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    School of Biological Sciences Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas

    Biological Sciences

  • Start Date


  • 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

Programme description

We offer an opportunity to train in one of the newest areas of biology: the application of engineering principles to the understanding and design of biological networks. This new approach promises solutions to some of today’s most pressing challenges in environmental protection, human health and energy production.

This MSc will provide you with a thorough knowledge of the primary design principles and biotechnology tools being developed in systems and synthetic biology, ranging from understanding genome-wide data to designing and synthesising BioBricks.

You will learn quantitative methods of modelling and data analysis to inform and design new hypotheses based on experimental data. The University’s new centre, SynthSys, is a hub for world-leading research in both systems and synthetic biology.

Programme structure

The programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project and dissertation, which can be either modelling-based or laboratory-based.

Compulsory courses: All students will take the following courses

  • Social Dimensions of Systems and Synthetic Biology
  • Dissertation project
  • Practical Systems Biology
  • Tools for Synthetic Biology

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

  • Information Processing in Biological Cells
  • Applications of Synthetic Biology

Option courses:

  • Biochemistry A
  • Bioinformatics Programming & System Management
  • Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Economics & Innovation in the Biotechnology Industry
  • Gene Expression & Microbial Regulation
  • Introduction to Scientific Programming
  • Mathematical Biology
  • Neural Computation
  • Practical Skills in Biochemistry A
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine
  • Biobusiness
  • Biodesign
  • Bioinformatics Algorithms
  • Biological Physics
  • Drug Discovery
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Industry & Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology
  • Metagenomic Analysis of Microbial Communities
  • Molecular Phylogenetics
  • Next Generation Genomics
  • Probabilistic Modelling and Reasoning

Career opportunities

The programme is designed to give you a good basis for managerial or technical roles in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. It will also prepare you for entry into a PhD programme.

Visit the Systems & Synthetic Biology (MSc/PgDip) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!




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