Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineers and biotechnologists create chemical and biological processes to convert raw materials into products that are beneficial to society, usually on an industrial scale. Central themes of the course at Cambridge concern sustainability and healthcare, with an emphasis on (i) technologies and processes that facilitate the energy transition away from fossil fuels, and (ii) the development of improved therapeutics. The tripos integrates the teaching of chemical engineering and biotechnology fundamentals; hence, it is a multidisciplinary subject with the emphasis on applying science to solve real-world problems. 

Details of the course 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.

Chemical Engineering at Peterhouse

Chemical Engineering is a relatively small subject, and our Director of Studies, Dr Graham Christie, helps to arrange supervisions for a small consortium of Colleges, including Peterhouse.

Course Requirements

Mathematics and Chemistry taken in school leaving qualifications (A Level or equivalent are compulsory), alongside a third science/mathematics subject (Further Mathematics, Physics and/or Biology).  For students taking the International Baccalaureate, Mathematics and Chemistry should be taken at Higher Level and the Mathematics taken must be Analysis and Approaches. 


The application process

All applicants for Chemical Engineering across the University will be asked to sit the Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT)  pre-interview written assessment at their local testing centre. The ESAT is a computer-based assessment, made up of individual multiple-choice assessments lasting 40 minutes each. These will form part of our holistic assessment of candidates' achievements, abilities and potential and are no more, and no less important than any of the other pieces of information considered during the admissions process. Further information can be found on the University website. You must register in advance for this assessment. Registration closes mid-September.

UK candidates in financial need can apply for a bursary voucher to book the ESAT free of charge. Further information can be found on the University website. Please contact the Admissions Office at if you have any further concerns about registering.

Typical conditional offers

Our typical conditional offer is A*A*A in relevant subjects at A level. IB offers are usually for a minimum of 41-42 points, to include 776 or 777 at Higher Level.