Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Chemical Engineers and Biotechnologists are involved in the manufacture of valuable products using chemical or biological processes.

The Cambridge course has a focus on the fundamental principles behind Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. These principles are needed to develop processes and products that address some of the problems facing humanity. These include the energy transition away from fossil fuels, the need for sustainable food and water supplies as climate changes, and the provision of improved healthcare. The aim is to produce graduates that meet the needs of modern process industry in whatever sector. Example products are food, pharmaceuticals, biomaterials, plastics, detergents, drinking water, fuel and electricity. These products are relevant to almost every aspect of our everyday lives. It is a multidisciplinary subject with an emphasis on applying science to solve real-world problems in the process and biotechnology industries.

This course has a new structure for those starting in 2023.

In the first year, students are introduced to the Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology disciplines. They also take the Chemistry option and the Maths A or B option of the Part IA Natural Sciences course. In the second year, students cover more of the scientific principles of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, primarily through lectures, laboratory work, and assessed project work. In the third year, the emphasis changes to learning how to achieve a particular transformation. At the end of the year, students undertake a group project in which they design a plant to make a particular chemical or biological product.

While it is possible to graduate with a BA degree after three years, almost all Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology students stay on for the fourth year. This includes a research project, and a range of optional advanced topics and broadening material. Successful students then graduate with both the BA and MEng degrees. The full four-year course is accredited by the Institute of Chemical Engineers, which means that graduating students can apply for Chartered Engineering status after some years of relevant experience without taking further examinations.

Admissions Information

Standard offer: A-level - A*A*A in relevant subjects with A* in Mathematics; IB - 776 at Higher Level, 42 points overall, with 7 in Mathematics; Advanced Highers: A1A1A2 with A1 in Mathematics; other exam systems.
Course requirements: A-level (or equivalent) Mathematics, Chemistry and a third relevant subject are essential. The third subject is commonly: Physics, Further Maths or Biology.
Course outline: Further details are available on the Department's website.
Applying: For information on how to apply: University application process and Emmanuel application timeline.
Admissions Assessments:

All applicants will take a pre-registration written assessment as used by Natural Sciences, namely the Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA). The specification for this is available online. You must register for the pre-registration written assessment in advance separately from your UCAS application.

Registration Deadline - Friday 29 September 2023

Assessment Date - Wednesday 18 October 2023


Applicants who are invited to interview should normally expect two interviews. The interviews will take place during the period Monday 4 - Wednesday 13 December 2023. Specific subject dates will be emailed to applicants in November.

Course enquiries: Emmanuel Admissions Office