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Chemical and Biological Engineering

Chemical, biological and process engineers design industrial processes to transform raw materials and energy into everyday products that society wants in a safe, sustainable and cost-effective way. By studying chemical and biological engineering, you will learn a holistic approach to problem solving and gain essential skills for tackling global sustainability challenges in food, energy, water and waste.

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Chemical, biological and process engineers seek to harness fundamental chemical reactions and physical phenomena to develop, optimise and control large-scale production and manufacturing processes. We lead the way in a wide range of New Zealand’s largest and most essential industries, such as dairy and meat, food and beverage, pulp and paper, chemical and petrochemical, energy, bioproducts and bioenergy, and pharmaceutical.

Through our programme, you will learn how to manipulate driving-forces inherent with pressure, temperature and concentration differences, combined with the laws of thermodynamics, to create innovative and sustainable process design solutions. Our holistic focus on the molecular through to the macro scale equips you with highly transferable skills to work across many industries from banking to boardrooms, not just in processing factories and engineering consultancies.

The programme includes electives in the third and fourth years, giving you an opportunity to choose up to two areas of further specialisation. These areas cover the critical sustainability topics of:

  • renewable and sustainable energy engineering,
  • bioprocessing and food engineering,
  • water management and waste minimisation engineering, and
  • materials engineering.

The Chemical and Biological Engineering programme is fully accredited by Engineering New Zealand based on the widely accepted Washington Accord, meaning your degree is internationally recognised and you can work just about anywhere in the world. As a student, you can join the global Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) as a student member and progress towards chartership after graduation. Watch the short video to learn about the role of chemical engineers in society.

Work placements, project-based learning and our engineering management pathway are just a few of many reasons why studying engineering at Waikato could be right for you.

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Key information

Study Location:Hamilton
Area of Study:

Study Chemical and Biological Engineering in these qualifications

Study Chemical and Biological Engineering as a specialisation of

Career opportunities

  • Chemical Engineer
  • Process Engineer
  • Bioprocess Engineer
  • Biochemical Engineer
  • Food Processing Engineer
  • Process Design Engineer
  • Production Engineer
  • Process Control Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer

Year 1

Students must take the following papers: ENGEN101, ENGEN102, ENGEN103, ENGEN111, ENGEN112, ENGEN170 and ENGEN180.

Plus 15 points of electives from: BIOMO101 or CHEMY102.

Year 2

Students must take the following papers: ENGCB223, ENGCB224, ENGCB280, ENGEN201, ENGEN270, ENGEN271, ENGME221 and ENGEV241.

Plus 15 points of electives from: BIOMO201, BIOMO203, ENGMP211 or ENGMP214.

If you are studying the Diploma in Engineering Management, concurrent with the BE(Hons), you must complete ENGEN272 (in place of ENGEN271).

Year 3

Students must take the following papers: ENGCB321, ENGCB322, ENGCB323, ENGCB324, ENGCB380, ENGEN370, ENGEN371 and ENGME352.

Plus 15 points of electives from: CHEMY201, BIOMO301, BIOMO303, ENGEN390, ENGEV341 or ENGMP311.

If you are studying the Diploma in Engineering Management, concurrent with the BE(Hons), you must complete ENGEN372 (in place of ENGEN371).

Year 4

Students must take the following papers: ENGCB521, ENGCB581, ENGEN570 and ENGEN582.

Plus 30 points of electives from: ENGCV323, ENGCB523, ENGCB527, ENGEV541, ENGEV542 or ENGMP512.

100 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
BIOMO101Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology - Mātai Pūtau a Mātai Rāpoi Ngota Koiora15.023B (Hamilton)
An introduction to the central concepts of Molecular and Cellular Biology, including the ultrastructure and function of cells, the biochemical processes involved, and the role of DNA in cellular function, inheritance and evolution. He whakataki tenei pepa i nga aria pokapu o te Matai Putau, Matai Rapoi hoki, tae atu ana ki te ngota...
CHEMY102Chemical Reactivity - Tauhohehohe Matū15.023B (Hamilton)
A theoretical and practical course covering aspects of physical and organic chemistry. This course is required for the chemistry major. He pepa a-aria, a-mahinga hoki hei tirotiro i nga tuahuaranga o te matuora a-kikokiko, a-paraumu hoki He pepa matua o roto o te tohu matuora.
ENGEN101Engineering Maths and Modelling 1A15.023A (Hamilton), 23A (Secondary School - Unistart), 23A (Tauranga) & 23B (Hamilton)
A study of the fundamental techniques of algebra and calculus with engineering applications.
ENGEN102Engineering Maths and Modelling 1B15.023B (Hamilton), 23B (Secondary School - Unistart), 23B (Tauranga) & 23G (Hamilton)
A further study of the fundamental techniques of algebra and calculus with engineering applications. Includes an introduction to relevant statistical methods.
ENGEN103Engineering Computing15.023A (Hamilton), 23A (Tauranga) & 23G (Hamilton)
This paper introduces computer programming in languages such as the MATLAB language. It provides the basis for the programming skills required in more advanced papers.
ENGEN111Electricity for Engineers15.023B (Hamilton), 23B (Tauranga) & 23X (Hamilton)
Concepts underlying electricity such as current, voltage and power will be introduced, and apply these concepts to analyse electrical energy systems. Introductory digital electronics and computer technology will be covered.
ENGEN112Materials Science and Engineering15.023A (Hamilton) & 23A (Tauranga)
Introduction to engineering materials (metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, semiconductors and biomaterials) and their atomic structure and mechanical properties. Includes; elastic and plastic deformation, fracture mechanisms, failure in service, iron-carbon phase diagram, redox reactions in corrosion, production of polymers, ce...
ENGEN170Engineering and Society15.023A (Hamilton) & 23A (Tauranga)
Introduction to the role of engineering in society with a focus on sustainable development, data analysis, holistic systems thinking, and the future of work within a global and New Zealand context including an introduction to the Treaty of Waitangi.
ENGEN180Foundations of Engineering15.023B (Hamilton) & 23B (Tauranga)
Introduction to the engineering design process and computer aided design, fundamental principles of engineering analysis, open ended problem solving, engineering economics and the skills of a successful engineer. Includes a design-build-test experience.

200 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
BIOMO201Biochemistry15.023A (Hamilton)
The aim of this paper is to familiarize students with the structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates (as fundamental molecules of life). Students will be introduced to molecular techniques used to study these molecules and gain an appreciation of how they interact in living organisms in health and d...
BIOMO203Microbiology15.023A (Hamilton)
This paper will focus on microbial cell structure, function, and metabolism. Content and context will be drawn from both human and environmental examples. Students will acquire skills in microbiological laboratory techniques, data collection, data analysis, and report presentation. This paper is required for the Molecular and Cellu...
CHEMY201Organic Chemistry15.023B (Hamilton)
This paper covers aspects of organic chemistry including reaction mechanisms with carbanion and radical intermediates; mechanisms of reactions of carbonyl groups and multiple electrophilic substitutions of aromatic rings, also an introduction to carbohydrate chemistry is provided.
ENGCB223Fluid Mechanics15.023B (Hamilton)
This course covers the basic principles of fluid mechanics. Topics include fluid statics, fluid dynamics, Bernoulli and energy equations, momentum analysis of flow structures, flow measurement, dimensional analysis, internal flow in pipes and ducts, external flow over streamlined and bluffed bodies, pump sizing and selection, and a...
ENGCB224Heat and Mass Transfer15.023B (Hamilton)
This paper covers the fundamentals of heat and mass transfer analysis, including conduction, heat convection, radiation, molecular diffusion and mass convection. Finned surfaces and heat exchangers are also covered.
ENGCB280Process Engineering Design 115.023B (Hamilton)
This paper covers mass balances around reactors and separation processes used by engineers in process design, CAD tools for process flow diagrams, pipe and instrumentation diagrams, and simple batch and continuous process modelling using software tools.
ENGEN201Engineering Maths and Modelling 215.023A (Hamilton) & 23H (Online)
Calculus of Several Variables and its Applications. Vector calculus (Green's, Gauss' and Stokes' theorems). Taylor's Theorem in n dimensions. Introduction to ordinary differential equations and methods to solve them.
ENGEN270Engineering and Business15.023B (Hamilton)
This paper focuses on empowering students to become “business savvy” and prepared to enter the workplace and solve real-world problems. Topics covered include; team formation, design thinking, Lean Canvas, project management, Agile, risk management, project finance, professional ethics, preparing for the workplace, and business...
ENGEN271Engineering Work Placement 10.023X (Hamilton)
This paper is taken by students undertaking their first work placement for the BE(Hons). It involves 400 hours of engineering-related work experience. The paper is typically undertaken during the November to February window after completing the two years of engineering study.
ENGEN272Engineering Work Placement 130.023X (Hamilton)
This paper is taken by students undertaking their first work placement for the BE(Hons) concurrent with the Diploma in Engineering Management or Certificate in Professional Engineering Practice. It involves 400 hours of engineering-related work experience. The paper is typically undertaken during the November to February window aft...
ENGEV241Environmental Engineering 115.023A (Hamilton)
This paper covers skills, knowledge and capability for environmental engineers so they can understand, investigate and evaluate environmental engineering problems and solutions.
ENGME221Engineering Thermodynamics15.023A (Hamilton)
This paper covers the fundamental concepts and laws of thermodynamics, including thermodynamics properties of substances, first and second law analysis, power cycles, refrigeration cycles and simple combustion analysis of engines.
ENGMP211Materials 115.023A (Hamilton)
This paper will provide a foundation for understanding the relationship between material structure, processing and behaviour to support engineering of materials and engineering with materials.
ENGMP214Materials Manufacturing Processes15.023A (Hamilton)
This paper gives an understanding of fundamental principles and relationships between manufacturing processes and component microstructure and properties. Knowledge of metrology and non-destructive testing in modern manufacturing is also introduced.

300 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
BIOMO301Advanced Biochemistry15.023B (Hamilton)
This paper builds on the principles of biochemistry introduced in BIOMO201 to examine molecular mechanisms underlying cellular communication and trafficking of proteins between organelles, cellular stress responses, cell death, and the degradation of biomolecules. Students will also examine the molecular basis of human diseases suc...
BIOMO303Advanced Microbiology15.023B (Hamilton)
The paper will provide knowledge of microbial functions and the role of the microbiome in human and ecosystem health.
ENGCB321Thermal Engineering15.023B (Hamilton)
Application of engineering thermodynamics to steady and unsteady industrial processes, including, steam boiler systems, advanced power and refrigeration cycles, cooling towers and plant utility systems
ENGCB322Chemical and Biological Operations15.023B (Hamilton)
This paper covers the principle and application of enzymes, concepts of fermentation technology, principles of bioreactor operation, bioprocess variables and their measurement, key product separation techniques, and bioprocess economics.
ENGCB323Chemical Reaction Engineering15.023A (Hamilton)
This paper is an introduction to the quantitative treatment of chemical and biological reaction and reactor engineering, including homogeneous and heterogeneous reacting systems.
ENGCB324Mass Transfer Operations15.023A (Hamilton)
This paper covers the application of heat and mass transfer, and thermodynamics to chemical and physical separation process.
ENGCB380Process Engineering Design 215.023B (Hamilton)
Conceptual and detailed design, costing and economic assessment of chemical, biological and materials process plants, including software and numerical simulation, separation trains, heat exchanger and pump sizing, and reactor kinetics.
ENGCV323Water Engineering 215.023A (Hamilton)
Application of hydraulics and hydrology in water engineering such as design of water distribution systems, fundamentals of flow in open channels, design of hydraulic structures, fundamentals of surface water hydrology, rainfall-runoff models, analysis and modelling of hydrological processes, fundamentals of groundwater hydrology, d...
ENGEN370Engineering and the Environment15.023A (Hamilton)
This paper covers sustainability in engineering design and renewable energy generation through the critical lens of environmental impact assessment, risk and resilience, sustainable infrastructure and development, material and energy flow analysis, emissions, carbon accounting and life cycle analysis.
ENGEN371Engineering Work Placement 20.023X (Hamilton)
This paper is taken by students undertaking their second work placement for the BE(Hons). It involves 400 hours of engineering-related work experience. The paper is typically undertaken during the November to February window after completing the three years of engineering study.
ENGEN372Engineering Work Placement 230.023X (Hamilton)
This paper is taken by students undertaking their second work placement for the BE(Hons) concurrent with the Diploma in Engineering Management or Certificate in Professional Engineering Practice. It involves 400 hours of engineering-related work experience. The paper is typically undertaken during the November to February window af...
ENGEN390Special Topics in Engineering 115.023X (Hamilton)
An independent theoretical literature or experimental investigation of an engineering topic supervised by a member of staff.
ENGEV341Environmental Engineering 215.023B (Hamilton)
This paper covers the design, operation and management of unit processes used in environmental engineering including air, water, wastewater, storm water, waste, soils and noise treatment and control systems.
ENGME352Control and Applications15.023A (Hamilton)
This paper teaches students the theory and application of control in mechanical and electrical systems. This paper covers the introduction of s-domain and plane, open and closed-loop control, PID control, digital control, root locus and frequency response analysis.
ENGMP311Materials 215.023B (Hamilton)
It will develop understanding of the relationship between material structure, processing and behaviour to support engineering of materials and engineering with materials.

500 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
ENGCB521Advanced Process Control15.023A (Hamilton)
This paper covers the fundamentals of process control, and introduces advanced process control strategies.
ENGCB523Advanced Energy Engineering15.023B (Hamilton)
Application of engineering thermodynamics, process integration and pinch analysis to energy systems including renewable energy systems and energy storage, small and large industrial utility systems with and without cogeneration, distributed and smart energy systems, and green buildings.
ENGCB527Advanced Food and Bioprocess Engineering15.023B (Hamilton)
Food and Bioprocess operations play a key role in the manufacture of dairy products, vaccines, meat products, and the like. This paper will cover plant-wide process design of food and bioprocesses ad advanced mathematical modelling of these operations.
ENGCB581Advanced Process Engineering Design15.023A (Hamilton)
Design teams will design a processing plant to meet the specifications of a design brief including mass and energy balances, economic evaluation and detailed design of nominated equipment.
ENGEN570Engineering and the Profession15.023D (Hamilton)
The roles and responsibilities of professional engineers are examined. Topics include; project management, leadership, negotiation, ethical responsibilities, legal duties, Treaty of Waitangi, intellectual property and professional communication.
ENGEN582Honours Research and Development Project45.023X (Hamilton)
This paper provides the "capstone" project required to complete an accredited engineering degree. The paper builds on the knowledge and skills students have gained in the first three years of their professional engineering degree and reinforces the multidisciplinary aspect of engineering. Students will learn how to carry out a Res...
ENGEN583Special Topics in Engineering 315.023X (Hamilton)
An independent theoretical literature or experimental investigation of an engineering topic supervised by a member of staff.
ENGEV541Advanced Water and Wastewater Engineering15.023A (Hamilton)
This course covers advanced aspects of design and operation of unit processes in water and waste water treatment, and process modelling and simulation tools such as Sumo19 and Superpro Designer.
ENGEV542Waste Minimisation Engineering15.023A (Hamilton)
Design of processes for the handling, recycling, reuse, treatment and disposal of domestic and industrial solid wastes including treatment plant sludges, assessment and modeling of gaseous emissions, odour, particulates, and air pollution control systems.
ENGMP512Advanced Materials Manufacture15.023A (Hamilton)
This paper deals with advanced materials science knowledge and principles underlying materials engineering. It focuses on the relationships between processing conditions and microstructures of materials and major materials processing technologies.

Entry into the BE(Hons) in the specified programme of Chemical and Biological Engineering will be guaranteed to applicants who gain:

  • University Entrance
  • 16 credits in Mathematics with Calculus in NCEA at Level 3 (or equivalent), preferably including:
    • Apply the algebra of complex numbers in solving problems (91577)
    • Apply integration methods in solving problems (91579)
  • 14 credits in Physics in NCEA at Level 3 (or equivalent), preferably including:
    • Demonstrate understanding of mechanical systems (91524)
    • Demonstrate understanding of electrical systems (91526)
  • 16 credits in Chemistry in NCEA at Level 3 (or equivalent)

Students who are yet to meet these requirements should consider joining the Engineering Jump Start programme, held in February each year prior to the start of A trimester. All other applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

New to Waikato? The International Excellence Scholarship is worth up to $10,000.

'Ko Te Tangata' School Leaver Scholarship  Not currently accepting applications

For school leavers who are studying at NCEA Level 3 (or equivalent) at a NZ secondary school and who are intending to enrol full-time (120 points) in an undergraduate degree at the University of Waikato for the first time in 2023. Candidates must be NZ Citizens or permanent residents.

Looking for more scholarships?

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Each year you will undertake lab-based investigations and engineering design courses to put theory into practice, develop innovative solutions and hone critical communication skills. You will have the chance to showcase your creative projects at our annual Waikato Engineering Design Show.

In the Chemical and Biological Engineering programme, past projects have included designing and building chemical-powered cars, creating new hair care products and vegan foods, as well as designing green urea plants.

By studying at the university centrally located in New Zealand’s industrial growth triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, you will have ample opportunities to undertake at least 800 hours of paid work placement throughout your degree and start your career after graduating.

Work placements enable you to be work-ready by the time you graduate and establish networks with potential future employers. Unique to Waikato, we have a dedicated Work Integrated Learning team that connects you to work placement opportunities and graduate positions. Graduates from the Chemical and Biological Engineering programme are highly sought after, and regularly lists over 2,500 job vacancies for chemical and process engineers.

Our engineering programme pairs perfectly with a Diploma in Engineering Management (DipEM) where you can develop critical skills in business, innovation and leadership to unlock doors into future senior management roles as a professional engineer. The diploma programme dovetails into the BE(Hons), and can all be completed within four years.


School of Engineering
Phone: +64 7 838 4322
Email: [email protected]