University of Surrey

What’s it like to be a third year student? (Day 255)

Hello and welcome to Day 255 of my IChemE presidency. Some of you may know that I occasionally feature guests in my blog to share their own thoughts and passion about the chemical engineering profession.

I’ve featured professionals starting a chemical engineering career in academia, a day in the life of a chemical engineering graduate,  and even the journey from process engineer to IChemE’s technical vice president in the form of Ed Daniels.

Today, undergraduate Reshma Varghese, a third year student at the University of Surrey in the UK, shares some of her experiences of one of the courses accredited by IChemE.


Reshma VargheseName: Reshma Varghese
Job: Student
Course: MEng in Chemical Engineering
Graduated: 3rd year
University: University of Surrey, UK
Salary: n/a


Quote start

I’m currently in my third year of an MEng in Chemical Engineering at Surrey. The programme covers all the key issues addressed by the modern engineering sector, and the structure of the course is well spread out, so it’s not overwhelming when you first start.

When I first attended Surrey’s Open Day, I loved the campus environment. Student life at Surrey is really vibrant, and there are a number of societies to fulfil every interest.

The tuition at Surrey is also great – there are lots of interesting modules and the lecturers use a variety of teaching aids, and are really friendly, approachable and willing to help at all times. I’ve particularly enjoyed modules on mass and energy balances, heat transfer and separation processes.

Mass and energy balances form the foundation of most key aspects to chemical engineering whilst heat transfer and separation processes also highlight real-life chemical engineering application. The facilities on campus are really good, and the University is closely located to the town centre, too, which is helpful.

As part of my degree, I took a Professional Training year with Crondall Energy Consultants Ltd, based in Winchester, Hampshire.

Crondall is an independent consulting organisation that provides technical and commercial advice to oil companies worldwide, regarding offshore oil and gas projects that use floating production technology.

My main responsibilities included supporting Crondall’s technical activities in the area of process engineering; assisting in various execution studies for existing or future floating production systems; supporting the management team with various activities, and developing client deliverables.

On placement I was able to get hands-on experience with various software tools like HYSYS, AutoCAD and Que$tor.

Regular professional development meetings were arranged with my industrial supervisor, to keep track of my skills and targets for the year, and the progress and final placement reports helped me consolidate and record all the interesting projects I got involved with.

I would strongly recommend any undergraduate student to go on a placement, as the experience in real industry is valuable. Taking a placement will also help you find out more about a particular sector and show whether you have found your niche.

I’m currently a Chemical Engineering applicant day helper, and have been lucky enough to receive performance scholarships over the past two years.

Quote endSince starting, I’ve gained a great deal of independence and confidence. In the future, I’d like to continue my studies to get a graduate job as a Process Engineer with a long-term aim of becoming a chartered engineer.


Thank you to the University of Surrey and Reshma for allowing me to feature this blog.

2 thoughts on “What’s it like to be a third year student? (Day 255)”

  1. This article says nothing of the pain and the agony of being a third year chemical engineering student. It seems the iChemE picked a top scholarship recipient student and expect her to give an honest interpretation of what being in third year of a chemical engineering degree is like. This interpretation is inherently flawed. As a 3rd year chemical engineering student who is in the top 1/4 of my class i can honestly say it feels like the hardest thing imaginable. You have no life outside of projects and study. College nights out are a thing of the distant past. “Fun” has been relegated to witty conversations in class and the off chance of pulling some girl without being able to go out drinking with your friends and i promise you your friends will go out…alot, especially if they are studying anything arts, business or even science and other types of engineering because i can promise you everything else is easier and less work. But I love it and you might too and hey you’ll probably get a job, that is if you don’y drop out in first year like 75% of my class did. And i mean exactly 75% cause one thing there’s no fear of is that you will be able to do maths.


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