Chemical engineering and biotechnology at Sidney Sussex is interdisciplinary, applied and dynamic. If you are keen to address some global challenges, this is the subject to choose.

Important Note Concerning Interviews for 2024

Please note, all undergraduate admissions interviews at Sidney Sussex for the 2024-25 admissions round will be held online. Further details regarding interview platform will follow.

Chemical engineering and biotechnology very much aim to provide practical solutions to some of the biggest challenges: environment and sustainable manufacturing, energy, food production and healthcare.

Such ambitious goals require building strong bridges across various disciplines; chemistry often meets mathematics, physics ventures into medicine, hard-core engineering learns from biology and all of them need to be aligned with the societal needs and ethics. There is no better way to dive into the subject than becoming a part of the diverse College community, where you can meet researchers and fellow students from all of these fields.

Many successful projects have been initiated over a lunch in the Hall, a stroll in the gardens, not to mention numerous sporting or cultural get-togethers; Sidney Sussex College provides that extra creativity boost that helps ideas to get turned into a possibility and a solution.  

Besides a Fellow in Chemical Engineering, who is a head of a research group and teaches within the Department of Chemical engineering and Biotechnology, Sidney has both Fellows and students from Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering and Medicine, who can provide insight, a piece of critical thought or simply a bit of comfort when concepts seem too complex.

Undergraduate Study

Modern chemical engineering and biotechnology is an interdisciplinary subject that requires excellent background in mathematics and natural sciences.

All applicants applying for entry from 2023 onward will no longer be able to apply to the previous Chemical Engineering course, which required students to study Engineering or Natural Sciences in their first year of University. Chemical Engineering is now an independent course, full details of which can be found here

The first year of the course focuses on the fundamentals of Chemical Engineering, which are expanded on in years two and three. The final year offers a breadth of specialised options, including bionanotechnology, biosensors, and advanced healthcare. Final year offers a breadth of specialised subjects such as bionanotechnology, biosensors, or advanced healthcare.  Full course details can be found here

Internships in companies are available and encouraged. A Director of Studies is on hand to provide support in choosing appropriate timing for extracurricular activities.


Watch the BioNano Engineering group in action

The University's BioNano Engineering group at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (CEB) are involved in lots of exciting research projects. Here they explore the use of enzyme-inspired systems and natural compounds to improve catalysis and develop greener ways to produce high value chemicals, and watch how they use nanomaterials in combination with bio elements as potent tools to deal with some biomedical challenges.

Written work

We will not ask you to submit any written work as part of your application.

Admissions assessment
  • All applicants for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology for 2025 entry are required to take the Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT) at an authorised assessment centre. You must register for this test by 16 September 2024.
  • Free practice materials, as well as information about the test format and the specification, will be available via the link above in May 2024.
  • All undergraduate admissions interviews at Sidney Sussex for the 2024-25 admissions round will be held online. Further details regarding interview platform will follow.
  • Two interviews. Both interviews will be subject-related. 
Subject requirements
Beyond the syllabus

Are you excited to learn more about the subject by delving beyond the school syllabus? Explore our Beyond the syllabus resource hub to discover interesting websites, podcasts, videos, and books related to the subject you love!

Typical intake

2 - 3

Typical A-level offer


Typical IB offer

41 - 42 points overall, with 776 at Higher Level

Postgraduate Study

You might choose Sidney for your postgraduate studies because its research and academic community is well-aligned with your postgraduate project, or simply because of the students that study related fields.

No matter why you choose Sidney, as a postgraduate student you automatically become a member of the College’s postgraduate community, also referred to as the Middle Combination Room (MCR). Sidney’s MCR is renowned in Cambridge for its creative and well-organised themed formal dinners, organic gardening community with their own vegetable garden in Herne Lodge, and excellent sporting and creative activities.

At the University of Cambridge applications for postgraduate study are processed centrally by the Postgraduate Admissions Office. The application form and supporting documents are submitted electronically via their website and the online self-service system, though academic decisions on applications are made by the Faculty or Department.


There are many funding opportunities at Cambridge from a wide variety of sources including the Cambridge Trust, Gates Cambridge, Colleges, Departments, Research Councils and central University funds. You can use the Postgraduate Admissions' Cambridge Funding Search to find out which type of funding you might be eligible for, and how and when to apply. They also operate a Postgraduate Funding Competition to co-ordinate some of these funding opportunities and make the process easier for you as an applicant.

To find information about the funds available for postgraduate students at Sidney, visit our Studentships and funding page.

Useful links

Course directory | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

Funding | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

How do I apply? | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

International students | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

Opportunities to work, travel, and study

The College is able to offer financial support for a number of student pursuits including:

  • Professional and research internships
  • Study awards
  • Vacation travel
  • Arts and music
  • Sport

While it will not be possible to provide support in all cases, current students are strongly encouraged to apply if they have a project which would benefit from financial support.

Discover more on our Opportunities to work, travel, and study page.