PhD scholarships in chemical engineering

Phd Students in the lab

The Department of Chemical Engineering has up to 10 fully-funded scholarships available for outstanding PhD applicants each year. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, you are expected to have obtained (or be heading for) a First Class Honours degree at Master’s level (or equivalent) in chemical engineering, another branch of engineering or a related science.

The standard period of the scholarship is 42 months. The scholarships are open to all applicants regardless of their fee status, and cover both tuition fees and an annual tax-free contribution to maintenance costs of £16,553.

How the departmental scholarship scheme works

How to apply

In order to be considered for the Chemical PhD Scholarships, you will need to submit an application for admission through the online admissions system. The Progamme is Chemical Engineering Research - Full Time. Your application form must include:

  • Full transcripts of your university studies to date
  • A personal statement to support your application, which should outline your research interest and experience
  • A copy of your English Language certificate (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.

The scholarships are very competitive and you should demonstrate an outstanding academic record and research skills. Applications will be considered by an academic selection panel, which meets twice a year. The application timeline is as follows:

Round 1:

  • Application deadline: 31 October for entry in October of the following year
  • The shortlisting panel will meet in late November and interviews will be held in late November or early December
  • Successful candidates will be sent a list of available projects and supervisors within a week of the last interview and we will endeavour to allocate projects by the end of December

Round 2:

  • Application deadline: 30 April for entry in October of the same year
  • The shortlisting panel will meet in late May and interviews will be held in late May or early June
  • Successful candidates will be sent a list of available projects and supervisors within a week of the last interview and we will endeavour to allocate projects by the end of June

The majority of scholarships is likely to be allocated in Round 1. We therefore recommend that you submit your PhD application in time for the Round 1 deadline.

The selection process for departmental and College scholarships

Our aim is to select the most outstanding PhD students and offer them financial support. In the interest of fairness, we have one selection process for all the scholarships that are administered by the College. You will need to submit your PhD application by the following deadlines in order to be considered for the Chemical Engineering PhD Scholarships or any other scholarships which are administered by the College (e.g. the President's Scholarships, the CSC Imperial scholarships):

  • Round 1:  31 October for entry in October of the following year
  • Round 2:  30 April for entry in October of the same year

Please note that where there is a later deadline advertised for College scholarships, the departmental deadline before the College deadline will apply, as you will need to go through the departmental selection process, including interviews, before we can put you forward for a College Scholarship. For example, if you are a Chinese national and would like to be considered for the CSC Imperial Scholarship, you will need to submit your PhD application by 31 October, even if the College deadline is not until January. The majority of scholarships is likely to be allocated in Round 1. We therefore recommend that you submit your PhD application in time for the Round 1 deadline.

An academic selection panel will screen the applications that demonstrate the necessary achievement and potential and will shortlist the most outstanding candidates for interview. If you are shortlisted and successful in your interview, you will be sent a list of available projects and supervisors and asked to select 2 projects offered by different supervisors in the order of your choice.

Once we have received the project selections from all the successful candidates, we will contact your first-choice and ask them if they are happy to take you on under the departmental scholarship scheme. If there is more than one successful applicant who wants to work with the same supervisor, the supervisor will be asked to choose the student who is most suited to the project. If you are not selected by your first-choice supervisor, we will contact your second-choice supervisor. If you are not selected by either of the supervisors, we will try our best to match you up with another eligible supervisor.

We will consider all successful applicants for any scholarships offered at College level and put forward the most outstanding candidates who fit the eligibility criteria for a particular scholarship.

What happens if my scholarship application is unsuccessful?

All the scholarships offered through the Department are highly competitive and it can happen that candidates who are academically very good will not be selected because the competition was too high. If your application meets the expected standard, we will make it available to potential supervisors, as they may be looking for good students for funded projects. You may be contacted by a supervisor with details of a particular project and invited for interview.

If you have your own funding, either as a self-funded student, or through an external sponsor (such as a sponsoring company, your employer, or the government of your home country), you will need to identify a potential supervisor (the list of academic research groups may be useful) who is prepared to supervise you subject to successful interview with an independent academic panel. The supervisor will need to put you forward for the next round of self-funded interviews. These interviews normally take place in March, June, September and December.

What can I expect in the interview?

The scholarship interviews last for 20 minutes and will be held by a panel of academic staff, normally chaired by the Postgraduate Admissions Tutor. If you are based in or near London, the interview will be held in person; otherwise it will be by Skype video call. You should be prepared to answer technical questions related to your research interest, questions about your motivation, and generally demonstrate that you are an outstanding student.

When will I find out about my application?

We have two selection rounds for the Chemical Engineering PhD Scholarships and any of the College scholarships:

Round 1:

  • Application deadline: 31 October for October entry in the following year
  • The shortlisting panel will meet in late November and interviews will be held in late November or early December
  • Successful candidates will be sent a list of available projects and supervisors within a week of the last interview and we will endeavour to allocate projects by the end of December

Round 2:

  • Application deadline: 30 April for October entry in the same year
  • The shortlisting panel will meet in late May and interviews will be held in late May or early June
  • Successful candidates will be sent a list of available projects and supervisors within a week of the last interview and we will endeavour to allocate projects by the end of June

The majority of scholarships is likely to be allocated in Round 1. We therefore recommend that you submit your PhD application in time for the Round 1 deadline.

Your application will be screened within 6 weeks of it reaching us. If your qualifications fall below the expected standard, we will make the final decision within 8 weeks of your application reaching us. If they meet the requirement, you will be considered by the selection panel in the next applicable scholarship round and your application will also be made available to potential supervisors in case they have funded projects available.

Who do I contact if I have any questions?

If you have any questions about the application process or any specific queries that are related to a PhD in the Department of Chemical Engineering our your PhD application, please e-mail Susi Underwood, the Postgraduate Office Manager.

If you already hold an offer and have specific queries about fulfilling your offer condition, please contact the Engineering Admissions team.

Please remember to quote your College ID (CID) in all correspondence with the College.