Biochemical Engineering MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

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.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£5,690
£2,845
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£25,960
£13,280
Duration
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 18 Oct 2021 – 31 Mar 2022

Applications open

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

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.

ATAS statement

If you are intending to apply for a time-limited visa to complete your UCL studies (e.g., Student visa, Skilled worker visa, PBS dependant visa etc.) you may be required to obtain ATAS clearance. This will be confirmed to you if you obtain an offer of a place.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

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.

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

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.

The foundation of your career

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.

Employability

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

Networking

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.

Teaching and learning

Research areas and structure

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.

Research environment

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.

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

Full-time

The length of registration for the research degree programmes is 3 years for full-time and 5 years for part-time.

In your first year, you are registered for the MPhil award in the first instance; the upgrade process is put in place to check your progress and ability to complete a PhD. As a full-time student your upgrade normally takes place in your 1st Year. As a part-time student, whose programme of study is typically 5 years, your first upgrade attempt usually takes place in Year 2. You will be examined by an internal examiner other than your supervisors and your secondary supervisor at an upgrade viva. Additionally, you are expected to complete 3-4 compulsory, non-credit bearing modules run by the department during the first year (see below).

By the end of the second year of training you should have completed all compulsory, non-credit bearing elements including a fourth or fifth one which are also run by the department. Emphasis at this stage is on the status of the scientific paper, which represents the essence of the original research work carried out by you. In addition, your supervisory team expect that you provide evidence that you have developed project management skills as demonstrator and also as leader of an undergraduate/MSc research project. Demonstratorship normally takes place in Year 2 and 3 of the training

In the beginning of third year of training, you are expected to give a comprehensive talk in the departmental seminar series in term one. It is preferable that all practical work should cease three months before the end of the final period of MPhil/PhD registration (e.g. end of June for September/October starters).

After you complete your third year of studying you may register as a Completing Research Status (CRS) student which lasts for up to one year (two years part-time) while you write up your thesis. The thesis must be submitted at latest by the end of the CRS period. Note: Students funded for 4 years are not normally eligible for CRS and are required to submit their thesis by their funding end date.

Year 1 compulsory modules:

- BENG0077 - Design of Experiments

- BENG0057 - Pilot Plant Unit Operations

- BENG0097 - Research Skills

Year 2 compulsory module:

- BENG0056 - Pilot Plant Project

Accessibility

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.


Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £5,690 £2,845
Tuition fees (2022/23) £25,960 £13,280

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

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.

Funding your studies

Candidates are advised to read through the UCL Scholarships pages for information on available funding opportunities (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/scholarships/funding-students-postgraduate-research-courses). The department has occasionally got UKRI funding that students may also be considered for. The Department also hosts the Centre for Doctoral Training in Bioprocess Engineering Leadership which also has got funded places available. Please see the page for the EngD in Bioporcess Engineering Leadership course for more details.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

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.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

This page was last updated 28 Sep 2021