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MSc Biotechnology

Course Description

The MSc in Biotechnology is a one-year course designed to provide you with the theoretical and practical skills for employment in the industries of biomedical research, biopharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and biotechnology. The course curriculum consists of six months of lectures, laboratory practical sessions, career service workshops, industry-based seminars and a six-month research project. The curriculum has been developed with input from staff in local biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries, to provide you with the necessary skills required by employers. Students have the choice to complete the six-month research project in a national or international industry or university environment.

Visit the website: http://www.ucc.ie/en/ckr01/

Course Details

This is the most established MSc in Biotechnology course in Ireland and is the most popular MSc course in UCC. The international success of this course is attributed to the industry-led curriculum offered to students and the opportunity to complete a six-month placement in industry or an academic research lab. The global recognition of the course is also evident from our international alumni and receipt of several industry-sponsored scholarships available to students entering and on completion of the course.

The course will:

- introduce you to the theory and practice of bioanalytical chemistry?
- introduce you to molecular biotechnology, eukaryotic-, prokaryotic- and plant-biotechnologies, recombinant DNA technologies and their - application in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries
- introduce you to the principles of process and biochemical engineering?
- introduce you to the role of process validation and quality assurance in the pharmaceutical industry, and give you an awareness of the - - latest trends in good manufacturing, laboratory and validation practices
- introduce you to the principles of food and industrial microbiology
- provide you with the opportunity to conduct and complete a body of independent research in a biotechnology-related area and present your research findings in a minor dissertation.


The curriculum consists of approximately 250 contact hours over two academic terms (October to December and January to March), consisting of eight course modules, set practical sessions, career service workshops and an industry lecture series.

During the third academic term (April to September), students complete a six-month research project on a topic related to biotechnology, biopharmaceutical or biomedical research. Industry-based projects in these areas are managed by a dedicated placement officer who facilitates career workshops during which you prepare for and are interviewed by staff from companies interested in hosting students. For students interested in a career in biomedical research or PhD, projects are offered in a broad range of research areas utilising modern research techniques. All research projects are undertaken in consultation with an academic supervisor and examiner.

The MSc in Biotechnology degree course consists of eight course modules, set practical sessions, career service workshops, an industry lecture series and a six-month research project.

Students study the following eight modules and complete a research project:

- Advanced Molecular Microbial Biotechnology
- Biopharmaceuticals: formulation design, secondary processing and regulatory compliance
- Bioprocess Engineering
- Cell and Molecular Biology
- Functional Foods for Health
- Genetic Engineering
- Modern Methods in Analytical Chemistry
- Plant Genetic Engineering

Research Project and Industry Placement

You will be required to complete a six-month research project based on your individual research and development in a selected field of modern science. You carry out your research in UCC’s laboratories or at an approved academic or industrial partner.

When you complete your research dissertation in an industrial setting, it provides the company with an opportunity to assess your skills and abilities and to screen potential future full-time employees.

Students who secure employment upon graduation fit into the organisation and contribute productively much sooner that other graduates. For students with an interest in biomedical research and future careers as PhD researchers, research projects are offered across a broad range of topics including but not limited to; cancer biology, neuroscience, immunology, microbiology and plant biotechnology.

Further details on the content and modules are available on the Postgraduate College Calendar - http://www.ucc.ie/calendar/postgraduate/Masters/science/page05.html#4%20


The MSc in Biotechnology is awarded after passing written examinations across taught course units, the continuous assessment of practical work and completion of a six-month research project, which has to be written up in the form of a dissertation and approved by an external examiner. All students must complete written examinations (typically held over a two week period in March) and submit a research project. Full details and regulations governing examinations for each course will be contained in the Marks and Standards 2013 Book and for each module in the Book of Modules, 2015/2016 - http://www.ucc.ie/modules/


The course is suitable for students wishing to extend their specific undergraduate degree knowledge in biotechnology, and for those wishing to bridge their undergraduate degree and gain more specialised knowledge and training in biotechnology. The course allows you to follow a number of career pathways. Each year, over 70 per cent of our students gain employment while approximately 20 per cent of graduates progress to international PhD opportunities.

How to apply: http://www.ucc.ie/en/study/postgrad/how/

Funding and Scholarships

Information regarding funding and available scholarships can be found here: https://www.ucc.ie/en/cblgradschool/current/fundingandfinance/fundingscholarships/

Visit the MSc Biotechnology page on the University College Cork website for more details!

Student Profiles

UCC Postgraduate Bursaries for Taught Programmes - 20+ Awards

UCC are offering bursaries to students who have lost funding because of the changes to the Student Grant Scheme in the 2012 Budget. There has been a substantial increase in the number of postgraduate students in Ireland in recent years but it is feared that the change in the Student Grant Scheme as part of Budget 2012 may affect the numbers adversely.UCC have decided not to limit the number of bursaries as supplying suitably qualified graduates is one of its actions to support the government’s 2012 Action Plan for Jobs. “There is great merit in offering these Bursaries”, says Dr Michael Murphy, President of UCC. “We know that the removal of the Government grant will have caused some problems for students and we hope that this measure alleviates the financial difficulties. This support for our postgraduate students complements the support that UCC offers disadvantaged students through it Access programme and Talented Student Programme at UCC. We think it is very important to support our students at this time as well-qualified postgraduate students will be an important part of Ireland’s economic recovery”. In 2011, 3,691 postgraduate students registered to study across UCCs four Colleges (College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, College of Business and Law, College of Medicine and Health and the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science) undertaking studies ranging from Higher Diplomas to doctoral research degrees. With over 200 taught and research programmes, UCC is one of the most popular universities for postgraduate study in Ireland. UCC’s excellent reputation and support for all students, especially disadvantages students, is one of the major reasons for its designation as the ‘Sunday Times Irish University of the Year 2011-12’ and ‘Ireland’s first Five Star University’ (QS Stars 2011). Other national programmes that provide financial support for suitably qualified students to undertake postgraduate studies include the Graduate Skills Conversion Programme (GSCP), a joint initiative with the Department of Education and Science and the Higher Education Authority. The aim of this programme is to provide graduates with the opportunity to acquire qualifications for employment in the ICT area. These postgraduate courses are provided at reduced fees (€2,750) and aim to enhance Ireland’s competency in this economically important area. ICT is just one of the many options available to students; the full range of UCC post graduate programmes is available on http://www.ucc.ie/en/study/postgrad/what/colleges/

Value of Scholarship(s)



The bursaries are specifically designed to ensure that students who were previously in receipt of a local authority grant and as a result of the changes in the scheme are no longer eligible are not disadvantaged.To be eligible, the student must have qualified for Local Authority, VEC or Department of Education grants in the final year of their bachelor’s degrees. The bursaries are not limited to UCC graduates; the scheme is open to students from any Irish HE institution who graduated since 2009 and who will commence a full time taught Post graduate programme in UCC in September 2012.

Application Procedure

Full details of the bursary scheme are on the University website http://www.ucc.ie/en/financeoffice/fees/

Further Information


Entry Requirements

See Detailed Entry Requirements.

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