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Which Engineering Degree is Better: Chemical or Petroleum Engineering?

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Which engineering degree is better: chemical or petroleum engineering?

For reader who’s landed on this page were surely having trouble in differentiating between the two-engineering degree. While choosing the right engineering degree or university to study may have a major impact on your career pathway. Although both are engineering related jobs or course, the differences are much greater than the similarities. For example, chemical engineering covers a broad area including biomedicine, food, electronics, and the environment. One graduate with chemical engineering could work in many industries. Whereas, petroleum engineering is more direct, which deals primarily with the extraction of oil and gas. Therefore, a petroleum engineering graduate will be more likely to venture into the oil and gas industry. This also indicates that both degrees offer different syllabus.

Chemical Engineer

A Chemical Engineer can work in various industries that use material substances. This is because, they solve problems by applying chemistry, biology, physics and math on the production or use of chemicals and other materials. Moreover, they also troubleshoot problems with the manufacturing line and develop new method of production or design equipment for large-scale manufacturing. Besides that, a chemical engineer will need to plan and test production method to ensure a safe procedure for those working with hazardous chemicals before launching the operations.

Chemical Engineer Day To Day Duties:

  • Develop new and improved manufacturing processes
  • Establish safety procedures for those working with dangerous chemicals
  • Develop separation process for liquids and gases components, or for generating electrical current
  • Design the layout of equipment
  • Analyse production performance
  • Manufacturing processes troubleshooting
  • Ensure equipment or production are compliance with safety and environmental regulations
  • Estimate production cost for management

The Working Environment of Chemical Engineer

Chemical Engineers work mostly in offices and laboratories. Nearly all chemical engineers work full time as they are required to spend time at industrial plants, refineries, and other locations to monitor, direct operations or solve onsite problems.

Career Path for Chemical Engineering Graduate

  • Chemical Engineer
  • Health and Safety Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Chemists and Materials Scientists
  • Nuclear Engineer
  • Process Engineer
  • Cost Engineer

Chemical Engineering Salaries 

Employment of chemical engineers is estimated to grow 8% from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand for chemical engineers’ services depends largely on the grow of various manufacturing industries. The median annual wage for chemical engineers is RM 46,508. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount, and half earned less. The lowest 10% (per cent) earned about RM 23,000, and the highest 10% (per cent) earned more than RM 95,500.

Where To Study Chemical Engineering in Malaysia

The profession requires a minimum bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, which is more commonly called chemical and biomolecular engineering. A professional engineer’s license may also enhance job prospects.

Universities CourseDuration Course fee
per year
Monash MalaysiaBA (Hons) Chemical Engineering4 yearsRM 45,700
Curtin MalaysiaBA (Hons) Chemical Engineering4 yearsRM 29,696
SEGI UniversityBA (Hons) Chemical Engineering4 yearsRM 20,238
Taylor’s UniversityBA (Hons) Chemical Engineering4 yearsRM 33,300
UCSI UniversityBA (Hons) Chemical Engineering4 yearsRM 19,403

The program listed are provided as a general guide only, the course fees were captured base on the publicly available information on the internet. Please consult with our education advisor for further assessment.


Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum engineers find more efficient and profitable ways to extract oil and gas from older wells. They develop new method or design new equipment to drill in oil and gas fields to test the wells. They often work with geoscientists and other earth science specialists to understand how geologic formation affects rocks that contain oil reserves.

Petroleum Engineers Day To Day Duties:

  • Discovering reservoirs and petroleum deposits
  • Study and examine the geological formation, nature of rock containing the reservoir (with the help of geologist)
  • Develop new method to drill in oil and gas fields
  • Design extraction equipment from onshore and offshore reserves deep underground
  • Develop ways to inject gases, water, steam or chemical into an oil reserve to force out more oil or gas
  • Ensure that oilfield equipment is properly installed, operated and maintained
  • Evaluate the production of wells through surveys, testing and analysis

The Working Environment of Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineers generally work at drilling and well sites or sometimes in the offices. Moreover, large oil and gas companies do set up operation around the world. Therefore, travelling overseas or within a country is required for site visit purposes or meeting with other engineers, oilfield workers, and customers.

Career Path for Petroleum Engineering Graduate

  • Petroleum geologist
  • Completion engineers
  • Drilling engineers
  • Production engineers
  • Reservoir engineers

Petroleum Engineer Job Outlook and Salaries

Employment of petroleum engineers is estimated to grow 15 % from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Oil prices will be a major determinant of employment growth. Higher prices can cause oil and gas companies to increase capital investment in new facilities and expand existing production operations, along with exploration. The median annual wage for petroleum engineers is RM 98,794. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount, and half earned less. The lowest 10% (per cent) earned about RM 31,122, and the highest 10% (per cent) earned more than RM 405,000.

Where to study Petroleum Engineering in Malaysia

A bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering is sufficient for entry-level jobs. However, a master’s degree allows work as an instructor in some universities, or in research and development. Practical experience, such as from an internship or summer jobs, is also desirable for graduates.

Universities CourseDuration Course fee
per year
APU UniversityB.Eng (Hons) Oil and gas engineering4 yearsRM 23,750
Curtin MalaysiaB.Eng (Hons) Petroleum Engineering4 yearsRM 29,696
Heriot-Watt UniversityB.Eng (Hons) Petroleum Engineering4 yearsRM 43,280
MSc in Petroleum Engineering2 YearsRM 73,000
UCSI UniversityB.Eng (Hons) Petroleum Engineering4 yearsRM 19,793

The program listed are provided as a general guide only, the course fees were captured base on the publicly available information on the internet. Please consult with our education advisor for further assessment.

Differences Between Chemical & Petroleum Engineering

Degree TypePetroleum EngineeringChemical Engineering
Career Industry

Various Industries

Oil and gas Only
Career
Opportunity
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Health and Safety Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Chemists and Materials Scientists
  • Nuclear Engineer
  • Process Engineer
  • Cost Engineer
  • Petroleum geologist
  • Completion engineer
  • Drilling engineer
  • Production engineer
  • Reservoir engineer
Job Outlook8% growth15% growth
Median SalariesRM 46,508RM 98,794

Conclusion

Although both are high paying jobs, petroleum engineers could make on average RM 52,000 more each year than chemical engineering. In general, both branches are good, it only depends on what you want to do and most importantly what interest you the most.

Scholarship Opportunity

There are many scholarships, grants, and bursaries which can help support you financially with your studies in Malaysia. Some are offered by the Malaysia Government, education institutions, and a number of other public and private sectors. To know more: Click here Malaysia Scholarships list 2019.

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About Post Author
Glow Tham
Tham Jing An is a writer by day and a bedroom singer by night. He is still a full-time student pursuing his Bachelor (Honours) in Finance with the University of Hertfordshire, UK under INTI International College Kuala Lumpur campus.
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