About the Program
The Master of Bioprocess Engineering (MBPE) degree is 9-month degree program designed to prepare graduates for meaningful careers in Bioprocess Engineering spanning the biopharmaceutical, industrial biotech, and food tech industries (and beyond). These include ways to produce bio-based chemicals and fuels, proteins, pharmaceuticals, and other high-value biologics; how to design and/or operate appropriate unit operations (e.g., fermentation systems), mammalian-cell culture systems, and instrumentation to monitor and control biotechnological processes; and how to apply and test bioproduct separation and purification technologies. The MBPE program has access to state-of-the-art bioprocessing equipment both on campus and at the Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU), which is part of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory funded by US DOE. Emphasis on translating fundamentals into practical applications across the bench, pilot, and commercial production scales offers an integrated didactic experience. As a result, you will be able to immediately apply hands-on skills and knowledge to develop, design, and scale-up bio-based processes and products from concept through commercialization.
After completion of the MBPE degree, every student who wishes to can be placed in a 3-12 month industry apprenticeship for an additional opportunity to apply Bioprocess Engineering in an industrial research and development or production operations setting.
Industrial Advisory Board
- Paul Hill, Amyris
- Ashley Hesslein, Bayer Pharmaceuticals
- Paul Wu, Bayer Pharmaceuticals
- Marcella Yu, Boehringer Ingelheim
- Brian Kelley, Vir Biotechnology
- Jay Keasling, UC Berkeley
MBPE admissions requirements include a background in Chemical Engineering (B.S.) and an undergraduate biochemistry/molecular biology course equivalent to BIO ENG 11 or MCELLBI 102. Candidates from other backgrounds will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with focus on a strong foundation to undergo the MBPE program. We are open to working with the motivated applicant (either graduating senior student or industry worker) who wishes to complete appropriate coursework during the summer prior to joining the program.
Minimum Requirements for Admission
The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:
- A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
- A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
- If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
- Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.
Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree
The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without the need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.
Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.
Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.
The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:
- Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
- Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.
Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.
Required Documents for Applications
- Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
- Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
- Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
- courses in English as a Second Language,
- courses conducted in a language other than English,
- courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
- courses of a non-academic nature.
If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from the British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.
Where to Apply
Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page.
Master's Degree Requirements
Master of Bioprocess Engineering degree candidates will be required to complete a minimum of 24 core units over two semesters. This includes a Biochemical Engineering lecture and laboratory series covering 1) cells and the production of biomolecules; and 2) the recovery, separations, and purification of biomolecules, respectively. This foundational series is complemented by required coursework in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), Quality by Design (QbD), statistical experimental design, and a Bioprocess Industry seminar series to ensure that you graduate with the necessary skill set and exposure to begin or continue your career in the bioprocess industries.
|CHM ENG 170A||Biochemical Engineering||3|
|CHM ENG 170B||Biochemical Engineering||3|
|BIO ENG 140L||Synthetic Biology Laboratory||4|
|CHM ENG C170L||Biochemical Engineering Laboratory||3|
|CHM ENG 275|
|Advanced Bioprocess Engineering|
and Advanced Bioprocess Engineering Laboratory (New course under development)
|CHM ENG 295P||Special Topics in Chemical Engineering: Introduction to New Product Development||3|
|CHM ENG 298||Seminar in Chemical Engineering||1|
|CHM ENG 298B||Seminar in Bioprocess Engineering (New course under development)||1|
The curriculum also allows room to personalize your BPE education and experience by choosing electives from a wide variety of approved options offered by the Department and across campus:
|CHM ENG 180||Chemical Engineering Economics||3|
|CHM ENG 274||Biomolecular Engineering||3|
|BIO ENG 124||Basic Principles of Drug Delivery||3|
|BIO ENG 133||Biomolecular Engineering||3|
|CHEM C130||Biophysical Chemistry: Physical Principles and the Molecules of Life||4|
|CHEM 135||Chemical Biology||3|
|CHEM C230||Protein Chemistry, Enzymology, and Bio-organic Chemistry||2|
|CHEM C271A||Chemical Biology I - Structure, Synthesis and Function of Biomolecules||1|
|CHEM C271B||Chemical Biology II - Enzyme Reaction Mechanisms||1|
|CHEM C271C||Chemical Biology III - Contemporary Topics in Chemical Biology||1|
|IND ENG 185||Challenge Lab||4|
|MCELLBI 38||Stem Cell Biology, Ethics and Societal Impact||3|
|MCELLBI 88||Immunotherapy of Cancer: Success and Failures||2|
|MCELLBI C95B||Introduction to the Biotechnology Field and Industry: Impact, History, Therapeutics R&D, Entrepreneurship and Careers||2|
|MCELLBI 104||Genetics, Genomics, and Cell Biology||4|
|MCELLBI 110||Molecular Biology: Macromolecular Synthesis and Cellular Function||4|
|MCELLBI C112||General Microbiology||4|
|MCELLBI C116||Microbial Diversity||3|
|MCELLBI 130||Cell and Systems Biology||4|
|MCELLBI 133L||Physiology and Cell Biology Laboratory||4|
|MCELLBI 150||Molecular Immunology||4|
|NUSCTX 115||Principles of Drug Action||2|
|PB HLTH W236A||Regulatory Science, Drug Development and Public Health||3|
Professional Development Activities
The CHM ENG 298B Seminar in Bioprocess Engineering provides an interactive interface for students, bioprocess industry experts, and the MBPE program. This 50-min weekly seminar pairs our students with industry partners to discuss relevant bio-based technologies, processes, and products spanning the biopharmaceutical, industrial biotech, and food tech industries (and beyond). After completion of the MBPE degree, every student who wishes to can be placed in a 3–12 month industry apprenticeship for an additional opportunity to apply Bioprocess Engineering in an industrial research and development or production operations setting.
Faculty and Instructors
Michelle Chang, Associate Professor. Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, and Synthetic Biology.
Douglas S. Clark, Professor. Biochemical engineering and biocatalysis.
Teresa Head-Gordon, Professor. Computational chemistry, biophysics, bioengineering, biomolecules, materials, computational science.
Jay Keasling, Professor. Microorganism metabolic engineering for environmentally friendly product .
Sanjay Kumar, Professor. Biomaterials, molecular and cellular bioengineering, stem cells, cancer biology, translational medicine.
Markita Landry, Assistant Professor. Nanomaterials, single-molecule fluorescence microscopy, biophysics.
Brian Maiorella, Adjunct Professor.
Jason Ryder, Adjunct Professor.
David Schaffer, Professor. Neuroscience, biomolecular engineering, bioengineering, stem cell biology, gene therapy.
Karthik Shekhar, Assistant Professor. Cellular and systems biology, statistical inference, single-cell genomics.
Wenjun Zhang, Associate Professor. Natural product biosynthesis and engineering for health and bioenergy applications.
George Tyson, Lecturer.
Harvey W. Blanch, Professor Emeritus. Biochemical Engineering.
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
201 Gilman Hall