Chemical Engineering

The Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Cambridge is respected across the globe for its excellence in both teaching and research. This very marketable degree is sought after by all kinds of employers – so if you’re thinking of a future in the field, where better to equip you?

ChemEng Image

Why Study Chemical Engineering at Christ's?

Christ's usually welcomes a small, close-knit cohort of undergraduates, which means each student benefits from plenty of personalised guidance and individual attention.

Our graduates pursue further study or move into in various sectors, ranging from classical chemical engineering with major oil companies and public utilities, to financial services and management consulting. Some have opted to work in the food industry (for companies such as Mars), in consumer products (Unilever, P&G) or for well-known cosmetics companies.

Course content and structure (Oct 2022 entry)

In first year you study either Engineering or Natural Sciences (Physical) before joining the Chemical Engineering department in second year. It’s up to you which of the two entry routes you follow, so it’s a good idea to read all about each subject before you choose.

Your first-year lectures happen in the department you’ve chosen as your entry route – all are centrally located close to Christ’s College. In later years, lectures and laboratories take place in the Chemical Engineering building on the West Cambridge Site.

The Chemical Engineering course (or ‘tripos’) is a four-year degree after which you are awarded both a BA and an MEng degree. Please visit the University website for full details of the Chemical Engineering course content and structure.


Christ’s College Director of Studies in Chemical Engineering is Dr Zachariah Bond. He can advise you on choosing options and arranges your twice-weekly ‘supervisions’. During these small tutorial teaching sessions (usually in groups of two) you receive support and tuition tailored to your personal work. As other universities usually tutor in much larger groups, this approach is a real advantage of a Cambridge education.

If you’d like to pursue interests beyond Chemical Engineering, you can attend almost any other lecture at the University. Many students take advantage of this to learn or improve a foreign language. And there are plenty of academic societies which hold interesting events and talks – look out for the Cambridge University Chemical Engineering Society (CUCES)

Student Q&A film
  Watch the Christ's student Q&A film

What do our students think?

Dave studies Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences here at Christ's College. He has written about his experiences in his student profile.

There are also profiles to read by students studying

If you would like to hear from other Christ's students, please watch the Christ's student Q&A film, and visit our Student Profiles page.

"There’s no advantage to taking either stream in first year, just personal preference."

Dave (Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences)

How to apply

Visit How to Apply for full details and a timeline of the application process. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and school types, all over the world. If you're applying from outside the UK, please read our international students section.

In your UCAS application, you should apply for either:

  • Chemical Engineering via Engineering (UCAS code H810) OR
  • Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences (UCAS code H813

If you are applying this year for October 2022 (or deferred Oct 23) please go to the information in the current applicants section.

Subjects: what do you need?

  • Chemical Engineering via Engineering
    • Required subjects: Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry at A-level, IB Higher Level or equivalent. For applicants taking the International Baccalareate the Mathematics should be Higher Level 'Analysis and Approaches'
    • If you’re doing A-levels and can take Further Mathematics at AS or A2 as well as Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, we advise you to do so.
  • Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences (Physical)
    • Required subjects: Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics at A-level, IB Higher Level or equivalent. For applicants taking the International Baccalareate the Mathematics should be Higher Level 'Analysis and Approaches'
    • If you’re doing A-levels, you can take Further Mathematics in place of Physics, as the FM mechanics modules offer better preparation for our course than most Physics modules. We recommend you opt for Further Mathematics modules in mechanics and pure maths rather than statistics and decision theory.

Want to study Further Mathematics but your school/college doesn't offer it? You might be able to get support through the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme.

Pre-interview admissions assessment

All applicants for Chemical Engineering at Cambridge must sit a pre-interview admissions assessment.

  • For Chemical Engineering via Engineering (H810) you sit Engineering Admissions Assessment (ENGAA)
  • For Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences – Physical (H813) you sit Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA)

The assessment takes places in your school, college or local testing centre, and you do the same assessment regardless of which college you apply to.

The ENGAA and NSAA assessments form part of our holistic admissions process and examine your academic abilities, knowledge-base and potential, rather than looking for any set score. When applying, please be aware of the registration and assessment dates.

All Chemical Engineering applicants applying in 2021 must:

  • Register to take either the Engineering Admissions Assessment (ENGAA) or the Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA) by 18:00 UK time on 15 October 2021. How to be registered
    Please note that open centres may set an earlier deadline for accepting entries, and it is your responsibility to check if this applies at your centre.
  • Sit the relevant assessment on Wednesday 3 November 2021.

Information about the assessment, including sample papers and subject content, is available on the University Admissions website from March each year.


If we invite you for interviews, these usually take place in late November or early December. Those invited for Cambridge interviews are normally interviewed for 35-50 minutes in total. At Christ’s, we usually split the time into two interviews with academics in your chosen entry subject, either Engineering or Natural Sciences (Physical).

During the interviews we might ask you about topics you’re not familiar with. Our aim is to assess your innate engineering and/or scientific ability when working through unprepared questions and see how quickly you absorb new ideas. It’s not about catching you out. We help you work through unseen problems and ask you to think out loud as you tackle them, so we understand your individual approach.

For an idea of what to expect, please read the information and watch the short films on Cambridge admissions interviews. We also hold interviews in various locations overseas for international students


At Christ's we don’t have fixed quotas for places, so the number of students we admit in any year depends on the strengths of the applicants. In Chemical Engineering, we aim to admit at least two students each year.

We define the terms of each offer individually, but a typical offer for Chemical Engineering is:

  • A*A*A at A-level (you must pass any practical assessments for science subjects)
  • 42 points overall in the International Baccalaureate with 7,7,6 in relevant Higher Level subjects
  • If you're taking another qualification, we expect you to be working at or close to the top of the mark range i.e.
    • Option Internationale du Baccalaureat: at least 17/20 overall, with 17 or 18 in relevant subjects
    • European Baccalaureate: at least 85% overall, with 9/10 in relevant subjects

Read about offer levels in other exam systems and international entrance requirements.

We require A-level students to complete and pass the practical assessment in science subjects.

If you will have finished school when you apply, read about post-qualification applications.

Helpful resources

Additional in Coronavirus times MEI (Maths Education) resources for students studying at home
Additional in Coronavirus times NRICH Maths at home
Advanced Mathematics Support Programme Support for A-level Maths and Further Maths material. See in particular A level Mathematics resources and A level Further Mathematics resources. If you are studying independently, Integral offers an online Further Mathematics course.
NRICH Mathematics and Advanced STEM NRICH Maths and Science material
I Want To Study Engineering A problem-solving website from Cambridge University Engineering Department
Isaac Physics Help to master physics by solving problems
Further resources on the Engineering page For Chemical Engineering via Engineering
Further resources on the Natural Sciences page For Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences
CamGuides Introducing the academic and information skills that you will need during your studies, as well as how and where you be working.


Come to an Open Day or Online Event

Online events: Our open days and events page advertises online opportunities as well as events you can attend in Cambridge.

Coming to a Christ's College Open Day is a good way to find out more about the College. You can get a feel for the place and ask current students and staff all about studying Chemical Engineering here.


Want to know more?

For a fuller picture of what the course involves, please take a look at Undergraduate Chemical Engineering admissions on the University website and visit the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology too.

If you have any other queries, please send them to and we’ll help however we can.


Undergraduate Admissions main page / Back to the subject list / How to apply / Why choose Christ's?