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Biological Sciences×

University of Birmingham Masters Degrees in Biochemistry

We have 5 University of Birmingham Masters Degrees in Biochemistry

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Physician Associate (formerly known as Physician Assistant) is a rapidly growing healthcare role in the UK, working alongside doctors in hospitals and in GP surgeries. Read more

Physician Associate (formerly known as Physician Assistant) is a rapidly growing healthcare role in the UK, working alongside doctors in hospitals and in GP surgeries. Physician Associates support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. They are trained to perform a number of roles including: taking medical histories, performing examinations, analysing test results, and diagnosing illnesses under the direct supervision of a doctor.

To understand what a Physician Associate does on a day-to-day basis, Health Education England have produced this informative Day in the Life of a Physician Associate video.

We also run a flexible MSc Physician Associate programme for those who already have their Postgraduate Diploma from a UK or Irish institution.

Please note: the British Physician Associate programme does not qualify you to work in the USA.

Course details

The University of Birmingham has been training Physician Associates (formerly Physician Assistants) since January 2008.  As one of the longest running programmes in the country, we are delighted to offer this opportunity to graduates to make a valuable contribution to the nation’s health. We work in partnership with hospitals and practices in the Midlands and beyond.

The development of the profession has been led by the Department of Health and has involved the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of General Practitioners as well as the profession itself through the former UK Association of Physician Associates (UKAPA) which is now the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians. University of Birmingham staff have taken a key role in the development of the programme at a national as well as a regional level in response to need identified by local healthcare providers. Successful completion of the programme will qualify you to practise as a Physician Associate in the UK.

Please note: the UK PA training programme does not qualify you to work in the USA.

The course 

The course leaders regard integration of theory and practice as fundamental to clinical learning.

  • This course is two, full time, calendar years in duration, each lasting approximately 48 weeks, plus an additional month. You can expect to be studying 50+ hours per week.
  • Theory is learned mostly through case/problem based learning and you will experience medicine in both hospital and community attachments.
  • The rich ethnic and socio-economic diversity of the 5.5 million strong West Midlands population offers unrivalled opportunities for clinical learning, with placements seeking to optimise this.
  • Right from the beginning, you will have contact with patients, as during the first term, students are placed for up to five days of clinical experience within a General Practice in either the West Midlands or beyond.  
  • This is followed by a fourteen-week hospital attachment in the second term, and a further few days of General Practice in the third term. Students will use the cases collected during the second term as the basis of their learning within the third term.
  • The second year continues the problem-based learning approach and integrates further learning and placements in Acute and Emergency Medicine, Child Health General Practice, Mental Health, Reproductive Health and Surgery.
  • Throughout the course, you will receive teaching in a variety of forms, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, group work, and bedside demonstrations. 
  • Simulation is fundamental to this course, using simulated patients (who will teach you communication and examination skills, including gynaecological and urological examination). Simulation aims both to prepare you for the clinical world and to train you in a safe, non-threatening environment.
  • Progression exams are undertaken at the nine months mark, and again at twenty-three months into the course. Students are required to pass both sets of examinations prior to entry into the National Assessment. 
  • Assessment types will include Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) paper(s), Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE), Case Write-Ups, Presentations and Professional Behaviour sign-offs. 

Regulation

All students will be registered with the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians. Graduates currently join a Managed Voluntary Register.

Learning and teaching

This is a very intense course with a large amount of knowledge and skills to acquire in a relatively short time. You will need to dedicate at least 50 hours each week to learning, much of it by yourself and with your learning set.

At the University of Birmingham we believe in very close integration between the theory learning (‘the hip is a ball and socket joints and the femur anatomy is as follows’ and clinical learning (‘when people fracture their hips it happens like this, they present like this, and your understanding of the hip anatomy enables you to understand why and how hips fracture’). You will also link theory and practice by learning, say, how to examine a hip on each other, on a simulated patient and (often) on a real patient before you see such a patient in a clinical environment.

Employability

Birmingham-trained Physician Associates have been very successful in the NHS jobs market with most of our graduates on NHS Agenda for Change Band 7 (starting at £31,383 p,a.) or higher.

Our graduates are working all across the UK (although about half have stayed in the West Midlands) and in a wide range of specialties including: general medicine, acute medicine, cardiology, paediatrics, breast surgery, trauma and orthopaedics, mental health, emergency medicine and General Practice. Many have also chosen to go into teaching and research (part-time while maintaining clinical duties), with five of our graduates currently teaching here at Birmingham.

The number of NHS Trusts and Practices seeking Physician Associates (and the average number working for each Trust/Practice) has increased rapidly throughout the last few years, and we would expect that number to continue to increase at a similar pace over the next few years.



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This masters programme is designed to prepare you for a career in research in molecular and cellular biology and its applications. Read more

This masters programme is designed to prepare you for a career in research in molecular and cellular biology and its applications.

It comprises a year of intensive training and research experience leading to the award of an MRes degree which will give you a ‘flying start’ to a subsequent PhD programme, if this is your chosen career path.

Course details

This programme is designed to prepare you for a career in research in molecular and cellular biology and its applications. It comprises a year of intensive training and research experience leading to the award of an MRes degree which will give you a ‘flying start’ to a subsequent PhD programme, if this is your chosen career path. 

The programme aims to provide training in the practical aspects that underlie research science in this field. To achieve this aim the course contains a very high level of hands-on research, as it is our view there is no better training than lab experience.

Programme content

Two-thirds of the programme is taken up by two approximately 18-week research projects, which are undertaken in different laboratories and with different supervisors. A very wide range of research topics falling within the scope of molecular and cellular biology is available within the School; this range extends from structural biology at one extreme to multicellular systems at the other. 

In addition to this direct research experience, there are two compulsory taught modules which provide training in:

  • Science Funding and Enterprise Skills in Biosciences
  • Techniques in Molecular and Cellular Biology

These modules cover the basic principles underlying scientific research methods and the design of biological/biochemical experiments, and discussion of modern techniques in molecular and cellular biology. In addition, the science funding and enterprise module provides the skills required to obtain funding for sciences. This includes grant and business case writing and scientific presentation skills. You can also take courses to develop general research skills arranged through the Biosciences Graduate Research School. 

The taught modules consist of a combination of seminars and lectures. The lab work that is carried out during the course is student-led. You will be able to choose areas of molecular and cellular biology that fit with your career aspirations.

Assessment

The two taught modules are assessed via examination, essays and oral presentations. The two research projects are assessed via written thesis and an oral examination. 

Skills gained

This programme offers the following advantages:

  • Broad training in the skills and techniques of contemporary research in molecular and cellular biology
  • The opportunity to experience research in at least two different areas
  • Increased breadth and experience, which will enhance subsequent employability 

The course will also enable you to:

  • Conduct and fund independent research 
  • Present research results in an appropriate manner both written and orally
  • Have an appreciation and knowledge of the use of modern techniques in molecular and cellular biology
  • Build and develop scientific research projects in the public and private sector

Careers

Those who perform effectively in the MRes often continue at Birmingham to a PhD; however, the MRes also provides a very good qualification to move into research and a wide range of professions.

Learning and teaching

External interactions

In order to broaden experience and interaction with other groups several of the activities described above will be shared with students on the MRC-sponsored course in Molecular and Cellular Immunology and Oncology. We have formed partnerships with Glaxo-SK, Celltech, Hoffmann-La Roche and AgrEvo to ensure that students are made fully aware of the ethos and requirements of progressive industrial employers. This will involve both visits of senior industrial personnel to Birmingham for presentations and discussions and a visit to the Stevenage research facility of Glaxo-SK, where students will experience a mock job interview and give a short oral presentation.

Employability

Graduates of the Molecular and Cellular Biology MRes typically proceed to PhDs in a variety of institutes in the UK and abroad, although a few have become lab technicians in academic research groups. Since the MRes involves working in two different research groups, this allows our students to get experience with a broad range of laboratory techniques. These practical skills together with the critical thinking developed in the lab and via the taught modules gives our graduates a strong CV for PhD applications.



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Providing you with an in-depth knowledge of the field and allowing you to gain practical experience working as part of leading research groups in the Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences you will investigate molecular, physiological and pathological processes underlying cardiovascular homeostasis in health and disease. Read more

Providing you with an in-depth knowledge of the field and allowing you to gain practical experience working as part of leading research groups in the Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences you will investigate molecular, physiological and pathological processes underlying cardiovascular homeostasis in health and disease.

Course details

The programme consists of compulsory taught and research elements. The taught aspects include training in key research skills including scientific writing, critical analysis of literature, presentation skills and a research toolkit module covering key experimental techniques. You will also study a specific module on cardiovascular science to ensure that you have a basic grounding of all aspects of the field and to introduce the topics and research questions on which your project will be based.

Learning and teaching

In the first term, you will undertake three taught modules covering cardiovascular biology, research methods and research techniques. During this time you will find out about the research projects on offer and select your project. In the second and third terms (January to July), you will work full time in the lab on your chosen project and produce a research thesis.

Employability

It is envisaged that students successful on the course will be appropriate for PhD in the research area.

Careers Support for Postgraduate Students

Careers Network – We can help you get ahead in the job market and develop your career

We recognise that as a postgraduate student you are likely to have specific requirements when it comes to planning for your next career step. Employers expect postgraduates to have a range of skills that exceed their subject knowledge. Careers Network offers a range of events and support services that are designed for all students, including postgraduates looking to find their niche in the job market. The Careers Network also have subject specific careers consultants and advisers for each College so you can be assured the information you receive will be relevant to your subject area. For more information visit the Careers Network website



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Engineering organisms and processes to generate the products of the future. Many everyday products are generated using biological processes. Read more

Engineering organisms and processes to generate the products of the future

Many everyday products are generated using biological processes. Foods such as bread, yoghurt and beer rely upon microscopic organisms to generate their structure and flavour. Many drugs are made using cells, such as insulin used to treat diabetes and many anticancer chemotherapy drugs. In the future, more products will be made using biological processes as they are typically ‘greener’ than traditional chemical processes – they are less energy intensive and generate fewer harmful chemical by-products. Biological processes are also responsible for many environmentally-friendly biofuels, which aim to reduce fossil fuel use.

Biological processes are key to many UK companies, from small contract manufacturers of protein and DNA drugs to large companies making fuels, commodity chemicals, foods and plastics. Biochemical engineering is an area that is essential to UK, European and Worldwide industrial development.

This is a highly multidisciplinary subject, requiring the integration of engineering and bioscience knowledge. If you are interested in pursuing a career in industrial biotechnology, biochemical engineering, biotechnology or bioprocessing, then this programme will provide you with the basic knowledge and skills required. Optional modules expand your horizons to include specific product areas (such as pharmaceuticals) and other skills required for a career in the area (such as business skills).

Birmingham is a friendly School which has one of the largest concentrations of chemical engineering expertise in the UK. The School is consistently in the top five chemical engineering schools for research in the country.

It has a first-class reputation in learning, teaching and research, and is highly placed in both The Guardian and The Times league tables. 

Course details

Biochemical Engineering concerns the use of biological organisms or processes by manufacturing industries. It is a multidisciplinary subject, requiring the integration of engineering and bioscience knowledge to design and implement processes used to manufacture a wide range of products; from novel therapeutics such as monoclonal antibodies for treating cancer, vaccines and hormones, to new environmentally-friendly biofuels. It is also essential in many other fields, such as the safe manufacture of food and drink and the removal of toxic compounds from the environment..

This course will provide you with the skills you need to start an exciting career in the bioprocess industries, or continue research in the area of bioprocessing or industrial biotechnology.

Industry involvement

Academics working at Birmingham have strong links with industry, through collaborative projects, so allow students to make contact with companies. Graduates from the MSc programme have gone on to careers in biochemical engineering world-wide, in large and small companies working in diverse areas.

There are also guest lectures from academics working at other institutions.

Practical experience

You will gain practical experience of working with industrially applicable systems, from fermentation at laboratory scale to 100 litre pilot scale, in the Biochemical Engineering laboratories. Theory learned in lectures will be applied in practical terms. In addition, theoretical aspects will be applied in design case studies in a number of modules.

All MSc students complete a summer research project, working on a piece of individual, novel research within one of the research groups in the school. These projects provide an ideal experience of life as a researcher, from design of experimental work, practical generation of data, analysis and communication of findings. Many students find this experience very useful in choosing the next steps in their career.

Special Features

The lecture courses are supplemented with tutorials, seminars and experimental work. Industrial visits and talks by speakers from industrial and service organisations are also included in the course programme.

Pilot Plant

The Biochemical Engineering building houses a pilot plant with large-scale fermentation and downstream processing equipment. The refurbished facility includes state-of-the-art computer-controlled bioreactors, downstream processing equipment and analytical instruments

Course structure

The MSc is a 12-month full-time advanced course, comprising lectures, laboratory work, short experimental projects and a research project. You will take an introductory module, four core modules, and then choose 50 credits of optional themed modules. The course can also be taken on a part-time basis. The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) lasts for 8 months from the end of September until June. 

For the first eight months you have lectures, tutorials and laboratory work. Core module topics include:

  • Fermentation and cell culture
  • Bioseparations
  • Process monitoring and control
  • Systems and synthetic biology approaches

There are numerous optional modules available across three themes: 

  • Biopharmaceutical development and manufacture
  • Food processing
  • Business skills for the process industries

From June to September you gain research training on your own project attached to one of the teams working in the bioprocessing research section.

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Learning and teaching

The MSc is a 12-month full-time advanced course, comprising lectures, laboratory work, short experimental projects and a research project. You will take an introductory module, four core modules, and then choose 50 credits of optional themed modules. The course can also be taken on a part-time basis. The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) lasts for 8 months from the end of September until June.  

For the first eight months you have lectures, tutorials and laboratory work. Topics include:

  • Fermentation and cell culture
  • Bioseparations
  • Process monitoring and control
  • Systems and synthetic biology approaches
  • Biopharmaceutical development and manufacture

You also have practical experience of working in the newly-refurbished pilot plant of the Biochemical Engineering building

From June to September you gain research training on your own project attached to one of the teams working in the bioprocessing research section.



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Chemical engineering now extends beyond its traditional roots in oil and gas processing. Read more

Chemical engineering now extends beyond its traditional roots in oil and gas processing. In this course you will learn about the aspects of chemical engineering that deal with the design and development of formulated products such as food and pharmaceuticals. The programme has options in Food Processing, Pharmaceutical Technology and Business Studies. 

Chemical Engineering is dynamic and evolving. It provides many solutions to problems facing industries in the pharmaceutical, biotechnological, oil, energy and food and drink sectors. It is vital to many issues affecting our quality of life; such as better and more economical processes to reduce the environmental burden, and more delicious and longer lasting food due to the right combination of chemistry, ingredients and processing.  

Birmingham is a friendly, self-confident, School which has one of the largest concentrations of chemical engineering expertise in the UK. The School is consistently in the top five chemical engineering schools for research in the country. It also has a first-class reputation in learning and teaching, and regularly ranks highly in league tables.

Course details

This programme focuses on exploring the aspects of chemical engineering that deal with the design and development of formulated products, such as food and pharmaceuticals. Our graduates are well prepared for a career in a variety of industries and have an opportunity to capitalise on the growing global demand for chemical engineers.

In the autumn and spring semesters, you will study 5 compulsory core modules and 60 credits of optional modules. In the summer semester, each student on the MSc programme will then undertake an individual project in a research area of their choice within one of the School’s internationally recognised research groups.

The multidisciplinary core modules cover the fundamental science and engineering underpinning the design of sophisticated formulated products. Depending upon your academic background, you will begin by studying

the fundamental principles of either chemical engineering or the relevant biological science.

A wide range of optional modules enables you to gain specific knowledge relating to fuel cells, food and/or pharmaceutical product development. Safety, regulatory and quality issues applicable across the relevant industries are also considered. Core skill modules are topics that may be applied across all themed areas. You may also choose to study business and management modules, or develop mathematical modelling skills. You will have the freedom to pick and choose modules from each theme (providing timetabling allows for this).

Related links

Learning and Teaching

This programme comprises 120 credits of short-course taught modules (60 credits of core and 60 credits of optional) and a 60 credit research project carried out with one of the department's research teams (MSc only).

The programme has options in Food Processing, Pharmaceutical Technology and Business Studies.

Employability

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.



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