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Chemical & Biological Engineering

Chemical & Biological Engineering is concerned with producing and processing biochemicals and related materials, including the design and operation of bioreactors and bioseparation processes.

The programme combines the traditional discipline of chemical engineering with the new and emerging discipline of biological engineering to produce graduates who are better equipped to solve the world's sustainability challenges. Chemical and biological engineers are 'think big' professionals who work in co-operation with others to bring about the large scale benefits of advances in chemistry, biotechnology, and materials. In the next decade and beyond, contributions from chemical and biological engineers will be vital in creating and producing new medicines, nutritious foods, novel materials, new energy sources, better waste treatment methods and a sustainable global future.

This programme has full IPENZ accreditation, meaning it is both nationally and internationally recognised.

Career Opportunities

  • Biochemical Engineer
  • Biotechnologist  
  • Food Technology Engineer  
  • Manager  
  • Pharmaceutical Engineer

Potential Employers

  • Biotechnology Industries
  • Food and Dairy Industries
  • Forestry Sector
  • Pharmaceutical Industry

Chemical and biological engineering is a rapidly growing field using advances in genetics, microbiology, biochemistry and chemical engineering to create products, processes and services that are useful to mankind.

Ice cream, artificial kidneys, blood oxygenators, penicillin, insulin, aspirin, Viagra, human growth hormone, artificial heart/valves, nutritional foods and vitamins, essential oils, composite materials, new medicines, treatments and cures for AIDS, HIV, cancer, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's diseases, miniature analysers or reactors and nanomaterials are all examples of biochemical engineering.

Chemical and biological engineering blends knowledge in:

  • Engineering Science (mass and heat transfer, fluid control, material properties, kinetics and reaction engineering, process control, systems modelling, commercial, regulatory, safety, reliability issues)
  • Process (metabolic pathways, industrial manufacturing, protein purification, fermentation, design, economics)
  • Biology (small chemical molecules, proteins and biochemistry, microbiology, supra-molecule assemblies, genetics, whole cells, tissues and organisms)
  • Systems (individual cells, enzyme systems, genetic modifications, whole processing plants)

School subjects required

You must gain University Entrance, including a minimum of 16 credits in NCEA at Level 3 in Mathematics with Calculus, plus at least 16 credits in NCEA at Level 3 in Chemistry and 14 credits in NCEA at level 3 in Physics. Some first-year papers have specific prerequisites so check the paper list carefully.

Planning Your Degree

All of the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours (BE(Hons)) specified programmes have full IPENZ accreditation, making them nationally and internationally recognised qualifications.

Chemical & Biological Engineering has a core of process engineering along with a set of papers specific to one of four streams: biological, chemical, materials or environmental processing.

Below is a list of a standard papers taken in each year under this subject. Please note, this is indicative only and may differ depending on each student's individual situation.

Core Papers

Papers are worth 15 points.
  • COMP103 – Introduction to Computer Science
  • ENGG180 – Foundations of Engineering
  • ENMP102 – Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering
  • MATH101 – Introduction to Calculus
  • MATH102 – Introduction to Algebra
  • PHYS103 – Physics for Scientists and Engineers 1
  • CHEM112 - Chemical Reactivity

Plus 15 points from stream-appropriate papers.


Biological Processing
- Cellular and Molecular Biology

Chemical Processing
- Structure and Spectroscopy

- Structure and Spectroscopy

– Environmental Sciences


Core Papers

Papers are worth 20 points unless specified.
  • ENGG279 – Preparation for the Professional Work Place (0 points)
  • ENGG282 – Engineering Design (10 points)
  • ENGG283 – Linear Algebra for Engineers (10 points)
  • ENGG284 – Differential Equations for Engineers (10 points)
  • ENGG371 – Engineering Work Placement 1 (0 points)
  • ENMP221 – Engineering Thermodynamics
  • ENMP223 – Thermofluids
  • ENMP282 – Science and Engineering Management A (10 points)

Plus 40 points from stream-appropriate papers.


Biological Processing

BIOL251 – Biochemistry
Plus 20 points at 200 Level Chemistry

Chemical Processing

ENMP211 – Materials 1
Plus 20 points at 200 Level Chemistry


ENMP211 – Materials 1
ENMP213 – Mechanics of Materials 1


ENMP241 – Environmental Technology 1
Plus 20 points in either Level 200 Earth and Ocean Sciences or Chemistry


Core Papers

Papers are worth 20 points unless specified.
  • ENGG285 – Multivariable Calculus for Engineers (10 points)
  • ENGG372 – Engineering Work Placement 2 (0 points)
  • ENGG379 – Reflection on Professional Workplace Experience (0 points)
  • ENGG381 – Engineering Statistics
  • ENMP321 – Process Engineering and Design
  • ENMP323 – Transport Processes and Unit Operations
  • MATH257 – Computational Mathematics OR
    MATH259 – Mathematical modelling (10 points)

Plus 40 points from stream-appropriate papers.


Biological Processing
ENMP322 – Biotechnology
ENMP325 – Engineering Microbiology

Chemical Processing
ENMP311 – Materials 2
ENMP322 – Biotechnology

ENMP311 – Materials 2
ENMP313 – Mechanics of Materials 2

ENMP341 – Environmental Technology 2

Core Papers

Papers are worth 20 points unless specified.
  • ENGG492 – Honours Research and Management Project (60 points)
  • ENMP422 – Advanced Process Simulation and Control

Plus 20 points from stream-appropriate papers.


Biological Processing
ENMP427 - Biochemical Engineering

Chemical Processing

ENMP427 - Biochemical Engineering


ENMP407 - Materials and Processing Elective (10 points) 
ENMP411 - Advanced Materials Engineering (10 points)


 ENMP442 - Environmental Technology 3   

Plus a further 20 points from papers at 200 level or above.

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Contact the Faculty

Science & Engineering contacts
0800 438 254
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Complementary Subjects

If you are interested in Chemical & Biological Engineering, you might also be interested in:

Biological Sciences
Electronic Engineering
Materials and Process Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Software Engineering

Available Degrees

You can study Chemical & Biological Engineering-related subjects in the following degrees:


We also offer Diplomas and Certificates at undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels in some subjects. Contact us for more information.

Winter 2015