2022 start September 

Biological and Bioprocess Engineering

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

The emerging multi-discipline of bioscience is central to providing affordable and sustainable sources of energy, food and medicine. This course provides you with the essential skills for a career in bioindustry or for further advanced research.
Chemical and Biological Engineering postgraduate in lab wearing goggles

Course description

Develop the essential skills for a career in bioindustry or for further advanced research in next-horizon biotechnologies. You’ll learn from world-class researchers, including staff from Biomedical Science and Materials Science and Engineering. Our graduates work in biotechnology, biopharmaceutical and bioprocess organisations.

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Accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers


The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

Core modules:

Biopharmaceutical Engineering

This module will equip you with a comprehensive understanding of technologies that contribute to the production of complex biological products by engineered cells. An emphasis will be placed on (a) core design principles and tools that underpin engineering of genetic vectors, cells and biopharmaceutical products (e.g. proteins, vaccines, gene therapeutics) and (b) bioproduction process design and optimisation. Case histories and exemplars will be provided by invited external experts from bioindustry to reinforce your understanding of core principles.

15 credits
Bioresources and Bioprocessing (PGT)

This module provides an overview of bioresources and their applications in the bioeconomy. The different types of bioresources, their characteristics and how that affects their applications will be discussed. Technologies, including chemical and biochemical methods, that are used for processing bioresources will be explored. Production of bioenergy from bioresources will be discussed.

15 credits
Advanced Bioprocess Design Project

This module will cover the design of whole biomanufacturing processes for the manufacture of biotherapeutic proteins. This will include a taught component, where process design principles and practice will be learnt; plus assistance during the design process, where you will produce a process design and accompanying report. The course will also cover part of modern quality by design, specifically the attainment of product critical quality attributes through the control of process parameters and its ramifications on process design will be discussed.

15 credits
Advanced Biochemical Engineering

This module will extend the use of classical chemical engineering principles of mass balance, energy balance and mass transfer to unit operations used in the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals. This will include fermentation, cell culture reactors, homogenisation, centrifugation, filtration and chromatography. Unit operation specific models will also be applied to predict these operations effectiveness.

15 credits
Applied Biological and Bioprocess Engineering

This is a practical module for MSc Biological & Bioprocess Engineering students where you will learn applied technical skills relevant to biological engineering in a biomanufacturing context.

15 credits
Research Project

The application of scientific and engineering principles to a solution for practical problems of engineering systems and processes is developed throughout the course and demonstrated in particular by the research project. Each student registered for the Masters degree in 'Biological and Bioprocess Engineering' and 'Biochemical Engineering with Industrial Management' is required to complete a research-based portfolio. The project is worth 60 credits. This is the most important individual module in the course. The topic for study is selected in consultation with appropriate members of the teaching staff. You will choose a research project that best fits your interests and undertakes a unique and original project on that area. Projects vary from industrially-based problem solving to laboratory-based research and development of new processes or ideas. The research portfolio is a major part of the degree and you will be allocated an academic supervisor who provides advice and guidance throughout the period of study. Opportunities exist for research studies to be carried out in collaboration with other university research centres as well as industrial organisations. You will present your project as a portfolio consisting of a Technical Review (5,000 words) and a Dissertation (10,000 to 15,000 words) and you are also required to present the work as a poster and oral presentation during the academic year. A marking scheme is provided at the start of the project and each research project report is marked using a mark sheet which gives weightings to different parts

60 credits

Optional modules - examples include:

Stem Cell Biology

This lecture course will provide a thorough grounding in the biology of stem cells and regenerative medicine, with special reference to the molecular and genetic control of cell fate specification and differentiation. Students will also be enouraged to consider the clinical use of stem cells and their derivatives as well as the ethical issues that these raise. As this is a rapidly developing field, strong emphasis will be placed on understanding the current controversies in the literature.

15 credits
Tissue Engineering Approaches to Failure in Living Systems

This lecture course continues the systems based introduction to human physiology and anatomy which were introduced in level 2 and explores through lectures the tissue engineering approaches that are being developed to cope with disease, failure and old age in body systems. The emphasis is placed primarily on generic technologies of relevance to tissue engineering recognising that this is an enormous and growing field. Thus the first four weeks focus on generic issues relevant to tissue engineering of any tissues and then for the remainder of the course exemplar tissues are selected to illustrate current tissue engineering approaches and identify the challenges that remain ahead. The lectures are supported by linked tutorials which focus on:(a) assessing the students understanding of their current knowledge so that they achieve immediate and informal feedback, and(b) giving the students the experience of working in small groups to apply what they have learnt in the preceding lectures to current problems. Thus a key feature of this module is to stimulating the students in critical thinking, essentially by giving them a toolkit to equip them to look critically at any tissue engineering challenge and come up with pertinent questions and experimental approaches.

15 credits
Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology is:
a) The design and construction of new biological parts, devices and systems;
b) The re-design of existing, natural biological systems for useful purposes.

The module seeks to introduce you to the field of synthetic biology, the context (technical and ethical, legal and social issues) and the industrial promise. The module demonstrates the concepts of the engineering design paradigm applied to the exploitation of biology. In particular, issues related to standardisation and modularity of biological parts, devices and systems are introduced and examined in light of examples. Concepts related to 'creation of life' and 'deconstruction of life' are covered.

15 credits
Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing

The module aims to provide an understanding of the key unit operations used in manufacturing biopharmaceutical products including vaccines, therapeutic proteins, and cell/gene therapies. The module will cover fermentation, extraction technologies and purification operations. The module will describe the design and application of each unit of operations, and introduce key associated topics including process engineering, analytical technologies, automation, quality by design, and regulatory issues. The module will have a particular focus on the latest industrial trends, and current and future challenges in biopharmaceutical manufacturing will be studied in-depth.

15 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.


We use a combination of lectures, tutorials, examples classes and coursework assignments.


Assessment is based on assignments for each module, formal examination of core modules, dissertation and oral presentation of the laboratory-based research project.


1 year full-time

Entry requirements

A good honours degree in science, technology or engineering.

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

Pathway programme for international students

If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Fees and funding

Contact us for current information on available scholarships.


You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

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+44 114 222 7500

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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