PhD programme in Chemical Engineering

PhD students The PhD in Chemical Engineering is a 3 to 4-year research degree which may be undertaken in one of the Department's research themesacademic research groups and/or research centres and institutes.


PhD programme information


In order to be considered for a PhD in our Department, you will need to submit an online application form.

Your application form must include:

  • Full transcripts of your university studies to date (some information on the College’s academic requirements for postgraduate studies can be found here)
  • A personal statement to support your application, which should outline your research interest and experience (PLEASE NOTE: you do not need to submit a research proposal for a PhD in Chemical Engineering: where the system instigates a research proposal, please submit a personal statement instead)
  • Details of your English language qualification (if applicable - the language requirement can be found here: where there are 2 levels we require the higher level)
  • The contact details of 2 referees, at least one of whom must be an academic referee (for example your project supervisor or personal tutor). You will be asked to give the e-mail addresses of the referees, which will trigger reference requests directly to the referees. Please do not upload reference letters, as the references must come directly from the referees. References are confidential between the referee and the College. Please note that the e-mail addresses must be personal institutional addresses (university or company e-mail addresses) rather than webmail addresses, as these are not acceptable.

 Chemical Engineering PhD Scholarships and other College-administered scholarships:

Oustanding applicants will be considered for the Chemical Engineering PhD Scholarships and any College-administered scholarships. Detailed information about timelines and the selection process can be found on the Chemical Engineering PhD Scholarships web page.

Deadlines are 31 October for Round 1 and 30 April for Round 2 for entry in the following academic year. The selection for College-administered scholarships, such as the President’s PhD Scholarships and the CSC-Imperial Scholarships will be made from the pool of successful candidates for the Chemical Engineering PhD Scholarships.

You will not need to identify a supervisor in order to be considered for the PhD scholarships, as successful candidates will be sent a list of available supervisors and research topics after interview.

 Self- or externally funded applicants:

  If you would like to be considered as a self-funded applicant or if you are in receipt of external sponsorship, such as government funding, you will need to meet our entry requirements and pass an interview with an independent panel chaired by the Postgraduate Admissions Tutor. These interviews normally take place in September, December, March and June. In order to be included in a self-or externally funded interview round, you will need to have the support of a potential supervisor.

 Applications will be screened by the admissions team and those that meet the expected standard for PhD studies will be made available to potential supervisors for consideration.

Financial support and scholarships

Chemical Engineering PhD Scholarships and DTP Studentships

Unless you state specifically in your application that you have already secured funding and do not wish to be considered for any of the College scholarships, you will automatically be considered for the Chemical Engineering PhD Scholarships and any other College-administered scholarships for which you may be eligible.

In addition, there is a limited number of EPSRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) available. These are allocated during the selection process for the Chemical Engineering PhD Scholarships to suitable candidates who fulfil the eligibility criteria set out by EPSRC. Most of these are expected to be allocated in the April round each year.

Funding offered by Academics

Some funding is project specific and therefore linked to specific supervisors. These are usually advertised on our Opportunities page. You do not need to submit several applications in order to be considered for various projects. If appropriate, you may want to submit a revised personal statement. Once you have submitted an online application, you can be considered for any suitable projects, providing you meet our entry requirements.

Unsuccessful applications for PhD Scholarships can be made available to potential supervisors, in case anyone has suitable funding. Please note that not all these opportunities are advertised, as sometimes suitable candidates can be identified from the pool of existing candidates.

Research areas

The Department adopts an interdisciplinary approach to research, with interests ranging from fundamentals to practical applications.  The research activities of the Department fall into at least one of the following nine research themes:

Key stages during PhD registration

Upon arrival

  • registration with the College (online and in person, if appropriate) and with the Department (Postgraduate Office)
  • attend any relevant safety inductions, familiarise yourself with the departmental safety documentation and take all necessary tests
  • if you are a non-native speakers of English, you will need to fulfil the Postgraduate English Requirement as soon as possible after enrolling onto your PhD.

Research plan (Month 1)

  • title and objectives of your research project
  • a more detailed plan for the first year
  • a detailed plan of the first 9 months
  • appointment of assessor for ESA and LSR
  • to be submitted to the Postgraduate Office Manager (Susi Underwood) within 1 month of initial registration

Early stage Assessment (Month 9)

  • PhD confirmation report to be submitted to assessor with copies to supervisors and Postgraduate Office Manager in Month 9 of registration
  • oral presentation and exam (30 mins presentation followed by oral exam assessed by the assessor appointed in the research plan)
  • 2 professional skills courses plus the online plagiarism awareness course
  • Risk assessment (if PhD project involves experimental work)
  • summary of 3 seminars in the Distinguished Seminar Series
  • further English test if required after initial test

Late stage review (Month 21)

  • report of about 5 pages to be submitted to assessor with copies to supervisor(s) and Postgraduate Office Manager in Month 21 of registration and to include:
  • overview of achievements to date
  • research plan (including objectives that have already been accomplished, thoses that are yet to be met, those that will be achieved prior to submission)
  • a list of papers/ presentations/ posters that you have given as part of your PhD thus far
  • 2 additional professional skills courses
  • summary of 3 more seminars in the Distinguished Seminar Series
  • if there are no concerns about your progress, the LSR can be completed by e-mail, otherwise there may be a mini-viva of about 1 hour

Full details of the various stages during the PhD can be found in the Chemical Engineering PhD Handbook.

Further information


The teaching and research laboratories are exceptionally well equipped and fully backed by comprehensive technical services. First-class computing facilities are provided.

Employment prospects

Our graduates quickly go on to jobs including industry, academic and related, consulting, finance, software and many other sectors.


Each PhD student has both a supervisor and an cohort mentor of the academic staff. In addition, each PhD student is allocated an assessor who will carefully monitor the progress at various stages during the PhD.