New information following the change in COVID-19 alert levels.

Bachelor of Engineering with Honours (Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering)

Key facts

  • Available at Auckland
  • Available at Manawatū
  • Year 1 and Year 2 available at Auckland. Full programme available at Manawatū.
  • Available for international students studying in NZ

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.

Work around the world

The BE (Hons) programme has been accredited by Engineering NZ as a professional engineering degree under the Washington Accord. This is an international agreement between bodies responsible for accrediting engineering degree programmes.

Signatories are from Australia, Canada, China, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, the United States, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, and Peru. This means you can practice as an engineer in these countries using your Massey University BE (Hons) qualification.

Earn more

A 2017 Ministry of Education publication, The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates showed that those who complete a qualification in a science, agriculture, technology, computer science, engineering or mathematics field of study have high relative earnings after they complete their study compared to the national median. Earnings can be substantially more than other 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.

Aden Fareh
Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering
Process Engineer - WorleyParsons

“You really can’t go wrong with engineering – it is a phenomenal degree that gives you wings and gateways to so many possibilities…”

The demand for engineers is high; the work is interesting; and the pay is good. It is also worth remembering that engineers save more lives than any other professionals (not even doctors) by providing clean water, electricity, and transportation – and who among us can say that we would have made the same progress were it not for the ingenuity of the engineer?

I’m particularly fortunate because I work for a consultancy and am exposed to a range of projects. A typical day for me may involve meeting clients, writing reports, preparing presentations and tender documents, managing contractors, designing, performing calculations, and doing research. Since I started with WorleyParsons, I’ve been involved in renovating offices, building sound barrier walls, sizing pumps, upgrading motor gearboxes and VSDs, repairing can sterilisation retorts, and modelling phosphate build-up in ponds. I’m currently working on a model to determine the minimum effluent flowrate to prevent algal bloom.


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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