School of Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering refers to the design, construction, operation and management of industrial plants in which raw materials undergo physical and/or chemical change.


Bachelor of Science Engineering (Chemical Engineeering)

The degree of Bachelor of Science in the field of Chemical Engineering is an Honours equivalent, professional Bachelors degree that extends over four years. 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.
  • Entry requirements:

    NSC degree pass with Maths and Physical Science Level 5 (65%), English and Life Orientation Level 4 (50%) and three other subjects from the designated list

  • Application Performance Score (APS) range:

    33 - 48


CASSE is an Alternative Access and Academic Support Programme that caters for prospective students whose academic potential was not realised due to a disadvantaged educational background.

  • Entry requirements:

    NSC degree pass with Maths, English, Life Orientation and Physical Science Level 4 (50%)

  • Application Performance Score (APS) range:

    26 - 48

How to Apply

All first-time South African applicants to UKZN for entry into degree/ diploma study (Grade 12s and undergraduate transfer students from other institutions) must apply via the Central Applications Office (CAO).

Master of Science in Engineering

At the postgraduate level, students can specialise in their field by studying for a Master of Science (MSc) degree. Generally, students will use this degree to expand on their undergraduate studies and develop a more in-depth knowledge and understanding of their chosen discipline. 

Doctor of Philosophy

A Doctor of Philosophy programme is offered where students engage in novel research supervised by academic members of staff. This is typically three years of fulltime study and normally follows on from a Master of Science Degree.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted to our College office. Visit the College website to see the steps to follow, download the application pack/ forms and access the link to apply online.


Research Areas

We are a research-led institution, producing knowledge for the rapidly-changing and information-rich world.

Research Groups

We have a number of research groups that specialise in areas of research in Chemical Engineering. 

Student dissertations

UKZN Research Space was developed to increase the visibility, availability and impact of tour students’ research output.


Computer LANs

The Chemical Engineering department has 5 computer LANs available for use by its students, two of which are exclusively for Chemical Engineering students.

  • All LANs are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • The 4th year Design LAN is a 61 seater computer room situated in the Desmond Clarence building – Chem Eng Students only
  • The 3rd year LAN which is a 60 seater is in Chemical Engineering building – Chem Eng Students only
  • The ASAP LAN is a 90 seater computer room – general LAN
  • The Unite LAN is a 110 seater computer room – general LAN
  • The Venter LAN is a 80 seater computer room – general LAN

Various packages are installed on the PC’s such as Microsoft Office, Matlab, AspenTech, AutoCad etc.


The Analytical laboratory is equipped with the following equipment: Mass balances, conductivity meters, pH meters, autotitrators, drying ovens, refractometers , spectrophotometer , distillation apparatus, water baths, heating mantles, centrifuge etc. The laboratory serves the needs of wet-chemistry procedures. 

The laboratory is serviced by Mrs Puleng Mzulwini (Chemical technician) and Mr Sadha Naidoo (Chief chemical technician).  

This laboratory is occupied by the School’s Pollution Research Group (PRG), who also run the Biochemical and Environment Engineering course. The PRG contributes significantly in research, to improving the environment and health of South Africans, by the development of innovative and sustainable solutions to the problems of waste, sanitation and water supply. The PRG works in close collaboration with eThekwini Municipality, Sasol and Eskom.

Postgraduate students undertake research and final year undergraduate students undertake laboratory projects. The laboratory houses, amongst others, equipment such as : OUR set up – Oxygen Uptake Rate, COD-reflux method for Chemical Oxygen Demand, TKN – Total Kjeldhal Nitrogren, TSS – Total Suspended Solids, Spectroquant , GC, etc.

The laboratory is serviced by a laboratory technician – Mrs Merlien Reddy

This laboratory is equipped with the following equipment: Gas chromatography (GC), Gas chromatography – Mass spectrophotomete (GCMS), Particle size analyzer, Rheometer, Corrosion unit (all have software support), Moisture analyzer, microscopes, viscometers etc. The instrument laboratory is used for data capturing and analysis. 

The laboratory is serviced by Mrs Rekha Maharaj (Chemical technician) and Mr Sadha Naidoo (Chief chemical technician). 

This laboratory houses the larger equipment which are on a semi-industrial scale. Most of this equipment is used for the undergraduate practical programme.

The three laboratories above are used by undergraduate, postgraduate, academic and laboratory staff in performing coursework practicals, final year projects, postgraduate research, academic research, vacation work and internal and external consulting projects.

This laboratory is serviced by the 3 chemical technicians.

The Thermodynamic Research Unit laboratories (Ground floor- 08A/B) cover the measurement of phase equilibrium data such as Vapour-liquid ( VLE ), Liquid-liquid (LLE ) and Vapour liquid-liquid equilibria( VLLE ) . The conditions of measurements range from high- low temperatures and pressures.

There are several apparati present, all designed, constructed and commissioned by the Thermodynamics Research Unit. The stills, used for the measurement of phase equilibria, have online GC sampling. The ebulliometer consists of a series of smaller sized recirculating glass cells for the measurements of infinite dilution activity coefficients; which can also be measured using other existing set-ups in the laboratories being, the inert gas stripping apparatus and the Gas-Liquid Chromatography set-up.

Postgraduate research and contract projects are carried out for many local industrial companies, e.g. , Sasol, Illovo, NECSA, etc. Undergraduates undertake laboratory projects in their final year of studies. The Unit offers vocational work to promising and potential postgraduate students. The Unit also employs research assistants for undertaking data measurements for contract and research projects.

The Thermodynamics Research Unit employs two full-time technicians, Mr Ayanda Khanyile and Mr Linden Mkize, to assist in the running and maintenance of the laboratories.

Student resources

These resources are for current students in the Chemical Engineering disciplines. They’re meant to be used as tools throughout your. academic journey.

Vacation work

Enable candidate chemical engineers to gain an appreciation of a realistic work environment and to consider their studies in context.

The vacation work should consist of at least one of the following tasks relevant to Chemical Engineering: Project planning, Design, Routine analysis, Routine operation, and Troubleshooting.

  • The assessment for vacation work includes the submission of a technical report on the work conducted.

  • Letter from the discipline of chemical engineering to be given to companies requesting vacation work opportunities.

  • Vacation work certificate of progress – Students require a certificate of progress from the firm or company concerned, in which the actual working period is stated as well as the duties and responsibilities, and an overall comment about the student’s performance, work ethic and professionalism.

  • Vacation work report guidelines

  • Guidelines on the level of work

  • A written report of each student (not a group) must be submitted within approximately 4 weeks of the start of the subsequent semester as per UKZN sessional dates. The submissions will be carried out on the course page of the learning management system, which will also publish the specific deadline.

Workshop training

Students to acquire an appreciation and basic skills in common fabrication techniques, and familiarize themselves with the structure and function of common chemical engineering equipment items.

Practical workshop instruction and experience includes methods of measurement, jointing & welding, material forming, heat treatment, precision drilling, shaping, turning, etc., with fitting (assembly/dis-assembly). The use of common hand tools, lathes, and drilling & milling equipment will be covered.

Students must earn a Duly performed certificate. The discipline of Chemical Engineering at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal is not providing workshop training but facilitating the registration at CEBC Welding School. All students are required to either complete the workshop through this training centre or undertake equivalent training through an external company. 

A letter from the company should be handed to the student after completion of the workshop training confirming what has been completed. The duly performed certificate must be submitted to the administrative officer in the discipline of Chemical Engineering within 2 weeks of the start of the subsequent semester as per UKZN sessional dates.

Contact us

Mrs Venishree Pillay

Mrs Nokhukhanya Ngcobo

Physical Address

Chemical Engineering building,
Howard College,
University of KwaZulu-Natal

Mazisi Kunene Road,
Glenwood, Durban,