Biochemical engineering - Life of a Biochemical engineering student

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amanabc
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Hey Guys,

I'm currently a third year student at UCL studying Biochemical Engineering MEng degree with a year in industry.

When I applied for my degree I noticed that there wasn't really any threads existing on TSR that shared the experiences of Biochemical engineering as a degree. And that meant that it became hard to write my UCAS personal statement because I didn't know what life was like like a Biochemical engineer at UCL.

TOP TIP - one of our undergraduate admissions tutor has released some tips on what to write in your personal statements if you want to apply to do a degree in Biochemical engineering at UCL

the links here --> http://www.ucl.ac.uk/biochemeng/bioc...statement-2016

If you have an questions about life at UCL, biochemical engineering and year in industry please ask away!! I'm happy to help!!
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Zankou
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What do you think about your course?
Also, is it difficult to obtain a work placement for the 4th year? What sort of placements are available?
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amanabc
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(Original post by Zankou)
What do you think about your course?
Also, is it difficult to obtain a work placement for the 4th year? What sort of placements are available?

Hi Zankou,

I really love my course (hence why I'm doing a 4 year programme! ), I love the mix of all the science subjects we get to learn then applying it to real life industrial applications. I think the best part of the course right now is the Regenerative medicine minor I'm taking, which is all about the upcoming technologies like Immunotherapies and gene therapies!

The department really helped me with finding a placement for my forth year, where I was able to get a lot of support during the process of interviews and helping me with making my CV and application forms better (my tutors really helped me aswell!) Our department have a lot of links with industry, so its really helpful!!

As I am more interested in the pharmaceutical side, I applied for a placement within the pharmaceutical companies like GSK, Lonza, Eli Lilly (Who i am now doing my placement with) etc. There is an opportunity to apply for chemical engineering placements (with Unilever) as well as working for companies that focus on the research development side!

If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask!!
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rb16
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how much physics is in biochemical engineering? And would it be a disadvantage if I haven't done physics in Alevels?
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amanabc
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(Original post by rb16)
how much physics is in biochemical engineering? And would it be a disadvantage if I haven't done physics in Alevels?
During the first year, there is a bit of physics, but the physics we learn is a different form of the physics learnt at A-Levels (i.e. more about forces, fluid velocity profiles, the behaviour of fluid/ processing broth etc). I only took physics to AS-Level, and I did not find it too difficult to catch up with others who had done physics to A2 level. I was also able to get alot of help from the department if I was struggling with some concepts, so its not so difficult.

I'd definitely say its something that wont prevent you from doing well in the course.

Hope that helps!
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rb16
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(Original post by amanabc)
During the first year, there is a bit of physics, but the physics we learn is a different form of the physics learnt at A-Levels (i.e. more about forces, fluid velocity profiles, the behaviour of fluid/ processing broth etc). I only took physics to AS-Level, and I did not find it too difficult to catch up with others who had done physics to A2 level. I was also able to get alot of help from the department if I was struggling with some concepts, so its not so difficult.

I'd definitely say its something that wont prevent you from doing well in the course.

Hope that helps!
yes thank you! since it's an engineering course, I assume it would be heavy physics, so is biology and chemistry also quite a big factor in biochemical engineering ? Because for chemical engineering, it's maths and physics that are important rather than chemistry
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amanabc
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(Original post by rb16)
yes thank you! since it's an engineering course, I assume it would be heavy physics, so is biology and chemistry also quite a big factor in biochemical engineering ? Because for chemical engineering, it's maths and physics that are important rather than chemistry
No problem! Biology more than chemistry for sure! You only start doing some chemistry in the third year, but second and third year we have alot of biology modules to do!

But its not as heavy as ALEVEL, where you need to learn alot of chemical reactions and stuff like that, its all relevant to biochemical engineering.

Hope that helps
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Zankou
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Would you say a laptop would be useful for this course or for university in general?
If so, would Windows or Mac be better or are either suitable for the programme?
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amanabc
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(Original post by Zankou)
Would you say a laptop would be useful for this course or for university in general?
If so, would Windows or Mac be better or are either suitable for the programme?
Yes a laptop is a must! We do a lot of coding for some modules so you need to download the software to do some of the work during the tutorials. A lot of my class mates have a mac but I have a windows laptop. It doesn't really matter - all you need is a laptop with lots of space on it to put your work on it haha!
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rb16
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Hi sorry to ask so many questions but I've been researching about biochemical engineering job prospects in the U.K. but there isn't much information online, it would be great if you had some information
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amanabc
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(Original post by rb16)
Hi sorry to ask so many questions but I've been researching about biochemical engineering job prospects in the U.K. but there isn't much information online, it would be great if you had some information
Hi!

No problem at all! You could specialise in a large number of jobs within the pharmaceutical sector - so working as a bioprocess engineer at companies like GSK, Medimmune, Lonza etc. You can work within developing cell and gene therapy processes, biofuel/algae development , a consultant for biotech companies and many more!

Even though we specialise in biochemical engineering, many companies want graduates to work for them as we have knowledge that can apply to many things, for example Unilever (developing consumer goods) etc.

Some graduates even go into the financial sector.

Hope that helps!
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Logic4Life
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What's the graduate prospects like? Is it hard to get a job?
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amanabc
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(Original post by Logic4Life)
What's the graduate prospects like? Is it hard to get a job?
I'm not quite sure, but I'm assuming it is just the same as other engineering degrees, ideally if you want to work within an engineering company or a big company it will be easier to get a job if you do a placement with them or an internship or a graduate programme (which is highly competitive to get)

Hope that helps!
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Zankou
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Which building would you spend most of the time in (for lectures, labs, tutorials, etc) during the first year?
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amanabc
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(Original post by Zankou)
Which building would you spend most of the time in (for lectures, labs, tutorials, etc) during the first year?
For me, I was at the engineering main building (Roberts) and the main Biochemical Engineering building (Bernard Katz building). This is the same for second and third year and all of the rooms are at the Bloomsbury campus.
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Zankou
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(Original post by amanabc)
Yes a laptop is a must! We do a lot of coding for some modules so you need to download the software to do some of the work during the tutorials. A lot of my class mates have a mac but I have a windows laptop. It doesn't really matter - all you need is a laptop with lots of space on it to put your work on it haha!
Oh I didn't realise Biochemical Engineering students did coding. Are the modules you do coding in compulsory or are you given the option to choose minor modules that may have coding in them?
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Okdmd46
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(Original post by amanabc)
For me, I was at the engineering main building (Roberts) and the main Biochemical Engineering building (Bernard Katz building). This is the same for second and third year and all of the rooms are at the Bloomsbury campus.
How would define what a biochemical engineer actually is and does?


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amanabc
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(Original post by Zankou)
Oh I didn't realise Biochemical Engineering students did coding. Are the modules you do coding in compulsory or are you given the option to choose minor modules that may have coding in them?
Every engineering degree does coding - its such a good skill that all the employers would love to see the graduates have! There are only one or two modules you take in the first, second and third year that have coding involved - but it only becomes a big part of the modules during year 3. i.e. in year 1 coding was only one topic within a module we had (an introduction) whereas in year 3 its part of a whole module.

You can also take some minors that focus on coding as well - but that is your choice!
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amanabc
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(Original post by Okdmd46)
How would define what a biochemical engineer actually is and does?


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Biochemical Engineering is the Engineering applied to the biology of all real life discoveries and inventions. Basically, Biochemical Engineers are central to ensure that we can have all the safe, cheap and potent medicines, biofuels, immunotherapies, cell therapies, cancer vaccines/drugs, enzymes for any application, tissue engineering therapies, food, detergents etc etc (anything that requires biology to develop the product). Biochemical Engineers are there, behind the scenes making sure that we can help change the world, improve quality of lives by developing these products!

hope that makes sense haha
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Okdmd46
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(Original post by amanabc)
Biochemical Engineering is the Engineering applied to the biology of all real life discoveries and inventions. Basically, Biochemical Engineers are central to ensure that we can have all the safe, cheap and potent medicines, biofuels, immunotherapies, cell therapies, cancer vaccines/drugs, enzymes for any application, tissue engineering therapies, food, detergents etc etc (anything that requires biology to develop the product). Biochemical Engineers are there, behind the scenes making sure that we can help change the world, improve quality of lives by developing these products!

hope that makes sense haha
Sure does, great thanks!


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