Chemical and biological engineers are stewards of the environment, helping to harness the globe’s natural riches and improve the quality of our lives by developing sustainable and green manufacturing technologies for the production of superior medicines, clean water, cleaner fuels and materials, and cutting-edge medical technologies. 

British Columbia is one of the world’s largest bioenergy-producing regions and also home to one of the largest biopharmaceutical clusters in North America. 

UBC’s acclaimed program in Chemical & Biological Engineering combines classroom learning with interactive, hands-on instruction in well-equipped learning laboratories.

Students further expand their horizons through co-op placements, industrial-site visits and research opportunities with our world-leading, award-winning research faculty. With these credentials, you’ll be equipped to excel in a number of fast-growing and highly paid fields, including biotechnology, food, environmental services, bioenergy, forestry, biopharmaceuticals, health care and biomedical engineering.

Join the bio-revolution and become an active part of shaping the future.

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Learn more about Chemical and Biological Engineering

Why study this program 

Chemical and Biological Engineering graduates are able to work in a variety of different fields. Common areas of focus they can pursue include: biotechnology, chemical and food bioprocessing, environmental services, pharmaceuticals, pollution prevention, bioremediation, carbon dioxide mitigation, capture, and storage, bio-fuels and renewable energy.  

The Chemical and Biological Engineering building houses extensive custom research labs. The Clean Energy Research Centre is also a part of the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department.  

The department collaborates with research in many multidisciplinary Research Centres at UBC including: 

Courses & Specializations 

Students will first complete a foundational first year of engineering and then take specialized courses beginning in second year, once they are placed into their engineering discipline.  


Year 2 
CHBE 201Integrated Technical Communication
CHBE 241Material and Energy Balances
CHBE 264Chemical and Biological Engineering Laboratory
MATH 256Differential Equations


Year 3 
CHBE 356Process Dynamics and Control
CHBE 373Water and Wastewater Technology and Engineering
CHBE 365Biological Engineering Laboratory
CHBE 381Biological Engineering and Bio-Manufacturing I


Year 4 
CHBE 453Biological Process and Product Design
CHBE 481Biological Engineering and Bio-Manufacturing II
CHBE 456Heterogenous Catalysis and Advanced Reactor Design
CHBE 459Chemical and Biological Engineering Economics

For a more in-depth look at the curriculum, please consult the Academic Calendar and course descriptions. 

Enhance Your Education (further education)

Graduates of the Chemical and Biological Engineering program looking to continue their education can pursue professional programs and graduate studies. The analytical and problem-solving skills students gain from an undergraduate engineering degree translate well into the qualities needed for Medical and Law School. These students also make strong candidates for UBC’s Master of Engineering Leadership in Clean Energy Engineering which offers the unique combination of business and engineering courses for students looking to further their studies in the clean energy field. Students may also want to pursue a Master’s of Applied Science or Master’s of Engineering.


With a mean base salary of $110,790 (source) and an expected employment growth rate of 1.3% over the next 5 years (source), graduates of Chemical and Biological Engineering are well equipped to pursue careers in manufacturing and processing industries, consulting firms, government, and research and educational institutions (source). Common career titles (source) for Chemical and Biological Engineering graduates include: biochemical engineer, biochemical development engineer, chemical project engineer, electrochemical engineer, environmental chemical engineer, fuels engineer, industrial hygiene engineer, industrial waste treatment engineer, liquid fuels engineer, petrochemical engineer, petroleum refinery process engineer, pulp and paper chemical engineer, refinery engineer, waste treatment engineer and more. 


Both current students and graduates are able to work for a wide range of employers. Some of the biggest employers of UBC Chemical and Biological Engineering students over the past several years include Shell Canada LTD, Canfor Corporation, FortisBC, and Syncrude. 




Design Teams & Clubs 

Design Teams 

There are over 30 Engineering Design Teams at UBC. Joining an engineering design team is an excellent opportunity for students from all disciplines to collaborate on a wide variety of design projects and gain relevant teamwork, leadership, and technical skills transferrable to future careers. Design teams related to Chemical and Biological Engineering include: 

See the full list of UBC’s Engineering Design Teams 


There are many ways engineering students can get involved, including joining clubs relevant to their discipline. Clubs relevant to Chemical and Biological Engineering include: 


The department of Chemical and Biological Engineering is involved in research related to various industrial and societal challenges including energy and fuels, natural resources, environment, and health. These topics are explored in the following areas of research: 

  • Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering:  
    • The resources available to the department and UBC allows our student researchers to develop a systems-level understanding of the complex interplay between the genome, proteome and metabolome, and to investigate biological processes at unprecedented rates and scales. Many of our current researchers’ focus include bioenergy, biomanufacturing, pharmaceutical synthesis, environmental remediation, biomedical engineering, tissue engineering and synthetic biology. 
  • Environmental Engineering:
    • Department researchers are working on innovative ways to re-mediate polluted sites, to reduce and prevent pollution, to develop cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, and to treat water. Some areas of focus includes: Bio-remediation of contaminated industrial sites, carbon dioxide mitigation, capture and storage, clean and sustainable energy(bio-fuels, biomass processing and pre-processing, fuel cells and hydrogen production, gasification and syn-gas conversion, microbial technology for bio-methane and bio-hydrogen generation), air pollution control, water pollution control, solid waste management for resource recovery, water treatment technologies to provide clean drinking water.
  • Chemical Process Engineering:
    • With applications to everyday products and processes relevant to industry, researchers work to manufacture products that are safe, economically viable and have minimum impact on the local and global environment. Some areas of focus include: catalytic and thermal processes for the extraction, upgrade and processing of fossil fuels energy, process control and optimization, carbon dioxide capture, storage and utilization, multiphase and particulate processes, rheology and polymer processing, clathrate or gas hydrates and flow assurance in hydrocarbon processing and production facilities
  • Energy and Materials: 
    • Energy supply and security are important considerations to work towards a more sustainable future. Current research involves the reduction of greenhouse gases and urban pollution, with areas of focus including the use of renewables (biomass and solar), cleaner methods of using non-renewable energy, energy conversion using fuel cells and combustion processes, energy storage with fuels such as hydrogen and methane, treatment of energy related emissions (carbon dioxide capture and removal), waste water treatment, energy materials designed and fabricated from the nanoscale to the macroscopic scale (heterogeneous catalysis).
  • Engineering Education: 
    • Our team of world-class educators are leaders in the development of modern engineering education programs and novel instructional resources that provide students with versatile and powerful skillsets that allow them to tackle humanity’s greatest challenges, train them to join cutting-edge industries, and make a difference in the world around us. Expertise in the science of teaching and learning is leveraged to create world-leading, engaging, and effective learning experience for our students, and give them the tools to succeed wherever their careers take them.


Minors & Dual Degrees 

Engineering students are able to complement their studies with 5 Minors available or a Dual Degree with Arts. Students interested in a minor can apply to their chosen option in their third year of study. A minor or dual degree will likely extend your degree past 4 years.  



Participation in the Engineering Co-op Education program gives students the opportunity to gain up to 20 months of paid relevant work experience during their degree. This experience provides an excellent opportunity for students to explore different industries, apply their studies to the working world, and create connections with future employers. The Co-op program will extend your four year degree to five years. Participation is optional and students apply to join Co-op in their second year of study.  


International Experiences 

Students can embark on an unforgettable experience abroad while earning credits towards their engineering studies. Opportunities include the Coordinated International Experience (CIE) exchange program, the Go Global exchange program, and the Global Engineering Leadership courses. The CIE program is customized for Applied Science students and features 18 international partner institutions across 3 regions. All of the international experiences allow students to build an international network of peers, professors, and potential employers. 

An engineering student at the Design and Innovation day exhibit

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