The Admissions Process

The Admissions Process and Interviews

We recieve in excess of 1000 applications each year, from across the world, from students with a wide variety of qualifications, educational backgrounds and interests. Due to the level of competition, we use a two-stage admissions process in Chemistry:

Stage 1: We consider the entire UCAS application form in our shortlisting process for interview. This includes achieved and predicted grades, combination of subjects and level of qualifications, personal statement and reference. All personal statements and references are read in detail. In previous years, we typically short-listed up to 70-80% of applicants for interview, but this varies each year.

Stage 2: Interview performance and feedback then assist us in the offer-making decision process. In previous years, we typically made offers to up to 75% of interviewees, but this also varies each year.

We also use information about mitigating circumstances (such as health conditions, caring responsibilities, school disruption) that may have affected a student's education. We take information about school performance, the area in which a student lives and other factors in to account also, as part of our widening participation policy (see Inclusive Admissions Process drop-down below).

Short-listed applicants will be invited for an academic interview. This year (2021-22 UCAS application cycle), all interviews will be via Microsoft Teams with two experienced members of Chemistry academic staff, which will last approx. 20 minutes.** We are looking to see your motivation and enthusiasm for Chemistry and will be discussing your interests in Chemistry and outside the subject.  It will include questions about Chemistry-related topics, to assess your overall background knowledge and understanding, and your problem-solving skills - your thought-process in using your knowledge to work out solutions to problems. Your personal statement or topics of particular interest to you are likely starting points for the Chemistry part of the discussion.

**Students applying for the MSci Chemistry with French, German or Spanish for Science programmes (F1R1, F1R2, F1R4) who are short-listed for interview, will have their language skills assessed by a relevant tutor from the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication. These interviews are longer, approx. 35 mins.

We will contact all interviewees directly by e-mail, to inform them if we are able to make them an offer. The detailed offer conditions can only be seen online by logging in to UCAS Track (as per UCAS guidelines), which will be updated online soon after a decision has been made.


Change to Offer-making Timeline for 2021-2022 UCAS Application Cycle

This application cycle (for 2022 entry), shortlisting for interview will take place as normal throughout the application cycle, with interviews taking place from November until early February. However, we have changed when we will be making post-interview offer-decisions. We will now be making all offer decisions AFTER ALL interviews are complete, instead of on a weekly basis. We will aim to contact all applicants by the end of February/beginning of March with a decision, after which, UCAS will be updated as explained above.

We do appreciate that waiting a long time for a decision may be difficult, but we are always available to help answer questions and support our applicants throughout the admissions process. We have made this change to allow us to comprehensively assess all applications at the same time, to further increase the fairness and equality of our offer-making decision process. This will help us ensure that through our competitive admissions process

Inclusive and Contextual Admissions

The Department is committed a fair and inclusive admissions process, and to widening participation of under-represented groups and supporting them in accessing higher education. All applications are reviewed in their entirety, on a case-by-case basis, and we use academic interviews to assist in the offer decision-making process. Predicted grades are not the sole factor we look at in assessing future potential, and we also take in to account mitigating circumstances or contextual information, which may have had an impact on an applicant’s education.

The Faculty of Natural Sciences have approved a widening participation (WP) policy as part of a wider WP policy for the college. To find out more information, please visit the Admissions Schemes webpage.

For the 2021-22 UCAS application cycle, our interview days and interviews will all be online. No travel will therefore be required for attending interviews.

PLEASE NOTE: The department is currently unable to accommodate visitors due to current COVID restrictions and guidelines, but we are discussing the possibility of running visit days for offer-holders to campus from March/April 2022.

Subject Requirements for 2022 Entry 


A LevelsChemistry student

Minimum entry standard for 2022 entry: AAA overall.

Typical three A-level offer: A*AA – A*A*A.

  • A* / A in Chemistry (A* is usually required)
  • A* / A in Mathematics
  • A in a third subject: preferably Biology, Physics, Further Mathematics or Economics**

If made an offer, you will be required to achieve a pass in the practical endorsement in all science subjects that form part of the offer. The practical endorsement is part of the reformed English linear A-levels. There is no practical endorsement for A-levels taken in Wales, nor international versions taken in other countries (e.g. CAIE, Pearson).

Our minimum AAA entry is our contextual offer for students. Most offers are higher than this, and all offers are made based on a combination of the UCAS application, academic potential, motivation for Chemistry and interview performance.

**Please see note under Combination of Subjects tab below.


International Baccalaureate (IB)

We require an overall typical score of 39-40 points (minimum 38), including:

  • 6 / 7 in Higher Level Chemistry (7 is usually required)
  • 6 / 7 in Higher Level Mathematics
  • 6 in a third subject at Higher Level: preferably Biology, Physics or Economics**

**Please see note under Combination of Subjects tab below. 


For entry from 2021 onwards, the Mathematics Analysis and Approaches or the Applications and Interpretation syllabi will BOTH be accepted at higher level with NO preference.


Advanced Placements (AP)

We require the following AP subjects (where taken alongside SATs or ACTs):

  • 5 in AP Chemistry and 5 in AP Calculus BC
  • 5 in a third AP subject: preferably Biology, Physics C (either stream), Microeconomics or Macroeconomics**

We are unable to accept SATs or ACT on their own in the place of Advanced Placements. Some offers may include a fourth AP subject. We usually require 5-6 subjects when presented without SATs or ACTs.

**Please see note under Combination of Subjects tab below. 


Cambridge Pre-U

Our typical three-subject offer:

  • D2/D3 in Chemistry (D2 is usually required)
  • D2/D3 in Mathematics
  • D3 in a third subject: preferably Biology, Physics, Further Mathematics or Economics**

**Please see note under Combination of Subjects tab below.  


Scottish Advanced Highers

  • A in Chemistry and A in Mathematics
  • A in a third subject: preferably Biology, Economics, Physics**

We are unable to accept Scottish Highers, only Advanced Higher qualifications.

**Please see note under Combination of Subjects tab below. 


Irish Leaving Certificate

  • H1 in Chemistry and H1 in Mathematics
  • H1 in a third subject: preferably Biology, Economics, Physics**
  • H2 in three other subjects

**Please see note under Combination of Subjects tab below. 

European Baccalaureate

Typically, we require 82.5% overall, including:

  • 9 in Chemistry and 8.5 in Mathematics.**

**Please see note under Combination of Subjects tab below. 


Singapore-Cambridge GCE A-Levels (SIPCAL)

  • A in Chemistry at H2 level and A in Mathematics at H2 level
  • A in a third subject at H2 level: preferably Biology, Economics, Physics**

 A Merit in a subject at H3 level would be accepted in lieu of A at H2.

**Please see note under Combination of Subjects tab below. 


English Language Requirements

All applicants must meet our minimum English language qualification requirement. See the Language Requirements tab below for further details, including additional language requirements for applicants to our Research Abroad (F104, F101) or Language for Science (F1R1, F1R2, F1R4) programmes.

Other Qualifications Information

Other Qualifications

We are happy to accept many other types of qualifications, such as the French Baccalaureate, Romanian Baccalaureat, German Abitur (Leistungskurse level only), Austrian Abitur, Diploma di Esame di Stato, Spanish Bachillerato, Polish Matura, Apolytirion, Canadian High School Diploma, HKDSE, CBSE-AISSE / CISCE-ISC or CAPE.

Please contact the Chemistry Admissions team (details on the left) for more detailed information and enquiries, or click here to see the minimum college entry academic requirements.

Combination of Subjects

In addition to pre-requisite subjects Chemistry and Mathematics, we prefer the third subject offered to be: Biology, Physics or Economicsand we will also accept Further Maths. Economics is preferred for our MSci Chemistry with Management degree programmes (F1NF, FN11).

We will consider applications from students with alternative third subjects, only under limited circumstances, and where the subject may contribute valuable relevant skills towards the chosen undergraduate degree programme. This includes, for example, the relevant language for one of our three Language for Science degrees (F1R1, F1R2, F1R4).

Combination of subjects is one of several important factors we consider when short-listing applicants for interview for their chosen degree programme. General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.


Physics is required for the MSci Chemistry with Molecular Physics degree programmes (F1F3/F1FH). Biology is preferred (but not required) for the MSci Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry degree programmes (F124/F125).

We are unable to accept applications without A-level Mathematics, or equivalent Maths qualification (e.g. IB HL Maths, AP Calculus BC etc.). There are no exceptions to this rule unfortunately.

Language Requirements

English Language Requirements for ALL students

All candidates must have a minimum English language qualification of at least grade B/6 at GCSE/iGCSE or other equivalent qualification or proficiency test (equivalent to CEFR level A2-B1, e.g. IELTS, TOEFL, PTE).

For details of acceptable English language qualifications, and the minimum grades required by the College, please see the English language requirements for undergraduate applicants webpage.

Chemistry has set its requirements at Imperial College’s Higher Level for English Language.

Language requirements for MSci Chemistry with “a Language” for Science

For students applying for MSci Chemistry with French, German or Spanish for Science (F1R1, F1R2, F1R4), we require grade B at AS-level in that language, or an equivalent qualification (CEFR Level B1-B2). An A-level or equivalent would be preferred but is not essential. Language skills are usually assessed at interview.

Language requirements for MSci Chemistry with Research Abroad degrees

For students applying for MSci Chemistry with Research Abroad degrees (F104, F101), we typically require at least grade B at iGCSE/GCSE in the relevant language (or equivalent qualification, at CEFR Level A2-B1) where the placement takes place in a non-English speaking country. There are no additional language requirements for placements in countries where English is widely used. Students will have a language assessment once enrolled, to assess the most appropriate level of study.

Additional FAQs relating to your application

Here is some additional information about the Admissions Process, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to your application. You can obtain a wider overview on our main admissions Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

The Admissions Process

Should I apply for more than one course?

We strongly recommend applying for only ONE of our Chemistry degree courses. There are no individual quotas for each course and our entry criteria are the same. In addition, there are opportunities to transfer between the chemistry degree courses at a later date.

Is it easy to change between the Chemistry courses offered?


Years 1 and 2 of all degree programmes follow the same core Chemistry content/modules, supplemented by one ancillary module that is designed for specific degree programmes. This structure allows many of our students the opportunity to transfer to a different degree programme up until the end of Year 1 (or end of Year 2 in some cases) providing they have studied the appropriate ancillary subject and/or meet certain pre-requisites.

Students must confirm their Chemistry ancillary module choices in early November each year, and the deadline for enrolment on a Horizons/Language ancillary is early-mid October. Ancillary choice does have an influence on some degree programme options.

Are entry requirements different for BSc and MSci courses?

The minimum entry requirements for all our courses are equivalent and are currently set at AAA at A-level including Maths and Chemistry (contextual offer). The third A-level specified by us in your offer is dependent upon the A-level subjects you are studying and the course applied for (see the Combination of Subjects tab above).

Our typical offer though varies from A*AA to A*A*A, and the conditions of the offer depend on a variety of different factors (entire UCAS application plus interview feedback).

Please see the Subject Requirements for 2022 entry section above for information on other qualifications.

Will I be required to attend an interview?

We require all students who are shortlisted in the first step of the Admissions process to attend an interview as part of a virtual interview day. During the 2021-22 UCAS application cycle, all interview days will be online and interviews offered via Microsoft Teams.

In addition to a 20 minute interview, this year there will be informative pre-recorded talks on studying at Imperial College, student finance, accommodation, student life and our White City campus. There will be the opportunity to meet and talk to current undergraduate students and to the admissions tutor at online Q&A sessions in the morning, specifically for those invited to attend an interview.

Most interviews will be offered in the afternoon on Wednesdays. Some will take place in the morning to accommodate overseas applicants in certain time zones.

Please see the Admissions and Interview Process section above or the main Admissions FAQ webpage for more information.