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Biochemical Engineering MPhil/PhD

The UCL Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering trains the bioprocess engineering leaders of the future who will underpin the translation of new scientific advances into safe, selective and manufacturable therapies for often currently intractable conditions, but at affordable costs.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2017

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Tuition fees (2017/18)

£4,915 (FT) £2,620 (PT)
£23,050 (FT) £11,800 (PT)

Application dates

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

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 language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Standard

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:


Our graduate programmes are internationally recognised and draw on advances in life sciences and the core discipline of biochemical engineering. We maintain close teaching and research links with other highly rated UCL departments and with experts from other departments throughout the UK and overseas, and are also involved in close collaborations with industry. This vibrant department leads in the field and offers an exciting graduate training and research environment. Independent assessments confirm the excellence and breadth of the department’s taught programmes (IChemE accredited) and place our research programmes at the forefront of international endeavours.

Research areas

Research in UCL 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.
More information can be found on the department website: Biochemical Engineering MPhil/PhD


For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Recent graduates have taken up academic posts at UCL, and various international institutions. Others have found professional employment within organisations such as Merck Pharmaceuticals, BioPharm Services and Pall. Several have even founded or co-founded new biotechnology start-up companies (e.g. Synthace and Puridify).

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, UCL
  • Downstream Process Development Scientist, Actavis
  • Science Writer, Progress Educational Trust
  • Researcher, King's College London


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 UCL 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 access 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.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Our EPSRC and BBSRC funded PhD programme delivers a unique national capability for training the next generation of highly skilled future leaders and researchers for the UK biopharmaceutical and healthcare biotechnology sectors. They will be capable of translating new scientific advances both in manufacturing technologies and new classes of macromolecular products, into safely produced, more selective therapies for currently intractable conditions at affordable costs.

PhD students at UCL gain access to internationally leading facilities including:

  • EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies
  • The Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, including a £25m pilot plant
  • Centre for Microbiochemical Engineering
  • Synthetic Biology Laboratory
  • Biophysical Analysis Facility
  • Regenerative Medicines Bioprocessing Facility
  • Responsive Bioprocessing Facility
  • Vaccines Bioprocessing Facility

All PhD students are embedded within the vibrant research community at UCL and are regularly networked with internationally leading industry collaborators via centre events.

Department: Biochemical Engineering

Student / staff numbers › 51 staff including 31 postdocs › 49 taught students › 121 research students

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Biochemical Engineering

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Application deadlines

Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit 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.

For more information see our Applications page.

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Contact information


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