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  • 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

    Please see website for details

  • Last Updated

    11 November 2016

Course content

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:

  • Information Processing in Biological Cells
  • Social Dimensions of Systems and Synthetic Biology
  • Dissertation project
  • Practical Systems Biology
  • Applications of Synthetic Biology
  • Tools for Synthetic Biology

Option courses:

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

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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