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Biotechnology MSc/PgDip/PgCert


Course Description

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.


Visit the Biotechnology MSc/PgDip/PgCert page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You must have one of the following
• a minimum of a 2:2 honours degree in a biological subject or equivalent
• a professional qualification of equal standing to an honours degree, for example MIBiol by examination, FIMLS
• other qualifications such as HND, HNC or unclassified degree in a biological subject, plus significant relevant work experience

If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills, or a recognised equivalent.

Last Updated

01 August 2017

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