Fees and funding

UK & EU fee

£9,000 (2014/15)

Overseas fee

£20,100 (2014/15)

General funding notes

Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance

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.


Admissions Tutor

Dr Ivan Wall

Email: biochemeng@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 9569

Key Facts

Research Assessment Exercise

75% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
(What is the RAE?)

Engineering (Biochemical) BEng

Female student in lab

UCAS Code: H811

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.

Entry requirements

A Levels

Grades A*AA-AAA
Subjects Preferred subjects: any two from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics.
AS Levels For UK-based students a pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required. Mathematics must be offered at AS level if it is not offered at A level.
GCSEs English Language and Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

Points 38-39
Subjects A total of 18-19 points in three higher level subjects preferably including any two subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics, with no score below 5. Mathematics must be offered at standard level if it is not offered at higher level.

Other qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Selected entry requirements will appear here

International applicants

International qualifications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Select country above, equivalent grades appear here.

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 your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page. A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Your application

In addition to academic requirements, we will also use your application to assess your motivation for studying biochemical engineering. We will be seeking applicants committed to studying at the highest level, and who are eager, and able, to rise to the challenges presented both by the programme and by a career in the discipline.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.


If we are considering making you an offer, and you live in the UK, you will be invited to an applicant open day. Your visit provides an excellent opportunity to examine the departmental facilities before making a final decision.

If you live outside the UK, or travel distance is a problem, we will arrange for a telephone or online (VoIP) chat to assist with any questions you may have.

We are happy to consider your application if you wish to defer entry and take a gap year before taking up your place on the programme, especially if you have constructive plans for your time. The Year in Industry scheme provides suitably qualified students with work placements, allowing them to gain relevant work experience whilst earning money.

Video: how to make your application stand out

Video: applying to UCL through UCAS

Flexible programmes

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 you’ll have flexibility and don’t 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) status

Degree 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).

Year One

Compulsory subjects

Common Engineering Studies
Fluids Flow
General Biochemistry
Introduction to Bioprocess Engineering
Thermodynamics Cluster

Optional courses

All first-year courses are compulsory

Year Two

Compulsory subjects

Analysis and Design
Biochemistry for Biochemical Engineering
Bioprocess Recovery and Purification
Fermentation and Bioreactor Engineering
Heat and Mass Transfer in Bioprocesses

Optional courses

One Minor course

Final Year

Compulsory courses

Biochemical Reaction Engineering
Computer Aided Bioprocess Engineering
Design Project
Industrial Biotechnology and Chemistry
Molecular Biology for Biochemical Engineering

Optional courses

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.

Further details on department website: Engineering (Biochemical) BEng

Innovative teaching

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 department’s research activity embraces six major themes:

  • The achievement of speed from discovery to outcome
  • The harnessing of genomics
  • Addressing the new generation of complex materials
  • Making the outcome affordable 
  • Achieving sustainability
  • Translational stem cell research

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 you’ll 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. We’ll 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 Department’s teaching and research programmes. In the second year, you’ll spend time working in our pilot plant facility, the only one of it’s 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:

  • Acquisitions Associate, Merrill Lynch (2012)
  • Investment Analyst, Deutsche Bank (2011)
  • Supply Chain Requirements Planner, Unilever (2011)
  • Full-time student, PhD in Biochemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge (2011)
  • Full-time student, MSc in Management of Intellectual Property at Queen Mary University (2010)

Find out more about London graduates' careers by visiting the Careers Group (University of London) website:

Martina Sebastian

Third Year, Biochemical Engineering MEng
Martina Sebastian, UCL Biochemical Engineering

I chose the degree in Biochemical Engineering because it covers a wide range of areas – engineering, science and business and hence, it offers the opportunity to students to follow various career paths. For me, UCL stood out among the other universities as the one with an excellent academic staff, a significant number of Nobel Laureates who have been part of its community during its long and remarkable history and what is more I was also truly impressed by its research facilities.

What I enjoy most about the degree is that it is tailored to the modern trends in the industry. The department has excellent lab and pilot plant facilities and is often visited by professionals in the biopharmaceutical engineering sphere. The opportunities for networking and securing a placement are extensive. The hands-on experience you gain during the 'Pilot Plant Week' and the various chemistry and biochemistry practicals in the high-end facilities are invaluable to the learning experience.

What I like most about London is its diversity which is also reflected at UCL. This beautiful metropolitan city has something to offer to everyone in terms of events, night life, cuisine, etc. My favourite industry events are the LRMN (London Regenerative Medicine Networking), OBR (Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable) and iCheme events. There is a wide range of those ones in London and they are all usually free for students.

Page last modified on 11 nov 13 14:08