Biochemical Engineering BEng

London, Bloomsbury

The Biochemical Engineering undergraduate programme at UCL fully integrates engineering and biotechnology. The BEng degree is ideal for those who would like to explore careers in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical or bioenergy sectors. Both BEng and MEng degrees share a common curriculum of practical and core modules delivered through innovative teaching.

UK students International students
Study mode
3 academic years
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme starts
September 2025
Application deadline
29 Jan 2025
UCAS course code

Entry requirements

Mathematics required, plus one from Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 4.

Contextual offer information

Contextual offers are typically one to two grades lower than the standard offer. Grade and subject requirements for contextual offers for this programme will be published in Summer 2024.

A total of 18 points in three higher level subjects including grade 6 in Mathematics, plus one from Biology, Chemistry or Physics, with no higher level score below 5. The programme will accept either 'Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches' or 'Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation' at higher level.

Contextual offer

Contextual offers are typically one to two grade boundaries (equivalent to A levels) lower than the standard offer. IB Diploma grade and subject requirements for contextual offers for this programme will be published in Summer 2024.

UK applicants qualifications

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

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

D3,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects. Mathematics required, plus one from Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

AAA at Advanced Highers (AA at Advanced Higher and AAA at Higher). Mathematics required plus one from Physics, Chemistry and Biology at Advanced Higher.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A levels at grades AAA. Mathematics required, plus one from Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

International applications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

If you do not meet the entry requirements for direct entry to this undergraduate programme, you may be eligible to apply for the Engineering Foundation Year at UCL. Designed for individuals from non-traditional educational backgrounds who do not meet standard entry requirements for UCL's undergraduate engineering degrees, this pre-degree programme helps you develop confidence, academic and study skills, and subject specific knowledge. On successful completion of the Engineering Foundation Year, you can gain access to a selection of the engineering undergraduate degree programmes at UCL. Find out more about the Engineering Foundation Year.


Access and widening participation

UCL is committed to widening access to higher education. If you are eligible for Access UCL you do not need to do anything in addition to the standard UCAS application. Your application will be automatically flagged when we receive it.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPC) prepare international students for a UCL undergraduate degree who don’t have the qualifications to enter directly. These intensive one-year foundation courses are taught on our central London campus.

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see:

English language requirements

The English language level for this programme is: Level 1

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.

Course overview

Core modules are designed to introduce you to biochemical engineering through lectures and the use of practical training facilities. Scenario-based learning activities will give you hands-on experience in a diverse range of fields, from tackling biopharmaceutical process development to evaluating the sustainability of biofuels.

The programme builds up to the Design Project in year three, where students apply the knowledge they have gained to a case study where they will be tasked with creating a process for the manufacture of a biopharmaceutical product, for example, facility design and techno-economic, including facility design and techno-economic evaluation.

The degree will be broken down into three main components:

  • Discipline-specific material in biochemical engineering;
  • Common engineering elements taught within the Faculty of Engineering Sciences;
  • Minor modules where you may choose from a range of subjects offered by the Faculty of Engineering Sciences.

Students register for Biochemical Engineering as the core discipline but also engage in activities spanning departments via the UCL Integrated Engineering Programme. Our degrees encourage professional development, emphasising design and challenging students to apply knowledge to complex problems. 

You may reassess your choice of BEng/MEng route towards the end of the second year when you have gained a more profound knowledge of what the subject involves. We advise applying for the MEng if you are undecided, as this gives you the most control over your study plans.

Optional modules (year 1)
All first-year modules are compulsory.

Optional modules (year 2) 
IEP Minor I*

*Students will choose the IEP Minor towards the end of year 1 for year two. The IEP Minor allows them to gain a grounding in another engineering, or relevant discipline or an interdisciplinary topic, by offering a coherent set of three modules (over Years 2 & 3) allowing an introduction to a field, as well as an opportunity to cover an interdisciplinary topic to a reasonable depth.

Optional modules (year 3) 
These modules (IEP Minor modules 2 and 3) are automatically allocated by the IEP (based on their Year 2 Minor Selection)

What this course will give you

We are the only biochemical engineering department in a UK university, incorporating the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering (ACBE) - a fully functional pilot plant. Our facilities are unique in the UK, attracting leading industrial collaborators like the Cytiva Centre of Excellence. You will gain skills through practical activities sought after by employers.

The BEng interdisciplinary programme blends applied biology, mathematics and engineering thinking. It is ideal for students who enjoy using science to solve real-world issues. It prepares you for further study in the biotechnology area or to enter the bioprocess industry after graduation.

We use innovative teaching methods in our degrees, for example, blended learning, problem-based learning, e-learning, and peer assessment. We aim to make our graduates confident and adaptable so they are confident applying their knowledge to real-life challenges.

Our staff are at the forefront of research in biochemical engineering areas such as regenerative medicine, biopharmaceuticals and biofuels. We are committed to research-based teaching through UCL's Connected Curriculum, meaning students will gain exposure to the newest developments in these fields.

Teaching and learning

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BEng (Hons) in Biochemical Engineering.


Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

  • Year 1 – Introductory lectures on Biochemistry, Biochemical engineering, fluid flow, and thermodynamics, among others. Students will also take part in the Integrated Engineering Programme (IEP), a project-based module shared by students from across the Faculty of Engineering Sciences.
  • Year 2 - More advanced modules building on the previous year’s courses. IEP minor course begins. Students will choose minor modules from across the faculty of engineering that will continue into year 3. 
  • Year 3 – Final year modules alongside IEP minors defined by year 2 choices. Group design project and final year lab project.

Your learning

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, case studies, team-based projects and laboratory and pilot-plant based practicals. Leading industrialists and researchers regularly visit the department to provide guest lectures. Our programmes offer regular opportunities for students to put their learning into practice through the use of scenarios. Case studies and the Design Project are conducted in small teams, with your tutors offering individual support.

Students will attend all teaching events organised within each module in their programme. Each module broadly corresponds to 10 hours per credit; for example, a 15-credit module has been designed to require 150 hours of study time, a 30-credit module 300 hours of study time, etc. This time comprises formal in-person learning and teaching events such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, as well as independent study, assessment, revision and laboratory work (module dependent). Our programmes are full-time, students typically engage with their studies and in this mode, for 40 hours per week during term time.

Innovative teaching and assessment methods are widespread in our degrees (e.g., blended learning, problem-based learning, e-learning, peer assessment). Engineering practice is taught by short laboratory activities on a range of analytical devices and unit operations and by external visits to industrial sites. A series of teamwork activities embedded in the taught programmes from the first year (e.g. scenarios, challenges, design projects) introduce our students to the design cycle and test a range of communication skills

Students will have contact with academic staff for the purposes of learning, teaching, and assessment, either online or in person. Covering lectures, tutorials and workshops (on average 10-14 hrs), and term and year dependant laboratory classes (typically 2-4 hours per week). The exact number of contact hours and composition varies throughout the term and at different points during the degree programme. The breakdown in relation to optional/elective modules will depend on the students' choices.


Diverse forms of assessments linked to learning outcomes are designed to test a broad range of skills. Modules at the start of the degree are assessed via 2-3 pieces of coursework and an unseen examination at the end of the year. Problem-based activities may be assessed by individual or group reports, oral or poster presentations.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

The foundation of your career

The incredible pace of 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 progress to work in a company, conducting research and development activity in the design of facilities and the creation of safe materials. Many past students 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.


The 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 in biochemical engineering, the programme will provide you with the analytical, problem-solving and numeracy skills desired by a wide range of sectors.


This programme is accredited by the IChemE's Chartered Chemical Engineer requirements when supplemented by learning to MSc level.

To meet the Engineering Council requirements for an accredited degree (which applies to all programmes professionally accredited by the Engineering Council across all universities), students on this programme must pass all modules, with some possible specific exceptions for a limited number of optional modules. If a student fails a module (two attempts are permitted), they may be eligible to transfer to a related non-accredited degree.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £9,250
Tuition fees (2024/25) £37,500

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2024/25 academic year. The UK fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2024/25 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.

Additional costs

This degree is based at UCL in central London, and some sessions may take place at UCL East in Stratford (30 minutes by public transport from the main Bloomsbury campus). Students will be expected to pay all their travel costs to and between the two sites.

The programme has no additional costs outside of purchasing books or stationery, printing, thesis binding or photocopying

A guide including rough estimates for these and other living expenses is included on the UCL Fees and funding pages. If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc., please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).

Funding your studies

The department has established a trust fund that supports five bursaries per year, each worth at least £1500. These are open to all applicants accepted onto undergraduate programmes.

Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.


The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

Next steps

Your application

Our students are focused on applying biochemical engineering solutions to the world's greatest problems. They are developing new engineering skills and knowledge to meet global challenges relating to the development of novel medicines, pioneering stem cell therapies and sustainable technologies. We are teaching the next generation of leaders.

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.


For further information on UCL's selection process see: How we assess your application.

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.

If we have made you an offer, you will be invited to an offer-holder's open day. This provides an excellent opportunity for you to visit the departmental facilities and meet current students and staff before making a final decision.

Got questions? Get in touch

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