- Fees: ₹ 838,600
- Exams: JEE Advanced
What is Biochemical Engineering
Biochemical engineering is a highly interdisciplinary field combining biotechnology and chemical engineering. It involves the study of how basic raw materials are converted to the finished products by means of rigorous processes. Many industries rely on biochemical engineering and there is a vast scope in both domestic and foreign job markets.
Biochemical engineering course provides you with strong training in various engineering concepts like process engineering, biochemistry, material balance, thermodynamics, reaction kinetics to name a few. As the name suggests, biochemical engineering blends elements of both biotechnology and chemicals and deals with natural raw materials or life processes used for manufacturing purposes. So, at the end of the degree, certified biochemical engineers usually get employed by various manufacturing companies in industries ranging from fertilizers to pharmaceuticals. They are offered exciting on-field job opportunities with billion-dollar corporations not just in India but globally. The following article is a quick snapshot for you to check out all the available options and the excitement of pursuing a professional career in biochemical engineering.
Biochemical (BCE) Engineering Course Highlights
Diploma, UG, PG, Doctoral Level
Duration of the programme
Diploma - 2 years
PG- 2 years
Direct college exams, common entrance exams and academic qualifications
Average course fee
Range from Rs. 40,000- Rs. 11 lakhs based on the level and college
Types of Specializations
Undergraduate level (4-year courses)
Postgraduate level (2-year courses)
Dual degree covering both undergraduate and postgraduate levels (5-year course)
Average Salary (per month)
Around Rs. 3 - Rs. 20 lakhs
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Biochemical Engineering Courses- Degrees and Levels:
Undergraduate level (4-year courses)
An introductory level of study. You can pursue multiple undergraduate degrees that can lead to a career in biochemical engineering. One takes up undergraduate after class 12. An undergraduate degree in biochemical engineering equips you with beginner to intermediate skills in biological science and Biochemical Engineering that enable students to pursue basic technical jobs in the Biochemical Engineering and related industries. The following are the options available in most of the renowned (biochemical) engineering colleges.
B.Tech or B.E. in Biochemical Engineering (BCE)
B.Tech or B.E. in Chemical Engineering
B.Tech or B.E. in Biotechnology Engineering
Postgraduate level (2-year courses)
M.Tech or M.E. in Biochemical Engineering
M.Tech or M.E. in Process Engineering
M.Sc or Master of Science in Biochemical Engineering
Postgraduate level (Research-based)- A research-based Master of Science (M.S) in Biochemical Engineering or related fields is the right choice for you if you want to specialize in the field and also uncertain of taking up a PhD right away. It requires an undergraduate degree and is research-intensive with the minimum course load. You will typically choose your area of specialisation and work with a professor on your thesis project.
Doctoral program (Research-based)- As we briefly mentioned, a doctorate in philosophy (PhD) in biochemical engineering is being able to study a sophisticated area in Biochemical Engineering with the focus to produce a novel research output. One takes up a research and academic career after a PhD or sometimes industries also take in PhD scholars as few experts in the field. Doctoral research in biochemical engineering is an indication of expertise and in-depth knowledge in the field for any professional. Aim for this if you find your passion in biochemical engineering and want to focus your career in research.
Eligibility Criteria (UG & PG) of Biochemical Engineering
Looking at the eligibility for the undergraduate programmes, the minimum criteria to qualify for admission into government colleges is 75% in class 12 with the subjects Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Some of the private colleges have the eligibility as 60% in both class 10 and 12 from a recognised examination board in Central or State level. In the case of government colleges, the eligibility is reduced by 5% for SC/ST/PwD category.
The postgraduate (M.S and M.Tech) biochemical engineering course has the minimum requirements of B.Tech or B.Sc for admission. The eligibility criteria include an undergraduate B.E or B. Tech degree with a minimum of first-class (60%) marks or 6.0 (out of 10.0) Grade Point Average (GPA) in the disciplines of Biochemical Engineering.
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Admission Criteria for Biochemical Engineering Courses after Class 12th
Biochemical engineering programmes at different levels have qualifying requirements to be eligible for admission. For Master's, the basic criterion is an undergraduate degree in Biochemical Engineering or related disciplines from a biotechnology engineering or chemical engineering college. Apart from this, valid entrance examinations scores are also required for admission.
Entrance Examinations for Biochemical Engineering
The following are the different types of entrance examinations you have to clear to get admission into a biochemical engineering (BCE) course. It is classified on the basis of the level you want to get into.
Undergraduate level: One of the key evaluators that can decide the admission scenario is the score and rank of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main. It is widely considered valid by many colleges and universities across public and private institutions. While the reputed National Institutes of Technology (NITs) across India in all the states directly offer admission based on the exam, some other institutes offer admission by considering the percentage of marks in class 12t. The JEE Advanced is for getting admission in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc). It is to be noted that very few IITs have an undergraduate program in Biochemical Engineering while almost all IITs and NITs have a postgraduate course.
Postgraduate and research: For postgraduate programmes, Jawaharlal Nehru University Combined Entrance Examination for Biotechnology (JNU CEEB) along with the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) are the two major entrance examinations for securing admission into Master of Technology (M.Tech) in Biochemical Engineering courses, where the score of these two is used by almost all reputed colleges. For the Master of Science admission, the IIT Joint Admission Test (JAM) is a crucial examination. Other major universities and colleges often have their own department level examination for admission. The CSIR-JRF/NET examination is the exam for getting a fellowship to pursue research and it is often required for admission into PhD.
Fees and Expenses of Biochemical Engineering Courses: Minimum and Maximum
The tuition fee and college expenses for popular biochemical engineering courses are as follows:
Undergraduate level: It typically ranges between Rs. 45,000-Rs. 11,00,000 for a 4-year biochemical engineering course. However, the total fee entirely depends on the college and it varies a lot.
Postgraduate and research: The fees structure at the postgraduate level is determined by the institution you choose. It is in the range of Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 3,00,000 for the entire duration of 2 years. There is a decent stipend allocated for MS and PhD students of Biochemical Engineering; it can be anything between Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 45,000 per month.
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Scope of Biochemical Engineering in India and Abroad
Biochemical engineering offers typical job security like core engineering degrees, while industrial exposure and opportunities are very unique. It is blended with cutting edge technologies and large systems based production facilities that industries often find challenging. The different types of options available to a biochemical engineer are the characteristic of the interdisciplinary nature of the course. It will be leading to a very demanding industrial environment that can have its own set of learning. The research sector also has a few options that can be attractive for pursuing a career.
In India, the big pharma industry is a multi-billion dollar segment and has the largest potential if you are up for challenges. There are many other sectors including food technology, leather, plastic and polymer technology. Many recent advancements have shaped the way most of these industries in India which have also steered the economy of the country. It is a very lucrative and ever-growing industry.
The biochemical engineering and allied industries in foreign countries have even more prominence and open up to a multifold of opportunities. The industrial strongholds of the United States, Britain and Germany are some of the classical giants of process-oriented industries. A career abroad in the Biochemical Engineering industry is a fruitful one with many alluring opportunities.
Course Fees Biochemical Engineering
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The list of the major course subjects for both undergraduate and postgraduate Biochemical Engineering programmes is as follows:
Basic Subjects in Biochemical Engineering are:
English / Language
Computer Programming and utilization
Elements of Engineering studies
Communication and Life Skills
Various Specialisation Courses in Biochemical Engineering are:
Enzyme Engineering and Technology
Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
Cell Biology and Biological Systems
Careers in Biochemical Engineering
Biochemical Engineering opens opportunities to a wide range of traditional industries which you can choose based on interest. As it specialises in the study of process engineering, major factories and production units that rely on batch production need biochemical engineers. However, there is an emphasis on the demand for engineers in bio process related areas which include pharmaceuticals, chemicals, food processing sectors. Overall, there are a great number of opportunities from diverse fields open to biochemical engineers. The following is a brief compilation that will give you an idea of the nature of jobs and industry.
Pharmaceuticals and drug industry: Research and production of pharmaceuticals require intensely sophisticated equipment and technologies. There is a constant demand for quality biochemical engineers who can handle the demand of the ever-growing healthcare industry. It opens to a fortune industry which is often seen as a key for the Indian economy.
Chemical Industry: The overlapping fields of biochemical engineering and chemical engineering make it possible for you to pursue chemical industry-related jobs. The crux of a biochemical engineer is often related to process engineering and there is an abundance of related technologies in demand.
Food processing industries: The procurement, processing and manufacturing of various finished food products is again a tedious batch process. Many FMCG and related industries recruit talented biochemical engineers who can cater to the growing needs of the industry.
Waste treatment and environment: One of the crucial steps in the preservation of the environment is to properly treat and process the effluents released into the water. Many rivers are often polluted by lack of these facilities. As the treatment of water is a norm and it is also the need of the hour, biochemical engineers are the people on the ground who facilitate and execute the operations of these plants.
Clinical sectors involving research: As biochemical engineers, there is a significant scope to pursue clinical research and in fields related to drug delivery and discovery. With many healthcare facilities in India coming up, there is an increasing demand for able researchers who can innovate and facilitate better healthcare.
Petrochemical Engineering companies: The extent to which biochemical engineering deals with process engineering and chemical engineering, students pursuing Biochemical Engineering are more than qualified to cater to the petrochemical engineering and related industries. Many public and private sector companies in the petroleum industry take in graduate students from the Biochemical Engineering courses.
Plastic and polymer industries: Similar to the need for biochemical engineering in the industry, there is often a demand for talented engineers in the plastics industry. Process engineering is something that is crucial to any manufacturing and biochemical engineering often specialises in it.
Bio-processing industries: Many traditional industries often have key intermediate biochemical processes. Bioprocessing industries are closely related to the food technology and healthcare sector but can have few exclusive opportunities that can be interesting.
Paper and textile manufacturing industries: The paper industry and textile industry both require intensive chemical processing technologies. Therefore, biochemical engineering plays an essential role, especially when there are nature-based dye technologies being used.
Well, there is really no end to the types of industries that can accommodate a biochemical engineer. There is a very vibrant job market with extensive diversity. A skilled biochemical engineer is always in demand.
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This field of biochemical engineering encompasses the fields of both biological and chemical engineering and the major technologies depend on the industry based applications. The biological systems based industrial operations have been heavily optimised to increase efficiency in the production. With the advent of biomolecular studies and data-driven approaches to the industry, many fields are constantly changing to adapt to technology. Biosensors and nanotechnology-based biomaterials have been on the forefront in leading a disruption. They have propelled a few key innovations that can help in cutting edge technology and mass production facilities. Most of these are still in the research stage and have to be explored further.
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Job Profiles and Top Recruiters
Some of the important job profiles offered in the biochemical engineering industry are as follows:
Chemical Engineer: The role of a chemical engineer is often found in various public sector undertakings (PSUs). It is also available in various industrial segments related to chemical engineering that we discussed above. The role of a chemical engineer is to handle the technical problems related to the ground level execution of the project. It can be either design or implementation of the process/production. It is very competitive and requires a sound knowledge of process engineering.
Biochemical Engineer: Similar to a chemical engineer, the job of the biochemical engineer is typically a production unit-based job. One needs to take stock of the usual processes and constantly strive to optimize the value of production and expenses.
Technician: This is an entry-level job that often takes diploma or undergraduate student freshers with minimal experience. It involves handling the equipment and tools at the site of the company or in a laboratory.
Scientist: The role of a scientist is very different from that of an engineer. It requires you to work on research projects that provide outputs that can be further taken up by industries and collaborators.
Process Engineer: The process engineer identifies technical problems and finds solutions to them. The production process of any industry related to biochemical engineering is vast and requires multiple levels of scrutiny. Process engineers look at one aspect of the production and ensure that there is a smooth flow.
Plant operator/manager: Usually engages in handling the entire operation and management of a project segment. This is a leadership role that involves coordinating with multiple departments within and outside the company. They are responsible for executing the project in a suitable manner to provide maximum value to the company and the client. It involves a lot of management skills apart from basic biochemical engineering.
Optimization Engineer: Again, the engineer’s role is technical in nature and here, the optimization engineer is involved in finding the best possible solution concerning the consumption and productivity of the industry.
Lecturers/Professors: It is a job for people passionate about research and teaching. People who have finished their doctoral degree can join an academic institution as a professor or lecturer.
Advisor/Consultants: The job of an advisor is typically for senior professionals in the field. It is suited for very experienced personnel in the field of biochemical industry.
The major recruiters in the biochemical engineering space, in India, are:
Serum Institute of India
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories
Aurigene Discovery Technologies Limited
Avesthagen Technologies Pvt Ltd
Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Biochemical engineering is the backbone of major industries that are essential to the day-to-day functioning of society. This makes biochemical engineering courses a highly sought after field of study. It opens up a plethora of opportunities for you to choose from and build a bright career filled with learning and achievements.
As we previously saw that the biochemical engineering course offers a very wide array of options to pursue a career. The industry pays salaries based on the roles and it is attractive for the talented ones. The pay range for entry-level jobs is not as high as other engineering fields. The typical range of remuneration for the Biochemical Engineering undergraduate engineers is around Rs. 3 - Rs. 10 lakhs per annum and it is dependent on the skills and experience through projects or coursework. A postgraduate degree in Biochemical Engineering is almost essential to offer security to the job and higher pay. The salary can be between Rs 10 - Rs 20 lakhs, based on experience and knowledge.
Required Skillset for Biochemical Engineering
Strong technical skills- For any engineering course, technical skills are indispensable. Biochemical engineers often work with basic engineering problems which requires a solid foundation in core engineering areas like mechanics, thermodynamics and physical chemistry.
Problem-solving skills- In order to pursue any core engineering-related courses, the ability to analytically think and solve problems is very essential. Many situations demand you to be able to identify and solve problems. It is a necessary skill that can be nurtured with practice.
Numerical and analytical skills- As an engineer, the routine tasks often involve rigorous mathematical computations which need one to be quick and accurate over numerical calculations. Complex problem solving often requires strong analytical skills.
Attention to detail- The heavy industrial nature of the biochemical engineering industry requires one to be very observant and aware of tiny details. Many processes in the factory can rely on paying attention to the right problem. It is a skill that can be developed over time.
Passion and dedication- Biochemical engineering is a profession that is very focused to industrial process related areas. It is essential to have the passion and dedicate yourself to the cause of the profession in order to excel.
Ability to work under pressure- Most jobs for a biochemical engineer remain in the industrial environment, they are often field assignments and they require the ability to cope up the pressure and on-field requirements. The field tasks can be often very demanding and it is required to be ready to face challenges and be able to solve problems under pressure.
Communication and Teamworking skills- Complex problems in engineering always require the tasks to be broken down into small components and handled by team members. Teamworking skills become very important when solving engineering problems that are hard to crack individually.
Scientific temper- The very nature of the mixed theoretical and practical courses like biochemical engineering requires a scientific approach to problem-solving. You need to be aware of and follow the procedures in order to obtain a solution. It is a skill that can be grown.
Course Curriculum for Biochemical Engineering
The course curriculum is an amalgamation of basic biological science and engineering. Biochemical engineering has the following key concepts covered in the course of study.
Basic science courses: Physics, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry- These are typical science introduction courses and are very similar to your class 12 board syllabus. It forms the basis for all further engineering courses and one must have a solid foundation in these subjects.
Basic engineering courses: thermodynamics, materials science- Similar to basic sciences, these courses in the curriculum are for all engineering students and they are basically focused on physics and chemistry-based subjects.
Introduction to Process Engineering- As preparing to become future biochemical engineers, one of the fundamental courses is understanding the rate processes of various reactions and production steps. You learn about all the basics related to chemistry, biochemistry and related processes and how to apply them here.
Energy balance- Similar to processes, energy balance forms the basis of any industrial-level production. It arises from the basic mass conservation principles that you are aware of, it is an extension of chemistry you might learn in class 12.
Chemical engineering- This course is a basic introduction to chemical engineering. You will understand in brief about rate processes, transportation, energy, and production processes. Also, it involves some biotechnology principles.
Modelling and optimisation- This course introduces you to the basics of computer-aided simulations and modelling.
Some other courses that are part of the curriculum are process modelling, rate mechanisms, tissue engineering, control systems, and biochemical instrumentation.