Master of Applied Science in Chemical and Biological Engineering


Program Description

Chemical and Chemical & Biological engineers create and develop processes to change raw materials into the products that society depends on; food, chemicals, fuels, energy, metals, pharmaceuticals, paper, plastics, and personal care products. Chemical and process engineers help to manage natural resources, protect the environment, control health and safety procedures, and recycle materials while developing and managing the processes which make the products we use.

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering was established in 1999 at UBC and reflects the growing need for engineers in the fields of biotechnology, biomedical and bio-resource engineering. At present, there are 24 full-time faculty members in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, together with a support staff of 17.

We have established a world-class reputation in several areas of chemical engineering science including fluid-solids contacting, pulp and paper engineering, heat exchanger fouling, and, more recently, biotechnology.

The Department is actively engaged in applied research, CHBE faculty-led research provides innovative and sustainable solutions to pressing local and global challenges to industry and society.

  • Energy and Fuels: Sustainable clean energy and fuel supply and use.
  • Natural Resources: Managing and maximizing the value of Canada’s forest and fossil carbon reserves.
  • Environment: Mitigating climate change/pollution; Clean water and biodiversity security.
  • Health: Rising medical costs in the face of the aging population; Cancer and other deadly diseases.
  • Industry: Increasing pressure from emerging economies.

Solutions to the above challenges are inextricably linked to our understanding of complex chemical and biological systems.

Students with a background in Engineering will receive a Master of Applied Science degree whereas students without an Engineering background will receive a Master of Science degree.

What makes the program unique?

Research funding per grant holder is amongst the highest for chemical engineering departments in Canada. Several faculty members have won national and international recognition for their research contributions and many former students have gone on to become leaders in industry and academia in Canada and abroad.

The Department facilities include a building with extensive custom research labs designed for quality world-class research activities.

Career Options

Chemical engineers have myriad career choices. Chemical engineers find employment globally in industry, government, research, and medicine, the opportunities are endless. Many chemical engineers have gone on to become managers, company executives, entrepreneurs, and leaders of government and non-government organizations.

Chemical engineers are highly employable and there continues to be a growing demand for chemical engineers.

Course Requirements

MASc students are required to complete CHBE 597 (thesis proposal preparation course - 2 credits), CHBE 598 (Seminar- 1 credit), CHBE 599 (MASc Thesis - 12 credits) as well as 15 credits of other courses. At least 9 out of these 15, credits must be for graduate courses (500 level) taken in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at UBC. A maximum of only 6 credits can come from 300- or 400-level undergraduate courses, selection of which needs approval from the student's supervisory committee. All MASc students must successfully complete at least four of the seven fundamental courses.

Potential MASc candidates with Bachelor's degrees from other engineering or science programs and provisional candidates may be asked to take appropriate undergraduate courses to improve their background knowledge, in the case of the former, or to qualify for full standing, in the case of the latter. Such courses will be selected by the Graduate Advisor in consultation with the Candidate and his/her supervisor(s), and will not normally be credited as part of the student's graduate program.

Note that MASc students must achieve a minimum of 60% in any course taken for credit in order to be granted, Pass Standing. However, only 6 credits of Pass Standing may be counted towards a Master's program; for all other courses credited to the program, at least 68% must be obtained.

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Baldwin, Susan (Bioprocess engineering, bioremediation, biomedical reaction modeling)
  • Berlinguette, Curtis (CO2 conversion and utilization, clean energy, advanced solar cells, electrochromic windows, dynamic windows, hydrogen fuels production, catalysis)
  • Bi, Xiaotao (Biomass and Bioenergy, Multiphase Chemical Reactors, Fluidization, Particle technology, Electrostatics of Powders, Life Cycle Analysis, Green Engineering, Industrial Symbiosis, Fuel Cells Water Management).
  • Ellis, Naoko (CO2 capture and utilization, thermochemical conversion of biomass, multiphase systems)
  • Englezos, Peter (Clathrate (gas) hydrate science, engineering and novel applications, Clathrates-applications: natural gas storage & transport, CO2 capture & storage, water treatment), Thermodynamics of fluids and super-hydrophobic surfaces, Novel materials from forest bio-resources, High-value papermaking)
  • Feng, James Jingtao (Complex fluids, Biophysics, Mathematical biology)
  • Frostad, John (Emulsions, Foams, Functional Foods, Interfacial Rheology, Interfacial Phenomena, Human Health)
  • Gopaluni, Bhushan (Modelling and experiment design, identification for control)
  • Gyenge, Elod Lajos (Electrochemical engineering, fuel cells, batteries, electrodes)
  • Hatzikiriakos, Savvas (Polymer melt and suspension rheology, food rheology, polymer melt processing, superhydrophobicity, surface science, winter sports expert, ski/skate performance, and snow/ice friction)
  • Haynes, Charles (Protein purification, recombinant proteins, molecular thermodynamics, biocompatible polymers)
  • Lau, Anthony K (Environmental engineering, waste-to-resource recycling, composting, odor control, biohydrogen energy)
  • Lim, Choon Jim (Biomass and fossil fuels, Spouted bed, Gas-particle system hydrodynamics, heat transfer, Hydrogen production)
  • Martinez, Mark (Fluid mechanics, Complex fluids, Flow visualization)
  • Mohseni, Madjid (Water treatment; Ultraviolet (UV), ozone, and Advanced oxidation technologies; Environmental pollution control; bioenergy from waste, Environmental bioprocesses engineering, biofiltration, biological wastewater treatment, advanced oxidation)
  • Piret, James (Biomedical engineering, regenerative medicine Cell-based therapies have the potential to provide improved treatments for major diseases such as cancer and diabetes)
  • Smith, Kevin (Catalysis, biofuels)
  • Taghipour, Fariborz (Solar Fuels, Artificial Photosynthetic Systems, UV Photoreactors, UV-LED Reactors, UV Microplasma, Modeling of Chemical and Biochemical Reactors, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD))
  • Trajano, Heather (Biorefining, Biochemicals, Biomass extractives recovery, and utilization, Catalysis, Hemicellulose, Pretreatment, Kinetics)
  • Wachs, Anthony (Fluid mechanics, Particle-laden flows, Non-Newtonian flows, Heat and mass transfer, Numerical simulation, High-performance computing, Multi-scale modeling)
  • Wilkinson, David (Electrochemistry, electrocatalysis, electrochemical power sources, advanced electrolysis, hydrogen production and storage, wastewater and drinking water treatment, solar fuels, carbon dioxide conversion, clean and sustainable energy, and water)
  • Yadav, Vikramaditya (Biocatalysis, Bioremediation, Bioprocess engineering, Drug delivery, Infectious disease pathogenesis & drug discovery, Green chemistry, Medical biotechnology, Metabolic engineering, Synthetic biology, Tissue engineering; sustainable manufacturing technologies for the production of cleaner fuels and more efficacious pharmaceuticals)

Sample Thesis Submissions

  • Biological stability for vacuum UV advanced oxidation treatment of surface water.
  • Electrochemical evaluation and modulation of surface wettability.
  • Life cycle and techno-economic assessment of transportation biofuels from hydrothermal liquefaction of forest residues in British Columbia.
  • Attached growth nitrification using Ringlace media.
  • NO[sub x] and N2O emissions from circulating fluidized bed combustion.
  • Interaction of iron with wood pulp fibers.
  • Enzymatic harvesting of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored recombinant proteins from mammalian cells.
  • A study of colloidal hydrocracking catalysts prepared in reverse micelles.
  • In-situ delignification of wood pulp by electrochemically generated Mn(III)CyDTA.
  • Fouling by calcium oxalate in aqueous solution.
  • Retention of calcium carbonate in mechanical pulp suspensions.
  • Functional metagenomics and consolidated bioprocessing for the valorization of pulp and paper mill sludge.
  • Evaluating the desalination performance and efficiency of capacitive deionization with activated carbon electrodes.
  • Modification of MnO₂-based cathode materials for rechargeable alkaline batteries.
  • Custom affinity chromatography: development of a novel platform for rapid creation and validation of affinity media using DNA aptamer-based ligands.


TOEFL (IBT) overall score requirement


  • ibT Reading 22
  • ibT Writing 21
  • ibT Listening 22
  • ibT Speaking 21

IELTS overall score requirement


  • IELTS Reading 6.0
  • IELTS Writing 6.0
  • IELTS Listening 6.0
  • IELTS Speaking 6.0

Funding Sources

Applicants who are interested in catalysis research with a focus on programs addressing waste generation, environmental compatibility, energy efficiency, and alternative energy sources may consider the SusSyn program that provides additional funding and professional development opportunities.

Last updated Sep 2020

About the School

The Faculty of Applied Science oversees administrative procedures for the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, the School of Community and Regional Planning, the School of Nursing, and a ... Read More

The Faculty of Applied Science oversees administrative procedures for the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, the School of Community and Regional Planning, the School of Nursing, and all engineering activities at the Vancouver campus and the School of Engineering at the Okanagan campus. Read less