Biochemical Engineering

Overview of Biochemical Engineering

This is a very unique engineering field.  It combines an engineering approach to solving biochemical problems that the biotechnology industry faces when trying to improve food and medication.  These engineers can also work to develop new biological materials. 

Biochemical engineering is a growing industry that focuses on taking an engineering approach to solving chemical problems in a vast array of industries.  Biochemical engineers can work with the private sector on properly sanitizing their facilities or researching and developing new products like alternative fuel sources.  Biochemical engineers can work as managers or supervisors on several types of projects as well as take an active role in researching and developing new technologies.  They generally work in laboratory environments as project leaders and managers.

Curriculum for Biochemical Engineering

There is a heavier emphasis on science in this field of engineering than in construction oriented engineering programs.  Some of the classes one could expect to take are like but no limited to:

  • Engineering Math
  • Engineering Problem Solving
  • Accelerated Rhetoric
  • Introductory Physics
  • Principles of Chemistry
  • Fundamentals of Engineering
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Process Calculations
  • Thermodynamics
  • Engineering Flow and Heat Exchange
  • Materials Science
  • Chemical Reaction Engineering
  • Chemical Process Safety
  • Process Dynamics & Control
  • Chemical Engineering Process Design
  • Introduction to Biochemical Engineering

There are many different courses that will be required of someone seeking a Bachelor’s degree in biochemical engineering, how ever, there will not be nearly as much focus on construction or building regulations as you would find in other types of engineering programs.  The concept of this type of program is to take engineering problem solving techniques and apply them to scientific problems in chemistry.  This program would be a good fit for someone who considers them self an outside-the-box thinker.

How to Enroll in Biochemical Engineering

There are many schools that offer a Bachelor’s degree in biochemical engineering but it is also important to keep in mind that an advanced degree in biochemical engineering is required to advance in this industry and hold a management or leadership position.  Choosing schools that offer both advanced degrees like a Master’s degree as well as a Bachelor’s degree might be the best fit for this type of industry.  One can also enter this field with related degrees in biomedical engineering or chemical engineering, both of which have advanced degree programs as well.

A student in this program should stay in close contact with their advisor.  Because this is an emerging industry and a program that mixes two intense disciplines, staying on track is vital.Students should also bear in mind that most biomedical engineers have a background in other areas of engineering so be sure to consult your advisor as to which areas can best prepare you for the field of your choosing.

Benefits and Rewards of Biochemical Engineering

People interested in environmental stewardship and alternative fuel will find this field particularly rewarding.  There is also a demand for biochemical engineers in the household cleaning products market.  This is a great degree and career track for someone who is very scientifically minded and wants to make a difference in the environment through affecting the consumer market.

Job Opportunities in Biochemical Engineering

Most of the jobs with this degree will be in research and development for both the public and private sector.  There are research grants available for personal research projects as well.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a chemical engineer as of May 2008 made an average of $84,680 annually.

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