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This course is suitable if you

  • wish to pursue research into molecular and cell biology or disease mechanisms at PhD level
  • want to improve your knowledge and skills to be competitive in the life science jobs market
  • are currently employed and seeking to improve your career prospects

Most of your practical work is carried out in our teaching laboratories which contain industry standard equipment for cell culture, quantitative nucleic acid and protein analysis and a sophisticated suite of analytical equipment such as HPLC and gas chromatography. In addition many of our research facilities such as flow cytometry, confocal microscopy and mass spectrometry are used in taught modules and research projects and our tutors are experts in these techniques.

You gain

  • a detailed and up-to-date understanding of molecular biology and cell biology
  • knowledge of how alterations or defects in cellular processes may lead to disease, such as cellular dysfunction leading to degenerative diseases, cell cycle dys-regulation in cancer, and how mutations result in genetic diseases
  • hands-on expertise in the latest techniques including cell culture, flow cytometry, real-time PCR, immuno-histochemistry and recombinant DNA technology
  • professional skills to further your career in research or the life science industry

The teaching on the course is split between formal lectures and tutorials, and laboratory-based work. A third of the course is a laboratory-based research project, where students are assigned to a tutor who is an active researcher in the biomedical research centre. Typically, taught modules have a mixture of lectures and tutorials and involve a significant amount of laboratory time. Other modules are tutorial-led with considerable input from the course leader who acts as personal tutor.

Tutors complete research within the Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre into cancer, musculoskeletal diseases, human reproduction, neurological disease, medical microbiology and immunological basis of disease. Their work is regularly published in international peer-reviewed journals, showing that the course is underpinned by relevant quality research.

Course structure

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:

  • Biomedical laboratory techniques (15 credits)
  • Cell biology (15 credits)
  • Molecular biology (15 credits)
  • Professional development (15 credits)
  • Research methods and statistics (15 credits)
  • Research project (60 credits)

Optional modules:

  • Biotechnology (15 credits)
  • Applied biomedical techniques (15 credits)
  • Cellular and molecular basis of cancer (15 credits)
  • Human genomics and proteomics (15 credits)


Assessment methods include written examinations and coursework including

  • problem-solving exercises
  • case studies
  • reports from practical work.

Research project assessment includes a written report and viva voce. 


As a graduate you can find work in the expanding area of life sciences or enter a career in research. You can find careers in areas such as • medical research in universities hospital laboratories or research institutes • private industry.

The course also provides the skills and knowledge for those wishing to do research at PhD level.

Visit the Molecular and Cell Biology MSc/PgDip/PgCert page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!




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