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Qualifying Year Programme


Key Questions

Is this a new course, or why is CIT doing this now?

CIT has been producing chemical engineering graduates since 1983. There are about 600 graduates in the greater Munster area. If you have been working in the process industry, you probably have met some of them. Historically, graduates have been admitted on a case by case basis to the Beng (Hons) Chemical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering. They entered Third Year and undertook all subjects / modules. In general, progress was good.

In view of the new modular system in CIT and the need for retraining and re-education of the workforce, it is possible to devise a Qualifying Year of 60 credits, which is a combination of modules lying in both Second and Third Years. This will provide a superior preparation for Stage 4 of the Chemical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering (Honours) Programme and better match prior learning by the graduates.

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What is meant by a "Qualifying Year"?

This is an opportunity for existing graduates to undertake, over one academic year, 12 specified modules drawn from the second and third years of the B.Eng. (Hons) Chemical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering. Having passed all of these modules, you will be permitted ("qualified") to enter the final year of the degree where you will study the normal programme.

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Why can I become a Chemical Engineer in such a short period of time?

The rationale for asserting that graduate entrants will achieve the desired final outcomes is as follows:

  1. Graduate entrants should have maturity, critical abilities, motivation, and life and work experience that allow them to be more effective and efficient in their study.
  2. Engineering graduates will have already achieved good standards in mathematics and likely in materials related subjects.
  3. Science graduates will have already achieved good standards in basic sciences.
  4. Both will have experience of undertaking academic projects. Those with business experience will be familiar with workforce practices and those with experience in the process industry will have some familiarity with the technologies and the safety and environmental requirements.
  5. All course participants must eventually satisfy the requirements of Stage 4, which contains two major projects in addition to individual modules. These projects have been designed to be integrating or "capstone" modules.

It's not a short cut route. It is an accelerated route, building on an existing Honours degree.

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What qualification will I get?

CIT's modules conform to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). This "qualifying year" will provide 60 ECTS "credits". In themselves, they constitute a "Special Purpose Award": "Certificate in Chemical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering", but they are intended to be a lead in to the final year of the engieering degree. You will be entitled to enter Stage 4 of the B.Eng. (Hons) Chemical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering. Passing that means you will have a qualification that is accredited at B.Eng. level by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) as well as being at Level 8 of the Irish National Qualification Framework.

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What are the entry criteria?

A holistic assessment of each candidate's background will be undertaken. The "Qualifying Year" has been devised in anticipation of the candidates being graduate engineers with an existing Honours degree. Science graduates will also be considered, but more consideration will be given to their mathematical skills, either at Leaving Cert or undergraduate level. Engineering relies extensively on mathematics. Process related knowledge or experience will also be considered.

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How much will it cost me?

Please check with CIT Admissions and Fees ffices for the current cahrge. Typically students who are already degree holders are ineligible for financial assistance under the State's Free Tuition Fees scheme however if you are in receipt of social welfare payments you may be eligible for support under the 'Back to Education' Scheme .

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What modules will I take?

Please click on the hyperlink to access full module details.  The subjects will enable the 'qualified' students to complete the Award stage of the programme on an even footing with the Ab-Initio entrants to the programme.


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How many hours per week will I be in college and how is the academic year structured?

A typical module on a Chemical Engineering program involves an average of 4 hours per week of contact time. Each Semester consists of 12 weeks of tuition followed by 1 week of revision (Weeks 1 – 13). Some modules are assessed continuously throughout the semester and others are assessed during the end of term exam period (Weeks 14 and 15). The assessment criteria and contact hours for each module is detailed in the module descriptor ( For the 2013/14 academic year Term 1 begins on September 16th 2013 and Semester 2 begins on January 27th 2014.

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How much more time will I have to spend on the modules?

Each module is based on an average of 7 hours of "learner effort" per week for 15 weeks. In other words, the average student is expected to spend 105 hours on each module. These hours are made up of class contact, study, assignment preparation, examination, laboratories, i.e. all academic related activity.

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How are the modules assessed?

Traditionally, degrees were about cramming for a 3 hour written examination. Working life is not like that. Business requires experience in projects, handling open-ended problems, working in groups, handling tight deadlines. CIT now places much more focus on assessing by "continuous assessments": assignments, projects, small tests as well as the conventional written examinations. Visit the details of the individual modules above to see the tasks you will complete.

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What about work placement?

By virtue of the accelerated nature of this program it will not be possible to formally assess 'qualification' students in the area of work placement. Every effort will be made by the department to aid 'qualification' students to obtain work placements from May to September.

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What subjects will I study in the Award Year?

Click here to see the modules that you will take in the Award Year along with the students who have taken the 'traditional' route to becoming a Chemical Engineer.

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I am in full-time employment, could I take only a few modules that are most interesting to me?

Certainly. You can take as few as a single module and you will be awarded credits for it.

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Where will I get a job?

While we cannot of course guarantee that you will get a job at the end of this process we can point to a very strong employment record for our graduates in the following sectors.

  • Biopharmaceuticals (eg MSD, Eli Lilly SA)
  • Pharmaceuticals (eg MSD, Roche)
  • Energy & Environment (eg Airtricity, Clean Technology Centre)
  • Food (e.g. Glanbia, Kerry Group)
  • Oil & Gas (eg Marathon Oil, Phillips66)
  • Design Consultancy (eg PM, Jacobs, DPS)
  • Financial Consultancy (eg Delloitte)
  • Minerals (eg RUSAL Aughinish Alumina)

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How strong is the Processing Industry in Ireland?

Ireland is a base for 17 of the world's top 20 Pharmaceutical and Healthcare companies and the manufacturing sector accounted for over 50% of Irelands €44 billion of exports in 2009. The sector is changing at the moment with less emphasis on traditional manufacturing methods and moves towards greater efficiencies and biological routes to products. Hence some plants are closing, but others are expanding or opening, e.g. Eli Lilly SA, Johnson & Johnson, MSD. At this time of writing, about half of the CIT B.Eng. (Hons) Chemical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering group that will graduate this autumn have employment – not bad in a "recession"!

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Where can I find out more about chemical engineering?

Try out This is a site developed by the Institution of Chemical Engineers, primarily directed towards school leavers.

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Is it all work and no play?

Not at all, visit ,, or come to see the athletics stadium and track, sports stadium and pitches, gym, tennis courts, etc.

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Maybe I will eventually use my skills to set up a business, can CIT help?

We are not going to pretend the B.Eng. (Hons) Chemical & Biopharmaceutical Engineering will make an entrepreneur of you, but a critical objective of CIT is to broaden the culture of entrepreneurship within the Institute and to help individuals build and apply their entrepreneurial talent. Visit

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How do I apply or make an enquiry?

Please contact for an application form or to ask a question.

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