Enjoy laboratory experience designed to develop your practical, analytical and theoretical skills.

Chemistry at Imperial includes extensive experience of practical chemistry through a wide range of laboratory-based activities. This forms part of an interdisciplinary curriculum, designed to help students link concepts from across different topics and develop their problem-solving skills.

Undergraduate practical work is supported by state-of-the-art facilities at our teaching hub in South Kensington, and in the Molecular Sciences Research Hub (MSRH) on our White City Innovation Campus. Final-year undergraduate projects and some lectures will take place at White City. A free return shuttle bus service is available from our South Kensington Campus.

Our wide choice of degree programmes and module options, means you have a high level of flexibility to follow your own interests and career goals through opportunities including overseas study, a year in industry or research, and combined studies in languages or in Imperial College Business School.

Discover courses in the Department of Chemistry in our undergraduate prospectus.

Admissions process and entry requirements

We welcome applications through UCAS for all of our BSc and MSci Chemistry degree programmes. Please see below for detailed information about our admissions process, entry requirements, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Accordion widget: Admissions processes

Admissions process and interviews

We receive 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, and motivation for studying Chemistry is an important consideration for us. For the 2022-23 application cycle, we aim to shortlist approx. 700 applicants for interview.

Stage 2

Interview performance and feedback then assist us in the offer-making decision process, alongside the UCAS application. Applicants must attend an interview before an offer decision can be made. For the 2022-23 application cycle, we aim to make offers to approx. 450-500 applicants following interview.

We also use information about mitigating circumstances (such as health conditions, caring responsibilities, family difficulties or 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 into account also, as part of the college’s Widening Participation access scheme (see Inclusive Admissions Process drop-down below).

Interview process and offers

Shortlisting for interview will occur throughout the application cycle. We will contact all applicants directly, to confirm if we are able to invite them to interview.

Short-listed applicants will be invited for an academic interview. 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 familiar and unfamiliar 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 will be starting points for the Chemistry part of the discussion.

Interviews take place from November 2022 until February 2023. We will be making ALL offer decisions only after all interviews are complete (not on a weekly basis, as we did up until 2020-21). We will aim to contact all applicants directly by e-mail, by early March 2023 with a decision. You should be able to see this updated on UCAS Track by the end of March.

We do appreciate that waiting a long time for a decision after interview 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, we give all applicants due consideration, taking into account their individual circumstances as best as we are able.

Inclusive and contextual admissions

The Department is committed to 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 into account mitigating circumstances or contextual information, which may have had an impact on an applicant’s education.

The Faculty of Natural Sciences have approved Widening Participation (WP) guidelines. Chemistry is part of the “Guaranteed Interviews” scheme, one of four such schemes offered by Imperial College. To find out more information, please visit the Admissions Schemes webpage.

Our interview days and interviews will all be online, run through Microsoft Teams. No travel will therefore be required for attending interviews.

We are currently discussing the possibility of running optional visit days for offer-holders after Easter 2023.

Qualifications and requirements

Requirements for 2024 entry

A Levels

Minimum entry standard for 2024 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 linear A-levels in England only. 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 the majority of students who meet our widening participation criteria. We also make some AAA offers to some other students with mitigation, depending on their individual circumstances. 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, plus widening participation factors or mitigating circumstances.

**Please see note under Combination of Subjects tab.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

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

7 / 6 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. 

Note regarding HL Mathematics qualification: The Mathematics Analysis and Approaches and 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 expect AP Calculus BC to have been taken after Calculus AB. We also usually require 5-6 subjects at grade 5 when presented without SATs or ACTs.

**Please see note under Combination of Subjects tab. 

Cambridge Pre-U

Our typical three-subject offer:

D2/D3 in Chemistry (D2 is usually required)
D3/D2 in Mathematics
D3 in a third subject: preferably Biology, Physics, Further Mathematics or Economics**
**Please see note under Combination of Subjects tab.  

Scottish Advanced Highers

A in Chemistry

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. 

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. 

 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. 

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. 

International Foundation Programme: UCL UPCSE

We require a minimum of 70% overall, including:

80% in Chemistry and 80% in Mathematics**
This is the only foundation year programme we are able to accept.

**Please see note under Combination of Subjects tab

English Language Requirements

All applicants must meet our minimum English language qualification requirement. See the Language Requirements tab for further details. There may be additional language requirements for applicants to our Research Abroad (F104, F101) programmes.

Other qualifications

We are happy to accept many other types of qualifications, such as the French Baccalaureate (requires Advanced Mathematics), Romanian Baccalaureat, German Abitur (Leistungskurse level only), Austrian Abitur, Italian Diploma di Esame di Stato, Spanish Bachillerato, Polish Matura, Greek and Cypriot Apolytirion (in combination with A-Levels), Canadian High/Secondary School Diploma, HKDSE, Malaysian Higher School Certificate (STPM), Indian CBSE-AISSE / CISCE-ISC or CAPE.

Please contact the Chemistry Admissions team for more detailed information and enquiries. You can also view the minimum college entry academic requirements online.

Combination of subjects

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

We will only be able to consider applications from students with alternative third subjects, under limited circumstances. This includes where a student meets our Widening Participation criteria, has had disadvantage in their education or mitigating circumstances, and where the subject may contribute valuable relevant skills towards the chosen undergraduate degree programme.

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.

Note on subject requirements

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.

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 equivalent 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 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 (France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland). There are no additional language requirements for placements in countries where English is widely used. Students will have a language assessment after enrolling, to assess the most appropriate level of study.

Admissions Support

Please note that the FAQs below will be updated as information changes. There may be some delays in these changes.

Admissions FAQs

Visiting the Chemistry Department before application

When can I visit the department?

The College usually hosts undergraduate Open Days three times a year: two in June and one in September. These are now back on the South Kensington campus, and have been supported by a virtual session and throughout the year by the Imperial360 website. You can view open day details, College events and talks, or take a virtual tour, navigating from our Visit Imperial page.

We have accommodated occasional requests to visit the Department of Chemistry where we have staff available. We are usually unable to do so during term time, however, due to teaching commitments and the large number of undergraduate students studying on campus.

We now run post-Easter visit days for offer-holders in April. 

Can I look around accommodation when I visit the department?

As the accommodation is in use during term time by our current students, we prefer not to disturb them during this part of the year. Tours of accommodation are organised centrally and are available to view during the College Open Days.

Completing your application

When is the application deadline?

The UCAS application deadline for 2023 entry is 25th January 2023.

Please ensure you apply before this date so that your application may be appropriately considered. We will be unable to accept applications after this date and we do not take part in UCAS Extra, Clearing nor Adjustment.

All applications are treated equally, based on their individual merits, regardless of date of application.

Course Choices

I am not sure whether I should apply to do a BSc or MSci chemistry course can I change during my course?

Transfers can be processed up to any point until the degree courses diverge; for MSci / BSc transfers this is normally at the end of year 2.  We would normally recommend people apply for the MSci course and then transfer down to the BSc as this tends to make things easier from a funding perspective.

I see that you offer an MSci, rather than an MChem degree programme. What is the difference between these qualifications?

The decision to offer an MSci (rather than the MChem offered by some other institutions) is an institutional decision. There is no distinction in level, status or professional acceptability of the two awards which are both level 7 integrated Master’s degrees. If applicants want further details about the two awards they should look to the Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree Awarding Bodies (FHEQ).

I am interested in more than one chemistry course that you offer - should I put them all down?

Our courses have broad appeal, and it is not surprising that you might want to apply for more than one.  We consider all applications for our courses together and so we recommend that you put down the course that interests you the most. It is possible to transfer onto another course in your first year provided you meet the pre-requisites for that course (for example, A level physics is required for transfer to the Chemistry with Molecular Physics programmes).

Education and Exams

Does the department recognise the Extended and International Project Qualifications?

The extended project qualification (EPQ) and international project qualification (IPQ) are both really positive additions to your education. However, we do not use them to shortlist candidates for interview as we recognise that these options are not available to every student. An EPQ or IPQ would also not form part of an offer nor be used in making adjusted offers. They are of immense value though in terms of your own personal and skills development, and can provide additional support to your personal statement. The EPQ and IPQ do not offer any intrinsic advantage to applicants though.

I have decided to resit an exam (or some exams) - will this affect my application?

  1. We will consider the final grades you achieve without discrimination over those applying without resits. Each year we welcome students resitting exams, including students reapplying to us after taking a gap year. You should make it clear on your UCAS application what you are re-sitting. You should do this by detailing your qualifications in the ‘Completed qualification’ (with your current grade) section and the ‘Not yet completed’ qualification section.

Do you accept non-science subjects like Business Studies, English Literature, History, Geography, Psychology etc. as a third subject alongside Chemistry and Maths?

Whilst we do not currently specify a ‘required’ third subject for most of our degree programmes (*with the exception of our ‘...with Molecular Physics’ programmes), our preference is for a third scientific subject. Our preferred third subjects are Biology, Economics, Further Maths and Physics.

We will only be able to consider a third subject in another area under limited circumstances (e.g. if you meet our Widening Participation criteria, have had disadvantage in your education or mitigating circumstances, and where the subject may contribute valuable relevant skills towards your chosen undergraduate degree programme). In practice, due to the increasing level of competition over recent years, it is increasingly less likely that we would be able to shortlist such an application unfortunately. You are welcome to get in touch with our Chemistry Admissions Team to discuss your situation and for advice on subject choices.

For qualifications such as Advanced Placements, Irish Leaving Certificate and Canadian High/Secondary School Diploma, we often or usually require more than 3 subjects. Some qualifications, such as the European Baccalaureate, Romanian Baccalaureat and Polish Matura, usually only allow Chemistry and Maths to be taken (often alongside a compulsory language). In these cases, the third subject discussion does not apply, except if applying for MSci Chemistry with Molecular Physics, where Physics is required.

Are there any course-specific restrictions for my third subject?

The “MSci Chemistry with Molecular Physics” degree programmes (F1F3, F1FH) will require that you have Physics as your third subject (at A-level, IB Higher Level, Extended/Advanced level or equivalent).

“MSci Chemistry with Research Abroad” degree programmes (F104, F101) where the placement will take place in a non-English speaking country (France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland) will require that you attain at least a grade B/6 in the appropriate language at GCSE/iGCSE or equivalent level. Where the placement will take place in a largely English-speaking country, there is no specific additional language requirement.

There is a preference for Biology for the “MSci Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry” programmes, however, this is not a requirement and students without A-level Biology (or equivalent) can be admitted onto this course. We provide support resources in molecular biology and introduce new concepts slowly throughout the course.

I do not have any GCSEs or similar secondary education qualifications - does this stop me applying?

We accept students with a wide range of qualifications; we are proud to be an international department and so we consider a huge number of qualifications. Some students may have studied school diplomas or SATs/ACTs elsewhere before studying A-levels, for example, so educational backgrounds can be very diverse. We will therefore consider applications without a wide variety of educational backgrounds.

All applicants must satisfy the conditions for college requirement for English Language (Chemistry requires the college's Higher Level). Obtaining a GCSE in English Language or iGCSE in English as a First Language is one way of achieving this, and there are other English language qualifications or proficiency tests that you could take instead.


Will the department require applicants taking A-Level Chemistry to pass the A-Level practical certificate?

Yes, but this only applies to some students. We will require all Chemistry A-level students studying in England to pass the A-Level Practical endorsement in Chemistry. This does not apply for Wales or Northern Ireland, or for A-levels taken internationally (CAIE, Pearson International). We appreciate COVID may have caused disruption for some students in obtaining their practical endorsement, so do contact us if this is the case.

Employment and placements

Do I need to have done a work experience placement? Is an EPQ or IPQ helpful to my application?

As with the EPQ and IPQ, a work experience placement has enormous value for your personal and skills development, but this is also not available to everyone.

Obtaining relevant work experience is not a specific requirement for studying Chemistry with us. You should certainly mention CREST awards, EPQs/IPQs and work experience in your application if relevant to your application to us and where it supports your personal statement. However, we don't accept them as part of a formal offer, and we cannot make adjusted offers based on performance in an EPQ/IPQ or other work experience/achievements.

Personal Statement and applying for other subjects

What should I include in my personal statement?

Your personal statement should be an honest, reflective statement about you and your motivation to study chemistry at university level. How you choose to convey this is entirely your choice, and we accept that your motivations might not solely include your learning in chemistry, but your other subjects too, and any extra-curricular activities, hobbies or interests.  Your motivation and interests are unique to you, consequently we know that every personal statement will necessarily be different and individual.

As described in the What do you look for in an application? section below, your personal statement should convey a strong enthusiasm and commitment towards studying Chemistry, but do discuss your other subjects too and how they link together (especially important if applying for a combined/joint honours degree). Think about how Chemistry links to and can help tackle wider global issues that engage your interest. Whatever experiences or opportunities you have had, whatever books/journals/websites you read, podcasts you listen to, or video channels you follow, talk about what has been important and valuable to you. Importantly, discuss what you have learned from these experiences, and how they have developed your skills.

If I have applied for different subjects, can I submit more than one personal statement?

We understand and appreciate that some applicants may have several UCAS choices for different subject areas, such as Medicine, Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry or other subjects, in addition to Chemistry.

You can only submit one personal statement on UCAS, which should highlight your main subject focus, but of course, you should draw from your other subjects and interests in this too. However, we are unable to accept alternative personal statements nor additional references, and we would use the statement submitted with your UCAS application as part of our interview shortlisting process.

Will applying for other subjects/courses affect my application for Chemistry?

Motivation and enthusiasm for Chemistry are particularly important to us, and are one factor we look for when shortlisting applicants for interview. Due to the high level of competition, with over 1000 applications per year, we will not be able to consider applications from Medicine applicants selecting Chemistry as their fifth choice.

Chemistry applicants who have applied for other subjects, such as Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science or Biomedical Engineering, are less likely to be shortlisted for interview. For Natural Sciences applicants, we will be looking specifically for students who show strong motivation towards chemistry.

Other application questions

I want to defer my entry until next year - is this OK?

You can apply for deferred entry via UCAS from the outset, something we are happy to accommodate. Applicants who defer are required to fulfil all conditions of their offer and meet all relevant deadlines within the same year / UCAS cycle in which they apply.

Applicants may decide to defer their entry at other stages. In principle, this is not usually a problem, but each request would need to be considered and approved by the department and by Registry. 

If you submit an application for the upcoming academic year and wish to defer your entry prior to receiving Imperial’s decision on your application, you should email ns.admissions@imperial.ac.uk and request that your year of entry is amended to the subsequent academic year.

If you decide to defer your entry after receiving an offer from Imperial, you should email ns.admissions@imperial.ac.uk to request a deferment and outline the reason for your request. Applicants are usually only permitted one deferment for one academic year. The College will consider requests for a 2 year deferment due to enrolment in military service (formal evidence required). Applicants who defer their entry may be subject to repeating certain admission requirements where appropriate (e.g. re-taking time-dependent English proficiency tests or reapplying for ATAS). Where these requirements are not met, the College reserves the right not to confirm your admission.

We recommend that students taking a “gap year” spend some time revising their chemistry and maths knowledge in the run-up to starting with us. The college supports a range of online courses, including an EdX Maths course for Year 12 and 13 students. These are completely optional, but you may find these useful or of interest.


How many students do you take into the department, and how many applications do you receive for Chemistry?

We usually have over 1000 applications per year, and this has slowly increased over the last few years. Prior to the 2020 entry cycle, each year we accepted 160-170 students. Our 2020 and 2021 intakes into year 1 were much higher as a result of adjustments to A-Levels, IB and other qualifications, to mitigate the effects of the COVID pandemic.

Our 2022 and planned 2023 intakes will be approx. 190. The most recent figures on the central college website can be found here. We aim to offer places based on academic merit and potential, rather than to maintain a certain ratio of applications to places, or based on student residency or fees status.

Interviewing at the Department of Chemistry

Is everyone interviewed?

We interview all applicants who demonstrate a sufficient level of academic merit and potential to meet our entry requirements, based on their application. We require all students who are shortlisted in this first step of the Admissions process to attend an interview as part of an interview day.

During the 2022-23 UCAS application cycle, all interview days will be online and interviews will be offered via Microsoft Teams. In previous years, we have shortlisted up to 70-80% of applicants for interview, though this varies each year.

NOTE for 2023 entry: for those reapplying to us who were made an offer in the previous application cycle (2021-22), you will not be required to attend an interview again. We will use your previous interview feedback in combination with your new application to inform our offer-decision process. If re-applying and you were not previously made an offer (or were made an offer at least 2 years ago), you will need to attend an interview.

Please see the Admissions and Interview Process section above for more information.

When do interviews run?

We interview from early November through to the middle of February.  Most interviews will be offered in the afternoon on Wednesdays. Some will take place in the mornings on different days throughout this period, to accommodate overseas applicants in certain time zones.

What happens when I attend for interview?

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

What will I be asked in the interview?

The interview will start with a discussion of your motivations and interests in Chemistry and for studying at the college. Following this, the Chemistry discussion will start with, either topics explicitly mentioned in your personal statement or those that particularly interest you and you wish to talk about. It will then develop towards other topics and/or unseen material, to see how you use your existing knowledge and apply it in solving problems. We aim to see your thought-process and to teach you something new - (and hopefully useful!) - through structured questioning. This gives you an impression of how we teach, and it will give us an indication of your learning and ability to adapt to unfamiliar problems, and how you communicate Chemistry ideas.

Our aim is not to give you a hard time, rather to use the interview time constructively, to guide you if you are unsure, and hopefully to give you a new insight on an area of chemistry you already have some knowledge of.  It also gives you the chance to ask our academics any questions regarding the course and College, to help you in making your decision of where to study.

I cannot attend the interview, what can I do?

We will be offering you a preferred interview dates/times. If the date presented is not feasible for you, please get in touch with our admissions team (ch.admissions@imperial.ac.uk) as soon as possible so that alternative arrangements can be made. We also understand that situations may occur that are unavoidable. Please let us know if you are subsequently unable to attend, so we can offer the space to another applicant, and arrange an alternative date for you.

What will happen after the interview?

We will be in contact after the interview about the offer-making process and when you can expect to receive a decision. See the Receiving your Offer section below for more information.

Receiving your offer

The entry requirement advertised is AAA, why is my offer A*AA / A*A*A?

The College publishes minimum general entry requirements online and through UCAS. These reflect the minimum standard of academic achievement that the Department will consider. In practice, we reserve our minimum (contextual) offer for applicants who meet our Widening Participation criteria, or who have experienced significant disadvantage or mitigating circumstances in their education. The Faculty of Natural Sciences have approved a Widening Participation (WP) set guidelines as part of a wider WP set of schemes for the college. To find out more information, please visit the Admissions Schemes webpage.

The majority of applicants, will receive an offer above AAA (or equivalent qualification/grades). All applications are considered in full and individually, as well as in relation to the competitiveness of all applications received in any given year. As such, offers will also reflect the individual nature of a given application and interview performance, but will always be at or above the minimum entry requirements published.

When will I find out if I have been made an offer or not?

Please look for details of the timeline for offer decision-making this year (2023 entry), in The Admissions Process and Interviews section above.

How do I find out the specific conditions of my offer?

The Department will contact you by e-mail after your interview (in March 2023), to confirm whether or not we are able to make you an offer. We are unable to communicate the specific conditions of your offer though, as per UCAS guidelines. After we contact you, you will be able to see your offer-status and conditions of your offer by logging into UCAS Track. It may take up to 10-14 days for UCAS Track to be updated.

Arriving to study

If I change my mind, can I transfer to a different department once I arrive at Imperial College?

In certain circumstances it may possible to transfer to other Departments within the College. This will depend on whether you meet the requirements for the Department you wish to transfer to and whether they have any capacity to accept you. This would also be subject to the approval of your current Department. In principle, the earlier you make a clear decision on what you want to study, the more likely we will be able to support your request.

In Chemistry, we only consider applications via UCAS. We are not able to consider transfers from other departments after starting your course, except through a new UCAS application.

Can I change to a different Chemistry course after I arrive?

We aim to be as flexible as possible for our students, to enable you to follow the path best tailored to your developing interests. We offer two "transfer windows" during each year, in which students may transfer between degree programmes. There are some pre-requisites for certain transfers, such as what modules or previous qualifications you have taken, and the stage you are at in your degree.

You can transfer from one of our combined 'MSci Chemistry with...' degrees to our 'MSci Chemistry' programme (F103) up until the end of Year 2. Transfers onto our 'MSci Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry' or 'MSci Chemistry with Molecular Physics' degrees, require you to have studied the relevant ancillary module in both year 1 and 2 (e.g. Medicinal Chemistry 1 and 2, or Maths & Physics 1 and 2).

You may transfer onto or from an MSci degree with a year in industry up until the middle of Year 3. BSc to MSci and MSci to BSc transfers are also possible up until the end of Year 2.

Other transfer options are possible, and we provide detailed information on your options at each stage. There may be visa considerations with certain course changes (e.g. between MSci and BSc, or changing course length). You may be required to apply for a new visa, either in the UK or in your home country.

What are the recommended texts for your courses?

We do not teach directly from any one textbook, but make recommendations across a range of titles through advertised reading lists for each module. All recommended textbooks are available as hard copies, e-books or online copies through the College library. We therefore encourage students to wait until they arrive before purchasing any.

We try to encourage students to find a textbook that they like referring to from our recommendations. Please use our library to explore a textbook and see if you like using it. If you find one you like, and use a lot, you might wish to buy a personal copy.  Our ChemSoc usually run a second-hand book sale early in the Autumn Term where you can often pick up a bargain!

Suggested texts you might wish to explore are:

  • Inorganic Chemistry: Inorganic Chemistry (Weller, Rourke and Overton, 6th ed, OUP); Inorganic Chemistry (Housecroft and Sharpe, 4th ed, Pearson).
  • Organic Chemistry: Organic Chemistry (Clayden, Greaves, Warren and Wothers, 2nd ed, OUP). 
  • Physical Chemistry: Physical Chemistry (Atkins, de Paula and Keeler, 10th or 11th ed, OUP); Physical Chemistry (Engel and Reid, 3rd ed, Pearson).
  • All main areas: Chemistry3 (Burrows, Holman, Parsons, Pilling and Price, 3rd or 4th ed, OUP).
  • Medicinal Chemistry: An Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry (Patrick, 6th ed, OUP).
  • Other: Study and Communication Skills for the Chemical Sciences (Overton, Johnson and Scott, 3rd ed, OUP); The Chemistry Maths Book (Steiner, 2nd ed, OUP).


Is there anything else I should know before I arrive?

A Chemistry Student Welcome Handbook will provide you with information you need to prepare for your arrival, settle in and make the most out of your Department. The department will send you information by e-mail in advance, to help you prepare for your arrival on campus.

Miscellaneous questions

What books should I read? What will help my application?


There are a huge number of books around the topic of “chemistry”, however, when choosing a book you should be doing it because you “want to read it”, not because you feel you “have to read it” in order to demonstrate an interest in chemistry. If you have read something that you found interesting, and it is relevant to your application, by all means, please include it. It is far more valuable for you to read something that you enjoy and find interesting, and for which, you can show what you learned from it.

If you are looking for inspiration, you are welcome to check out the Outreach STEM book list: a list of recommended books from students and researchers across the college covering across the sciences.

Application queries

Should I apply for more than one course?

We strongly recommend all applicants ONLY apply for ONE course. We consider all applications for our courses in the same way, all courses have the same broad entry requirements, and share the same core Chemistry modules.

It is possible to transfer onto another course in your first or second year (with limited transfer options in year 3 also), provided you meet the pre-requisites for that course. For example, A level physics is required for transfer on to the MSci Chemistry with Molecular Physics programmes during year 1; transferring on to the MSci Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry programmes in year 2, would require having taken Medicinal Chemistry 1 in year 1.

Is it easy to change between the Chemistry courses offered?

The shared core structure of our degree programmes allows most 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 many cases) providing they have studied the appropriate ancillary subject and/or meet certain pre-requisites. Transfers are only possible in Year 3 under certain circumstances.

Are entry requirements different for BSc and MSci courses?

The minimum entry requirements for all of our BSc and MSci courses are the same and are currently set at AAA at A-Level including Chemistry and Maths (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). Otherwise,

Our typical offer for both BSc and MSci courses 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, interview feedback, contextual information and mitigating circumstances).

Please see the Entry Requirements for common qualifications section above for information on other qualifications.

What do you look for in an application?

Your predicted grades should at least meet our minimum entry requirements, and we prefer students to be taking Biology, Physics, Further Maths or Economics alongside Chemistry and Maths, as this combination provides a more comprehensive scientific training overall. Other third subjects are only considered under limited circumstances, and only where they directly support the degree programme. You can find further details in the Education and Exams section above.

Your personal statement should convey strong enthusiasm and commitment towards studying Chemistry at University, how your other subjects link to Chemistry, discussing what you enjoy doing/reading/studying, what you have learned and what skills you have gained from the experiences you have had (both in Chemistry, in other subjects). Discuss your hobbies and interests that are personally important to you, but importantly, what you have gained from those experiences or skills you have developed as a result of these.

Please see the section on Personal Statements above for more information.

Will I be required to attend an interview?

We require all students who are shortlisted in the first part of the Admissions process to attend an interview as part of a virtual interview day. All interview days will be online and interviews will be offered via Microsoft Teams.

There will also 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 ask questions 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.

Please see the section The Admissions and Interview Process above for more information.

What physical/mental health or other information about my circumstances should I declare now?

We aim to support all applicants as inclusively in the admissions process as possible, giving due consideration to their individual circumstances. We openly welcome students making declarations in their UCAS application about physical and mental health conditions, specific disabilities and learning support needs. We encourage students to declare if they are or have been in care, if they have caring responsibilities, are estranged from their parents or have refugee status or are seeking asylum. Some applicants may be experiencing financial difficulties, family issues or bereavement, or school disruption. Some applicants may meet our Widening Participation criteria (see the Admissions Schemes webpage for more information). We will take all of this into account, to ensure no applicant is disadvantaged during the admissions process.

You can inform us through a formal declaration in your UCAS application, in your personal statement or reference, or share information/documents confidentially with our Admissions team directly (e-mail: ch.admissions@imperial.ac.uk).

The UCAS website has useful information for prospective applicants on accessibility and support for individual needs.

My question is not listed - can you help?

Certainly - please email the Chemistry admissions team and we would be happy to help.