Chemical Engineering

Develop the skills and knowledge to work on cross-disciplinary projects in industry and academia

Your Autumn term and academic year 2020–21

Your course will begin on schedule in the Autumn and we plan to reopen our campuses. Your teaching will be a combination of on-campus (in-person) and remote (online) learning and research opportunities. We call this ‘multi-mode’ delivery.  Depending on official government guidance throughout the entirety of the next academic year, the balance in the ‘multi-mode’ offering may be subject to change. We will do our best to provide you with increased on-campus teaching and research activities as we progress throughout the year.

We are looking forward to seeing you in person, if travel and visa arrangements allow. If you can’t travel to campus in time for the start of the academic year, you should immediately contact the Department using the details in the ‘Further information’ section below.

For more information about multi-mode delivery and the steps we’ll be taking to keep you safe on campus if you are able to join us, please see our COVID-19 information for applicants and offer holders.

Key information

Duration: 1 year full-time
Start dateOctober 2020
Location: South Kensington
ECTS: 90 credits

Course changes

The title of the course has been changed from MRes Molecular Science and Engineering to MRes Molecular Engineering with effect from September 2020. This course may have appeared in web and marketing materials published before this change was announced.

Introducing our MRes Molecular Science and Engineering.

Watch our video about our MRes Molecular Science and Engineering
Watch webinar: What is Molecular Science and Engineering?

Applications are now closed


Rapid innovation in industry and universities relies more than ever on a combination of engineering excellence and molecular-level science.

Are you a STEM graduate or professional? You could develop the skills needed to work at the interface of science and engineering.

This Master’s in Research (MRes) programme trains you through a combination of taught modules and a research project with industry. This programme will prepare you to work in multi-disciplinary teams, in both academia and industry.

Recent advances in molecular science allow us to make, measure and model materials with unprecedented accuracy. This presents an opportunity to engineer better materials and molecular systems, responding to today's challenges.

First, you will gain a grounding in the science and engineering aspects of this field. This includes designing, making, manufacturing, modelling, characterising and measuring the performance of molecules and materials. Scales will range from an atomic scale to systems level. You will gain valuable experience of working on cross-disciplinary research. Your sponsored industrial placement forms a key part of this.

This internationally unique course has been developed by the Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering, in collaboration with partners in industry. The student cohort typically comprises graduates from chemical engineering or chemistry degrees, as well as students with backgrounds in materials science and engineering, physics, bioengineering and other STEM subjects. The course will appeal to those with post-degree experience who are looking to upskill in modern research methodologies and accelerated innovation strategies.


This course will provide you with the with fundamental and applied skills for a multi-disciplinary PhD or career in industry. When you graduate, you will be well-placed to pursue other STEM-related opportunities. For example, in policy, science communication, consultancy, and technology translation.

Course structure

Your studies begin in Autumn with core modules taught by world-class experts from seven departments in the faculties of Natural Science and Engineering. Your six-month collaborative research project will start at the beginning of February and usually includes a three-month sponsored industrial placement. Throughout the year, you will undertake a bespoke programme of professional development skills courses and interactive workshops. You will also benefit from the learning and networking opportunities presented by the Institute’s seminar series.


Modules shown are for the current academic year and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Please note that the curriculum of this programme is currently being reviewed as part of a College-wide process to introduce a standardised modular structure. As a result, the content and assessment structures of this course may change for your year of entry. We therefore recommend that you check this course page before finalising your application and after submitting it as we will aim to update this page as soon as any changes are ratified by the College.

Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about changes we have made.


Introductory core modules

All students undertake both introductory modules:

Underpinning Molecular Science

Provides the scientific foundations upon which the advanced modules build. You will learn about the fundamental principles of molecular science, why molecules behave as they do, the aims and goals of molecular science and how these differ from a traditional engineering perspective. This module includes introductions to thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, molecular structure and characterisation, and equations of state, as well as an introduction to programming and coding.

Fundamentals of Molecular Engineering

Provides the engineering foundations upon which the advanced modules build. You will learn how to analyse macroscopic systems, how to manipulate process equations, the principles of design, and how the aims and goals of engineering differ from the aims and goals of science. This module includes introductions to process analysis, process modelling, life cycle analysis, atom economy, optimisation, and business for engineers.

Advanced core modules

All students undertake all of the advanced modules:

Design of Molecular Systems

Design problems in the real world are complex and often ill-posed. The module will focus on harnessing this complexity to develop tractable problem statements, including different and competing objectives. Students will be equipped with tools for solving design problems, from mathematical optimization to data-driven approaches. Case studies will be considered, taken from areas such as molecular and catalyst design.

Making – Synthesis of Polymeric Systems

You will learn about modern, sustainable methods for making polymers with particular properties. The module covers catalysis for synthesis, solvents for polymer processing, microfluidic approaches, synthesis from renewable resources, and design and applications of semi-conducting polymers.

Measuring – Analysis and Characterisation

This module introduces analysis and characterisation methods available to the modern molecular scientist and engineer. You will learn about the interactions between matter and radiation, electrons and probes, and how such phenomena can be used to interrogate systems. The programme will focus on four techniques: NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy, vibrational spectroscopy, micro 3D imaging, and scanning probe microscopy.

Manufacturing Processes

Students will learn about the scientific and design principles relevant to manufacturing processes and challenges. The module covers top-down vs bottom-up approaches, an introduction to prototype design, solids and formulation, polymer processing and biopolymers, thin film deposition and device fabrication (including a short lab course), and 3D printing.

Multiscale Modelling – Understanding, Visualising, and Predicting

This module covers key aspects of the modelling of matter from the atomic/molecular scale, through molecular assemblies and the mesoscale, to the plant scale, with an emphasis on industrial application. You will develop a detailed understanding of the various numerical approaches involved, and gain experience of coding and different software packages.

Research project

After the assessments of the advanced core modules, you will undertake a multi-disciplinary collaborative research project in our world-class facilities.

This project forms the heart of the MRes programme. It usually includes a three-month sponsored industrial placement where the research problem is clearly defined. Placements with national labs or in other universities may be possible. Projects are jointly supervised by two Imperial academics from different specialisms. A wide range of different project topics are offered, along with the possibility of tailoring projects to your interests and skills.

The project will start off with an assessed critical literature review and project proposal. You will then start work on the research, initially at Imperial and usually with some time spent on placement. You will present your initial results at an interim oral presentation to your peers and supervisors. Your research findings will be submitted as a short report in the style of a journal article, and you will present a poster summarising your results at the annual student symposium in September.

Course timetable

You will receive joining instructions before the start of term. You must be available to join the course from the first day of the academic year.

Your timetable will be accessible online – you will receive a link to this before the course starts. Core teaching hours are 9.00 to 18.00, Monday to Friday. Most teaching takes place at South Kensington, with a few classes at Imperial’s new White City campus (there is a free shuttle bus between campuses).

Please note that as this is a postgraduate degree, the course programme continues through undergraduate holidays. This is a 12-month course, running from approximately the beginning of October until the end of September but exact term dates vary.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

  • Traditional and “flipped” lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops and case studies
  • Computational exercises
  • Laboratory work
  • Individual project work
  • Seminars
  • On-line lecture materials
  • Cohort learning

Assessment methods

  • Independent project work (six months)
  • Problem sheets
  • Short individual projects
  • Oral presentations
  • Poster presentation
  • Lab report
  • Literature reviews
  • Written reports (including research article)
  • Written examinations (three in total)

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.


Minimum academic requirement

Our minimum requirement is a 2.1 degree in engineering or physical science.

International qualifications

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications.

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification.

For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College, and not specifically this Department.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirement (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

Additional information

The focus of this course is the interaction between molecular science and engineering. As such, applicants are expected to have a degree in an engineering subject (e.g. Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering) or physical science degree (e.g. Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science) or life sciences degree with a  good competency in mathematics.

Maths covered during an undergraduate degree in physical science or engineering would normally be sufficient.  If you are unsure whether your degree includes a suitable grounding in mathematics, please contact the Course Director Dr Niall Mac Dowell or Associate Director Dr Jerry Heng.

How to apply

How to apply

Making an application

All applicants must apply online.

For full details on the online application process, please visit the admissions website.

You can submit one application form per year of entry. You can usually choose up to two courses.

ATAS certificate (overseas candidates)

An ATAS certificate is required for all Non-EEA/Swiss nationals who require a visa to study in the UK.

To apply for an ATAS certificate online, you will need your programme details and the relevant Common Aggregation Hierarchy (CAH) code and ‘descriptor’. For this course, these are:

CAH codeDescriptor
CAH10-01-09 chemical, process and energy engineering

Your Tier 4 visa application, or extension of stay, will automatically be refused if you need an ATAS certificate and cannot provide one.
For further guidance on obtaining an ATAS certificate please see the information on our International Student Support website.

Tuition fees and funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

For more information on the funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees (Home and EU students)

2020 entry

£14,000 per year

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2020 will apply to fees for the academic year 2020–2021.

Tuition fees (Overseas and Islands students)

2020 entry

£32,500 per year

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2020 will apply to fees for the academic year 2020–2021.

Postgraduate Master's loan

If you are a Home or EU student who meets certain criteria, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the UK government.

For 2019-20 entry, the maximum amount was of £10,906. The loan is not means-tested and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.


We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Find out more about our scholarships to see what you might be eligible for.

There are a number of external organisations also offer awards for Imperial students, find out more about non-Imperial scholarships.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.

Further information


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Institute of Molecular Science and Engineering

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