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Chemical Engineering


The Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology Department at Cambridge has an international reputation for excellence in both its teaching and its research. Both The Times and The Guardian ranked Cambridge top of their lists of the best Chemical Engineering departments in the UK. In the 2008 research assessment exercise (RAE), the department was ranked joint first in the UK with Imperial College.

Chemical Engineering is not an admissions subject though applicants should now indicate their desire to read Chemical Engineering by using the appropriate UCAS code. Students join the Department at the start of their second year in residence after having studied either Engineering or Natural Sciences in their first year. It is still possible to transfer to Chemical Engineering even if it was not expressed at admission, though in the event of the course being over-subscribed preference will be given to those who do.

The selection of entry route is a matter of personal choice, each has its advantages and disadvantages and reference should be made to the sections on those subjects.

Please see the Engineering subject page for information on the Engineering route and the Natural Sciences subject page for the Natural Sciences route.

First year: In this year, Chemical Engineers study Part IA Engineering or Part IA Natural Sciences.

Second year: In this year, students study Part I Chemical Engineering. It introduces the discipline and covers many of the fundamental principles of chemical engineering. Students from the Natural Science Tripos have to study engineering drawing and some basic mechanical engineering whilst those from the Engineering Tripos have to study some basic chemistry.

Third year: In this year, students study Part IIA Chemical Engineering. It completes the study of "core" chemical engineering and is a preparation for immediate professional practice. It includes the comprehensive Design Project involving team working. Students who pass this course are entitled to leave the University with the BA degree, however, this does not satisfy the requirements for Chartered Engineer. (Cambridge offers Bachelor of Arts degrees, even to scientists and engineers, for historical reasons).

Fourth year: Almost all students stay on to study the course in the fourth year termed Part IIB Chemical Engineering. This is an advanced course in Chemical Engineering that is intended as preparation for a long-term career in the discipline. The course provides the opportunity to study the subject in greater depth, to consider recent advances, and to undertake some original research work. It is a mixture of compulsory and optional modules including the opportunity to learn a foreign language, Students who pass this course are entitled to both the BA and MEng degrees. The MEng degree satisfies the academic requirements for full membership of the IChemE leading to Chartered Engineer status.

For more details see the Departmental website.

Directors of Studies

Dr Laura Torrente Murciano - Chemical Engineering

UCAS Code: via Engineering (MEng/CEE) H810 or Natural Sciences (MEng/CENS) H813

Entry Requirements

Please note that whilst A level Physics is desirable for both routes it is essential for those applying via Engineering. A2 Chemistry and Mathematics, or equivalent, are essential for either route and Further Mathematics is desirable.

Pre-Interview Assessment

Applicants for Chemical Engineering will need to sit the University's Pre-Interview Admissions Assessment for either Engineering or Natural Sciences, depending on the subject they intend to apply through, more information on which is available here.