Developing innovation to create new medicines, biofuels and environmental management tools is essential to meet the global challenges of tomorrow. If you are interested in meeting these challenges, then Biochemical Engineering at UCL is for you. This broad-based, flexible programme provides opportunities to follow a wide range of careers in this rapidly developing sector.
UCL pioneered the teaching of biochemical engineering in the UK and has been providing the process industries with first-class people ever since it started teaching the subject in 1956. The Department has a unique national and international network of industrial contacts, which help it to maintain its position at the forefront of education and research.
Our approach to learning produces well-rounded graduates with a strong grasp of the engineering principles of biochemical engineering, accompanied by solid understanding of the complexity and context of broader engineering problems.
We focus our teaching on problem solving through problem- and scenario-based learning, an approach pioneered at UCL. This creates a highly engaging learning environment where students have regular opportunities to put their theoretical knowledge to practical application.
You will learn in a variety of ways. Some learning will be lecture-based, while some will provide you with the materials and support to self-study through video and written material, problem sheets, exercise classes and tutorials. We have invested heavily in making learning material available online, including a comprehensive system to record lectures so you can study at your own pace. You will also spend time in experimental labs or computer labs learning key technical skills.
Our staff engage in cutting-edge research, so you will be taught by experts about the latest advancements in the field. The departments research activity embraces six major themes:
UCL has the highest staff : student ratio in the UK, meaning plenty of people available to answer your questions. You will also be allocated a tutor, who youll meet regularly during teaching periods at UCL for help with academic and personal matters.
Real engineering experience
In the outside world, problems cross discipline borders, needing interdisciplinary teams to attack them. From your first year, you will get experience working with people from different backgrounds and with different approaches. Well give you challenging problems to work on in your own way, exploring how what you learn can be applied and what works in different situations.
The Department of Biochemical Engineering has the most modern and comprehensive biochemical engineering facilities in the world. Constructed at a cost of £30 million, they attract leading industrial collaborators for the Departments teaching and research programmes. In the second year, youll spend time working in our pilot plant facility, the only one of its kind in academic institutes in the UK. This will give you practical, hands-on experience of the sort of real-life engineering that is needed to create products in the biopharma industries.
As well as giving a more realistic experience of the way engineers think and practice, our students find this model allows them to develop themselves and demonstrate those skills to future employers. Many also enjoy this freedom!
In addition, our programmes have major projects in the final year or years. Here you will spend two terms working on a major design or research topic, many linked to industry or current research projects within the department.
The core science, engineering, business and leadership skills that you acquire on the programme will provide you with excellent and diverse career prospects. In addition to your core subject knowledge, the programme will provide you with skills in innovative thinking, team working and computing.
The excitement of taking biological advances towards new medicines and greener sustainable processes is creating an ever-growing need for biochemical engineering graduates to work in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, biofuels, chemical, environment and food industries.
After graduation, you may work in a company, conducting research and development in design of facilities and issues of creating safe materials. Many work in managing the multi-million pound investments that produce life science drugs. Others decide to pursue a higher degree, either an MSc or a doctorate.
First career destinations of recent graduates (2010-2012) of this programme include:
A key theme of our degree programmes in biochemical engineering is flexibility. You will choose biochemical engineering as your core discipline, but as you progress through your degree you will have the freedom to choose from a variety of options that you can select as you gain a better understanding of the engineering field and what interests you. This means youll have flexibility and dont have to make far-reaching, firm decisions about your degree course choices at the outset.
All Engineering courses contain elements of professional practice, communications, teamwork and other transferrable skills relevant across engineering and beyond, recognised as increasingly important by both professional bodies and employers.
You can choose to study courses from outside your core discipline (selecting, for example, other engineering subjects, business-oriented programmes, or topics from another faculty altogether) or in interdisciplinary fields through collaboration with other subjects.
All our courses are fully accredited by the relevant professional body, the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), so if you take the four year course you will fulfill all the educational requirements for chartered engineering (CEng) statusDegree structure
In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual courses, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Courses are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional courses varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
All first-year courses are compulsory
One Minor course
One Minor course
Please note: As part of the faculty-wide engineering programme the degree will be broken down into three main components:
A) Discipline-specific material to biochemical engineering;
B) Common engineering elements taught within the Faculty of Engineering;
C) Optional modules in the form of Minors.
Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).
Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.
All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.
In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates
UCL offers intensive one-year foundation courses to prepare international students for a variety of degree programmes at UCL.
The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.
For more information see our website: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc
English language requirements
If English is not your first language you will also need to satisfy UCL's English Language Requirements. A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.
No work experience is required.
"The Academic Excellence Scholarship can provide up to a 50 % reduction in tuition per semester. These scholarships will be renewed if the student maintains superior academic performance during each semester of their 3-year Bachelor programme. The scholarship will be directly applied to the student’s tuition fees."
Bursary for UK students all subjects where the variable tuition fee rate is payable.
Alumni Bursary for UK Undergraduate students
* The scholarships shown on this page are suggestions first and foremost. They could be offered by other organisations than University College London (UCL).
Scholarships and funding
UCL offers a range of financial awards aimed at assisting both prospective and current students with their studies.
Specific Funding Notes
Several major international companies have established a Trust Fund with the department. This fund provides five bursaries, each worth at least £1,500, which are open to all applicants.