UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM

Biochemical Engineering

MSc  |  Placement Year:   No

Biochemical Engineering concerns the use of biological organisms or processes by manufacturing industries. It is a multidisciplinary subject, requiring the integration of engineering and bioscience knowledge to design and implement processes used to manufacture a wide range of products; from novel therapeutics such as monoclonal antibodies for treating cancer, vaccines and hormones, to new environmentally-friendly biofuels. It is also essential in many other fields, such as the safe manufacture of food and drink and the removal of toxic compounds from the environment.

This course will provide you with the skills you need to start an exciting career in the bioprocess industries, or continue research in the area of bioprocessing or industrial biotechnology.

Industry involvement

Academics working at Birmingham have strong links with industry, through collaborative projects, so allow students to make contact with companies. Graduates from the MSc programme have gone on to careers in biochemical engineering world-wide, in large and small companies working in diverse areas.

There are also guest lectures from academics working at other institutions.

Practical experience

You will gain practical experience of working with industrially applicable systems, from fermentation at laboratory scale to 100 litre pilot scale, in the Biochemical Engineering laboratories. Theory learned in lectures will be applied in practical terms. In addition, theoretical aspects will be applied in design case studies in a number of modules.

All MSc students complete a summer research project, working on a piece of individual, novel research within one of the research groups in the school. These projects provide an ideal experience of life as a researcher, from design of experimental work, practical generation of data, analysis and communication of findings. Many students find this experience very useful in choosing the next steps in their career.

Special Features

The lecture courses are supplemented with tutorials, seminars and experimental work. Industrial visits and talks by speakers from industrial and service organisations are also included in the course programme.

Pilot Plant

The Biochemical Engineering building houses a pilot plant with large-scale fermentation and downstream processing equipment. The refurbished facility includes state-of-the-art computer-controlled bioreactors, downstream processing equipment and analytical instruments

Course structure

In the autumn and spring semesters, the programme comprises lecture and problem based modules assessed by a mixture of examinations and coursework. The programme commences with introductory modules. These are designed to build a strong interdisciplinary knowledge base. The fundamentals of process engineering are introduced to graduates with first degrees in non-chemical engineering subjects. Chemical engineering graduates are instructed in bioscience topics.

Building on this strong foundation, subsequent core modules cover fermentation and cellculture  technologies, downstream processing (bioseparation), bioreaction engineering, bioprocess design and monitoring and modern
high-throughput genomic methodologies.

Students also spend a week in a newly refurbished pilot plant, using state-of-the-art fermentation, downstream processing and analytical facilities. A wide range of optional modules is available for you to gain specific knowledge relating to food and/or pharmaceutical product development. Safety, regulatory and quality issues applicable across the relevant industries are also considered. You may also choose to study business and management modules. You will have the freedom to pick and choose modules from each theme if they wish, providing timetabling allows this.

In the summer semester (June to September), each student on the MSc programme will then undertake an individual project in a research area of their choice within one of the School’s internationally recognized research groups.

Programme description

Biochemical Engineering concerns the use of biological organisms or processes by manufacturing industries. It is a multidisciplinary subject, requiring the integration of engineering and bioscience knowledge to design and implement processes used to manufacture a wide range of products; from novel therapeutics such as monoclonal antibodies for treating cancer, vaccines and hormones, to new environmentally-friendly biofuels. It is also essential in many other fields, such as the safe manufacture of food and drink and the removal of toxic compounds from the environment.

This course will provide you with the skills you need to start an exciting career in the bioprocess industries, or continue research in the area of bioprocessing or industrial biotechnology.

Industry involvement

Academics working at Birmingham have strong links with industry, through collaborative projects, so allow students to make contact with companies. Graduates from the MSc programme have gone on to careers in biochemical engineering world-wide, in large and small companies working in diverse areas.

There are also guest lectures from academics working at other institutions.

Practical experience

You will gain practical experience of working with industrially applicable systems, from fermentation at laboratory scale to 100 litre pilot scale, in the Biochemical Engineering laboratories. Theory learned in lectures will be applied in practical terms. In addition, theoretical aspects will be applied in design case studies in a number of modules.

All MSc students complete a summer research project, working on a piece of individual, novel research within one of the research groups in the school. These projects provide an ideal experience of life as a researcher, from design of experimental work, practical generation of data, analysis and communication of findings. Many students find this experience very useful in choosing the next steps in their career.

Special Features

The lecture courses are supplemented with tutorials, seminars and experimental work. Industrial visits and talks by speakers from industrial and service organisations are also included in the course programme.

Pilot Plant

The Biochemical Engineering building houses a pilot plant with large-scale fermentation and downstream processing equipment. The refurbished facility includes state-of-the-art computer-controlled bioreactors, downstream processing equipment and analytical instruments

Course structure

In the autumn and spring semesters, the programme comprises lecture and problem based modules assessed by a mixture of examinations and coursework. The programme commences with introductory modules. These are designed to build a strong interdisciplinary knowledge base. The fundamentals of process engineering are introduced to graduates with first degrees in non-chemical engineering subjects. Chemical engineering graduates are instructed in bioscience topics.

Building on this strong foundation, subsequent core modules cover fermentation and cellculture  technologies, downstream processing (bioseparation), bioreaction engineering, bioprocess design and monitoring and modern
high-throughput genomic methodologies.

Students also spend a week in a newly refurbished pilot plant, using state-of-the-art fermentation, downstream processing and analytical facilities. A wide range of optional modules is available for you to gain specific knowledge relating to food and/or pharmaceutical product development. Safety, regulatory and quality issues applicable across the relevant industries are also considered. You may also choose to study business and management modules. You will have the freedom to pick and choose modules from each theme if they wish, providing timetabling allows this.

In the summer semester (June to September), each student on the MSc programme will then undertake an individual project in a research area of their choice within one of the School’s internationally recognized research groups.

Key Modules
Module & Subject

This course consists of 180 credits. You will take an introductory 10-credit module and four core modules amounting to 60 credits, then choose 50 credits of optional modules (subject to timetabling constraints) plus your 60-credit research project (MSc only).

Some modules advertised currently may be subject to change, either in terms of the module content as stated below, or in terms of if the module will be available for this programme (due to staff changes, timetable changes, etc).

 

 

Bioscience for engineers.
10 credits.

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.
 

Process engineering fundamentals.
10 credits.

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.

*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.

 

Core modules

Bioreaction Engineering.
10 credits.

This module deals with the engineering science of bioreactor design; of the development of design tools which can be used to select and size equipment to carry out specific bioreaction tasks. Kinetic and engineering models are discussed along with mixing, flow and shear within bioreactions. Instrumentation and control strategies are also covered.

Cell Factories.
20 credits.

This module defines and explains the principles of the large scale industrial production of a range of bioactive molecules (such as protein biopharamceuticals, amino acids and biopolymers) by fermentation and cell culture. The first part of the module discusses the basis for the choice of production system (insect, animal, bacterial, yeast and fungal cell) for the bioactive molecule of choice. The second part of the module concentrates on the interaction of the organism with the process environment, and understanding and modelling the scale-up of industrial processes. The final part of the module is practical, with laboratory scale and pilot scale bacterial fermentations.
Bioseparations.
20 credits.
This two-week module introduces students to the theories and principles of general downstream processing – how products generated in fermentation or cell culture are isolated and purified. We cover the choice of recombinant protein hosts, cell disruption strategies, aggregation, fractional precipitation, centrifugation and centrifuges, conventional filtration and membrane separations. The second week addresses preparative chromatography and related/competing techniques and whole process synthesis.

Frontiers in Interdisciplinary Bioscience.
10 credits.

This module explores the application of systems and synthetic biology in the bioprocess industries. Molecular tools are explored that allow us to discover how cells are responding to processes, and how cells can be engineered to generate new products. The coursework assessment includes the design of a cell to generate a product such as the antimalarial drug Artemisinin or biologically-generated petrol.

Research project (MSc only).
60 credits.

The Centre for Biochemical Engineering is one of the major international research institutes in Europe. Our interdisciplinary summer projects fully exploit links within this and with other schools, and also with industry, offering opportunities to join teams of high calibre research staff. The project consolidates course work and intensive research experience in an exciting way, providing a route to technological publications, and rounding off the year of study in a satisfying way.

Entry Requirements
  • A good Honours degree (2:1 or higher) or postgraduate diploma from an UK university or equivalent. The degree must be in a relevant subject and applicants must meet the following module criteria:

 

For applicants with a degree in Accounting, Finance, Accounting and Finance, International Accounting, International Finance or International Accounting and Finance:

 

One module with minimum 2.1 grade from: Accounting, Financial Accounting, Corporate Reporting, Financial reporting, Senior Financial Accounting and Theory or Accounting

One module with minimum 2.1 grade from: Business Finance, Corporate Finance, Finance, Financial Management, International Finance or International Financial Management

  • All other Applicants:

 

One module with minimum 2.1 grade from: Accounting, Financial Accounting, Corporate Reporting, Financial reporting, Senior Financial Accounting and Theory or Accounting

One module with minimum 2.1 grade from: Business Finance, Corporate Finance, Finance, Financial Management, International Finance or International Financial Management

Two modules with minimum 2.1 grade from a list of 22 other possible modules, including Auditing, Investments, Money and Banking etc.

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – learn more about international entry requirements

 

Standard English language requirements apply (IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band).

Students with a bachelor degree (4 years minimum) may be considered for entry to a postgraduate degree programme. However please note that we will only consider students who meet the entry guidance below.

 

Please refer to the ‘Business School’ guidance below if you are applying for a Business or Economics programme (not including MBA). You can see the relevant courses on the Business school website.

 

Please refer to the ‘All other programmes’ guidance below if you are applying for all other courses.

 

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS TO THE BUSINESS SCHOOL (BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS COURSES EXCLUDING MBA) 

GROUP 1 UNIVERSITIES

University is ranked in the top 100 Netbig ranking either in 2012 or 2013. We will also consider institutions part of the prestigious 211 and 985 universities.

 

We will consider students from these institutions with 80% or above.

 

Borderline cases: we will consider students with 70-79% if you have a relevant degree and good grades in relevant subjects and/or relevant work experience.

 

GROUP 2 UNIVERSITIES

University is ranked in the top 101 to 150 Netbig ranking either in 2012 or 2013.

 

We will also consider certain institutions that are AFFLIATED COLLEGES of the prestigious 211 and 985 universities or top 150 ranking university in Netbig 2012 or 2013.

 

  • We will also consider the following 9 specialist Business universities:

 

  1. University of Shanghai for Science and Technology

 

  1. Beijing Technology and Business University

 

  1. Huaqiao University

 

  1. Nanjing University of Finance and Economics

 

  1. Tianjin University of Finance and Economics

 

  1. Guangdong University of Foreign Studies

 

  1. Jiangxi University of Finance

 

  1. Capital University of Economics and Trade

 

  1. Nanjing Audit University

 

We will consider students from these institutions with 85%.

 

Borderline cases: we will consider students with 80-84% if you have a relevant degree and good grades in relevant subjects and/or relevant work experience.

 

  • ALL OTHER INSTITUTIONS

If you do not meet the requirement for group 1 or 2 university above then you are not likely to be considered for entry to our Business School. However you may be considered for other programmes outside of the Business school, see details below.

 

  • ENTRY REQUIREMENTS TO ALL OTHER PROGRAMMES (INCLUDING MBA)

GROUP 1 UNIVERSITIES

University is ranked in the top 200 Netbig ranking either in 2012 or 2013. We will also consider institutions part of the prestigious 211 and 985 universities.

We will also consider certain institutions that are AFFILIATED COLLEGES of the prestigious 211 and 985 universities or top 200 ranking university in Netbig 2012 or 2013.

We will consider students from these institutions with 80% or above.

Borderline cases: we will consider students with 70-79% if you have a relevant degree and good grades in relevant subjects and/or relevant work experience.

  • GROUP 2 UNIVERSITIES

University is ranked in the top 201 to 500 Netbig ranking either in 2012 or 2013.

We will also consider certain institutions that are AFFLIATED COLLEGES of these universities.

We will consider students from these institutions with 85%.

Borderline cases: we will consider students with 80-84% if you have a relevant degree and good grades in relevant subjects and/or relevant work experience. 

GROUP 3 UNIVERSITIES

University is ranked in the top 501 to 800 Netbig ranking either in 2012 or 2013.

We will also consider certain institutions that are AFFLIATED COLLEGES of these universities.

We will consider students from these institutions with 85% if you have a relevant degree and good grades in relevant subjects and/or relevant work experience.

THREE-YEAR DIPLOMAS

Applicants with three year diplomas and substantial work experience at managerial level (5-7 years) can be considered for entry to a non-business postgraduate degree programme.

 

  • ALL OTHER INSTITUTIONS

If you do not meet the requirement for group 1, 2 or 3 university above then you are not likely to be considered for entry to our courses.

 

Students with Master’s degree may be considered for PhD study.

Foundation Campus
No Foundation
Course Option
Course Duration: 1 year
Course Fee:  21690.00
Course Level:  POSTGRADUATE
Location
Country:  UNITED KINGDOM
Campus Location:  Edgbaston Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom
Intake Deadline
SEPTEMBER