Prospective Students

What is Chemical & Biological Engineering?

Chemical and biological engineers conceive and design processes to efficiently use, produce, transport and transform materials and energy. They are in great demand due to the large number of industries that depend on the synthesis and processing of materials and matter and the modeling of systems. Chemical and biological engineers work to create new materials with unique electrical, optical or mechanical properties for more efficient solar cells or batteries, and they design processes and facilities that use microorganisms to synthesize new drugs or vaccines. They also develop solutions to control pollution and deactivate products harmful to the environment.

The UBC Chemical and Biological Department offers two undergraduate accredited programs:
• Chemical Engineering
• Chemical and Biological Engineering

For graduate programs, please check the CHBE Graduate Studies page

The unique training of Chemical & Biological engineers positions them to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges in clean energy, drinking water, food, health, green technologies and sustainable processes to convert renewable natural resources into the vast array of products used by society now and in the future.

For additional information, see the following videos by the National Science Foundation and by AIChE, that further explain what is Chemical & Biological Engineering.

Why is it important?

Chemical & Biological Engineers innovate sustainable technologies and solutions to provide society with the products and processes required to build a healthy, green, sustainable future — clean fuels and energy, safe foods and water, improved health, and the incredible diversity of consumer products we rely on. Chemical & Biological Engineers increase quality of life.

What courses do students in the Chemical & Biological Engineering programs take?

The FULL LIST OF COURSES can be found in our Curriculum page. Tour the CHBE labs virtually with the following video:

What is it like to be a Chemical & Biological Engineering Student?



Follow a CHBE student for a day: CHBE Student Perspective: Emma CHBE Student Perspective: Meghan
CHBE Student Perspective: Veronika CHBE Student Perspective: Raghav


Additional student vlogs are also available:


What Types of Work do Chemical & Biological Engineers do?

Graduates in Chemical & Biological Engineering have critical roles as leaders in…

• Biological Systems Engineering
• Sustainable Production of Healthy Food
• Zero Carbon Emission Fuels and Energy
• Biotechnology-based Production of Green Products, Materials and Renewable Fuels
• Smart and Biodegradable Materials
• Carbon Capture Technology to Reduce GHGs
• Better, More Affordable Healthcare
• Sustainable Management of Natural Resources
• Sustainable Forest-based Products
• Clean Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment


CHBE Researchers on Resources for the Future and A Tour of the Battery Research Lab Better Water Treatment for Indigenous Communities Alternative Energy Technologies



Electrochemical Water Treatment Technology CHBE Alumni: Entrepreneurship for a more sustainable world UBC Engineering Stories Interview with CHBE Alumni

The versatility of Chemical & Biological Engineers is borne out by the achievements of the following well known personalities; inventors, CEO’s to politicians:

Chemical Engineer Achievements
Arthur Fry 3M Inventor of Post-it note
Robert W. Gore Inventor of Gore-Tex
Lewis Urry Canadian inventor of both the alkaline battery and lithium battery
Mae Jemison Science mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavour
Jack Welch CEO of General Electric
Andrew Grove Former CEO of Intel Corp.
Sheri McCoy Current CEO of Avon Products
Linus Pauling Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1954, Nobel Peace Prize 1962
Jerzy Buzek Former Prime Minister of Poland, current President of European Parliament