Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology is a broad discipline involving elements of Chemistry, Physics, Biochemistry, Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering. Chemical Engineers and Biotechnologists also need to know about Economics, Safety, the Environment and Sustainability.


Number of students per year
Typical offer

The minimum offer level is A*A*A at A-level, or 7 7 6 from Higher Level subjects (42+ overall) in the IB. For other qualifications, please see the University entrance requirements page.


Essential subjects

Mathematics, Chemistry, and at least one of Biology, Physics, or Further Mathematics (or equivalent). For the IB, these subjects must be taken at Higher Level.

IB applicants are expected to take IB Higher Level 'Analysis and Approaches' if available at your school. If this is not an option for you, please email and we'll advise you.

Candidates must take the Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT). If you are applying through UCAS in 2024, you will take the test on 15 or 16 October 2024. You must take the test in this first sitting. You should make sure to register for the ESAT by 16 September 2024.


Useful subjects

Further Mathematics at A-level or equivalent may be useful preparation for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology.

Chemical Engineering at Clare

Clare is a great place to study chemical engineering and biotechnology. The main college site is right in the heart of the city centre, but with easy access from the Backs to the department on the West Cambridge site.

Clare is also strong in Natural Sciences and Engineering, providing excellent teaching support, as well as complementing your ongoing chemical engineering and biotechnology studies onwards.

Chemical Engineers are involved in the conversion of raw materials into valuable products, usually on an industrial scale. Biotechnologists use living systems and organisms to make valuable products. This can take many forms including the production of plastics, the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, the conversion of sunlight to electricity or chemical fuels, the refining of oil to produce petrochemicals, food processing, and wastewater treatment. The need for sophisticated products and sustainable processes means chemical engineers and biotechnologists are in great demand. The Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology in Cambridge covers many of these areas, and has a strategic focus on sustainability, energy and healthcare.

Clare offers a very good balance between college and department, allowing students to get the most out of their time in Cambridge. 

We are searching for bright applicants who have an enquiring mind and an interest in applying science practically to solve real-world problems. 

Visit the University's subject page for more information.

Dr Sam Stranks' advice for prospective applicants: Students might want to think about where the modern chemical engineer plays a key role in developing and scaling new technologies to play important roles in tackling global challenges over the coming decades. Examples might include the challenges of scaling up new, green energy technologies to propel the energy transition, or the challenges of scaling up new vaccines in a rapid fashion to combat new pandemics

Sam Stranks

Dr Stranks' research focuses on the optical and electronic properties of emerging semiconductors including halide perovskites, carbon allotropes and organic semiconductors for low-cost electronics applications such as photovoltaics and lighting. Sam is a co-founder of Swift Solar, a startup developing lightweight perovskite PV panels.

SAM STRANKS Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology
Director of Studies in Chemical Engineering