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Biochemical Engineering - MSc

Course Description

Have you ever wondered how the latest life science discoveries - such as a novel stem cell therapy - can move from the lab into commercial scale production? Would you like to know whether it is possible to produce bio-polymers (plastics) and biofuels from municipal or agricultural waste? If you are thinking of a career in the pharma or biotech industries, the Biochemical Engineering MSc could be the right programme for you.

Degree information

Our MSc programme focuses on the core biochemical engineering principles that enable the translation of advances in the life sciences into real processes or products. Students will develop advanced engineering skills (such as bioprocess design, bioreactor engineering, downstream processing), state-of-the-art life science techniques (such as molecular biology, vaccine development, microfluidics) and essential business and regulatory knowledge (such as management, quality control, commercialisation).

Three distinct pathways are offered tailored for graduate scientists, engineers, or biochemical engineers. Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme offers three different pathways (for graduate scientists, engineers, or biochemical engineers) and consists of core taught modules (120 credits) and a research or design project (60 credits).

Core modules for graduate scientists
-Advanced Bioreactor Engineering
-Bioprocess Synthesis and Process Mapping
-Bioprocess Validation and Quality Control
-Commercialisation of Bioprocess Research
-Fluid Flow and Mixing in Bioprocesses
-Heat and Mass Transfers in Bioprocesses
-Integrated Downstream Processing
-Mammalian Cell Culture and Stem Cell Processing

Core modules for graduate engineers
-Advanced Bioreactor Engineering
-Bioprocess Validation and Quality Control**
-Cellular Functioning from Genome to Proteome
-Commercialisation of Bioprocess Research
-Integrated Downstream Processing
-Mammalian Cell Culture and Stem Cell Processing
-Metabolic Processes and Regulation
-Structural Biology and Functional Protein Engineering
-Bioprocess Microfluidics*
-Bioprocess Systems Engineering*
-Bioprocessing and Clinical Translation*
-Cell Therapy Biology*
-Industrial Synthetic Biology*
-Sustainable Bioprocesses and Biorefineries*
-Vaccine Bioprocess Development*

*Core module for graduate biochemical engineers; **core module for both graduate engineers and graduate biochemical engineers

Research project/design project
All MSc students submit a 10,000-word dissertation in either Bioprocess Design (graduate scientists) or Bioprocess Research (graduate engineers and graduate biochemical engineers).

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials, and individual and group activities. Guest lectures delivered by industrialists provide a professional and social context. Assessment is through unseen written examinations, coursework, individual and group project reports, individual and group oral presentations, and the research or design project.


The rapid advancements in biology and the life sciences create a need for highly trained, multidisciplinary graduates possessing technical skills and fundamental understanding of both the biological and engineering aspects relevant to modern industrial bioprocesses. Consequently, UCL biochemical engineers are in high demand, due to their breadth of expertise, numerical ability and problem-solving skills. The first destinations of those who graduate from the Master's programme in biochemical engineering reflect the highly relevant nature of the training delivered.

Approximately three-quarters of our graduates elect either to take up employment in the relevant biotechnology industries or study for a PhD or an EngD, while the remainder follow careers in the management, financial or engineering design sectors.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Mechanics of Material, Imperial College London
-PhD Biochemical Engineering, University College London (UCL)
-Bio-Pharmaceutical Engineer, GSK (GlaxoSmithKline)
-Associate Consultant, PwC
-Genetics Technician, Chinese Academy Of Sciences

The department places great emphasis on its ability to assist its graduates in taking up exciting careers in the sector. UCL alumni, together with the department’s links with industrial groups, provide an excellent source of leads for graduates. Over 1,000 students have graduated from UCL with graduate qualifications in biochemical engineering at Master’s or doctoral levels. Many have gone on to distinguished and senior positions in the international bioindustry. Others have followed independent academic careers in universities around the world.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL was a founding laboratory of the discipline of biochemical engineering, established the first UK department and is the largest international centre for bioprocess teaching and research. Our internationally recognised MSc programme maintains close links with the research activities of the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering which ensure that lecture and case study examples are built around the latest biological discoveries and bioprocessing technologies.

UCL Biochemical Engineering co-ordinates bioprocess research and training collaborations with more than a dozen UCL departments, a similar number of national and international university partners and over 40 international companies. MSc students directly benefit from our close ties with industry through their participation in the Department’s MBI® Training Programme.

The MBI® Training Programme is the largest leading international provider of innovative UCL-accredited short courses in bioprocessing designed primarily for industrialists. Courses are designed and delivered in collaboration with 70 industrial experts to support continued professional and technical development within the industry. Our MSc students have the unique opportunity to sit alongside industrial delegates, to gain deeper insights into the industrial application of taught material and to build a network of contacts to support their future careers.

Visit the Biochemical Engineering - MSc page on the University College London website for more details!

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Student Profiles

UCL Graduate Support Bursary - 20+ Awards

UCL is making 93 individual bursary awards available. Each bursary will cover the full tuition fee cost for the programme and provide £10,000 in maintenance funding per year.

Value of Scholarship(s)



The scheme is aimed at supporting traditionally under-represented groups to progress on to graduate study at UCL. All applicants will be required to demonstrate that their annual household income is currently under £42,611. This scheme is open to prospective students domiciled in the UK (that is, UK is your country of "ordinary residence”) who have "Home" tuition fee status.

Application Procedure

This initiative is funded through the HEFCE Postgraduate Support Scheme. The UCL Graduate Support Bursary scheme forms part of UCL’s wider initiative to support graduate Master’s students.

Further Information



Brown Family Bursary - Single Award

Selection criteria:
The bursary will be awarded based on financial need only as determined by the Student Funding Office.Value, Benefits and Duration:
- The value of the bursary is £15,000. The payment is to be applied to tuition fees in the first instance, with any remainder being paid to the successful applicant towards maintenance in termly instalments.
- The bursary is tenable for one year only.
- The bursary may not be held alongside other tuition fee only awards.

Value of Scholarship(s)



prospective full-time UK Master's students who are undertaking a one-year programme of study in the Faculties of the Built Environment, Engineering Sciences or Mathematical & Physical Sciences (BEAMS) in 2015/16
- currently holding a first-class Bachelor's degree; and
- in financial need.

Application Procedure

See http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/scholarships/graduate/UK-EU-Master/uclalumniandfriends

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Normal entry requirements are at least a second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or the equivalent from an approved overseas institution. Candidates offering recent industrial experience are also encouraged to apply. As with any engineering discipline numeracy skills are important for the quantitative description of biological and physical phenomena. Evidence of numerical ability is requested as either an A level in Mathematics (or in exceptional cases, in Physics) or some mathematics studied at university. The department provides mathematics tutoring for Master's students throughout the year adjusted to a candidate's ability.

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