Chemical Engineering

A nonlinear fiber light source for combustion spectroscopy.

Chemical Engineering at Cambridge

Chemical engineers devise, design, combine and operate processes to produce and transport products and materials. From biofuels, batteries and green energy to oil and gas, from chemicals, pharmaceuticals and foodstuffs to the latest novel nanomaterials and advances in science – chemical engineers make a positive difference to the world.

Chemical engineers have technical knowledge of chemistry, biochemistry, engineering, materials science, mathematics and information technology. They know about economics, management, safety and the environment, and use tools ranging from cutting-edge scientific instruments, to the latest developments in computing, to large-scale pilot plants.

The aim of the Chemical Engineering course at Cambridge is to provide you with the scientific knowledge and skills that underpin modern chemical engineering practice. The Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Cambridge enjoys a reputation for excellence in its teaching and research and occupies a new state-of-the art building on the West Cambridge Site, very close to Churchill College. The Department has strong links with industry and its graduates are in strong demand. Full details are provided on the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology website, and summarised in the University Undergraduate Prospectus

Chemical Engineering Department

Chemical Engineering at Cambridge

Chemical Engineering at Churchill

If Sir Winston Churchill's mission for his College was to 'educate advanced technologists', chemical engineers were the kind of people he had in mind.

Churchill College has a large and vibrant community of undergraduate and postgraduate chemical engineers from around the world. The size of the community means that your supervisions would likely be with another Churchill chemical engineer. In fact, quite often your supervisor may also have a link with Churchill College. The College maintains strong links with industry. Previous students regularly return to College to pass on their experience by running workshops and practice interview sessions for students, and to catch up with everyone over dinner.

Students in the Dining Hall of Churchill College in front of the portrait of Sir Winston Churchill

The Churchill Chemical Engineers after a formal dinner together

The Churchill chemical engineers, and Churchillians in general, are a sociable and inclusive bunch, and play an active role in a strong college community. The College is well equipped with facilities including a large library, squash courts, tennis courts and playing fields on-site, making it a fun and healthy place to live as well as study. The College is located literally over the road from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology building on the West Cambridge Site, making it that bit easier to be there in time for 10am lectures.

Churchill College typically takes five or six Chemical Engineering students per year. The College would provide you with a Director of Studies to oversee your academic development, and a Tutor to oversee your welfare and education in its fullest sense, both of whom will be Fellows of the College. The Director of Studies and Tutor will be able to form a view of your developing abilities, and advise on matters including course and career choices.


There are two routes into Chemical Engineering (each with its own UCAS code), either via Engineering or Natural Sciences. You will spend your first year studying either Engineering or Natural Sciences and will become a member of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology from your second year onwards. Entry requirements are essentially the same as for the course in which you spend your first year; applicants are advised to refer to those sections of this guide and to the information on the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology website.

Chemical Engineering via Engineering

Subject pre-requisites

Essential Highly desirable/useful
A Level/IB Higher Level Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics A Level Further Mathematics is highly desirable

Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences

Subject pre-requisites

Essential Highly desirable/useful
A Level/IB Higher Level Chemistry and Mathematics A Level/IB Higher Level Physics and/or A Level Further Mathematics. A Level/IB Higher Level Biology may be helpful.

Written assessments

Cambridge University uses a system of common format written assessments, specifically tailored to each subject. These give us valuable additional evidence of your academic ability, knowledge base, and potential to succeed at Cambridge.

Applicants for Chemical Engineering via Engineering should take the Engineering pre-interview assessment. Applicants for Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences should take the Natural Sciences pre-interview assessment.

More information on written assessments

Written work

No written work is required.


If called, you will normally have two interviews: one with chemical engineers; the other with either engineers (for Chemical Engineering via Engineering) or natural scientists (for Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences).


As a Chemical Engineering graduate, you would be highly employable and would have excellent career opportunities, because you would be experienced at solving problems and have good analytical and management skills.

You might perform ground-breaking scientific research, work as an engineer to produce products that improve the quality of human life, occupy a senior management position, or travel all round the world. In fact, you might go on to do all of these things during the course of your career.

Rather than working in traditional scientific or engineering roles, many Chemical Engineering graduates choose to pursue successful careers in a wide variety of other fields, including finance, consultancy and scientific journalism, to name but a few.

Useful Links


For more information and for all admissions enquiries, please contact the Admissions Office.

Admissions Office


Image: A nonlinear fibre light source for combustion spectroscopy.

Fellows in Chemical Engineering