Profile of the Programme

Content and practical information about the education

 

In agreement with the recommendations of the ‘European Federation of Chemical Engineering (EFCE)’ a minimum program of mandatory courses is composed, in which the themes as defined by the EFCE, namely ‘science and mathematics’, ‘chemical technology’ and ‘Master thesis’ are included. The acquisition of specified final competences is guaranteed by following a package of courses for an equivalent of 120 credit points, which is carefully composed out of mandatory courses (3/5of the total credit points) and a broad offer of optional courses (1/5 of the total credit points) complemented with the Master thesis (which also corresponds to 1/5 of the total credit points).

The ‘Master of Science in Chemical Engineering’ at Ghent University hereby focuses in the first instance on chemical process technology with mandatory courses such as, ‘Chemical reactors: fundamentals and applications’, ‘Unit operations in the chemical industry’, ‘Chemical process design’, ‘Computer control of industrial processes’, ‘Polymer Reaction Engineering’ and ‘Company project’. Besides these courses, some specialized courses are included in the program, such as ‘Thermal installation’, ‘Kinetic modeling and simulation’ and ‘Chemistry of industrial processes’ supporting the aforementioned courses and also to complete the curriculum acquired via the: ‘Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science”.

This central axis of the education is extended towards safety and sustainability by the courses ‘Safety and Environment’, ‘Sustainable chemical production processes’and towards advanced simulations techniques by the course ‘Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in the chemical technology’. Besides this extension, which is evidenced by the titles of the courses, themes such as safety and environment (HAZOP, PLANOP) and business management are treated in mandatory courses belonging to the central axis, such as ‘Chemical process design’ and ‘Company Project’. A further broadening is possible by the selection of one of the offered minor programs or by the individual selection of optional courses from the prospectus of Ghent University. 24 credit units are available for this further broadening, of which a minimum of 6 credit units have to be courses with a societal character. The offered minor programs are ‘Industrial Engineering’, ‘Environment and sustainable development’ and ‘Biosystems’. For the optional courses from the prospectus of Ghent University; a list with ‘recommended’ optional courses is composed in terms of the following themes ‘management’, ‘chemistry’, ‘fundamental techniques’, ‘materials’ and ‘technology’.

Finally, the master thesis is of great importance in the ‘Master of Science in Chemical Engineering’, which is reflected by the number of credit points attributed to it, i.e., 24. The master thesis allows the student to show that he/she is capable of working independently, to think critically and to develop an innovative mind. This typically occurs in an intense interaction with a master thesis coach and, if relevant, the technical staff. A master thesis in the ‘Master of Science in Chemical Engineering’ is characterized by its design aspect incorporated in the thesis project and which becomes evident in activities such as the construction of an experimental set-up, the optimization of operating conditions for chemical reactions, gaining insight in flow patterns aiming at a better operation of reactors and other equipment for unit operations, the fundamental kinetic modeling of chemical reactions for their optimal use in industrial reactor simulation, etc. Emphasis is hereby on large-scale processes with the large scale corresponding to the capacity of a single chemical plant or on the frequent use of the considered process. A thorough physical and/or chemical modeling and numerical simulation of these processes is necessary for their optimal control. Optimal performance is defined based on economics, safety, sustainability and environmental effects. The aim of the master thesis is therefore defined within the specificity of the education.

The extrapolation of a chemical reaction from laboratory scale to industrial application and more generally the pathway from a proven concept to the industrial realization is an aspect which closely fits with the emphasis on large scales. The education thus covers the full spectrum of length scales, starting from the nanometer scale of a molecule toward the macro-scale corresponding to the industrial scale of unit operations. The same applies for timescales ranging from femtoseconds for intramolecular vibrations to hours for starting up a production unit. To reliably perform such a scale-up, specialized knowledge is required combined with the necessary synthesis capacities: about physical and chemical processes on the one hand and about the corresponding mathematical models on the other hand.

 

Situation of the education ‘Master of Science in Chemical Engineering' at Ghent University

The ‘Master of Science in Chemical Engineering’ at Ghent University focuses on process technology in general and reactor and reaction technology in particular. A fundamental understanding and description of the phenomena in process installations and reactors and their effect on the products made constitute the red line in the education. By an extended package of optional courses the student can expand his/her knowledge by specializing or broadening. A list of ‘recommended’ optional courses has been composed and consists of clusters such as ‘business management’, ‘chemistry’, ‘fundamental techniques’, ‘materials’ and ‘technology’. Alternatively, the specialization or broadening can be obtained via the offered minors: ‘Industrial Engineering’, ‘Business Management’, ‘Biosystems’ and ‘Environment and Sustainable Development’.

 

Academic nature versus application oriented character of the education

Besides transferring theoretical, academic knowledge, which is the case in the majority of the mandatory courses, it is of extreme importance in the ‘Master of Science in Chemical Engineering’ to also apply and exploit this knowledge. The most important component of the education in this respect is the course ‘Company project’ which is taught in the third semester and is entirely devoted to an effective conceptual process design in collaboration with industry. The lecturer for this course, who is also the lecturer-of-charge for the course ‘Chemical Process Design’, is a guest professor with main assignment in the industry. Moreover, a (summer) internship can be included in the educational program as an optional course for an equivalent of 3 to 6 credit points. Such an internship is strongly recommended by the educational program committee. In addition to these utmost practically-orientated courses practical exercises and projects are also organized as part of the majority of the theoretical, academic courses. In these practical exercises and projects the acquired theoretical knowledge is applied in practice. Finally, the master thesis allows to dedicate oneself to a specific and innovative project requiring dealing independently with new information as well as assembling all relevant previously acquired knowledge, insights and skills.

 

Internationalization of the education

The ‘Master of Science in Chemical Engineering’ at Ghent University is conceived aiming at a maximum flexibility for incoming foreign students to Ghent University as well as for outgoing students to earn an equivalent of at least 30 credit units at another university. An equivalent of 60 credit points, including the master thesis for 24 credit units, can be followed in English. A coherent program of 30 credit points is available which can be followed in one semester. For outgoing students, the program is designed in such way that optional courses can be sufficiently grouped in one semester. This allows a significant degree of freedom for finding an equivalent course at the selected host institution.