Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering – Faculty of Engineering

Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Blend chemical engineering and biological sciences for groundbreaking solutions in bioengineering.

5 years
Bachelor of Engineering & Biosciences (Co-op Available)


Research expertise

Students interact with dedicated teachers who are at the cutting edge of their research fields.

Exceptional facilities

Students can access state of the art, newly updated laboratory facilities.

After spending three years here at Mac Eng, I can say that it is the right place for me because the community, faculty and student body provide such a good learning and social experience for students.

Ugonwa Echendu, Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Admission requirements

Academic Prerequisites

This is an above level 1 specialization that requires successful completion of the Engineering 1 general first year.

Use the Future Students admissions tool for entry requirements.

MMRT students in workshop

Program structure

This program layout applies to students registered in 2021-2022.
Where there are discrepancies in this document, the published Academic Calendar will always take precedence.
For a detailed breakdown of your course requirements, please refer to your Student Summary in Mosaic.

Level 2: 40 units (as of 2022)

Term 1Term 2
ChE 2D04
Chemical Engineering Principles I
Chem 1AA3
Introductory Chemistry II
ChE 2E04
Numerical Methods and Computing for Chemical Engineers
ChE 2F04
Chemical Engineering Principles II
Math 2Z03
Engineering Mathematics II
ChE 2O04
Fluid Mechanics
Math 2ZZ3
Engineering Mathematics III
Biology 1A03
Cellular and Molecular Biology
Integrated Engineering Design Project 2
Hth Sci 2L03
Human Physiology and Anatomy I: Communication
Hth Sci 2LL3
Human Physiology and Anatomy II: Homeostasis
Complementary Studies (3 units)

Notes for Terms 1 and 2:
Complementary Studies means one or two courses (6 units total) selected from the list of acceptable Complementary Study courses maintained by the Associate Dean of Engineering. These units have been equally divided between the terms in this analysis, but the student may choose to take all 6 units in either

Level 3: 38-41 units (as of 2022)

Term 1Term 2
ChE 3D04
Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics
ChE 3G04
Chemical Process Synthesis and Simulation
ChE 3I03
Data Acquisition and Analysis
ChE 3K04
Introduction to Reactor Design
ChE 3M04
Mass Transfer and Stagewise Operations
ChE 3L03
Intermediate Laboratory Skills
ChE 3A04
Heat Transfer
ChE 4T03
Applications of Chemical Engineering in Medicine
Biology 2EE3 
Introduction to Microbiology and Biotechnology
6-9 units from:
3-6 units from:Chem 2E03 – Introductory Organic Chemistry (term 1)
Or both
Chem 20A3 – Organic Chemistry I (term 1)
Chem 20B3 – Organic Chemistry II (term 2)
3 units from:Biochem 2EE3 – Metabolism and Physiological Chemistry (term 2)
Biology 2B03  – Cell Biology (term 1)
Hthsci 2K03 – Cell Biology (term 2)

Level 4: 34-35 units (as of 2022)

Term 1Term 2
ChE 4L03
Advanced Laboratory Skills
Che 3BM3
Bioseparations Engineering
Statistical Methods for Materials Engineers
ChE 3P04
Process Control
ChE 3BK3
Bio-Reaction Engineering
Engineer 4A03
Ethics, Equity and Law in Engineering 
Proteins and Nucleic Acids
Health Solutions Design Projects II: Introduction to Genetic Engineering 
3 units from
Chem 3I03 – Industrial Chemistry (term 2)
ChE 3Q03 – Introduction of Polymer Science (term 2)
Chem Bio 2A03 – Introduction to Bio-Analytical Chemistry (term 1)
Chem Bio 3BM3 – Implanted Biomaterials (term  2)
Complementary Studies (3 units)
3-4 units approved for technical electives from biosciences or bioengineering

Level 5: 35-37 units (as of 2022)

Term 1Term 2
ChE 4N04
Engineering Economics and Problem Solving
Civ Eng 4V04
Biological Aspects of Wastewater Treatment
ChE 4W06 A/B
Chemical Plant Design and Capstone ProjectPrerequisite: Registration in ChE 4N04, Registration in the final level of any Chemical Engineering program.Information Sessions will be scheduled in September. There will be 3 projects available:

Entrepreneurial Engineering Project
15-16 units from:
ChE 4A03 – Energy Systems Engineering (term 1)
ChE 4B03 – Polymer Reaction Engineering (term 1)
ChE 4E03 – Digital Computer and Process Control (term 1)
ChE 4H03 – Big Data Methods and Modeling in Chemical and Materials Engineering (term 2)
ChE 4G03 – Optimization in Chemical Engineering (term 2)
ChE 4K03 – Reactor Design for Heterogeneous Systems  (term 1)
ChE 4M03 – Industrial Separation Processes (term 1)
ChE 4T03 – Applications of Chemical Engineering in Medicine (term 2)
ChE 4TA3 A/B – Engineering Practicum (term 1 & 2)
ChE 4X03 – Polymer Processing (term 2)
ChE 4Y04 A/B – Senior Independent Project (term 1 & 2 List B)
ChE 4Z03 – Interfacial Engineering (term 2 List B)
Engineer 4EX3 A/B – Experiential Engineering Design
3-4 units approved for technical electives from biosciences or bioengineering
Complementary Studies Electives (3 units)

Co-op and experiential learning

Experiential learning provides students with hands-on opportunities beyond the traditional lecture-style format to gain valuable experience.

The Engineering Co-op Program is an optional program which provides you with the opportunity to work in real engineering positions before you graduate. The Undergraduate Co-op Program is administered by the Engineering Co-op and Career Services Department (ECCS).

Example employers:

  • GE Water & Process Technologies
  • Nova Chemicals
  • 3M
  • GSK Pharmaceuticals
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Kraft
  • Xerox Canada
  • Dow Chemical

Learn more about co-op.

McMaster Engineering has many engineering clubs, teams and societies you can join to enhance your practical knowledge and soft skills, provide support, or give you the chance to explore new activities. Clubs are an enjoyable way to enrich your student life and contribute to your social development and academic success.

  • Chemical Engineering Club
  • Engineering Without Borders
  • McMaster Solar Car Team
  • MAC Formula Electric
  • BEAMS (Bioengineering at McMaster Society)

Browse opportunities to get involved and gain experience.

Engineering programs have been enriched with interdisciplinary design courses, enabling students to work in teams on real-world problems. This practical experience builds their portfolios and hones skills vital for managing complex projects and utilizing emerging technologies. It prepares them for co-ops and future careers, fostering critical thinking, collaboration, and an understanding of societal issues.

Four project-based design courses that all students take include:

  • ENGINEER 1P13: Integrated Cornerstone Design Projects in Engineering
  • ENGINEER 2PX3: Engineering Design 2: Communications and Societal Impact
  • ENGINEER 3PX3: Engineering Design 2: Engineering Economics

Find out more

Career paths:

Graduates from this program are extremely versatile, pursuing opportunities in both traditional chemical engineering and in Canada’s growing biotechnology sector. Home to over 530 biotechnology companies, Canada currently has the second highest number in the world, following the United States.

Our graduates participate in the development of:

  • pharmaceutical products with eco-friendly processes
  • biocompatible biomedical devices
  • efficient and better food and beverage production methods

Research areas:

  • Biomaterials
  • Tissue engineering
  • Bioseparations
  • Biopharmaceutical production
  • Environmental biotechnology
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Biological wastewater treatment
  • Biosensors
Prof Drew Higgins and students in lab

More about the program

Chemical Engineers use the basic principles of chemistry, mathematics, physics, biology and economics combined with skills in computers to design, operate and troubleshoot processes that are used in the manufacture of materials that are the building blocks of almost everything around us. Graduates from the Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering programme will have these basic chemical engineering skills coupled with unique qualifications in the biological sciences that will allow them make significant contributions to the growing fields of biotechnology and bioengineering.

Students in the regular Chemical Engineering programme develop a strong foundation in basic sciences and have the opportunity to participate in courses aimed at developing problem solving, team, self-assessment and lifelong learning skills. In addition to this, the Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering programme is structured to include courses in biology, human anatomy and physiology, biochemistry of macromolecules, cellular and molecular biology and the application of biological processes to Chemical Engineering through courses in bioseparations and bioreactors. The courses have been integrated to allow the students to make links between their Chemical Engineering knowledge and its application in the biotechnology industries. There will be a significant laboratory component related to biology and biochemistry that will give the students the skills to succeed in a biologically oriented environment. Similar to the core Chemical Engineering programme, the Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering programme will allow the students to select from a variety of focused technical electives in their fourth and fifth years of study based on the research interests of the various faculty involved in the programme, including courses in biomaterials and tissue engineering, biological wastewater treatment, biological membrane separations, biosensors and biological pharmaceutical production. The curriculum has been designed to cover a wide scope giving maximum flexibility to the students, allowing them to graduate with the degree Bachelor of Engineering and Bioscience and giving them maximum flexibility to pursue their interests in their careers.

It is anticipated that 25 students will be admitted to Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at McMaster. This will be in addition to our current class size of approximately 40 students, meaning that in some courses there will be as many as 65 students, but in others there will be as few as 25 students. Students in the Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering programme will also be taking a significant number of courses in other departments and it is anticipated that class sizes may be significantly higher in some of these courses. However, in these classes, there will also be the opportunity for interaction with students from other programmes, fostering the interdisciplinary nature of the programme.

Graduates from McMaster Chemical Engineering are currently working at a variety of jobs in the biotechnology sector. Biotechnology companies currently employing McMaster Chemical Engineering graduates include AstraPharma, Bodycote Ortech, and Zenon Environmental for example. Therefore we anticipate that graduates from this programme will be in demand in Canada’s growing biotechnology sector due to their unique training in both engineering and biology. Other students may opt to proceed to advanced degrees including Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.), Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Chemical Engineers from McMaster have also in the past pursued further degrees in medicine, dentistry, law, business or teaching.

Graduates from the programme will participate in the development of better, more biocompatible biomedical devices, more efficacious pharmaceuticals with fewer side effects, more efficient and improved environmental processes and better methods for the production of food and beverages. Since graduates from the programme will also have all of the core courses in Chemical Engineering, they will also be able to do traditional chemical engineering jobs in fields such as petrochemicals, polymers, process control and pulp and pape

In the second, third and fourth years of the programme, students will take the core Chemical Engineering courses in thermodynamics, heat transfer, mass transfer, fluid flow, separation and reactor design as well as courses in mathematics and chemistry. In addition to this, students will take courses in cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry of macromolecules, microbiology, human anatomy and physiology as well as courses in bioreactors and bioseparations. In the fourth and fifth years of the programme, students will have the opportunity to select from a variety of technical electives (list A and list B) in both traditional areas of chemical engineering (such as process control, polymer reaction engineering and polymer processing) as well as technical electives offered by the faculty whose research areas are in bioengineering including courses in biomaterials, tissue engineering, biological water treatment, biosensors and others. Students in the fifth year of the programme also have the opportunity to do a focused undergraduate thesis with the supervisor of their choice.

Because all of the courses in the core Chemical Engineering curriculum will be taken, students graduating with the degree Bachelor of Engineering and Biosciences will have all of the qualifications necessary for them to obtain employment in more traditional chemical engineering fields.

The addition of courses in the biological sciences to the regular chemical engineering curriculum means that this programme will be demanding. However, this course load is spread over a five year period which should alleviate some problems with the course load. The programme is similar to the Chemical Engineering and Management programme, so it is expected that the course loads will be similar.

How to apply

Understand every step, from applying, to accepting your offer and joining us on campus!

Department of Chemical Engineering

We are tackling challenges in energy, water, food, health and environment with practical solutions that will lead to new opportunities in a fast-paced world.

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