1. Handbook
  2. Subjects
  3. Biochemical & Pharmaceutical Engineering
  4. Print

Biochemical & Pharmaceutical Engineering (BIEN90004)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

You’re viewing the 2019 Handbook:
Or view archived Handbooks


Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeBIEN90004
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


This subject aims to build on the principles introduced in CHEN90031 Bioprocess Engineering to provide a more advanced understanding of biochemical production processes with a focus on pharmaceutical production. Students will learn about pharmaceutical and biochemical production processes in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.


Pharmaceutical products will include opiates, blood plasma products, vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and other medicines. Unit operations will include the growth of animal, plant and fungal cells, cell disruption and methods for product purification, such as chromatography. Case studies will include the production of recombinant proteins and amino acids and the genetic techniques required to make these products. The sustainable production of other biochemicals will also be discussed, including biofuels and the growth of algae. Students will learn how cellular processes can be used by chemical engineers to improve process efficiencies, clean up our environment and reduce chemical waste. Regulation, Good Manufacturing Practice and Validation processes will be introduced, along with the design of laboratories, pilot plants and manufacturing facilities and associated utilities and services. Students will also be introduced to relevant analytical techniques used to track production and purity and will become familiar with the research literature in this field.

Intended learning outcomes


On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Describe typical production processes for common pharmaceuticals
  2. Discuss the role of chemical engineering in pharmaceutical development, the regulatory standards that apply to such products and the business drivers for product development
  3. Apply systems approaches to describe how changes to a cell can be used to make new biochemical products
  4. Describe the processes in research, development and practice that may increase the sustainability of biochemical and other production processes
  5. Describe a range of biochemical products and develop create strategies to produce and purify these products
  6. Discuss the synergies between biochemistry and chemical engineering.

Generic skills

  • In-depth technical competence in at least one engineering discipline
  • Ability to function effectively as an individual and in teams
  • Capacity for independent critical thought, rational enquiry and self-directed learning
  • Ability to communicate effectively, not only with engineers but also with the community at large.

Eligibility and requirements


Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
CHEN90031 Bioprocess Engineering
Summer Term
Semester 1



Non-allowed subjects

CHEN90016 Metabolic Engineering

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • Three assignments not exceeding 2000 words, due around week 4, 6 and 8 of the semester (30%). Total time commitment of approximately 35 -40 hours
  • One 3 hour written end of semester examination (70%).

All Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) addressed in both assignments and exam.

Hurdle requirement: A mark of 40% or more in the end of semester examination is required to pass the subject.

Dates & times

  • Semester 2
    CoordinatorSally Gras
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours69 hours = 36 hours of lectures + 8 hours of tutorials + 10 hours of practicals + 15 hours of industrial site tours/ workshop(s)
    Total time commitment200 hours
    Teaching period29 July 2019 to 27 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 August 2019
    Census date31 August 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail27 September 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

    Semester 2 contact information

    Professor Sally Gras

    Email: sgras@unimelb.edu.au

Time commitment details

Estimated 200 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts


    Recommended texts and other resources


  • Subject notes


    The subject will be delivered through a combination of lectures, self managed assignments, and self managed work on tutorial questions supported by tutorial classes.


    These will be provided through the subject LMS site.


    Biochemical engineers explore the development of large scale processes that use microbial, plant or animal cells. Career opportunities exist in bioprocessing industries such as food, beverage and pharmaceutical production, the petrochemical, minerals and energy industries and in new fields made possible by the advances of biotechnology. Graduates may also work in environmental fields.

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    Subject coordinator approval required

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 27 July 2019