Whether you are a new graduate or already employed and seeking to further your career prospects, this course offers a solid career development path. You can also choose this course if you wish to pursue research in biotechnology at PhD level.
Biotechnology is the application of biological processes and is underpinned by • cell biology • molecular biology • bioinformatics • structural biology. It encompasses a wide range of technologies for modifying living organisms or their products according to human needs.
Applications of biotechnology span medicine, technology and engineering.
Important biotechnological advances including
The course is led by academics who are actively involved in biotechnology research and its application to the manipulation of proteins, DNA, mammalian cells and plants. Staff also have expertise in the use of nanoparticles in drug delivery and the manipulation of microbes in industrial and environmental biotechnology.
You are supported throughout your studies by an academic advisor who will help you develop your study and personal skills.
What is biotechnology
Biotechnology is the basis for the production of current leading biopharmaceuticals and has already provided us with the 'clot-busting' drug, tissue plasminogen activator for the treatment of thrombosis and myocardial infarction. It also holds the promise of new treatments for neurodegeneration and cancer through recombinant antibodies.
Genetically modified plants have improved crop yields and are able to grow in a changing environment. Manipulation of cellular organisms through gene editing methods have also yielded a greater understanding of many disease states and have allowed us to understand how life itself functions.
You begin your studies focusing on the fundamentals of advanced cell biology and molecular biology before specialising in both molecular and plant biotechnology. Practical skills are developed throughout the course and you gain experience in molecular biology techniques such as PCR and sub cloning alongside tissue culture.
Core to the program is the practical module where you gain experience in a range of techniques used in the determination of transcription and translational levels, for example.
All practicals are supported by experienced academic staff, skilled in the latest biotechnological techniques.
Research and statistical skills are developed throughout the program. Towards the end of the program you apply your skills on a two month research project into a current biotechnological application. Employability skills are developed throughout the course in two modules.
The masters (MSc) award is achieved by successfully completing 180 credits.
The postgraduate certificate (PgCert) is achieved by successfully completing 60 credits.
The postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is achieved by successfully completing 120 credits.
Optional modules :
As students progress through the course they are exposed to a wide range of teaching and learning activities. The assessment strategy of the postgraduate course considers diverse assessment methods. Some modules offer dedicated formative feedback to aid skills development with assessments going through several rounds of formative tutor and peer feedback. Summative assessment methods are diverse, with examinations present in theory-based modules to test independent knowledge and data analysis. Several modules are entirely coursework-based, with a portfolio of skills such laboratory practical's and research proposals generated throughout the course forming the summative tasks. In all cases, the assessment criteria for all assessed assignments are made available to student prior to submission.
The course is suitable for people wishing to develop their knowledge of molecular and cell biotechnology and its application to solving health and industrial problems.
You can find career opportunities in areas such as
Students on this course have gone on to roles including experimental officers in contract research, research and development in scientists, diagnostics specialists and applications specialists. Many of our graduates also go on to study for PhDs and continue as academic lecturers.
Chemical biology is the application of chemical tools and ideas to biological and medical problems. This programme is designed to build on an existing knowledge of chemical structure and reactivity to give you a thorough grounding in contemporary chemical biology and drug discovery as well as introducing you to topics from the research frontier.
You’ll be taught by experts from across the Astbury Centre in chemical biology, biophysics and medicinal chemistry using a "problem-based" approach. Visiting lecturers from the pharmaceutical industry will share their expertise in industrially-relevant applications of chemical biology and drug design with you.
Bridging the gap between your undergraduate degree in a core subject, and interdisciplinary research in chemical biology, you’ll develop the skills to solve real-life research problems, benefitting from a multi-million pound investment in fantastic research facilities. Rather than focusing on a single discipline, you’ll learn to use either chemical or biological approaches to tackle the problem in hand.
Royal Society of Chemistry Accreditation
The University of Leeds launched the first taught MSc degree in Chemical Biology in the UK. The course was one of the first two MSc courses in the UK to receive accreditation from the Royal Society of Chemistry; graduates from the programme with an appropriate first degree in chemistry satisfy the academic requirements for the award of Chartered Chemist (CChem) status.
In the first half of the year you’ll cover a core range of modules designed to build on an existing knowledge of chemical structure and reactivity to give you a thorough understanding of chemical biology and the techniques required for drug design. In the second half of the year you’ll spend the majority of your time working on an interdisciplinary research project which will allow you to work with and gain advice from two supervisors with complementary expertise.
This project will contribute 50% of the mark for your degree. The School will help you to select the project that is right for you, in an area that interests and motivates you. The project will provide you with key research experience to take your career forward. With the core modules behind you, you’ll be ideally positioned to choose an exciting problem to investigate.
The breadth of expertise available at Leeds means that you will be able to combine a wide range of techniques from computational ligand design to synthesis, protein engineering and laser spectroscopy. These techniques might span one of more of the following general areas;
You’ll receive training in the generic skills that are required for the module, including scientific writing and giving oral presentations. You’ll select your project at the start of the second semester,undertaking a programme of directed reading before writing an initial report. You’ll then spend over four months in your supervisors' research laboratories working alongside PhD students and experienced postdoctoral researchers. During the research project, you’ll have access to the outstanding research facilities in chemical biology that are available in Leeds.
You will be taught by experts across the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, meaning you’ll learn from both chemists and biologists to gain the skills and knowledge to work in a multidisciplinary environment. You’ll be taught through a series of lectures, small group workshops and practical lab sessions. You will also get involved in student led activities such as literature presentations.
The wide range of continual assessment formats will allow you to improve your generic skills, and to hone your ability to solve problems. As part of the continual assessment of modules, you will give a wide range of oral presentations; prepare short articles, essays and research reports; perform computational exercises; and undertake group-based problem solving activities. Your research project will be assessed through your practical work and a written research report.
On graduation, you’ll be ideally placed to undertake interdisciplinary research in academia and the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry. You’ll also be in a strong position to pursue a science-related career, such as patent work, scientific publishing or scientific administration.
In addition, this course will leave you well-placed to forge a career at companies working at the interface between chemistry and biology. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are increasingly seeking researchers with a strong interdisciplinary background.
Many of our graduates have secured positions on Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry PhD programmes in the UK and internationally. The Astbury Centre hosts a wide range of PhD programmes incorporating Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, offering many opportunities for students graduating from the MSc course. The MSc provides tailored training at the interface between chemistry and the biological sciences, and will enhance your prospects of securing a place on one of these highly competitive postgraduate programmes.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
This academically challenging and career-developing programme focuses on research and development using biological and chemical principles and systems to create new products, services and industries.
You will employ elements of the developing field of synthetic biology to bring about significant changes and major innovations that address the challenges of rapidly changing human demographics, resource shortages, energy economy transition and the concomitant growth in demand for more and healthier food, sustainable fuel cycles, and a cleaner environment.
You will learn through a variety of activities, including:
You will attend problem-based tutorial sessions and one-to-one meetings with your personal tutor or programme director.
You will carry out research at the frontier of knowledge and can make a genuine contribution to the progress of original research. This involves carrying out project work in a research laboratory, reviewing relevant papers, analysing data, writing reports and giving presentations.
By the end of the programme you will have gained:
You will enhance your career prospects by acquiring current, marketable knowledge and developing advanced analytical and presentational skills, within the social and intellectual sphere of a leading European university.
The School of Biological Sciences offers a research-rich environment in which you can develop as a scientist and entrepreneur.