Examples include the refining of oil, the production of plastics and pharmaceuticals, food processing and wastewater treatment. Many Chemical Engineers work in the area of biotechnology. The Cambridge course teaches the fundamental principles behind Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. It is a multidisciplinary subject with the emphasis on applying science to solve real-world problems.
Chemical Engineering students at Cambridge read either General Engineering or Natural Sciences in their first year, before going on to read Chemical Engineering in subsequent years. Both routes provide equally good preparation for Chemical Engineering. Applicants specify which route they wish to follow at the point of application, and this affects their assessment. Details can be found on the Department's website.
The Department moved to a new building in West Cambridge in summer 2015. It was the intention of the University of Cambridge to maximise the Department’s strengths through the construction of the building, the first of its kind to house the whole cycle of scientific investigation in chemical engineering and biotechnology, and its teaching and commercialisation, under one roof: from teaching and fundamental research right through to technology innovation, development and spin-out.