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    School of Biological Sciences Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas

    Biological Sciences

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    MSc: 1 year full-time, PgDip: 9 months full-time

  • Course Type

    MSc, PgDip

  • Course Fees

    Tuition fees vary between degree programmes. Find the specific fees for your chosen programme on our website.

  • Last Updated

    02 November 2018

Course content

Programme description

Changing demographics and growing demand for food, fuel and agricultural and environmental sustainability are among the key challenges the world faces today.

In this MSc you will learn research and development skills to enable the creation of new products and services. You will investigate the economic basis for current biotechnology structures and areas of future demand, including the global pharmaceutical industry and carbon sequestration.

You will learn how technology can be applied to solve pressing real-world biological problems and gain the skills and expertise needed for future developments in biotechnology.

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project or industrial placement, leading to a dissertation.

Compulsory courses

All students must take the following:

  • Economics and Innovation in the Biotechnology Industry
  • Intelligent Agriculture
  • Research Project Proposal
  • MSc Dissertation (Biotechnology).

Compulsory Courses - Options

In addition to the above compulsory courses, all students will need to choose 10 additional credits from this list of compulsory courses:

  • Principles of Industrial Biotechnology
  • Metagenomic Analysis of Microbial Communities

Optional courses:

Students may choose 80 further credits from the following list: (each semester students should take 60 credits)

  • Applications of Synthetic Biology
  • Biobusiness
  • Biochemistry A & B
  • Bioinformatics Programming & System Management
  • Drug Discovery
  • Commercial Aspects of Drug Discovery
  • Enzymology and Biological Production
  • Gene Expression and Microbial Regulation
  • Industry & Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology
  • Introduction to Bioinformatics for the Life Sciences
  • Molecular Modelling and Database Mining
  • Origins of Synthetic Biology
  • Practical Skills in Biochemistry A & B
  • Programming for the Life Sciences
  • Social Dimensions of Systems and Synthetic Biology
  • Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
  • Tools for Synthetic Biology
  • Vaccines and Molecular Therapies

Research and laboratory work

There will be a considerable practical element to the programme. You will work in a biotechnology laboratory and learn how experimental technology is designed and operated.

Industrial placement

Your dissertation can be based on a laboratory-based project or an industrial placement. You can work with employers in the thriving Scottish biotechnology sector in areas such as multiple sclerosis research (Aquila BioMedical), vaccines research (BigDNA) or biorecovery and bioregeneration (Recyclatec).

Career opportunities

The programme will open up a wide variety of career opportunities, ranging from sales and marketing, to research and development, to manufacturing and quality control and assurance.


Visit the Biotechnology (MSc/PgDip) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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