Chemical engineering has become a popular choice for students at a higher education level, new Ucas research has revealed.
According to the university applications organisation, there were 1,455 freshers starting a chemical engineering course in 2007, Processingtalk reports.
This is an 11.5 per cent rise on 2006 and a 55 per cent increase since 2001.
Dr Carl Schaschke, head of chemical engineering at Strathclyde University, told the news source: "Now, more than at any time in the past, chemical engineers can be found central to meeting the societal needs of energy provision, healthcare and tackling head-on crucial environmental issues that affect everyone."
The "changing role and unique skills of the chemical engineer" is behind the sharp increase in the uptake of the subject, Dr Schaschke added.
Overall university numbers increased by 5.8 per cent last year, Ucas discovered, as a total of 413,430 undergraduates were accepted by a higher education institution in 2007.