurgical, food and pharmaceutical industries and in environmental management, not only in South Africa but also internationally. The department is thus the department of choice for students who seek excellent technological education in Chemical Engineering.
The Department of Chemical Engineering has highly qualified and motivated academics that are committed to research and innovation.  Collaborates are formed regionally, nationally and internationally through various research projects.
Our advisory board which consists of dynamic representatives from various process industries, guides the department with regards to maintaining the required academic standards and relevance of curriculum.  The ND: Engineering: Chemical is accredited by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).  Graduates will comply with the academic requirements for registration as a Professional Technician.
Someone wanting to study Chemical Engineering should be hard working, creative and practically orientated.  As a Chemical Engineer, you will need:

  • To work as part of a team, and have good social  skills
  • Excellent problem-solving and analytical skill  to overcome stiff challenges
  • To be highly IT literate, as much of your work will rely on using computers

You would be able to complete the following qualification path at CPUT:

National Diploma: Chemical Engineering

Learners achieving this qualification have the competence to apply existing process technology to chemical engineering problems in chemical processes and plant operations.
The National Diploma is a 3 year course comprising of 24 months academic studies at the University and 12 months appropriate experiential learning.

Bachelors Degree In Technology: Chemical Engineering

The Bachelor’s Degree in Technology: Chemical Engineering is intended to provide graduates with the academic knowledge and practical skills required for registration as a technologist in training and subsequently as a Professional Engineering Technologist.   The duration of the course is minimum one year of theoretical studies at CPUT.

Masters Degree In Technology: Chemical Engineering

Learners achieving this qualification have the competence to conduct independent research in chemical engineering, and contribute significantly to knowledge production through the understanding, application and evaluation of existing knowledge.  The research problem, its justification, process and outcome is reported in a thesis, which complies with the generally accepted norms at that level.   The learner would have a period of two years for completion of the project.

Doctorate Degree In Technology: Chemical Engineering

The M.Tech can be a final qualification or can lead to a higher degree, known as the Doctorate in Technology (D.Tech). Learners achieving this qualification have the competence to conduct independent research under minimal guidance in the field of chemical engineering.  The research problem, its justification, process and outcome is reported in a dissertation which complies with the generally accepted norms for research at that level.  The duration of the course is two years.

What is Chemical Engineering?

What is Chemical Engineering?
Chemical Engineering is the branch of engineering that combines the knowledge of chemistry with math, physics and economics to solve practical technical problems in the processing industry. Chemical Engineering is concerned with the design, construction and operation of processes that convert raw materials into products with a higher economic value.
Through their training Chemical Engineers acquire a wide variety of skills and technical knowledge in the areas of chemistry, biochemistry, engineering, materials science and information technology. However, they also learn about economics, management, safety and the environment. They apply these skills in the manufacturing of petrochemicals, cement, explosives, plastics, paper, dyes, fertilisers and a variety of chemicals. They also work in the mining industry to recover valuable minerals from raw ore.
What does a Chemical Engineer do?
A Chemical Engineer takes his knowledge of chemistry from the laboratory environment to design and construct new processes on a large scale in industry, as well as improve the efficiency of current processes and their environmental impact.
In South Africa, Chemical Engineers are largely involved in the fuel, mineral and chemical industries. As a Chemical Engineer you would be able to function and work in a variety of jobs:

  • Design and Construction: Chemical Engineers design, construct and commission new process plants and modify existing ones. Process design engineers work with the instrument, control and software engineers to decide on a control strategy for the plant, which will work safely and efficiently under all conditions.
  • Process operation: Chemical Engineers frequently manage the operation and facilities of process plants. The plant has to be operated as economically as possible ensuring that all the temperatures, pressures and flows are at set requirements. Troubleshooting and monitoring of processes plays a large role in daily operation and development of the plant.
  • Research and Development: In this field, Chemical Engineers work with other engineers and scientists to invent new processing methods and develop them into practical schemes. As an R&D engineer you would organisetests on small scale ‘pilot’ plants and use computer simulations to predict how the real plant should be built. Existing processes are also investigated for further modifications to achieve better efficiency or to make new products in response to customer demands.
  • Environment: Environmental engineers can play an important ‘global’ role in conservation and protection. More and more companies become aware of the increasing demand and responsibility to protect the environment from pollution. Many chemical engineers operate waste water treatment plants and design new recycling plants.


Career opportunities

Who will employ you?
Chemical engineers are employed across a wide range of businesses by both large and small companies such as PetroSA, Chevron, SA Breweries, Fine Chemicals, ExxaroMittal Steel, De Beers, Angloplat, and City of Cape Town
Great career opportunities exist both locally and internationally in the following industries:
• Processing Plants
• Oil and Gas Industry
• Energy Suppliers
• Equipment Manufacturers
• Mining Companies
• Food Industry
• Paper Manufacturing
• Pharmaceuticals
• Plastic and Polymer manufacturing
• Waste Water Treatment
• Environmental Engineering
• Research Institutions & Consultants
• Government and NGO’s

Vision, Mission and Goals


To be at the heart of Chemical Engineering technology education and innovation in Africa.


The mission of the Department of Chemical Engineering is to develop and sustain an empowering environment. Through teaching, learning, research and scholarship our students and staff, in partnership with industry, are able to create and apply chemical engineering knowledge that contributes to sustainable development in process industries in South Africa, Africa and globally.


  • To provide students in the programs with high quality education and skills that will enable them to contribute positively to the technological advancement in the process industries of South Africa, Africa and globally.
  • To be the preferred provider of technological chemical engineering education in South Africa.
  • To create and maintain an environment that enables staff to actively participate in research in which a variety of current important aspects of the industry are investigated. The emphasis is placed on applied research with technological and commercial value.
  • To maintain and expand contacts with industries in the Western Cape and various other regions of South Africa in order to facilitate work integrated learning, and ensure that the needs of industries are being addressed in the program.
  • To encourage students who have an interest in business to initiate and develop chemical engineering based concerns.
  • To promote the program and achievements of our department and its staff and students.


Contact us

Cape Town Campus Bellville Campus
Department of Chemical Engineering
Applied Sciences Building
Cape Town Campus
PO Box 652
Cape Town
Tel:  +27 21 460 3159
Department of Chemical Engineering
Chemical Engineering Building
Bellville Campus
PO Box 1906
Tel:  +27 21 959 6083