UCL Graduate degrees


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 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£5,525 (FT)
£2,765 (PT)
£25,200 (FT)
£12,890 (PT)

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 Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

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

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

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 experts 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.

Researchers have access to a range of taught modules to support their research and fulfil any taught course requirements. These address advanced knowledge of the discipline as well as transferable skills. Many are taken together with industrial delegates as part of the department’s MBI® Training Programme.

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 proteins, viruses and 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

About this degree

Additional costs

The programme may be subject to an Additional Fee Element (AFE). The AFE (also known as a bench fees) is levied to cover the additional costs related to consumables, equipment, materials, attending conferences etc. As each PhD project is unique in nature, the AFE is calculated on a student by student basis and is determined by the academic supervisor. The AFE is banded into four fixed amounts: £1,000, £2,500, £5,000, £10,000 with one further band for variable sums over £10,000.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


The Deparment hosts the UCL Centre for Doctoral Training in Bioprocess Engineering Leadership.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

CSC-UCL Joint Research Scholarship

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

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, GSK and Pall.

Recent career destinations for this degree include:

  • Bioprocess Development Engineer, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine
  • Managing Director, Medisieve
  • Project Manager, Lonza
  • Process Development Scientist, Cell Therapy Catapult
  • Viral Vector Downstream Processing, Boehringer Ingelheim


The department places great emphasis on its ability to assist its research degree graduates in taking up exciting careers in the sector. The research centres in UCL Biochemical Engineering are partnered with over 80 UK and global companies in total, and provide an extensive access to all major companies in the sector. The department's UCL-accredited MBI courses also give you the opportunity to engage and network with industrialists.


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.

In our internationally renowned department you are able to make full use of over £30m of investment into comprehensive and unique facilities. All our leading-edge facilities are underpinned by state-of-the-art analytical equipment and experiences obtained from these world class facilities make students from the department much sought after. Facilities and labs include:

- Fully equipped pilot plant;

- Micro-engineering and lab-on-a-chip facility;

- Cell therapy bioprocessing labs;

- Responsive bioprocessing facility

The department offers a range of research degree opportunities; many supported by EPSRC awards, and by industrial sponsors. The projects draw upon the expertise within the department and the multidisciplinary research linkages of the department. Many of the PhD projects are collaborative with leading bioindustry companies and all address strategically significant issues, frequently on a truly global scale.

Department: Biochemical Engineering

What our students and staff say

Student review

"UCL is one of the few universities that offered my programme of interest and I have encountered previous colleagues with excellent careers who are UCL graduates with the same degree. There is always a vibrant lifestyle around UCL considering that it is at the heart of London, meaning that there is plenty to do on a social and academic level. Unique access to the British Library, of which is only a five minute walk away, has enabled me to gain a variety of resources that has assisted in acquiring detailed knowledge within my research area."

Michael Martinez

Biochemical Engineering EngD

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.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

Application deadlines

All applicants
30 July 2021

Applications are considered throughout the year. 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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Page last modified on 11 June 2021