Do you want to focus your scientific career on one of the fastest moving sectors of science? The UK has hundreds of biotech companies and is a leader in innovating specialist products from living organisms. Biotech applications are enhancing food production, treating medical conditions, and having a significant impact on the global future.
Given the common expectation for job candidates to have some form of postgraduate qualification, this Masters course offers a route to careers in biotechnology as well as the broader life sciences industry. If your first degree included the study of genetics and molecular biology, and a research module, you’re well-placed to join us.
The quality of teaching in life sciences at Northumbria has been recognised by strong performance in student-led awards, Further evidence of academic excellence is the number of invitations to members of our team to join the editorial boards of scientific journals.
Our teaching team maintains close links with biotech companies and research labs, including via on-going roles as consultants, which helps ensure an up-to-date understanding of the latest technical and commercial developments. Several academics are involved in biotech ventures that make use of the University’s facilities: Nzomics Biocatalysis develops enzyme alternatives to chemical processes, and Nu-omics offers DNA sequencing services.
Teaching And Assessment
We aim for interactive teaching sessions and you will engage in discussions, problem-solving exercises and other activities. Teaching can start in the lab or classroom and then you make the material your own by exploring and applying it. Technology Enhanced Learning makes this easier; each module has an electronic blackboard site with relevant information including electronic reading lists and access to websites, videos and other study materials that are available anytime, anywhere.
You will undertake assignments within small groups and we provide training in communication skills relevant for scientific communication. The course aims to foster your ability to work at a professional standard both individually and as part of a team.
The technical facilities at Northumbria University are excellent. We are fully equipped for molecular biology manipulations and imaging – techniques include RT-PCR to show whether or not a specific gene is being expressed in a given sample. We also have pilot scale bioreactors so that we can scale up experiments and processes.
For cell biology and immunology, we have two multi-user laboratories. Technologies include assays for measuring immune responses at the single-cell level, and for monitoring the functioning of cells in real time. Further capabilities include biomarker analysis, flow cytometry, chemical imaging and fluorescence microscopy. For genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, our capabilities include genomic sequencing, mass spectrometry, 2D protein electrophoresis and nanoflow liquid chromatography.
All our equipment is supported up by highly skilled technical staff who will help you make the best use of all the facilities that are available.
In fast-moving fields like biotechnology, it’s particularly important for teaching to take account of the latest research. Many of our staff are conducting research in areas such as molecular biology, bio-informatics, gene expression and micro-biology of extreme environments. They bring all this experience and expertise into their teaching.
As a student, you will be heavily engaged in analysing recent insights from the scientific literature. You will undertake a major individual project in molecular and cellular science that will encompass all aspects of a scientific study. These include evaluation of relevant literature, design and set-up of experiments, collection and processing of data, analysis of results, preparation of a report and presentation of findings in a seminar.
Give Your Career An Edge
Many recruiters in the biotech industry expect candidates to have studied at postgraduate level so our Masters qualification will help you get through the door of the interview room. Once there, your major project and other assignments will help ensure there is plenty to catch their attention. Employers are looking for the ability to solve problems, think critically, work with others and function independently – which are exactly the attributes that our course develops to a higher level.
During your time at Northumbria, we encourage you to participate in the activities organised by the Career Development Service. We also encourage you to apply for associate membership of the Royal Society of Biology, with full membership becoming possible once you have at least three years’ postgraduate experience in study or work.
The biotech industry has made huge progress in the last few decades and the years ahead promise to be even more transformational. With an MSc Biotechnology, you will be ready to contribute to the changes ahead through a rigorous scientific approach and your grasp of the fundamental knowledge, insights and skills that underlie modern biotechnology.
Scientific research is at the heart of the course and you will strengthen pivotal skills that will enhance your employability in any research-rich environment. By developing the practices, standards and principles relevant to becoming a bioscience professional, you will also prepare yourself for success in other sectors of the life sciences industry and beyond.