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.
As this is a highly industrially-led subject area, we have secured guest lectures from Cobra Biologics (contract manufacturing), Biocats Ltd (Enzyme manufacture) and the Centre for Process Innovation Ltd (biological process development) and are currently seeking additional industrial lectures.
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.
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, including the Design Project.
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.
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.
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.
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 50 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.
For the first eight months you have lectures, tutorials and laboratory work. Core module topics include:
- Fermentation and cell culture
- Process monitoring and control
- Systems and synthetic biology approaches
Optional module include:
- Biopharmaceutical development and manufacture
- Food processing
- Business skills for the process industries
The programme is strongly design-orientatedand you complete a full process plant design exercise. You also have practical experience of working in the newly-refurbished pilot plant of the Biochemical Engineering building.
From June to September you gain research training on your own project attached to one of the teams working in the bioprocessing research section.