Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering students

Naveen, Peter, Julie and Zsigi (4th year Chemical Engineers)

Welcome to the Chemical Engineering subject page at King’s. This provides an overview of Chemical Engineering at King’s, the Cambridge course, the Director of Studies at King’s, and information on how to apply for an undergraduate place.

Chemical Engineering at King's

King’s first Fellow in Chemical Engineering was also the first head of the Chemical Engineering Department, founded with a bequest from Shell in 1948. He was Terence Fox, famous in the Chemical Engineering world for stating that, ‘God’s greatest mistake at the creation was to frame the Navier Stokes equations in such a complex form.’ King's second Fellow in Chemical Engineering is the current Director of Studies, Geoff Moggridge. Thus the subject has a short, yet distinguished, history in the College.

Chemical Engineering graduates go on to successful jobs in a broad range of fields, and a large number pursue careers in the chemical and related industries. Cindy Crawford and the President of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Professor George Maxwell Richards, both studied Chemical Engineering (the latter is a graduate of the Department) – so really you can go on to do anything!

The Chemical Engineering Tripos (Tripos = course)

A student in the lab

Naveen working in the Chemical Engineering Department

The Cambridge Chemical Engineering course starts with a year studying Engineering or Natural Sciences. Students move to the Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology Department in their second year, and study an intensive two year course which brings them up to B.A. level and fulfills most of the Institute of Chemical Engineering’s requirements to register for Chartered Engineer status.

An optional fourth year (taken by almost all students), includes a wide choice of modules and a research project, bringing students up to M.Eng. level, and completes the IChemE’s educational requirements. Full details of the course and its options are available on the Department’s website.

A student perspective

Having just finished the course, Zsigi wrote about his experiences of Chemical Engineering, including what it was like to start at King's, the teaching, timetable and workload, moving from his first year in Natural Sciences to the Chemical Engineering department, and what there is to do when you're not working. This is well worth reading to get a sense of what studying Chemical Engineering at King's is really like. 

Chemical Engineering Director of Studies

Geoff Moggridge

Geoff Moggridge is the Fellow and Director of Studies in Chemical Engineering at King's. His research is concerned with structured materials, with a particular interest in environmental issues.

Applying to study Chemical Engineering

applying for chemical engineering

Applying with limited support?

Applications are welcome from suitably qualified students from anywhere in the UK, Europe or elsewhere in the world. For our most common offers in a range of examination systems see the entrance requirements page. Typically two to four students are accepted each year to read Chemical Engineering at King’s, although there are no quotas. Women are underrepresented in university Chemical Engineering courses. We therefore actively encourage applications from women to study Chemical Engineering at King's.

On your UCAS form, there are two courses to choose between:

  • Chemical Engineering via Engineering (UCAS code H810)
    First year Engineering + three years of Chemical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences (UCAS code H813)
    First year Natural Sciences + three years of Chemical Engineering

The application process for all subjects is explained on our how to apply page, which we advise applicants to read thoroughly in combination with the details below about the subject requirements, pre-interview-assessment, and interviews for Chemical Engineering (including additional assessment for via Engineering candidates).

Subject requirements

For Chemical Engineering via Engineering, the following subjects are essential:  Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. For students taking A levels, Further Mathematics at AS or A2 (or equivalent) would be excellent and we recommend that you take it in addition to Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry wherever possible. Biology can also be helpful. Please also see the further information.

For Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences, the following subjects are essential: Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics. For students taking A levels, Further Mathematics can be offered in place of Physics (mechanics modules within maths are better preparation than most physics modules). See the further information.

pre-interview assessment

All candidates for Chemical Engineering at King's are required to take a pre-interview written assessment for either Natural Sciences or Engineering (depending on your route choice), which will take place in schools and other assessment centres on 2 November 2017. You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the assessment. The registration deadline is 15 October 2017 and there is a deadline of 30 September if you normally get exam adjustments for a disability/Specific Learning Difficulty/long-term illness. Your assessment centre must register you for the pre-interview assessment (you can't register yourself).

Brief information about written assessments
Engineering assessment format and specimen papers
Natural Sciences assessment format and specimen papers
Important: If you're not registered by 15 October (30 Sept for special arrangements) you won't be able to take the assessment. Unfortunately, this would mean that your application is not valid.

Your performance in the assessment will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.


Most (but not all) candidates are invited for interview in King's, which take place in early December. If invited for interview, applicants for Chemical Engineering have the same interviews as either Engineering or Natural Sciences (Physical) candidates, except that one of the interviewers will be a Chemical Engineer.

additional assessment

Interview candidates for Chemcial Engineering via Engineering (only) also have a short seminar on an area of maths and/or physics which will be unfamiliar, followed by a written exercise based around the seminar material. There is also a more general King's Maths and Physics written test, which lasts one hour. Please see the Engineering page.

Resources and events

Further information

Subjects | Undergraduate study | Back to the top