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Course content

This MRes programme aims to train students in the fast-growing area of synthetic biology, a discipline which takes the knowledge and understanding we now have of the individual parts of biological systems and uses them in a defined way to design and build novel artificial biological systems.

About this degree

Students develop an understanding of the areas involved in synthetic biology, including engineering principles, mathematical modelling, advanced molecular biology, microbiology, biochemical engineering and necessary chemistry. Modules also provide the necessary skills for acquisition and critical analysis of the primary scientific literature and transferable research development skills. The programme includes a major research project that will provide in-depth training in synthetic biology research methods.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (60 credits) and an extended research project (120 credits).

Core modules

  • Synthetic Biology
  • The Scientific Literature
  • Biosciences Research Skills

Optional modules

There are no optional modules for this programme.

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent laboratory-based extended research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000–18,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars and tutorials, combining research-led and skills-based modules. The taught modules are assessed by assignments and coursework. The research project is assessed by an oral presentation, submission of a dissertation and is subject to oral examination.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Synthetic Biology MRes

Careers

The Synthetic Biology MRes will qualify students to go on to work in the growing number of small companies engaged in synthetic biology both here in London and across the UK and the world. There are many large companies that are building their own synthetic biology potential and some of our students are already working with these groups. Our students often go on to do further research in PhDs and EngDs globally. Our graduates have practical experience of generating novel research with our unique facilities that makes them of great value to employers and collaborators.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Freelance Software Developer
  • PhD in Biochemistry, University of Oxford
  • PhD Bioenergy and Industrial Biotechnology, University of Cambridge
  • Scientific Consultant, Labcitec, Mexico
  • PhD in Synthetic Biology, UCL

Employability

Synthetic biology is a fast growing area of research and will have a major economic and social impact on the global economy in the coming decades. The involvement of molecular biologists, biochemists, engineers, physical scientists, chemists and biologists can create designed cells, enzymes and biological modules that can be combined in a defined manner. These could be used to make complex metabolic pathways for pharmaceuticals, novel hybrid biosensors or novel routes to biofuels. A future integration of biological devices and hybrid devices as components in the electronics industry might lead to a whole new high value industry for structured biological entities.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL is recognised as one of the world's best research environments within the field of biochemical engineering and synthetic biology as well as biological and biomedical science.

UCL Biochemical Engineering is in a unique position to offer tuition and research opportunities in internationally recognised laboratories that carry out synthetic biology research, and an appreciation of the multidisciplinary nature of synthetic biology research.

Students on this MRes programme undertake a major research project where topics can be chosen spanning the expertise in six departments across UCL.


Visit the Synthetic Biology (MRes) page on the University College London website for more details!

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