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UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering

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Teaching and learning

Find out how UCL Biochemical Engineering provides innovative teaching in conjunction with real engineering experience in unique facilities carrying out world class research

Teaching & Learning

UCL was a founding laboratory of the discipline of Biochemical Engineering, established the first UK Department dedicated to Biochemical Engineering and is the largest international centre for bioprocess teaching and research. The Department has been providing the process industries with first-class graduates ever since it started teaching the subject in 1956. Our internationally recognised MSc programme maintains close links with the research activities of the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering which ensure that lecture and case study examples are built around the latest biological discoveries and bioprocessing technologies.

Innovative teaching

Embarking on postgraduate study is an intense and challenging commitment. We actively encourage diversity and inclusivity in our recruitment, learning, and assessment, providing a distinctive and empowering education for all. You will be part of a community seeking to push the boundaries of our knowledge by applying theoretical rigour and fundamental principles to challenge ideas. We engage all our students in creating an environment that will enable them to flourish and realise their potential.

Our innovative teaching focuses on problem-based learning, an approach pioneered at UCL. Taught by world experts at the cutting-edge of the discipline, you will have regular opportunities to put theory into practice, preparing you for the real world. 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.

UCL has the highest staff:student ratio in the UK, meaning plenty of people available to answer your questions. As an MSc student, you will be allocated a personal tutor in addition to your stream tutor, who you’ll meet regularly during teaching periods at UCL for help with academic and personal matters.

Real engineering experience

UCL Biochemical Engineering coordinates bioprocess research and training collaborations with more than a dozen UCL departments, a similar number of national and international university partners and over 40 international companies. MSc and PhD/EngD students directly benefit from our close ties with industry through their participation in the Department’s MBI® Training Programme.

The MBI® Training Programme is the largest leading international provider of innovative UCL-accredited short courses in bioprocessing designed primarily for industrialists. Courses are designed and delivered in collaboration with 70 industrial experts to support continued professional and technical development within the industry. Our MSc students have the unique opportunity to sit alongside industrial delegates, to gain deeper insights on the industrial application of taught material and to build a network of contacts to support their future careers.

World-class Research

Our staff engage in cutting-edge research, so you will be taught by experts about the latest advancements in the field. In the latest Research Excellence Framework assessment (REF2014), 90% of the Department’s research activity and 75% of its academic staff were rated either ‘World Leading’ or ‘Internationally Excellent’.

Over 75% of the Department’s research projects are collaborative with industry and all address strategically significant issues, frequently on a truly global scale. This close working relationship with industry provides unparalleled opportunities for research teams to tackle long term problems with leaders in the sector as highlighted by the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education awarded in 2013 for innovative research and translation into industrial practice.

The department’s research activity embraces ten major themes:

  • Bioprocessing
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine
  • Systems Engineering
  • Global Health
  • Infection, Immunology & Inflammation
  • Materials
  • Nanotechnology
  • Personalised Medicine
  • Industrial Biotechnology