Bachelor of Engineering with Honours (Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering)

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Meeting world demand

World economies are strongly based on adding value to raw materials through processing, so engineers who specialise in this area are in demand.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours parent structure

What is it like?

Chemical and bioprocess engineering is the industrial processing of raw materials to higher value products through combinations of physical, chemical or biochemical action. These processes can be very diverse and chemical and bioprocess engineers design, optimise and operate these processes.

Examples include fermentation of sugars to alcohol, production of pharmaceutical products, extraction of high value compounds, composting of organic waste, conversion of milk solids to dairy ingredients, conversion of wood into paper and the production of fuels from waste streams.

A focus on innovative approaches

The distinctive feature of this course at Massey is that as well as equipping you with core chemical engineering skills for more traditional industries (oil, gas), there is a focus on innovative approaches such as nanotechnologies, biocatalysts, and clean processing techniques (based on our excellent research).

What will I learn?

The first year of study builds a solid platform of science principles with an engineering context, in common with the other BE majors. Projects are used to illustrate the application of these principles to real engineering problems and introduce the role and functions of the professional engineer.

In the second year you will build further on these fundamental sciences and their application to chemical and bioprocess engineering systems. You will apply this knowledge and problem solving skills to product development and process development in projects in each semester.

In your third year your study will extend from the study of engineering and chemical principles to processing applications such as bio-separations and reactor technologies. We use projects to teach utilities, sustainable processing and waste treatment.

In the fourth year you will design a major innovative production process to integrate the various engineering and science skills acquired through earlier years of study. A research project provides experience in devising strategies for gaining new knowledge and data required for developing production processes.

Internationally recognised

Massey University’s programme is ranked in the top 300 university chemical engineering programmes in the world by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) rankings.

The BE(Hons) programme has accreditation by Engineering NZ as a professional engineering degree under the Washington Accord.

Earn more

A Ministry of Education report, undertaken over nine years, showed that those who complete a qualification in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field of study have high relative earnings after they complete their study. Earnings can be substantially more than other graduates. Engineering and building-related fields have the largest earnings premiums over the national median of young graduates.

Follow your interests

The inclusion of prescribed choice of subject outside your compulsory courses (electives) in the third and fourth years, together with flexibility in project topics, allows you to follow your interests. You can focus on particular processing industry sectors such as biotechnology, chemical processing, environmental engineering and renewable energy.

If you do not have the required subjects Massey University offers various engineering preparatory pathways which will bring you up to the necessary standard. Talk to us to find out more.

Arron Cox
Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering
Graduated in 2014
Solid Waste Engineer, Horowhenua District Council

“Massey equipped me with skills and knowledge that I can use every day in my job and this helped me to develop fast in my role…”

I chose to study chemical engineering as I knew the degree would offer me a wide range of opportunities once I'd graduated. My choice to study at Massey University was easy as I was attracted to the 'hands on' teaching approach the school adopted - I could start learning important practical skills from day one.

I enjoyed the strong community spirit that existed in the engineering school. It was particularly useful when higher year students helped us with our study commitments and we helped the lower year student with theirs. The senior students also acted as informal mentors, especially during the stressful times. There was a particularly strong social life at Massey Engineering with the student society Techensoc organizing heaps of cool social events such as a formal ball or the end-of-year-get-together.

Currently I am working as a solid waste engineer at the Horowhenua District Council. Massey equipped me with skills and knowledge that I can use every day in my job and this helped me to develop fast in my role. The most valuable skill Massey taught me was how solve problems and find solutions - without this I would find my current role much more difficult.

I am happy that I chose to study at Massey and it has been a great chapter in my life.


Chemical and bioprocess engineering is a fascinating career, where you can be involved in the design of a whole process, help optimise existing processes or operate the process itself.

Graduates also work in a diverse range of industries including chemical processing, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, dairy, meat and food processing, and environmental engineering. Jobs can include process engineers, waste water engineers, energy development engineers and many others.

In demand worldwide

There is a worldwide emphasis on adding value through processing biological products. When you graduate with your chemical and bioprocess major you will be in strong demand, not only in New Zealand, but internationally. The importance of the processing industries on New Zealand export sector provides growing opportunities for chemical and bioprocess engineers to develop, design, and operate existing and novel processes for producing the high-value products. These products include biopharmaceuticals; skin care, shampoos and cosmetics; enzymes for use in detergents, foods, and healthcare; fine chemicals such as flavours and colorants; industrial chemicals, bio-plastics, and biofuels such as ethanol. Chemical and bioprocess engineers are employed in the environmental sector for bio-treatment and bioremediation of various kinds of wastes. Many engineers work in more traditional bio-industries, such as meat, dairy and food processing, pulp and paper, leather processing, brewing and winemaking. 

Adding value

New Zealand’s economy is strongly based on adding value to biological raw materials through processing (e.g. milk). Innovative approaches such as nanotechnologies, biocatalysts, and clean processing techniques are increasingly being adopted to create high-value products in a sustainable way.

What will my career look like?

When you graduate you’ll typically begin your career in a technical role in the processing industry. The business and management skills that are an integral part of your learning during the Massey engineering degree will stand you in good stead - if you work hard, you are likely to progress rapidly to a managerial position.

The wide scope of employment options and the central role process engineers play in the New Zealand industry means chemical and bioprocess engineering graduates are sought after in industry and well paid.

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