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Master of Science in Biotechnology (Awarded by Northumbria University, UK)*

About the Course
Course Curriculum

*Note: We are currently not recruiting new students for the Master of Science in Biotechnology programme



Biotechnology is one of the most rapidly growing fields within applied sciences, having applications from the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions, through to the enhancement of food production. Due to the potential impact on human life, the importance of biotechnology is currently very high in both the public and scientific agenda.

The main focus of the course will be on Molecular biotechnology. Molecular biology, (molecular) Genetics and Bioinformatics form the ‘backbone’ of biotechnology, and different aspects of these feature in a number of modules. A thorough understanding of the link between DNA, RNA and protein is pivotal. You will study gene expression and protein production and purification, and applications thereof in different biotechnological fields. In addition to developing subject-based expertise and skills, you will consider the many global issues associated with recent biotechnological advances.

This course will give you access to a field of study which will have a major impact in the future of science. It is specifically designed to expand your knowledge and insight in the science underpinning biotechnological principles. In addition, it will help you to apply knowledge and skills in addressing specific biotechnological problems in the fields of medical, industrial, microbial and plant biotechnology.

The course will enhance your career opportunities in the biotechnological industries, enabling you to take full advantage of opportunities that will ensue from the expansion of this area and/or prepare you for further academic research.

Methods of Assessement

Modules will be assessed through a combination of coursework and examinations depending on the individual module’s objectives.

Career Opporturnities

Career Opportunities in specialised areas include:

  • Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Medical Laboratories
  • Research and Development
  • Veterinary Industry
  • Agricultural Industry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Food and Beverage Industry
  • Product Manufacturing and Production
  • Bioinformatics
  • Educational Institutions


Northumbria University

    Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence.  By putting students at the heart of an outstanding experience, and with world leading research and award-winning partnerships, Northumbria is a new kind of excellent university.

Northumbria works with major global employers, including Nike, IBM, Nissan, Proctor & Gamble, the BBC, and the NHS, while more than 560 employers and 60 professional bodies sponsor or accredit the University’s programmes. Innovative and entrepreneurial, we are also ranked fourth in the UK for graduate business start-ups.

Northumbria University works with prestigious Institutions of Higher Education throughout the world, including MDIS. Together we offer an exciting portfolio of programmes that will develop international citizens who are equipped to work in a global marketplace. Northumbria University and MDIS have a successful working relationship for a number of years, starting initially with just one programme BSc (Honours) Biotechnology but has grown to now offering a number of undergraduate and post graduate programmes across a range of subject areas.

  • Ranked 21st out of 111 universities in the 2014 Times Higher Education Student Satisfaction Survey.

Engineering and Environment at Northumbria offers programmes to equip students with the skills, critical thinking and knowledge needed to change the world. The faculty aims for excellence in research, teaching and enterprise. High quality courses enable students to study disciplines that shape the world to be a better place for people. The faculty offers degree programmes in Architecture and the Built Environment; Computer Science and Digital Technologies, Mechanical and Construction Engineering, Mathematics and Information Sciences, Geography as well as Physics and Electrical Engineering, providing education that gives our graduates an advantage in the employment market.



*Note: We are currently not recruiting new students for the Master of Science in Biotechnology programme

Module Descriptions


Graduate Science Research Methods (CORE, 20 Credits)

This module provides students with an opportunity to develop their skills in the use and understanding of relevant literature and in both quantitative and qualitative methods. Students will also learn how to evaluate and contribute to the scientific literature and to interpret and disseminate scientific information. Students will appreciate the desirable properties of research design and be able to select an experimental design appropriate to a given system and create the design matrix. Students will learn how to assess the kinds of scientific data and tests of hypotheses and will be able to select, apply, and interpret the output from statistical methods of data analysis, and to evaluate the results of statistical analyses as applied to a given data set. 

The module will be delivered by a combination of lectures, workshops and supporting tutorial sessions that will include hands on exercises using materials covered in the lectures. Additional exercises will be presented as directed learning and as independent study and these will form the basis of the tutorial sessions. The module will be assessed during the course of the semester by 2 written assignments and a terminal IT based exam.

Bioinformatics (CORE, 20 Credits)

Bioinformatics is the application of computer based tools in the management and analysis of biological data, such as to compare unknown to known sequences, mutated sequences to normal sequences and to predict protein structure and function in novel coding sequences. The emphasis will be on the use of these tools in the biotechnology, biology, genetics, nutrition and chemistry field. There will be opportunities for students to gain practical experience in the use of these tools in computer-lab-based workshops which will incorporate guided exercise and directed learning. Independent learning and the use of these tools will be gained through the practical aspects of the assignment.


Molecular Biology (CORE, 20 Credits)

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of recent developments in molecular biology including recombinant protein expression, bioinformatics and the practical techniques associated with these areas of investigation. Directed learning will be used to provide the students with supplementary material to that delivered in lectures. Information relating to both theory and techniques will be delivered in the form of lectures and practical classes.

Industrial Biotechnology (CORE, 20 Credits)

This module aims to highlight the research and development in applied biochemistry and engineering that have driven established microbial-based biotechnologies, the industrial application of molecular biotechnology, as well as consider the impact of genomic information on future developments. Scientific and financial issues related to the scale of industrial processes are also considered. The module is lecture-based with a significant emphasis on independent directed study. A strong practical element is included in which students carry out short research projects based around the optimisation of microbial fermentations. Students will address the feasibility of funding an industrial scale trial for their optimised strategy.

Medical Biotechnology (CORE, 20 Credits)

This module focuses on some of the main areas in which biotechnology has generated medical products and areas of current research which promise to deliver "future cures". These future cures are billed by many as the future for the modern medical biotech industry and currently attract large scale commercial and governmental investment. The role of cell therapies in creating "future cures" are investigated, with a focus on stem cell technologies and the production and handling of cell based products. Furthermore, this module highlights some of the relevant ethical, legal and social issues and also provides the student with some insight into the regulatory bodies, commercial, governmental and social pressures that drive medical biotechnology product development. 

Plant Biotechnology (CORE, 20 Credits)

Plant Biotechnology is one of the most fascinating, and fast moving fields of biological science in current times. This module enable the students to explore the often complicated technology that enables genes from different organisms to be expressed in plants and discussion of the potential of genetically modified (GM) plants to provide solutions for current problems and focus on agricultural crops. Plant Biotechnology, and GM-plants in particular, are complex - both concerning their background, and their potential place in our world. In most of the lectures, there will be sessions in which students will be asked to work independently or in small groups on a problem for some time. 

MSc Molecular and Cellular Science Project (CORE, 60 Credits)

The MSc Molecular and Cellular Science Project module is aimed at stimulating students' spirit of enquiry within molecular and cellular science and effectively communicating their findings both in a written report to a standard format and orally. Projects will take the format of an individual focussed technology investigation including both laboratory and computer-lab-based methodologies. The emphasis is upon independent study, with the support and guidance of a supervisor. All projects will include the development of research skills, analysis and discussion of results as well as an opportunity to compose a written report in which an evaluation of the relevant literature and research findings are presented.

The average lecturer/student ratio is 1 : 50 (lecture)

The average lecturer/student ratio is 1 : 30 (tutorial)

Click here to download profiles of lecturers.

Duration of Course | Full-time:12 months


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