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Synthetic Biology - MRes

Course Description

This MRes programme aims to train students in the fast-growing area of synthetic bgiology, 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.

Degree information

Students develop an understanding of the areas making up synthetic biology, including engineering principles, mathematical modelling, molecular biology, biochemical engineering and chemistry. Modules also provide the necessary skills for acquisition and critical analysis of the primary scientific literature and transferrable research development skills. The programme includes a major research project that will give 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). There are no optional modules for this programme.

Core modules
-Synthetic Biology
-The Scientific Literature
-Biosciences Research Skills

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 courses. The taught courses 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.


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 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 electronic industry might lead to a whole new high value industry for structured biological entities.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Science Technician, King Richard's School
-Scientific consultant, Labcitec
-PhD Synthetic Biology, UCL
-PhD Biochemistry, University of Oxford
-PhD Bioenergy and Industrial Biotechnology, University of Cambridge

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 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 in unique facilities of generating novel research that makes them of great value to employers and collaborators.

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 and an appreciation of the multidisciplinary nature of synthetic biology research.

Students on this new 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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Student Profiles

Brown Family Bursary - Single Award

Selection criteria:
The bursary will be awarded based on financial need only as determined by the Student Funding Office.Value, Benefits and Duration:
- The value of the bursary is £15,000. The payment is to be applied to tuition fees in the first instance, with any remainder being paid to the successful applicant towards maintenance in termly instalments.
- The bursary is tenable for one year only.
- The bursary may not be held alongside other tuition fee only awards.

Value of Scholarship(s)



prospective full-time UK Master's students who are undertaking a one-year programme of study in the Faculties of the Built Environment, Engineering Sciences or Mathematical & Physical Sciences (BEAMS) in 2015/16
- currently holding a first-class Bachelor's degree; and
- in financial need.

Application Procedure

See http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/scholarships/graduate/UK-EU-Master/uclalumniandfriends

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Normally, a minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree in biochemistry, biomedical sciences, life sciences, biochemical engineering, chemical biology or any related subject area, or a medical degree (MBBS), or a physical sciences degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applicants with an appropriate professional qualification and relevant work experience may also apply.

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