UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Design and Professional Skills II

Course Code
Level Two
Credits 0.5
Module Tutor
Dr Brenda Parker
Coursework: 40%
Practicals: 60%


This module is intended to develop topics introduced in the first year Design and Professional Skills course: design, technical communication and professionalism. Specific components will include: critical thinking/problem solving; team working/learning own strengths and weaknesses; ethics for engineers; business planning and financial modelling; the design cycle, including project lifecycle and sustainability evaluation; sourcing information and the technical literature; visualization; technical writing and presentation; industry standards/ professional conduct.

Students will also learn about career planning and continuing professional development. Law topics relevant to engineering including contracts and intellectual property will also form part of the material.

Learning Hours


Lectures: 32h
Labs/practicals: 80h


By the end of the course students should be able to :

  • Be familiar with the tools and services available to plan their careers and recognise the resources available to support them for CPD.
  • Identify the types of technical literature available/ other information sources and use these to make a reasoned assessment of a topic.
  • Identify their own strengths and weaknesses as potential team members (in terms of work habits, technical knowledge, and ability to communicate) and develop a plan to address their weaknesses and capitalize on their strengths.
  • Analyze the audience for a given communication (report or talk) and determine the appropriate point of view, level of detail and jargon.
  • Learn the contexts in which engineering knowledge (e.g. operations, process development) can be applied and use these to assign roles in teamwork to reflect the varied responsibilities of engineers.
  • Describe an engineering problem and the commercial, economic and social context in a written or spoken report and give examples of possible constraints to a process including environmental and sustainability limitations.
  • Describe how engineering activities can promote sustainable development and apply quantitative techniques to assess sustainability.
  • Learn the key risk issues, including health & safety, environmental and commercial risk, and of risk assessment and risk management techniques and identify these for given process examples.
  • Demonstrate how the design process can be applied to manufacturing and advanced problem-solving skills, technical knowledge and understanding, to establish rigorous and creative solutions that are fit for purpose for all aspects of the problem including production, operation, maintenance and disposal and explain these via written or oral reports.
  • Be familiar with management techniques that can be used to achieve engineering objectives and recall strategies that may be used for future problems when they arrive.
  • Practise costing estimations using data from suppliers and compare process options for example problems.
  • Recognise the key metrics of process appraisal and use these to tackle real problems.
  • Use technical literature and data from a range of sources, and quantify the effect of changing parameters on the design through sensitivity analysis, evaluating potential outcomes.
  • Recognize the level of conduct and quality standards expected of them by the body governing their profession, explain why such codes of conduct are necessary; and recall where they are spelled out in detail.
  • Recognise relevant legal requirements governing engineering activities, including personnel, health & safety, contracts, intellectual property rights, product safety and liability issues and identify situations in their engineering discipline that may have legal ramifications.
  • Be familiar with the various legal mechanisms involved in their engineering discipline may be relevant and discuss how they may be used.