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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Students working on laptops in the department tea room

Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (BA/MEng) course structure

Disclaimer: the structure of the new course is described below. Some details of the syllabus are provisional and may change.

In a typical week, you'll:

  • attend 10 lectures
  • have 3 to 4 supervisions (These are small group meetings to guide independent study)
  • complete approximately 2 to 3 practical classes
  • work on projects and coursework


This will be a mixture of continuous assessments and coursework with exams at the end of the year.

First year (Part IA)

In your first year you’ll have an introduction to pure and applied sciences of chemical engineering and biotechnology. You’ll be introduced to concepts of process and product design.


You'll study modules covering these broad topics:

  • Introduction to chemical engineering and biotechnology
  • Sustainability
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Cell biology
  • Reaction engineering
  • Heat and mass transfer
  • Process development modelling
  • Mechanics and materials
  • Engineering design
  • Mechanical design and manufacturing
  • Practical classes in chemistry, cell biology and engineering/mechanical design.

Second year (Part IB)

You’ll be using the fundamentals taught in year one and learn about core applications such as  separations and reaction engineering. You’ll also learn how to apply supporting topics such as engineering maths in chemical engineering and biotechnology processes.


You'll study modules covering these broad topics:

  • Biotechnology fundamentals
  • Process thermodynamics
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Heat and mass transfer 
  • Separations
  • Engineering maths and probability
  • Fundamentals of physics
  • Practical classes in chemical engineering and biotechnology

Third year (Part II)

During the third year you’ll learn about advanced concepts and initial applications. You’ll use these to complete a design project starting from conceptualisation to a detailed industrial design.


You'll study modules covering these broad topics:

  • Advanced fluids
  • Equilibrium thermodynamics
  • Biotechnology applications
  • Separations
  • Reaction engineering
  • Solid processes
  • Process dynamics and control
  • Safety, health and environment
  • Process synthesis and design
  • Engineering ethics
  • Design project

Fourth year (Part III)

You’ll learn advanced topics and their applications as well as completing a research project with researchers in our department. There will also be the opportunity to choose from a range of advanced and broadening subjects. 


You'll study modules covering these broad topics:

  • Energy technology
  • Sustainability
  • Advanced design
  • A choice of advanced topics
  • Research project

Industrial experience

Industrial experience is not considered essential for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology students at Cambridge, but it is actively encouraged. Most undergraduates who want to get a vacation placement in a relevant industry are able to get one in the summer between years 3 and 4. Such positions are facilitated by staff members of the department. A smaller, but still significant, number of students are successful in getting vacation placements in industry in earlier years.

We do not offer sandwich degrees in which a student spends a year in industry in the middle of the degree course.

Key information

Entry requirements

A level: A*A*A 

IB: 40 to 42 points, with 776 higher level
See full list of entry requirements

Your A levels must include mathematics and chemistry. Physics, further maths or biology are the preferred third subjects.

Your IB must include higher level mathematics and chemistry.

Another mathematical or science subject is preferred for your third subject.

If you have studied other qualifications, check the entrance requirements.

You will also have to take the Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment as part of your application.


UCAS code: H810
MEng, 4 years of study
Or BA (Hons) degree, 3 years of study
Apply via UCAS

Typical intake

Accepted: up to 70 students


Available at all Colleges

Tuition fees

Visit our undergraduate website for full details about tuition fees

Contact details

Telephone: +44 (0)1223 748 999