Pharmaceutical Engineering, BEng (Hons)

Programme Overview
SIT’s Pharmaceutical Engineering programme is the first in Singapore. This programme is built on an interdisciplinary curriculum that intersects engineering and science, with the aim to deliver a rigorous education that has a strong industry focus. The goal of this programme is to produce graduates who are both theoretically grounded and practice-oriented for the knowledge-intensive pharmaceutical industry and related sectors. This programme focuses on the development and manufacture of the two largest classes of pharmaceutical drugs, i.e. (i) biologics and (ii) small molecule drugs.

The programme’s unique curriculum which was developed in close consultation with industry is strongly girded with cutting-edge industry-relevant concepts and know-how. The curriculum is structured to train students across the full spectrum of core pharmaceutical development and manufacturing competencies, ranging from pharmaceutical product design to process development, operations, validation, and regulation.

Modules geared towards business and management acumen development will complement the technical core. Students will spend two trimesters in industry under the Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP) to acquire industry skill sets and apply taught theory to troubleshoot industry problems. To enhance their industry readiness, students will also receive industry endorsed competency-based certifications upon completion of selected modules, which will equip them with industry-validated skills that are attuned to employers’ needs.

Career Opportunities
SIT’s Pharmaceutical Engineering programme aims to nurture and groom skilled professionals for the pharmaceutical industry in Singapore. Besides the pharmaceutical industry, this programme also provides a unique opportunity for students interested in pursuing careers in other relevant industries including chemicals, biotechnology, life science, nutraceutical, and the flavours and fragrances sectors.

Eligibility and Exemption

Diploma holders from any of the five polytechnics and A-level graduates are welcome to apply. Subject to approval, diploma holders may be granted exemptions based on the modules taken during their diploma course. Exemptions may also be considered for relevant professional or industrial certifications.

Study Trip

To be updated.


Year 1
PHE1011 Engineering Mathematics I

This is an introductory engineering math module, which will cover complex numbers, vectors and matrices, derivatives, and integration. This module aims to allow students to understand and work with complex numbers, use vector operators to solve static problems, use matrix operations to solve simultaneous equations, and understand and apply differentiation and integration methods to solve engineering problems.

PHE1012 Statistics

This is an introductory module in statistics for pharmaceutical engineers, aimed at recognising and applying the properties of probability and distributions in datasets. Topics include descriptive statistics, probability, confidence intervals, hypothesis tests, and statistical quality control. Real, contemporary data sets will be used to emphasise industry relevance.

PHE1013 Chemistry

This module will cover the fundamental topics and concepts of chemistry in relation to drug design and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Structure of matter, periodicity and the periodic table, chemical bonding, states of matter, stoichiometry and equilibrium, reaction types, kinetics, as well as organic chemistry (functional groups and isomerism) will be covered.

PHE1014 Mass and Energy Balance

This module prepares students to formulate and solve mass and energy balances on chemical process systems in the pharmaceutical engineering context, and lays the foundation for subsequent modules relating to thermodynamics, unit operations, as well as process monitoring, automation, and control. In essence, this course introduces an engineering approach to problem solving by the following steps: (i) breaking a process down to its components, (ii) establishing the relations between known and unknown process variables, (iii) assembling the information needed to solve for the unknowns, and (iv) obtaining the solution using appropriate quantitative methods.

PHE1015 Biomolecular Science I

This module covers basic molecular biology principles, as well as central dogma of biology that encompasses transcription, translation, expression. Cellular transport systems and involvement of proteins in transport regulation will also be covered.

PHE1021 Engineering Mathematics II

The aim of this module is to provide students with knowledge and analytical methods in engineering systems. It covers eigenvalues and eigenvectors, solving first and second order differential equations, Laplace transforms, power series and Fourier series.

PHE1022 Organic Chemistry

This module covers the characteristics, synthesis methods and reaction mechanisms of organic compounds. Topics taught include (i) nucleophilic substitution, elimination, electrophilic additions/substitutions, oxidations and reduction, (ii) functional group transformation, (ii) disconnection approach to synthesis, and (iv) synthesis of polyfunctional organic molecules, stereochemistry and reaction mechanisms.

PHE1023 Organic Chemistry Laboratory

The Organic Chemistry Laboratory module comprises hands-on experimental activities to reinforce fundamental understanding of the underlying principles taught in the Organic Chemistry lecture module. Students will also be trained in laboratory safety practices, hazard identification, risk assessment, technical report writing and presentation skills.

PHE1024 Programming for Pharmaceutical Engineering

This module introduces students to programming in Matlab, and is designed to lead students to fluency in Matlab, including useful toolboxes. Problem-solving using Matlab is a key feature of the module, such that the Matlab proficiency learnt in this module can be extended to pharmaceutical engineering applications.

PHE1025 Engineering Principles I

In this module, students will develop an understanding of heat and mass transfer processes. Specifically, heat transfer by conduction, convection, and radiation will be covered, as well as equipment involved in heat transfer. Topics covered include Fick’s Law for diffusion mass transfer, steady and nonsteady diffusion, and mass transfer coefficients. By the end of the course, both the heat and mass transfer concepts will be integrated to present simultaneous heat and mass transfer situations common in the pharmaceutical manufacturing environment.

PHE1031 Engineering Mathematics III

This module will cover advanced mathematical concepts which can be used to solve complex engineering problems. Topics covered include partial differentiation and partial differential equations, Fourier analysis, multiple integrals, vector algebra and calculus.

PHE1032 Engineering Thermodynamics

This module will cover (i) equations of state of ideal and real gases, (ii) kinetic theory of gases, and (iii) the laws of thermodynamics: First law: enthalpy, thermochemistry. Second law: entropy, Helmholtz and Gibbs functions. Third law: rates of chemical reactions.

PHE1033 Engineering Thermodynamics Laboratory

This laboratory module comprises practical sessions aimed at introducing the basic principles and methods of experimental engineering thermodynamics, to provide fundamental understanding of the underlying principles of the Engineering Thermodynamic lecture module.

PHE1034 Biomolecular Science II

This module will cover metabolic processes in eukaryotic cells for the production of human therapeutics. This module will also deepen students’ understanding of pharmacology by acquainting themselves with the underlying cellular and physiological processes of metabolism and pharmacokinetics. Focused topics in immunology will also be covered, which will help students grasp concepts behind modern medicine like antibody production and vaccination.

PHE1035 Engineering Principles II

This module will train students in the understanding of fluid behaviours and rheology in systems such as fluid properties, fluid statics and kinematics. Students will learn (i) conservation of mass, momentum and energy, (ii) equations of motion, (iii) dimensional analysis, as well as (iv) fluid engineering systems - flow in pipes and pipe fittings, flow measurement, friction loss in valves and fittings.

Year 2
PHE2011 Operational Excellence

This module aims to articulate the six sigma principles, for improved understanding of the concept of operational excellence in the pharmaceutical industry context. Topics covered include strategies, techniques, and tools for process improvement, statistical methods to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of errors and minimizing variability in the pharmaceutical manufacturing process.

PHE2012 Current Good Manufacturing Practices

This module is an introduction to current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) in the pharmaceutical manufacturing environment. This module will cover the background of GMP and the regulatory review for pharmaceutical industries, from drug development to manufacturing of finished products. Topics include regulatory bodies for pharmaceutical industries, cGMP designs and requirements to achieve full compliance, contamination control procedures, and deviations managements.

PHE2013 Engineering Principles III

The aim of this module is to understand the principles of reaction engineering that can be applied across both chemical and biological reactions. Concepts covered include (i) reaction engineering and rate laws, (ii) design and operation of batch, continuous stirred tank, and plug flow reactors, (iii) isothermal and adiabatic reactions, and (iv) catalysis.

PHE2014 Technical Writing and Communication

This module aims to train students to independently write scientific/technical reports and essays to effectively communicate scientific/technical findings to a broad community of readers. Through this module, students will be taught the skills required to communicate complex scientific or technical information into content that a specific audience can easily understand.

PHE2015 Career and Professional Development

This module focuses on enabling students to enter and secure jobs in the workforce. Students will be taught skills that will enable them to describe their accomplishments and sell their ideas during professional networking, company meetings, and interviews. This module will also cover resume/cover letter writing skills, professional verbal communication, workplace integration and work ethics. Students will also be mentored on their individual development of career plans and career roadmap.

Year 2: Biologics Specialisation I
PHE2031 Expression Engineering

This module will cover expression systems in prokaryotic and eukaryotic hosts. Selection, archiving and characterization of production line as well as the study of parameters affecting expression and yield will be covered. Students will be equipped with knowledge in cell line development for production of therapeutic drugs.

PHE2032 Bioprocess Engineering

This module aims to ground students in the engineering aspects of bioprocessing with a focus on fermentation. Topics covered include (i) cell growth stoichiometry and kinetics, (ii) batch, fed-batch and continuous fermentation, (iii) bioreactor design, sampling and control, as well as (iv) enzyme reactions and kinetics.

PHE2033 Molecular Biology & Fermentation Laboratory

This laboratory practical session will have a self-directed learning focus to reinforce concepts in molecular biology and fermentation through hands-on experimentation tools and equipment that simulate industrial environments. Students will gain a working knowledge on aseptic techniques and lab safety as well as be competent in laboratory report writing and presentation of experimental findings.

PHE2034 Bioseparations I

This module aims to train students in the design and operation of unit operations used for primary recovery of products post-fermentation. Principles and operations of cell disruption, filtration, and centrifugation which adhere to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) and safety guidelines will be taught.

PHE2035 Foundations of Finance

As a first principle course, this module aims to provide students with a basic understanding of finance theory and the ability to apply that theory when making these financial decisions in an uncertain environment. In particular, the study of finance involves three inter-related areas: (i) money and capital markets; (ii) investment finance; and (iii) corporate finance.

Year 2: Small Molecule Drugs Specialisation I
PHE2035 Foundations of Finance

As a first principle course, this module aims to provide students with a basic understanding of finance theory and the ability to apply that theory when making these financial decisions in an uncertain environment. In particular, the study of finance involves three inter-related areas: (i) money and capital markets; (ii) investment finance; and (iii) corporate finance.

PHE2036 Medicinal Chemistry

This module builds on the Organic Chemistry module, with a focus on the identification and chemical optimization of drug molecules. Topics covered include the role of chemistry in the drug discovery process, selection and screening techniques, design of compound libraries, and real case study examples.

PHE2037 Unit Operations I

This module covers the design theories and operation principles of distillation and adsorption for small molecule drug production and recovery. Students will be taught the general principles of separation by equilibrium and rate processes, phase equilibria and the role of diffusion.

PHE2038 Downstream Processing I

In this downstream processing module, students will learn about the solids handling involved in pharmaceutical production post-API (active pharmaceutical ingredients) syntheses. Topics such as characterization of particulate solids, segregation and powder sampling, as well as powder mixing, grinding, agglomeration, fluidization and drying will be covered. In addition, solids transport between operations will be introduced. Students will also be learning about the granulation and compaction of powders, with an emphasis on the interrelationship between powder properties, characterization techniques in final granule, and compact quality.

PHE2039 Unit Operations II

This module covers the design theories and operation principles of crystallization and drying for small molecule drug production and recovery. Students will use phase diagrams and equilibria as well as mass and energy balances to solve crystallization and drying problems in the context of pharmaceutical engineering.

Year 3
PHE3021 Integrated Work Study Programme

IWSP is a work placement programme which stretches over two full trimesters. It is a graduation requirement for the PharmE programme. Students will be attached to companies, where they will contribute to real work in a typical industrial pharmaceutical manufacturing environment. Students will acquire in-depth knowledge in industrial operations pertaining to drug production and processing, to complement and advance classroom theory.

PHE3022 Capstone Project

This is a mandatory project which will be undertaken each student during their IWSP stint. The scope of the project will be linked to the student’s IWSP work assignment, with a focus on identifying and developing a conceptual solution to solve real industrial process bottlenecks. The capstone project will provide scope for the student to apply academic knowledge and workplace skills to troubleshoot and solve problems faced by industry, and develop innovation skills.

Year 3: Biologics Specialisation II
PHE3011 Bioanalyticals

This module covers instrumentation for characterization and quality control of biologics products, which includes fingerprinting and sequencing, biomolecule quantitation by spectrophotometry, electrophoresis, high performance liquid chromatography, proteomics, as well as analysis of bioburden, sterility, endotoxin, and extractables. Data interpretation and analysis using analytical statistics (e.g., multivariate analysis) will also be emphasized.

PHE3012 Bioseparations II

This module covers the principles and operations of extraction, chromatography and final polishing steps which adhere to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) and safety guidelines.

PHE3013 Bioseparations Laboratory

This laboratory module involves designing and operating primary and secondary purification processes to recover biologics products from the fermentation broth, under industrial simulating environment.

PHE3014 Biosafety

This module covers identification, assessment and management of biological and related hazards and risks associated with handling microbes, biological materials and their derivatives in the workplace.

PHE3015 Process Monitoring, Automation and Control

This module covers instrumentations, tools and techniques for efficient monitoring of cell culture based manufacturing processes for continuous improvements and accelerated process understanding. Enhanced and integrated in situ Process Analytical Technologies (PAT) for routine process monitoring will be covered as well as best practices and challenges in data handling and analysis in process development or validation.

Year 3: Small Molecule Drugs Specialisation II
PHE3015 Process Monitoring, Automation and Control

This module covers instrumentations, tools and techniques for efficient monitoring of cell culture based manufacturing processes for continuous improvements and accelerated process understanding. Enhanced and integrated in situ Process Analytical Technologies (PAT) for routine process monitoring will be covered as well as best practices and challenges in data handling and analysis in process development or validation.

PHE3016 Analytical Chemistry

This module introduces the analytical methods frequently used in characterization of pharmaceutical products, at both a practical and theoretical level. The theoretical principles of (i) equilibrium expressions, (ii) pH, volumetric, and gravimetric analysis, (iii) electrochemistry, (iv) spectroscopy and (v) chromatography will be covered. Practical sessions that involve the collection and interpretation of quantitative data, including experiments in the area of potentiometry, spectroscopy, and chromatography will reinforce the theoretical concepts learnt.

PHE3017 Downstream Processing II

This module covers the principles and operation of drug tableting, coating and packaging techniques. Sub-topics covered would include substrate and process considerations for pharmaceutical coating processes, material design/functions and quality assurance.

PHE3018 Unit Operations Laboratory

This laboratory module offers practicals which are designed to enhance the theoretical design and operation know-how of the unit operations for recovery and downstream processing of small molecule drugs.

PHE3019 Process Safety

This module covers workplace safety and health, as well as process safety throughout the entire plant life cycle according to pharmaceutical standards. Sub-topics include identification and characterisation of hazards, HAZOP, risk assessments and preventive safety measures.

Year 4
PHE4011 Process Validation

In the pharmaceutical industry, validation is a process of establishing documented evidence which provides a high degree of assurance that a specific process will consistently produce a product that meets its predetermined specifications and quality characteristics. This course would covers the background and components of process validation (PV), and its role in cGMP, Quality assurance implementation program.

PHE4012 Plant Design and Operations

Introduction to pharmaceutical process flow-sheeting; sizing and cost estimation of chemical processes; process economics. The module will focus on pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical process optimization with simulation and scheduling tools. Real case studies from the industry will be covered.

PHE4013 Quality by Design in Pharmaceutical Development

To be updated

PHE4014 Project Management

This module covers project management concepts used in industry. Students will learn basic definition and goals of project management processes and roles as well as project management life cycle and phases: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring/Controlling, and Closing. Management of time, resources and funding through tools and steps (e.g., Work Breakdown Structures, Staffing, Communications, Stakeholders, Adaptation, and Closure). In particular, this module will focus on applying concepts of project management to the specifics of the pharmaceutical industry. The students will be equipped with knowledge needed to manage a range of diverse projects considering scope, cost and time.

Campus Location

10 Dover Drive
Singapore 138683