Biochemical Engineering MPhil/PhD

Research areas:

Research in the Department of Biochemical Engineering focuses on three major areas: Biocatalysis, Biopharmaceutical bioprocessing, and human cell therapy bioprocessing. These fields each explore similar research goals which include the following:
  • Environment and sustainability: exploiting green biological catalysts for biorefining and high-value pharmaceutical syntheses
  • Harnessing genomics: directed evolution, metabolic engineering and synthetic biology can deliver efficient cell systems for producing biopharmaceuticals and enzymes
  • Making the outcome affordable: business approaches coupled with engineering paradigms offer new healthcare opportunities
  • Processing of complex biological materials: epitomised by the use of human proteins and stem cells for therapy, the challenge is to process materials of increasing complexity to make them available to all who need them
  • Speed from discovery to benefit: using small mimics, microfluidics and mathematical models provides process understanding for effective scale-translation enhancing the precision and rate of process development.

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Visit the IRIS research portal to learn more about researchers' activities, research groups, research centres and interdisciplinary networks across the whole of UCL.

IRIS department: Dept of Biochemical Engineering

Entry requirements

A UK Master’s degree, or a minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree, in a relevant discipline, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English level expected: Standard


Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September. Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit (contact listed in Next steps, right) to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page.


  • UK/EU Full-time: £4,500
  • UK/EU Part-time: £2,250
  • Overseas Full-time: £20,900
  • Overseas Part-time: £10,450


The Bioprocessing Graduate Scholarship is available to students resident outside the UK and pursuing MPhil/PhD research. Contact the department for details.

Scholarships available for this department

CSC-UCL Joint Research Scholarship

Funding offered by UCL and the China Scholarships Council (CSC) aims to expand the educational, cultural and technological cooperation between the UK and China.

Full details of funding opportunities can be found on the UCL Scholarships website


Recent graduates have taken up academic posts at UCL, Cancer Research UK and Cambridge University. Others have entered professional occupations within organisations such as GlaxoSmithKline, Lonza, MedImmune, Biopharm Services and UCB Pharma. Several have even founded or co-founded new Biotechnology start-up companies (e.g. Synthace and Puridify).

Top career destinations for this programme

  • Nuclear Decommisioning Authortiy, Chemical Engineering, 2009
  • TAP Biosystems, Bioprocess Product Specialist, 2010
  • Sartorius Stedim Biotech, US, Project Manager for Virus and Contaminant Clearance, 2010
  • Merck Pharmaceuticals, Biochemical Engineer, 2010
  • Merck Biosciences (USA), Biochemical Engineer, 2011
  • Scripps Research Institute (USA), Postdoctoral Research, 2010
  • Cambridge University, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2010


The department places great emphasis on its ability to assist its Research Degree graduates in taking up exciting careers in the sector. Research Centres in the Department of Biochemical Engineering, such as the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing, are partnered with over 80 UK and global companies in total, and provide an extensive network to all major companies in the sector.


All PhD and EngD students will be participants in Research Centres established at UCL Biochemical Engineering. All students participate in the Modular Training for the Bioprocess Industries Programme (MBI) which is also attended by company delegates, and also by industrial guest speakers. These events provide exposure to key industry contacts. Research students are also expected to attend at least one major international conference with the aim of promoting their work.

Next steps


Dr Paul Dalby

T: +44 (0)20 7679 2962


Biochemical Engineering

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Prospectus subject

Biochemical Engineering

Faculty overview

Engineering Sciences


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Student View

"Attending seminars organised by our department also provides good networking; speakers are invited from different universities as well as from industry and I've met some very interesting people in the field. I feel like there are so many options open to me."

Alice Mazzer

Degree: Biochemical Engineering PhD

Student View

"Living and studying in London has enabled me to meet people and make friends from all over the globe. The breadth of activities and events, both academic and non-academic, has also helped in terms of enhancing career prospects and social enjoyment."

Gavin Wai

Degree: Biochemical Engineering MSc