Many everyday products are generated using biological processes. Foods such as bread, yoghurt and beer rely upon microscopic organisms to generate their structure and flavour. Many drugs are made using cells, such as insulin used to treat diabetes and many anticancer chemotherapy drugs. In the future, more products will be made using biological processes as they are typically ‘greener’ than traditional chemical processes – they are less energy intensive and generate fewer harmful chemical by-products. Biological processes are also responsible for many environmentally-friendly biofuels, which aim to reduce fossil fuel use.
Biological processes are key to many UK companies, from small contract manufacturers of protein and DNA drugs to large companies making fuels, commodity chemicals, foods and plastics. Biochemical engineering is an area that is essential to UK, European and Worldwide industrial development.
You will normally need a good Honours degree in Chemical Engineering or Bioscience (including Biochemistry and Microbiology) or related disciplines. Applications are also invited from good Honours degree graduates in Food Science/Technology and Environmental Science as well as Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering and other science disciplines such as Chemistry.
Learn more about entry requirements
We accept a range of qualifications from different countries
Entry level graduates initially follow special conversion-course lectures in either process engineering or biological science topics, depending on their first degree. Students may attend both modules if they wish, but will only be examined on one.
Process engineering fundamentals
This module introduces students from a non-chemical engineering background to the fundamental aspects of process engineering. The ideas and skills developed during the module are essential for anyone planning to work in the process industries. The module starts with material and energy balances and then looks at fluid flow, heat and mass transfer and reactor design. The mathematical skills required for this and subsequent modules will be developed through tutorials.
Bioscience for Engineers
If you have not studied biological science during your first degree then this module is for you. Topics include: biochemistry, cell structure and characterisation, bioenergetics, fundamental molecular biology, cell signalling, histology and physiology. This module will also address the practical application of aseptic techniques and other methods for the handling, manipulation and containment of biological material. Many of the areas and concepts covered in this module will be developed further in subsequent modules.
Cell Factories – 20 credits
Bioseparations – 20 credits
Frontiers in Interdisciplinary Bioscience – 10 credits
Bioreaction Engineering – 10 credits
Summer research project (MSc only) – 60 credits
Optional themed modules – choice of 50 credits (MSc and Diploma)
Modules from different themes can be combined within timetabling constraints. All modules are offered subject to sufficient enrolled students. All module descriptions are provisional and subject to minor change.
Plant design and manufacturing principles in (bio) pharmaceutical production – 10 credits
From bench to market: the development of pharmaceutical drug products – 10 credits
Design and development of drug delivery systems – 10 credits
Process engineering design project – 20 credits
Business Studies Theme
Marketing and total quality management – 10 credits
Business methods, economics and strategy – 10 credits
Effective project management – 10 credits
Food Engineering Theme
Food flavour – 10 credits
Developing food structure through thermal processing – 10 credits
Hygienic food processing – 10 credits
Food Chain Security – 10 credits
Pest Management and Cleaning Systems – 10 credits
Chemical contamination of food and water – 10 credits
Sustainability in the Food Industry – 10 credits
Food Structure and the Consumer – 10 credits
Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.
Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.
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