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School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering

Learning and teaching

Learning & assessment - Undergraduate degrees - School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering

Our ground-breaking research feeds directly into teaching and you will be taught by academics in an environment where knowledge is created. Through our research and the funding it attracts, we are able to invest in world-class facilities and staff who will enthuse and inspire you.

You will benefit from our integrated style of learning and teaching. The courses are modular and are structured around lectures, tutorials, seminars, laboratory work, and individual and group projects that allow you to gain hands-on experience of investigating and applying material from your lectures and tutorials in a real-world context.

You may choose from our flexible range of modules to reflect your interests and career plans, and with practical work being core to your study, you will be able to really get to grips with your subject and prepare yourself for a career in this varied and exciting industry.

Lectures provide a guide to specific subject matter and explain the foundations of a subject on which a student’s knowledge can be developed. You will be taught by world-leading academics in our modern lecture theatres which are equipped with the latest audio-visual and computer-based teaching aids, such as wi-fi and e-voting handsets.

Small group teaching in tutorials encourages active participation and understanding, allowing students to contribute freely, and supplements formal teaching in lectures, providing an opportunity for students to develop their ideas and skills. Tutorials also allow assessed work to be set and explained, as well as feedback to students on their knowledge and understanding, and their coursework performance. They are also a good place to practise transferable skills such as written and oral presentation, and to build career awareness and discipline-specific professional skills.

Laboratory classes
The practical content of our courses is high, and the skills you will develop stand you in good stead in competition for science/technology-based careers. You will work in small groups supervised by lecturers and demonstrators who will explain what individual practical sessions are about and what methodology will be used and why, plus how the practical links to material presented in lectures and tutorials. Staff will also help clarify any uncertainties or issues of concern, and ensure safe working practices.

Industrial visits
Students gain experience investigating and applying material from their lectures, tutorials and project work in real life situations through industrial visits. These provide a unique opportunity for students to gain insight into working environments related to their subject area, seeing first-hand the relevance and application of their academic learning. Visits aligned with design/research projects, in particular, help provide context and realism to their academic programmes. Recent industrial visits include Drax power station, Corus Steel
and the National Coal Mining Museum.

You will be assessed via a number of different methods.


Throughout the course you will undertake both individual and group projects. Team design projects teach the skills needed to successfully complete designs of real industrial processes. You will work in small teams to develop your technical and problem-solving abilities, drawing on knowledge developed elsewhere on the course.

Individual and group research projects teach you how to conduct innovative research, and to communicate the practical and technical relevance of the results. You will develop scholarship and independent inquiry, as well as the skills needed for confident, self-motivated learning. As well as developing technical and problem-solving abilities, project work also allows you to develop professional skills to facilitate successful participation in design and research activities, including team working and effective communication skills.

For many students, project work is the most challenging, satisfying and memorable part of their course. These projects develop a number of essential skills required to succeed in industry, such as problem solving, team work, and time management, as well as giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your imagination and flair.

As well as smaller projects throughout the earlier years of the course, you will
undertake a group design project in the final year of the BEng course, and if you progress to MEng you will carry out an individual research project in year 4 of your studies.

Chemical Engineering - Student project examples:
• Plant design for producing hydrogen from natural gas
• Plant design for the manufacture of detergent powder
• Design of a nickel ore processing plant
• Design of a sulphuric acid plant
• Chlorine process plant design
• Process design for the manufacture of anthroquinone
• Design of a low emissions coal-fired power plant
• Biomass combustion in a fluidised bed

Energy Engineering - Student project examples:
• Unmixed reforming of vegetable oil for hydrogen production
• The influence of meteorology and traffic congestion on air quality
• Pollution levels in urban street canyons
• Assessment of bioremediation willow as a potential fuel source
• Factors affecting boiler efficiency
• Quantifying household CO2 emissions
• Pyrolysis of waste plastics
• Assessment of a potential wind farm site
• Modelling of biomass/coal combustion
• Design of a low-emissions coal-fired power plant

Student support

We have an excellent student support team, located close to where you work and study, who will help you with anything, from academic advice and guidance, online module enrolment and registration, timetabling, results and progression requirements to coursework/project submission enquiries.

Our personal tutorial system will provide additional academic and pastoral support. You will have a designated personal tutor throughout your studies at Leeds. He or she will be an academic member of staff: you will have weekly academic tutorials with your tutor throughout your first year, in your tutor group (of typically 5 students), as well as one-to-one meetings twice per semester.

The web-based student portal will enable you to access the University’s student services and information and the University’s virtual learning environment (VLE) allows you access to your personal timetables, academic and social groups, and much more.