The MSc is a 12-month full-time advanced course, comprising lectures, laboratory work, short experimental projects and a research project. You will take an introductory module, four core modules, and then choose 60 credits of optional themed modules. The course can also be taken on a part-time basis. The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) lasts for 8 months from the end of September until June.
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 – 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.
* Bioscience for graduates from other scientific disciplines – 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.
*These modules will be timetabled to allow students to attend both if required. However, only one will be formally assessed as agreed with the course director.
Modern genome-based bioscience – 10 credits
In this module you will learn how systems and synthetic biology are impacting on Chemical and Biochemical Engineering in the 21st Century. Topics include the “omics” - genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics, important tools in modern molecular and systems biology, computational modelling and systems integration.
Measurement techniques – 10 credits
This module examines a wide variety of techniques that are important for characterising the structure and quality of formulated products and the processes used to make them. X-ray microtomography, micromanipulation, positron emission particle tracking, particle image velocimetry and dynamic vapour sorption are just some of the methods studied.
Colloid chemistry and rheology – 20 credits
This module provides an in depth study of the world of colloidal systems and their industrial importance. The course will concentrate on three main systems namely suspensions (e.g. paints, toothpaste), emulsions (e.g. margarines, pharmaceutical preparations) and foams (e.g. mousses, shaving foams). Rheology, which is the study of how materials deform and flow, will also be covered in detail. The emphasis of the course is on how interparticle forces control the structure of colloidal systems and understanding how the processing of a fluid affects its structure, stability and function on both a micro- and macroscopic scale.
Molecular delivery – 10 credits
This module defines and explains the principles of molecular delivery that underpin formulation engineering in food, pharmaceutical and speciality chemical processing. The first part of the module outlines the engineering science of diffusion and molecular transport, in terms of Fickian and non-Fickian diffusion and mass transfer models. The emphasis is on the physical factors that give rise to each type of diffusional and transport process and how they can be represented physically and mathematically. In the second part of the module, the ways in which this type of approach can be applied practically will be outlined using a series of examples and case studies e.g. encapsulation in drug delivery, consecutive mass transfer and diffusion stages in flavour delivery, and transport processes in catalysis and fuel cells.
Optional themed modules – choice of 50 credits (MSc & 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.
Pharmaceutical Technology Theme
Plant design and manufacturing principles in (bio) pharmaceutical production – 10 credits
This module provides students with an understanding of the engineering and operational issues involved in the manufacture of new chemical and biological products for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Topics include the design and layout of pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, principles of quality assurance (QA), good manufacturing practice (GMP), quality control (QC) and validation. Cleaning (CIP), sterilisation methods, aseptic processing and containment are also discussed. Part of the module is delivered by external speakers from industry.
From bench to market: the development of pharmaceutical drug products – 10 credits
From the latest technologies used in drug discovery through to post market surveillance activities – this module looks at the stages involved in the multimillion pound process of drug product development. You will learn about drug discovery in the post genomic era, preclinical studies, clinical trials, pre-formulation and formulation activities, manufacturing considerations and regulatory procedures.
Design and development of drug delivery systems – 10 credits
Drugs are rarely administered to patients solely as chemical or biological substances – instead, they are first formulated into dosage forms or drug delivery systems. This module examines a range of available methods and technologies for the delivery of chemical and macromolecular drugs (peptides, proteins and nucleic acids) and concentrates on the scientific and engineering principles underpinning their design.
Food Engineering Theme
Food flavour – 10 credits
This module discusses food flavour in terms of flavour production and release, the roles of flavour, the physics of the mouth, the physical chemistry of the mouth and the ways in which food processing impacts on flavour.
Developing food structure through thermal processing – 10 credits
This module aims to develop the skills of students to analyse the thermal processes found in the food industry from first principles and to explain how these processes operate and how they can be designed and controlled. Novel ways of carrying out thermal processes are also discussed in the light of the quality and safety required of practical food processes.
Hygienic food processing – 10 credits
This module outlines the engineering and scientific principles which control the hygiene of process plant, and thus have to be considered in the design of such plant. The module presents both microbiological and engineering material to demonstrate how both the engineering design of equipment and the way it is operated affect the microbiological contamination of the plant.
Hydrogen Energy Theme
Electrochemistry and electrochemical engineering – 10 credits
This module discusses the theories and applications of electrochemistry and is divided into two parts. The first part covers the principles of electrochemistry including electron-transfer kinetics, cell voltages and electroanalytical techniques. The second part focuses on battery technology, fuel cells, electroysis and electroplating.
Materials for hydrogen and fuel cell technology – 10 credits
The aim of the module is to provide an insight into the critical role materials science plays in a range of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. An overview of materials in the hydrogen energy economy acts as an introduction, followed by discussion of methods of hydrogen production and storage, PEM and solid oxide fuel cells. The design of integrated hydrogen and fuel cell energy systems is then discussed.
Energy policy and case studies – 20 credits
A historical overview of the development of global energy policy over the last 50 years leads into the recent legislative instruments aimed at reducing inefficient use of resources. Case studies and visiting speakers introduce examples of energy efficiency in action. Formal teaching about past and current legislation are interleaved with short blocks of case study material from practising energy engineers aimed at preparing students for entry into the energy sector.
Business Studies Theme
Marketing and total quality management – 10 credits
The module provides a comprehensive introduction to the concepts of consumer behaviour, marketing and market planning and research and concepts of total quality management in engineering companies.
Business methods, economics and strategy – 10 credits
The module is divided into three sections: 1) human relations; 2) economics; and 3) strategic analysis. Examples of topics discussed include: theory of the firm; managing change and conflict in the workplace; communication and methods of communication analysis; economic models; and strategic decision making.
Effective project management – 10 credits
This module introduces project management and covers economic project appraisal, resource management, safety awareness, project planning and critical path analysis. There are exercises on critical path analysis, time management and team working.
Powder handling - 10 credits
This module covers a wide range of topics involving powders and particulate materials that are of great importance to many process industries. First, the interactions between individual particles are considered at the microscopic level, to explain the fundamental origins of powder properties such as friction and cohesion. These properties are then used at a macroscopic level, which requires a careful analysis of how stresses are developed and transmitted in three-dimensional situations. This leads to predictions of flow patterns and flow rates from storage hoppers and some typical equipment is described. Similarly, there are presentations of the basic techniques and equipment used for fluidisation, cleaning of dusty gases, granulation and mixing. The analysis of powders, especially particle size distributions, is described.
Mathematical modelling of time-dependent processes - 10 credits
This module introduces students to mathematical modelling. Emphasis is placed on the development of the models and their solution primarily in software (e.g. Matlab™ and Femlab™). The course starts with ordinary differential equation models, looking in particular at population models. It then moves on to look at partial differential equations including the diffusion equation. N.B. This option is only suitable for students who have an A-Level in maths (or equivalent).
Summer research project (MSc only) – 60 credits
Our interdisciplinary summer projects fully exploit links within the School of Chemical Engineering and 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.
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.