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Biochemical Engineering MPhil/PhD

The UCL Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering trains 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

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 3 years
  • Part-time: 5 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£4,770 (FT) £2,385 (PT)
£22,180 (FT) £11,090 (PT)

Application dates

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.
Fees note: All fees quoted are for new students only for 2016 entry. Fees for subsequent years are subject to increase by approximately 3-5%.

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 PhD projects allow for fundamental 'blue-skies' research that will have an eventual impact on the bioprocess industries. Research areas are broadly grouped in three main areas: Biocatalysis/Biorefining, Biopharmaceutical bioprocessing, and human cell therapy bioprocessing. The type of research is project specific and can include multiple combined elements from areas such as: synthetic biology, cell engineering, protein engineering, enzyme engineering, metabolic engineering, process engineering, downstream processing, bioreactor engineering, mathematical bioprocess modelling, fluid dynamics, biophysical analysis, biocatalytic reaction engineering, microfluidics, development of novel unit operations.

PhD projects are funded by different mechanisms (including the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies), but the application process is always the same.

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.


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

CSC-UCL Joint Research Scholarship

Fees, maintenance and travel (Duration of programme)
Overseas students
Based on academic merit

More scholarships are listed on 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

  • Biochemical Engineer, Merck Pharmaceuticals
  • Research Associate, UCL
  • Lecturer, Universiti Putra Malaysia
  • Senior Engineer, Pall Europe
  • Senior Associate, Nova Secta
  • Medical Writer, Quintiles
  • Product Manager, BioPharma Services


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.

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.

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

Department: Biochemical Engineering

Degree reviews

Student review

"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

Biochemical Engineering PhD

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.

Apply now

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