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Masters Degrees (Plant Biotechnology)

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Plants form the basis of life as they convert sunlight into an inexhaustible source of food and renewable raw materials. Plants also have a stabilising effect in (agro) ecosystems, a landscape function and ornamental value. Read more

Plants form the basis of life as they convert sunlight into an inexhaustible source of food and renewable raw materials. Plants also have a stabilising effect in (agro) ecosystems, a landscape function and ornamental value. In a nutshell, we can't do without plants. Modern molecular biology has opened up a whole new range of techniques and possibilities to scientists working in the different fields of the classical plant sciences (e.g. plant physiology, plant breeding, plant pathology). The combination of these disciplines forms a challenging domain: Plant Biotechnology.

Study programme

Plant Biotechnology aims to impart understanding of the basic principles of the plant sciences and molecular biology, as well as the integration of these disciplines, to provide healthy plants in a safe environment for food, non-food, feed and health applications. Besides covering the technological aspects, Plant Biotechnology also deals with the most important environmental, quality, health, socio-economic and infrastructural aspects.

On the programme of Plant Biotechnology page you can find the general outline of the programme and more detailed information about courses, theses and internships.

Specialisations

Within the master's programme you can choose one of the following Specialisations to meet your personal interests.

Your future career

Graduates in Plant Biotechnology are university-trained professionals. Their main career focus will be on research and development positions at universities, research institutes and biotech or agribusiness companies. Read more about career perspectives and opportunities after finishing the programme.

Related programmes:

MSc Biotechnology 

MSc Molecular Life Sciences 

MSc Plant Sciences

MSc Nutrition and Health

MSc Bioinformatics 

MSc Biology 



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In recent years the study of plant sciences has been revolutionised by the development of new tools and technologies which have allowed unprecedented progress in the study of plant biology – knowledge which is being applied to develop sustainable solutions to some of the major challenges of the 21st century. Read more

In recent years the study of plant sciences has been revolutionised by the development of new tools and technologies which have allowed unprecedented progress in the study of plant biology – knowledge which is being applied to develop sustainable solutions to some of the major challenges of the 21st century.

This course will give you specialist training in the modern molecular aspects of plant science. A large part of your teaching will be delivered by academics from the University’s Centre for Plant Sciences (CPS) linked to the latest research in their areas of expertise.

You’ll explore the wide ranges of approaches used in biomolecular sciences as applied to plant science. This will cover theory and practice of recombinant DNA and protein production, bioimaging using our confocal microscope suite, practical bioinformatics and theories behind ‘omic technologies.

You’ll also learn how to design a programme of research and write a research proposal, read and critically analyse scientific papers in plant science and biotechnology and present the findings. A highlight of the course is your individual 80 credit practical research project.

The course is 100% coursework assessed (although some modules have small in course tests). Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop your independent thinking, problem solving, communication skills and practical ability, making you attractive to employers or providing an excellent foundation for further study (eg PhD).

You’ll study in a faculty ranked 6th in the UK for its research impact in the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).

Our Facilities

You’ll study in a stimulating environment which houses extensive facilities developed to support and enhance our faculty’s pioneering research. As well as Faculty operated facilities, the CPS laboratories are well equipped for general plant research. There is also a plant growth unit, including tissue culture suites with culture rooms, growth rooms and flow cabinets alongside transgenic glass-houses to meet a range of growth requirements.

Course content

On this course you’ll gain an overview of a range of modern techniques and methodologies that underpin contemporary biomolecular plant sciences.

You’ll also apply your knowledge to an extended practical investigation in the form of a laboratory-based mini project, involving practical training in a range of modern molecular biology and protein engineering techniques such as gene cloning, PCR, mutagenesis, protein expression, protein purification and analysis.

A module on plant biotechnology will address current topics such as the engineering of plants, development of stress-tolerant crop varieties and techniques for gene expression and gene silencing through reading discussion and critical analysis of recent research papers.

You’ll learn from the research of international experts in DNA recombination and repair mechanisms and their importance for transgene integration and biotechnological applications; plant nutrition and intracellular communication; and the biosynthesis, structure and function of plant cell walls.

You’ll also explore the wide range of approaches used in bio-imaging and their relative advantages and disadvantages for analysing protein and cellular function. Bioinformatics and high throughput omic technologies are crucial to plant science research and you will take modules introducing you to these disciplines.

In the final part of the course you'll work on an independent laboratory-based research project related to your course options. You’ll receive extensive training in experimental design, the practical use of advanced techniques and technologies, data analysis and interpretation, and will be assigned a research project supervisor who will support and guide you through your project.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Bioimaging 10 credits
  • Topics in Plant Science 10 credits
  • Practical Bioinformatics 10 credits
  • Plant Biotechnology 10 credits
  • High-throughput Technologies 10 credits
  • MSc Bioscience Research Project Proposal 5 credits
  • Research Planning and Scientific Communication 10 credits
  • Advanced Biomolecular Technologies 20 credits
  • Protein Engineering Laboratory Project 15 credits
  • Bioscience MSc Research Project 80 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Plant Science and Biotechnology MSc in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

You’ll have access to the very best learning resources and academic support during your studies. We’ve been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2017), demonstrating our commitment to delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.

Your learning will be heavily influenced by the University’s world-class research as well as our strong links with highly qualified professionals from industry, non-governmental organisations and charities.

You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including formal lectures, interactive workshops, problem-solving, practical classes and demonstrations.

Through your research project and specialist plant science modules, you’ll receive substantial subject-specific training. Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop you into a scientist who is able to think independently, solve problems, communicate effectively and demonstrate a high level of practical ability.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods: multiple-choice testing, practical work, data handling and problem solving exercises, group work, discussion groups (face-to-face and online), computer-based simulation, essays, posters and oral presentations.

Career opportunities

The strong research element of the Plant Science and Biotechmology MSc, along with the specialist and generic skills you develop, mean you’ll graduate equipped for a wide range of careers.

Our graduates work in a diverse range of areas, ranging from bioscience-related research through to scientific publication, teacher training, health and safety and pharmaceutical market research.

Links with industry

We have a proactive Industrial Advisory Board who advise us on what they look for in graduates and on employability-related skills within our courses.

We collaborate with a wide range of organisations in the public and commercial sectors. Many of these are represented on our Industrial Advisory Board. They include:

  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Ernst and Young
  • The Food and Environment Research Agency
  • The Health Protection Agency
  • MedImmune
  • Thermofisher Scientific
  • Hays Life Sciences
  • European Bioinformatics Institute
  • Smaller University spin-out companies, such as Lumora.

Industrial research placements

Some of our partners offer MSc research projects in their organisations, allowing students to develop their commercial awareness and build their network of contacts.



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Plants form the basis of life as they convert sunlight into an inexhaustible source of food and renewable raw materials. Plants also have a stabilising effect in (agro) ecosystems, a landscape function and ornamental value. Read more

Plants form the basis of life as they convert sunlight into an inexhaustible source of food and renewable raw materials. Plants also have a stabilising effect in (agro) ecosystems, a landscape function and ornamental value. In a nutshell, we cannot do without plants.

Study Programme

The Plant Sciences programme has been designed to help meet the worldwide demand for scientific expertise in the development of plant and crop production and farming systems. It not only covers the technological aspects of crop production, but also deals with important environmental, quality, health and socio-economic aspects. Interdisciplinarity is a hallmark of the programme.

On the programme of Plant Sciences page you can find the general outline of the programme and more detailed information about courses, theses and internships.

Specialisations

Within the master's programme you can choose one of the following Specialisations to meet your personal interests.

Your future career

Graduates in Plant Sciences are university-trained professionals who are able to contribute to the sustainable development of plant production at various integration levels, based on their knowledge of fundamental and applied plant sciences and their interdisciplinary approach. Read more about career perspectives and opportunities after finishing the programme.

Related programmes:

MSc Biosystems Engineering

MSc Biotechnology 

MSc Biology 

MSc Forest and Nature Conservation

MSc Organic Agriculture

MSc Plant Biotechnology



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The Biotechnology MSc within the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) provides you with key skills, specialist knowledge and essential training for a career in industrial or academic bioscience. Read more

About the course

The Biotechnology MSc within the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) provides you with key skills, specialist knowledge and essential training for a career in industrial or academic bioscience. Increasingly, biotechnology companies are recruiting Master’s students with specialised skills to perform jobs previously the reserve of Doctorate level scientists.
At the end of the course you will be able to meet the challenges of biotechnology, demonstrate critical thinking and solve problems, exploit opportunities, and know how ideas can be turned into viable businesses or a successful grant application.

Why study Biotechnology at IBERS?

You want specialist experience and knowledge in biotechnology research and commercial application to give you a competitive edge in the job market and underpin your successful career. IBERS has the credentials to deliver these goals.

With 360 members of staff, 1350 undergraduate students and more than 150 postgraduate students IBERS is the largest Institute within Aberystwyth University. Our excellence in teaching was recognised by outstanding scores in the National Student Satisfaction Survey (2016), with three courses recording 100% student satisfaction and a further 10 scoring above the national average. The latest employability data shows that 92% of IBERS graduates were in work or further study six months after leaving Aberystwyth University. The most recent joint submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) displayed that 78% of our research as world-leading or internationally excellent, 97% of our research is internationally recognised, and 76% judged as world-leading in terms of research impact.

IBERS is internationally-recognised for research excellence and works to provide solutions to global challenges such as food security, sustainable bioenergy, and the impacts of climate change. IBERS hosts 2 National bioscience facilities: The National Plant Phenomics Centre –a state of the art automated plant growth facility that allows the high throughput evaluation of growth and morphology in defined environments, and the BEACON Centre of Excellence for Biorefining - a £20 million partnership between Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea Universities set up to help Welsh businesses develop new ways of converting biomass feedstocks and waste streams into products for the pharmaceutical, chemicals, fuel and cosmetic industries.

IBERS has a track record of working with academic and industrial partners to develop and translate innovative bioscience research into solutions that help mitigate the impacts of climate change, animal and plant disease, and deliver renewable energy and food and water security.

Course structure and content

In the first 2 semesters the course focuses on 2 key areas of biotechnology: industrial fermentation (manufacturing processes, feedstock pretreatment, fermentation, and the biorefining of low cost feedstocks to high value products) and plant biotechnology (synthetic biology, gene editing, precision genome modification, transformation technologies, up and down gene regulation and silencing, and gene stacking). In addition you will receive practical training in state of the art molecular and analytical bioscience techniques and technologies, and learn of marine, food and health biotechnology, and how the sustainable use of bio-resources and bioscience can help meet the needs of the growing human population. All course modules are delivered by academics and professional practitioners at the forefront of activity in the field.

In the final semester you will work on your own research project with your dissertation supervisor. This could be a project of your own design and will focus on an aspect of biotechnology that you found particularly interesting; it may even be something that you want to develop as a business idea in the future. During your dissertation project you will use the knowledge and the skills that you gained during the first 2 semesters. Your dissertation project will give you an opportunity to become an expert in your topic and to develop research skills that will prepare you for your future career in biotechnology. Your tutor will mentor you in hypothesis driven experimental design, train you in analytical techniques e.g. gas and liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, vibrational spectroscopy, fermentation, product isolation, biomass processing, analysis of complex experimental data, and the formation of robust conclusions. You will also be guided in writing your dissertation.

Core modules:

- Bioconversion and Biorefining
- Frontiers in Biosciences
- Research Methods in the Biosciences
- Current Topics in Biotechnology
- Crop Biotechnology
- Biotechnology for Business
- Dissertation

Employability

There is great demand nationally and internationally for skilled graduates in Biotechnology, indeed the UK Biotechnology and Biological research Council (BBSRC) have made ‘Bioenergy and Biotechnology’ a strategic priority for science funding. The sector is expanding rapidly and provides excellent employment opportunities for biotechnology graduates. A recent report for the British research councils estimated that in the financial year 2013/14, British industrial biotechnology and bioenergy activities involved around 225 companies and generated £2.9billion of sales. The biotechnology industry makes a significant contribution to the United Kingdom’s net exports, equivalent to £1.5 billion and offsetting 4% of the country’s total trade deficit. In this year alone, biotechnology attracted £922 million in investment (4.6% of investment in the UK by the private sector). In the same year the biotechnology industry employed approximately 8,800 jobs in the UK in jobs ranging from scientists, technicians and analytical staff, and an extimated 11,000 additional jobs in UK suppliers and support industries - see http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/documents/capital-economics-biotech-britain-july-2015/. These figures are typical of international trends and students graduating from the Biotechnology MSc at IBERS will be very well placed to follow a career in the Biotechnology sector.

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Whether you are a new graduate or already employed and seeking to further your career prospects, this course offers a solid career development path. Read more

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 production of therapeutic proteins using cloned DNA, for example insulin and clotting factors
  • the application of stem cells to treat human disease
  • the enhancement of crop yields and plants with increased nutritional value
  • herbicide and insect resistant plants
  • production of recombinant antibodies for the treatment of disease
  • edible vaccines, in the form of modified plants
  • development of biosensors for the detection of biological and inorganic analytes

You gain

  • up-to-date knowledge of the cellular and molecular basis of biological processes
  • an advanced understanding of DNA technology and molecular biotechnology
  • knowledge of developing and applying biotechnology to diagnosis and treatment of human diseases
  • practical skills applicable in a range of bioscience laboratories
  • the transferable and research skills to enable you to continue developing your knowledge and improving your employment potential

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.

Course structure

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. 

Core modules:

  • Cell biology (15 credits)
  • Biotechnology (15 credits)
  • Plant biotechnology (15 credits)
  • Molecular biology (15 credits)
  • Applied biomedical techniques (15 credits)
  • Professional development (15 credits)
  • Research methods and statistics (15 credits)
  • Research project (60 credits)

Optional modules :

  • Human genomics and proteomics (15 credits)
  • Cellular and molecular basis of disease (15 credits)
  • Cellular and molecular basis of cancer (15 credits)

Assessment

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. 

Employability

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

  • biotechnology research
  • medical research in universities and hospitals
  • government research agencies
  • biotechnology industry
  • pharmaceutical industry.

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.



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The Bordeaux Biology Agrosciences (B2AS) program offers an integrated multidisciplinary approach that is adapted to the realities of research (background research) as well as to the socio-economic sector (professional courses). The program objectives are to train and equip researchers and professionals to face the issues posed by agriculture in the 21st century. Read more

The Bordeaux Biology Agrosciences (B2AS) program offers an integrated multidisciplinary approach that is adapted to the realities of research (background research) as well as to the socio-economic sector (professional courses). The program objectives are to train and equip researchers and professionals to face the issues posed by agriculture in the 21st century. This is achived by integrating plant biotechnology and agrofood technology within course content in order to deal with the challenges of innovation in agriculture.

With such an integrated approach, the Master B2AS represents a meeting point between academia and professionals. During the program, students may specialize either in the field of plant biology, biotechnology, plant breeding, genetics, plant and human health benefits, food production and innovation. The wide partner network provides students with a range of complementary expertise. This means that specific competencies are developed within the chosen field of biotechnology and plant breeding for agriculture improvements.

Program structure

Semester 1:

Scientific English (3 ECTS)

  • Students will reinforce and develop the reading, writing, listening and speaking skills relevant to a biological science research context.
  • Students will acquire knowledge of the linguistic and discursive features of both written and spoken scientific English.
  • Structure and rhetoric of the research article, writing up an abstract. Oral scientific presentation – students prepare a mini-symposium on the topic related to their future work placement (and thus complete relevant bibliographical and reading research in preparation).
  • Students are evaluated on their communication skills in English and also on their ability to manage complex scientific concepts in English.

Plant development and reproduction (3 ECTS)

  • Genetic regulation of root and stem apical meristem functioning, epigenetic regulations of plant development and reproduction, parental imprinting, plant hormones, fruit and seed development, sex determination in plants, cellular mechanisms involved in plant organ growth and development.

Metabolism and cellular compartmentation (3 ECTS)

  • Metabolism and cell compartmentation: morphodynamic organization of the plant secretory pathway, lipid and protein machineries; membrane transporters in plants and the related methods of study; lipid signaling in plant cells; formation and dynamics of membrane domains; regulation of metabolism and gene expression by sugars in plants. Nature and importance of futile cycles in plants.

Biotechonology (3 ECTS)

  • In vitro culture and applications, plant transformation and applications to crop plants, GMO legislation and traceability, metabolic engineering, GMO and production of antibodies and of molecules of high health value, GMO in the food industry, fungi biotechnology.

Plant pathogen interactions (3 ECTS)

  • Plant-Mollicutes interactions, plant-virus interactions: analysis of plant and virus factors necessary for virus cycle, viroids; RNA interference, plant defence mechanisms against pathogens (fungi, bacteria and virus), breeding of plants resistant to pathogens, biodiversity of plant pathogens, epidemiology of plant pathogen interactions and impact on crop production.

Plant breeding (3 ECTS)

  • Principles of selection and genetic gain, response to selection, germplasm resources, collecting, analysing, classifying, international rules on germplasm resources. Population improvement and cultivar development (breeding for lines, hybrids, clones, populations), high throughput phenotyping, breeding strategies and methods including molecular breeding (MAS, genomic selection) and biotechnologies, multiple traits selection, genotype by environment interaction, protecting varieties and intellectual property, plant breeding international network and organization.

Quantitative and population genetics and evolution (3 ECTS)

  • Population genetics and genetic diversity, haplotype structure, domestication and genetic consequences, linkage disequilibrium, genetic variance, estimating variance components, heritability, genetic correlations, association genetics, genomic selection, induced diversity TILLinG, natural diversity ecoTILLinG, linking genetics, genomics and bioinformatics : from fine- mapping to gene cloning; genotyping by sequencing.

Semester 2:

Laboratory Practice (6 months/30 ECTS) 

  • In a public laboratory and/or a private company laboratory.

Strengths of this Master program

During their studies, students will:

  • Acquire scientific knowledge in various fields of plant biology, green biotechnology, food supplements, food production, etc.
  • Receive a modern research-based training.
  • Develop an understanding of the challenges of modern agricultural practices in a context of environmental constraints and increasing demand.
  • Develop an understanding of the benefits and limits of modern biotechnology.
  • Acquire the skills to develop action planning processes for bioscience.
  • Acquire skills and practice within an English-speaking environment as well as other languages practised within the consortium.
  • Develop the necessary skills to collaborate with international teams and networks.
  • Acquire competencies for knowledge transfer to students and collaborators.
  • Develop competencies to create, finance and manage a new start-up.
  • Acquire an understanding of today’s industrial and economic environment within the Biotech sector.

After this Master program?

The objectives of the B2AS program are to prepare students for further study via PhD programs and/or careers in the food and agronomy industry throughout the world. This is achieved by providing high-level training in plant sciences but also by preparing students with relevant knowledge and skills in management and business. 

Graduates may apply for positions in the following industrial sectors in a R&D laboratory as well as in production activities:

  • Plant research laboratories
  • Plant breeding companies
  • Agro-chemical companies
  • Green and white biotechnology companies
  • Food, diet and nutrition companies
  • Plant medicinal production companies
  • Food supplement or nutraceutical companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Business trade companies


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Biotechnology is defined as the industrial exploitation of living organisms or the exploitation of components derived from these organisms. Read more

Biotechnology is defined as the industrial exploitation of living organisms or the exploitation of components derived from these organisms. Its practical applications include age-old techniques such as brewing and fermentation, which are still important today. In recent decades, gene modification has revolutionized the biotechnology industry, spawning countless new products and improving established processes.

More and more types of fermentation are being used, and most new medicines are products of biotechnology. Modern biotechnology has become an applied area of science with a multidisciplinary approach embracing recombinant DNA technology, cellular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, as well as process design, engineering, modelling and control.

Programme summary

Biotechnology is a broad, multidisciplinary area of science. A Master of Science in Biotechnology is an expert in one (group of) discipline(s) and has to have sufficient knowledge and skills in other disciplines to cooperate with experts from the other disciplines. Therefore, students specialise during the Master programme and learn how to solve complex biotechnological problems in a multidisciplinary team.

On the programme of Biotechnology page you can find the general outline of the programme and more detailed information about courses, theses and internships.

Specialisations

Within the master's programme you can choose one of the following Specialisations to meet your personal interests.

Your future career

The first job after graduation, obtained by Msc biotechnologist, is often localised at a research institute or an university in- or outside The Netherlands. It usually concerns a research project or, more detailed, a PhD project: more than 50% of the graduated biotechnologist becomes PhD. Although most graduates choose for a career in science about 1/3 also starts in functions as engineer or technical expert. Read more about career perspectives and opportunities after finishing the programme.

Related programmes:

MSc Molecular Life Sciences 

MSc Food Technology

MSc Bioinformatics

MSc Plant Biotechnology

MSc Environmental Sciences



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Government and private companies are working to develop new ways to improve existing food and animal feed crops, and to develop novel crops to meet future challenges. Read more
Government and private companies are working to develop new ways to improve existing food and animal feed crops, and to develop novel crops to meet future challenges. The last decade has seen rapid developments in our understanding of plants and their significance to our wellbeing and this has been achieved through advances in a range of disciplines including genetics, genomics, cell biology, physiology, ecology and studies on climate change.

Graduates of this one-year MSc will be equipped with the knowledge and skills in these recent advances to rise to the future challenges in academia, industry and policy development. Innovation and entrepreneurship permeate the course as central themes and, in addition, a specific module on entrepreneurship in plant biology is delivered. This MSc covers a wide diversity of both topics and approaches, and is taught by a high-profile research-oriented group of academics. Students will have full involvement in active research groups and access to, and experience of, a large array of state-of-the-art facilities and technologies.

Key Fact

Researchers from the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science represent the single largest grouping of plant scientists in Ireland, with research interests ranging from genetics and molecular biology of the cell to plant physiology and ecology. They actively work with organisations such as Coillte (Forestry), the Irish Agricultural and Food Development Authority (Teagasc), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and industry partners.

Course Content and Structure

Modules include:
• Entrepreneurship in Plant Biology
• Future Crops and Sustainability
• Current Developments in Plant Biology
• Insect-Plant Interactions
• Biological Invasions
• Plant-Atmosphere Climate Interactions
• Ecological Significance of Different Photosynthetic Pathways
• Plant Development
• Programmed Cell Death in Plants
• Plants and Stress

Career Opportunities

Graduates will have a distinct advantage when applying for PhD studentships or other more advanced graduate training in the area of plant biology and biotechnology. This MSc is ideal for graduates interested in pursuing scientific careers in academia, agriculture and plant science-based or biotechnology industries. Graduates will haveo pportunities to pursue postgraduate education and research and work in areas such as plant biotechnology, scientific journalism/publishing and for government agencies involved in governmental and non-governmental policy.

Facilities and Resources

• UCD Rosemount Environmental Research Station
• Controlled plant growth facility and bioreactors
• Plant Metabolomics Technology Platform
• Plant Cell and Tissue Culture Facility

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The MSc in Biotechnology is a one-year course designed to provide you with the theoretical and practical skills for employment in the industries of biomedical research, biopharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and biotechnology. Read more
The MSc in Biotechnology is a one-year course designed to provide you with the theoretical and practical skills for employment in the industries of biomedical research, biopharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and biotechnology. The course curriculum consists of six months of lectures, laboratory practical sessions, career service workshops, industry-based seminars and a six-month research project. The curriculum has been developed with input from staff in local biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries, to provide you with the necessary skills required by employers. Students have the choice to complete the six-month research project in a national or international industry or university environment.

Visit the website: http://www.ucc.ie/en/ckr01/

Course Details

This is the most established MSc in Biotechnology course in Ireland and is the most popular MSc course in UCC. The international success of this course is attributed to the industry-led curriculum offered to students and the opportunity to complete a six-month placement in industry or an academic research lab. The global recognition of the course is also evident from our international alumni and receipt of several industry-sponsored scholarships available to students entering and on completion of the course.

The course will:

- introduce you to the theory and practice of bioanalytical chemistry?
- introduce you to molecular biotechnology, eukaryotic-, prokaryotic- and plant-biotechnologies, recombinant DNA technologies and their - application in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries
- introduce you to the principles of process and biochemical engineering?
- introduce you to the role of process validation and quality assurance in the pharmaceutical industry, and give you an awareness of the - - latest trends in good manufacturing, laboratory and validation practices
- introduce you to the principles of food and industrial microbiology
- provide you with the opportunity to conduct and complete a body of independent research in a biotechnology-related area and present your research findings in a minor dissertation.

Format

The curriculum consists of approximately 250 contact hours over two academic terms (October to December and January to March), consisting of eight course modules, set practical sessions, career service workshops and an industry lecture series.

During the third academic term (April to September), students complete a six-month research project on a topic related to biotechnology, biopharmaceutical or biomedical research. Industry-based projects in these areas are managed by a dedicated placement officer who facilitates career workshops during which you prepare for and are interviewed by staff from companies interested in hosting students. For students interested in a career in biomedical research or PhD, projects are offered in a broad range of research areas utilising modern research techniques. All research projects are undertaken in consultation with an academic supervisor and examiner.

The MSc in Biotechnology degree course consists of eight course modules, set practical sessions, career service workshops, an industry lecture series and a six-month research project.

Students study the following eight modules and complete a research project:

- Advanced Molecular Microbial Biotechnology
- Biopharmaceuticals: formulation design, secondary processing and regulatory compliance
- Bioprocess Engineering
- Cell and Molecular Biology
- Functional Foods for Health
- Genetic Engineering
- Modern Methods in Analytical Chemistry
- Plant Genetic Engineering

Research Project and Industry Placement

You will be required to complete a six-month research project based on your individual research and development in a selected field of modern science. You carry out your research in UCC’s laboratories or at an approved academic or industrial partner.

When you complete your research dissertation in an industrial setting, it provides the company with an opportunity to assess your skills and abilities and to screen potential future full-time employees.

Students who secure employment upon graduation fit into the organisation and contribute productively much sooner that other graduates. For students with an interest in biomedical research and future careers as PhD researchers, research projects are offered across a broad range of topics including but not limited to; cancer biology, neuroscience, immunology, microbiology and plant biotechnology.

Further details on the content and modules are available on the Postgraduate College Calendar - http://www.ucc.ie/calendar/postgraduate/Masters/science/page05.html#4%20

Assessment

The MSc in Biotechnology is awarded after passing written examinations across taught course units, the continuous assessment of practical work and completion of a six-month research project, which has to be written up in the form of a dissertation and approved by an external examiner. All students must complete written examinations (typically held over a two week period in March) and submit a research project. Full details and regulations governing examinations for each course will be contained in the Marks and Standards 2013 Book and for each module in the Book of Modules, 2015/2016 - http://www.ucc.ie/modules/

Careers

The course is suitable for students wishing to extend their specific undergraduate degree knowledge in biotechnology, and for those wishing to bridge their undergraduate degree and gain more specialised knowledge and training in biotechnology. The course allows you to follow a number of career pathways. Each year, over 70 per cent of our students gain employment while approximately 20 per cent of graduates progress to international PhD opportunities.

How to apply: http://www.ucc.ie/en/study/postgrad/how/

Funding and Scholarships

Information regarding funding and available scholarships can be found here: https://www.ucc.ie/en/cblgradschool/current/fundingandfinance/fundingscholarships/

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Plant Breeding plays an important role in the development of plant varieties for food, feed and industrial uses. New varieties have to meet current demands regarding yield, disease resistance, quality characteristics, salt or drought tolerance and suitability for sustainable plant production systems. Read more

Plant Breeding plays an important role in the development of plant varieties for food, feed and industrial uses. New varieties have to meet current demands regarding yield, disease resistance, quality characteristics, salt or drought tolerance and suitability for sustainable plant production systems. Plant Breeding involves a variety of aspects, ranging from the molecular level to the population level and requires knowledge on the physiology, ecology and genetics of cultivated plants.

The use of various molecular techniques contributes enormously to the rapid identification of genes for natural resistance and is essential for accelerating the selection process by marker-assisted breeding.

Study programme

This online master's specialisation is designed as a part-time study. The approximate workload is 20 hours per week and gives the student the flexibility to combine work and study. The programme is therefore also suitable for employees who want to continue their education in the sense of life-long-learning.

The general structure is a 2 year part time course-programme followed by a tailor-made internship and master's thesis agreement of 1 or 2 years. Read more about the programme.

Your future career

Graduates from the master's Plant Sciences have excellent career prospects and most of them receive job offers before graduation. They are university trained professionals who are able to contribute to the sustainable development of plant production at various integration levels based on their knowledge of fundamental and applied plant sciences and their interdisciplinary approach.

Graduates with a research focus are employed at universities, research institutes and plant breeding or agribusiness companies. Other job opportunities are in management, policy, consultancy and communication in agribusiness and (non-) governmental organisations. Read more stories of Wageningen University & Research graduates.

Related on-campus programmes:

MSc Biosystems Engineering

MSc Biotechnology 

MSc Biology 

MSc Forest and Nature Conservation

MSc Organic Agriculture

MSc Plant Biotechnology



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Goal of the pro­gramme. Life on Earth depends on solar energy captured by plants - they are the base of most food webs and underpin the functioning of all major ecosystems. Read more

Goal of the pro­gramme

Life on Earth depends on solar energy captured by plants - they are the base of most food webs and underpin the functioning of all major ecosystemsPlants release the oxygen we breath. They convert solar energy into chemical energy, providing us with food, fibres, renewable energy sources, and raw materials for many industries. Plants do not carry out these processes in isolation. They interact with other organisms and the physical and chemical environment, communicate and actively adjust to their circumstances. How do they do these things and how can we profit from understanding them? When you have graduated from the Master’s Program in Plant Biology you will have the answers to these big questions, and more, such as:

  • How one plant cell develops into a complicated organism and how plant cells, tissues and organs communicate with each other
  • How plants avoid, tolerate or defend themselves from external stress factors such as diseases, drought and excessive solar radiation
  • How plants sense their environment and communicate with each other and with other organisms
  • How plants, interacting with microbes, fungi and animals, maintain ecosystems and thus life
  • How the genotypic, functional and morphological differences between plants allow them to thrive in vastly different habitats

You will also be able to:

  • Understand how research in plant biology and biotechnology can contribute to plant breeding and production
  • Plan, coordinate and execute high-quality basic and applied scientific research
  • Have a good command of the scientific method and critically evaluate research across scientific disciplines
  • Use the basic skills needed to expand your knowledge into other related fields and communicate with experts in those fields
  • Act in working life as an expert and innovator in your field, supported by your language, communication and other transferable skills
  • Be eligible for scientific post-graduate (doctoral) studies

After earning your degree, you can continue towards a PhD or move directly into a career. If you have a Bachelor’s degree in a field of biology from another Finnish university or from a foreign university anywhere in the world, you are welcome to apply for the Master’s programme in Plant Biology. Based on your previous studies we will evaluate the possible need for supplementary studies, which will be included in your degree.

Further information about the studies on the Master's programme website.

Pro­gramme con­tents

The Master’s Programme in Plant Biology is a joint programme of the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, which ensures an exceptionally comprehensive curriculum. You will be able to study the diversity of wild and cultivated plants from the Arctic to the Tropics, as well as plant functions from the molecular to the ecosystem level.

The teaching is diverse, consisting of modern laboratory and computer courses, field courses, seminars and excursions. The curriculum is intertwined with research. You will be introduced to the research groups from the beginning of your studies, so you will become familiar with research methods as your studies progress. Much of the study material is in various learning platforms (such as Moodle), which allow distance learning. You will have a personal tutor who will help you tailor an individual study plan according to your requirements.

Within the programme you can choose among several optional study modules and focus on, for example:

  • Plant biotechnology and breeding
  • Molecular biology and genetics
  • Regulation of growth, reproduction and differentiation of tissues
  • Biological basis of crop yield
  • Plant ecology and evolutionary biology
  • Evolutionary history and systematics of plants and fungi
  • Species identification

All modules are worth at least 15 credits. They are interlinked to ensure a coherent and balanced degree that allows you to obtain a broad perspective. Alternatively, you can focus on your primary research interest while acquiring the skills needed to follow your career goals on completion of your degree.

A translational perspective is emphasised in courses in which it is relevant. That will allow you to apply the acquired basic knowledge in problem-based research, bridging the gap between basic and applied research.



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How can biological processes and organisms be used in the development of new technologies? Biotechnology enables us to improve practices in diverse fields including genetics, agriculture, bioremediation, immunology, diagnostics, energy production, and age-assisted living. Read more
How can biological processes and organisms be used in the development of new technologies? Biotechnology enables us to improve practices in diverse fields including genetics, agriculture, bioremediation, immunology, diagnostics, energy production, and age-assisted living.

Our course provides you with knowledge, understanding and hands-on experience in modern biotechnology, and with practical insights into current commercial applications. It creates access to a broad range of career opportunities in this rapidly growing key technology.

You will learn about and appraise the approaches that can be used to address the challenges facing our planet, including:
-The development of biofuels, pharmaceuticals and crops to support and feed the growing human population
-Industrial, plant and medical biotechnology
-Gene and protein technology
-Synthetic biology
-Bioinformatics

The course has a very high proportion of practical work that provides valuable experience for your career, and in addition to this, our optional module Creating and Growing a New Business Venture challenges you to think creatively. This increases your value to organisations, including small enterprises, which are a growing part of the biotechnology sector.

Your research project is a major component of this course, for which you perform novel laboratory and/or bioinformatic research in one of our academic laboratories, or (subject to approval) carry out research in an industrial or hospital setting.

Two-thirds of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014), and you learn from and work alongside our expert staff.

Our expert staff

As one of the largest schools at our University, we offer a lively, friendly and supportive environment with research-led study and high quality teaching. You benefit from our academics’ wide range of expertise and research on important national and international problems using cutting-edge techniques.

The University of Essex has a Women's Network to support female staff and students and was awarded the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award in November 2013 in recognition of its continuing work to support women in STEM.

Specialist facilities

Recent investment has provided modern facilities for functional genomics, computational biology, and imaging biological systems. On our course you have the opportunity to:
-Work in an open and friendly department, with shared staff-student social spaces
-Conduct your research alongside leading academics and PhD students in shared labs
-Learn to use state-of-the-art equipment

Your future

Our graduates are well placed to find employment in the ever-growing bio-based economy, and postgraduate study is often a requirement for becoming a researcher, scientist, academic journal editor and to work in some public bodies or private companies.

Many of our Masters students progress to study for their PhD, and we offer numerous studentships to support our students in their studies.

We work with our university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

Biotechnology - MSc
-Research Project: MSc Biotechnology
-Protein Technologies
-Gene Technology and Synthetic Biology
-Genomics
-Professional Skills and the Business of Biotechnology
-Creating and Growing a New Business Venture (optional)
-Industrial Biotechnology: Enzymes, Biochemicals and Biomaterials (optional)
-Molecular Medicine and Biotechnology (optional)
-Plant Biotechnology (optional)
-Rational Drug Design (optional)

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Molecular Biology with Biotechnology (MSc). This taught MSc course in the School of Biological Sciences provides intensive training in this important area of Biology and is designed both for fresh graduates and for those wishing to develop and extend their expertise in this area. Read more
Molecular Biology with Biotechnology (MSc)

This taught MSc course in the School of Biological Sciences provides intensive training in this important area of Biology and is designed both for fresh graduates and for those wishing to develop and extend their expertise in this area. The course has a strong practical emphasis and will provide the advanced theoretical and practical background necessary for employment in the Biotechnology industry, as well as equipping students with the knowledge required to pursue advanced studies in this area.
Course structure

The course consists of a taught component and a Research project. During the taught phase of the degree, you will take modules in Marine Biotechnology, Molecular and Medical Laboratory Techniques, Techniques of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology; Systems Biology; Plant Biotechnology, Environmental Biotechnology and Medical Biotechnology.

Topics covered in these modules will include Agrobacterium Ti plasmid based plant transformation vectors and the development of transgenic crops; the use and interpretation of microarrays and proteome systems; the development of transgenic fish and the diagnosis of fish diseases using molecular markers; bioremediation, biomining and the use of bacteria to degrade novel organic pollutants; stem cell technologies and the diagnosis of genetic disease using single nucleotide polymorphisms. image of students in the labDuring this part of the course, you will also take part in intensive laboratory exercises designed to introduce you to essential techniques in molecular biology and biotechnology including nucleic acid and protein extraction, PCR and QTL analysis, northern, southern and western blotting etc. In addition, most of the taught theory modules will have an associated practical component. The Research project will take place during the summer and will be conducted under the direct supervision of one of the staff involved in teaching the course. Students will be able to choose their Research project from a wide range of topics which will be related to the taught material.

Career options

The 21st century post genomics era offers a wide range of job opportunities in the agricultural, medical, pharmaceutical, aquaculture, forensics and environmental science areas. The rapidly developing economies of China and India in particular have recognised the enormous opportunities offered by Biotechnology. Job openings in sales and marketing with companies who have a science base are also common. Some graduates will also choose to extend their knowledge base by undertaking PhD programmes in relevant areas.

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Our MSc Bioscience course gives you the opportunity to develop a broad scientific base on which to build your future career. On this course you’ll study core research training modules designed to equip you with the expertise needed to work at the forefront of the modern bioscience sector. Read more

Our MSc Bioscience course gives you the opportunity to develop a broad scientific base on which to build your future career.

On this course you’ll study core research training modules designed to equip you with the expertise needed to work at the forefront of the modern bioscience sector. You can specialise in exciting contemporary topics in the areas of human disease, bioinformatics, biotechnology and plant science, and choose from a range of optional modules, including those associated with the specialisms we offer. This means you can study the topics that interest you and match your career aspirations.

You’ll also carry out an independent research project in an area related to your course options.

The course is 100% coursework assessed (although some modules have small in-course tests). Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop your independent thinking, problem solving, communication skills and practical ability, making you attractive to employers or providing an excellent foundation for further study (eg PhD).

You’ll study in a faculty ranked 6th in the UK for its research impact in the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).

Course content

This course is designed to equip you with the expertise necessary to work at the forefront of the modern bioscience sector. We’ll offer you a combination of practical training and theoretical modules to help you build your knowledge and skills.

The practical experience you gain during this degree is a vital part of your career preparation. You’ll receive substantial training in practical methods and technologies currently being used to advance the biological sciences.

During the course you’ll apply yourself through core research training modules. You’ll undertake a laboratory-based mini-project providing a hands-on experience in molecular biology techniques. You’ll also carry out a laboratory-based independent research project on an innovative topic related to your course options.

Importantly, we’ll also give you a strong foundation of theoretical teaching to enhance your practical training. You’ll develop your knowledge through research planning exercises and by studying methodologies underpinning contemporary bioscience, with many optional modules available to choose from, including Advanced Immunology, Plant Biotechnology, and Medical Diagnostics.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Practical Bioinformatics 10 credits
  • MSc Bioscience Research Project Proposal 5 credits
  • Research Planning and Scientific Communication 10 credits
  • Advanced Biomolecular Technologies 20 credits
  • Protein Engineering Laboratory Project 15 credits
  • Bioscience MSc Research Project 80 credits

Optional modules

  • Bioimaging 10 credits
  • Advanced Immunology 10 credits
  • Topics in Plant Science 10 credits
  • Infectious & Non-infectious Diseases 10 credits
  • Drug and Chemical Toxicology 10 credits
  • Plant Biotechnology 10 credits
  • High-throughput Technologies 10 credits
  • Medical Diagnostics 10 credits
  • Treatment of Infectious Disease and Cancer 10 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Bioscience MSc in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

You’ll have access to the very best learning resources and academic support during your studies. We’ve been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2017), demonstrating our commitment to delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.

Your learning will be heavily influenced by the University’s world-class research as well as our strong links with highly qualified professionals from industry, non-governmental organisations and charities.

You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including formal lectures, interactive workshops, problem-solving, practical classes and demonstrations.

The learning context has a strong research ethos, preparing you for academic (PhD and post-doctoral), industrial or public sector research. Taught modules address problems at the forefront of the subject, and learning activities (such as group work and mini-research projects) are designed to develop your subject-specific knowledge and research skills.

Your major project will involve cutting edge research with potential for publication in peer reviewed literature.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods: multiple-choice testing, practical work, data handling and problem solving exercises, group work, discussion groups (face-to-face and online), computer-based simulation, essays, posters and oral presentations.

Career opportunities

The strong research element of the Bioscience MSc, along with the specialist and generic skills you develop, mean you’ll graduate equipped for a wide range of careers.

Our graduates work in a diverse range of areas, ranging from bioscience-related research through to scientific publication, teacher training, health and safety and pharmaceutical market research.

Links with industry

We have a proactive Industrial Advisory Board who advise us on what they look for in graduates and on employability-related skills within our courses.

We collaborate with a wide range of organisations in the public and commercial sectors. Many of these are represented on our Industrial Advisory Board. They include:

  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Ernst and Young
  • The Food and Environment Research Agency
  • The Health Protection Agency
  • MedImmune
  • Thermofisher Scientific
  • Hays Life Sciences
  • European Bioinformatics Institute
  • Smaller University spin-out companies, such as Lumora

Industrial research placements

Some of our partners offer MSc research projects in their organisations, allowing students to develop their commercial awareness and build their network of contacts.

Professional and career development

We take personal and career development very seriously. We have a proactive Industrial Advisory Board who advises us on what they look for in graduates and on employability related skills within our courses.

Our dedicated Employability and Professional Development Officer ensures that you are aware of events and opportunities to increase your employability. In addition, our Masters Career Development Programme will support you to:

  • explore career options and career planning
  • understand the PhD application process and optimise PhD application
  • learn how to use LinkedIn and other social media for effective networking and career opportunities
  • practice interviews for both job and PhD applications

You will also have access to seminars and presentations from industry professionals (including our alumni) at faculty led career events. We also have regular research seminars presented by leading academics from around the world on their specialist subjects.



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About the course. The biotechnological applications of molecular biology underpin major industries in the medical and agricultural sectors. Read more

About the course

The biotechnological applications of molecular biology underpin major industries in the medical and agricultural sectors. Insights from the study of genetic material are already benefitting the development of new diagnostic tests, therapeutic agents, bioenergy production systems, improved crops and more. The range and value of these developments is rapidly increasing.

This exciting MSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology program provides training for bioscience graduates to develop confidence and independence in their practical skills and knowledge relevant to careers in this area. Successful graduates will be ready to undertake further study at PhD level or to enter employment in the biotechnology sector.

You’ll learn essential practical skills; study the relevant theory in the Departments of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (MBB) and Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE); and carry out an individual research project, in which you’ll learn how to design and conduct research, keep records and present the research in different styles.

Where your masters can take you

Our graduates work in health care, pharmaceuticals, food safety and production, brewing and agrochemicals. Many of our masters students go on to do a PhD then pursue a career in research; others have gained entry to the prestigious NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).

An international reputation

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) ranks Sheffield No 1 for biomedical research and in the UK top five for biological sciences generally. We have regular seminars from distinguished experts, and our motivated staff undertake collaborative research ranging from biotechnology to medicine.

Teaching and assessment

Our masters courses give you a solid grounding in experimental science, with personal supervision and tutorials by experienced scientists, based in modern and well-equipped labs, leading on to a research project in which you design and conduct your own research.

You will learn cutting edge science from research leaders, and gain practice in reading the scientific literature and writing reports.

Assessment is based on a combination of coursework, project work, formal examinations and a dissertation.

Core modules

  • Laboratory Skills in Molecular Bioscience
  • Cells as Factories
  • Advanced Research Topics
  • Literature Review, and Research Project (typical research areas include plant genetic engineering, proteins engineering, environmental microbiology or genetic studies by mutagenesis)

Examples of optional modules

Choose any three from:

  • The RNA World
  • Plant Biotechnology
  • Microbiology of Extreme Environments
  • Advanced Biochemical Engineering
  • Advanced Bioprocess Design Project


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