Introduction

The MSc in Industrial Biotechnology will provide students with in-depth training in life sciences and technologies through delivery of a focussed teaching experience that includes a placement with industry-relevant training.

This programme is studied on campus.

The focus of the MSc Industrial Biotechnology programme is to provide you with specific training to address the skills gap identified by the Biopharma/Life sciences industry. As part of the programme you will undertake an industrial placement rather than the more traditional research project. The placement will have direct relevance to industry needs and you will have access to a wide range of opportunities either within the university or with external spin-out companies, local SMEs or Medical laboratories.

You will choose from a range of courses including advanced courses in biotechnology, bioinformatics and bio-business, alongside statistics, microbiology and microbial biochemistry. Upon graduation you will be equipped with the key skills and knowledge to pursue a career in biopharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors and to meet the growing demands of those industries for good quality, highly skilled graduates and contribute to the UK knowledge-based economy.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MSc
Duration
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September
Location of Study
Aberdeen

What You'll Study

The teaching on this programme is lecture based with self-directed learning, practical classes and tutorials to support the lecture material. Many lectures are recorded and can be viewed again when required. The MSc makes the most of hands-on learning to enable repeated exposure to evidence-based practice using real life examples. Some of the teaching methods employed in the programme include:

  • Inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary learning
  • Exposure to leading academic and industry experts
  • Research-led teaching taught by key opinion leaders
  • Insight into real-life situations and examples

On-going support is provided by the University’s dedicated, interdisciplinary team of experienced researchers, who will be tutoring you. Peer support will develop throughout the course(s). Much of the teaching on this course is participatory and you are expected to consolidate all taught content by completing related tasks and activities and engaging in independent study in your own time.

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Molecular Genetics (MB5025) - 15 Credit Points

Series of lectures covering fundamental topics such as RNA (coding, non-coding transcription), DNA –protein interactions (e.g. chromatin, transcription factors), 3D structure of chromosomes and regulation of gene activity) as well as on genome structure/genetic mapping and advanced analytical methods such as CRISPR and genome editing technology. Lectures are complemented by tutorials and workshops covering related topics.

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Biotechnology (BT5014) - 15 Credit Points

Modern biotechnology is absolutely dependent upon our increasingly sophisticated ability to use microbial and mammalian host cells as factories to produce high quantities of protein pharmaceuticals, e.g. insulin. Increasingly, cells engineered with multiple foreign genes are also being used to drive small molecule drug production. This course will explore how such heterologous protein expression processes can be engineered and optimised to drive efficient synthesis of the next generation medicines on which healthcare systems are increasingly depending.

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Basic Skills - Induction (MT5010)

This course is designed to provide or revise the basic skills you will require for your MSc. The course will revise basic laboratory skills and techniques and advance these to a level required to undertake graduate practical classes and projects by developing hands-on experience, competence and confidence in key laboratory skills.

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Study Skills for Life (GS50M2)

This course gives students the opportunity to develop the transferable skills required to both complete their degree programme and progress in their future career. The course provides guides and workshops on a variety of skills, including literature appraisal, academic integrity, writing, presentations, note taking and time management. It provides online resources for developing IT and numeracy skills, and acts as a resource for advertising development opportunities both within and outside the university.

The course strongly relies on self-reflection and identification of opportunities by the students to use the support sessions and online resources available. Although completion of the course itself is compulsory the majority of the course sessions offered are optional, and support is given to the students to help them identify what they most need to work on. Completion of the course is achieved through formative assignments.

This course is the first of two courses relating to cross-discipline skills development that is compulsory for all taught postgraduate students in the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition.

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Optional Courses

Introduction to Microbiology (MC5008) - 15 Credit Points

This course will provide students with microbiology knowledge for further advanced studies and will provide training in microbiological laboratory techniques. At the end of this course students will have an understanding of microbes associated with health and disease (including bacteria, fungi and viruses), practical and academic understanding of laboratory techniques required for the culture, identification and characterisation of microbes, and increased confidence in reading and critiquing primary research literature.

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Bioinformatics (MB5021) - 15 Credit Points

A course containing a series of lectures describing 'latest-methods and discoveries' in areas of bioinformatics and functional genomics including transcriptomics, proteomics, and DNA sequence analysis

Contains an extended research practical; you carry out computer analysis of transcriptome datasets to understand how cells respond to starvation stress, and write up in research paper format.

Contains a series of in-depth workshops that teach the principles and practice of DNA and protein sequence analysis.

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Small Molecule Drug Discovery (BT5013) - 25 Credit Points

The course will focus on small molecule drug discovery. Receptor theory and cell communication and signalling will be revised to facilitate understanding of the remainder of the course. The basis of the drug discovery process will be described and the phases of drug development discussed. A range of targets for drug discovery will be identified and how small molecule drug affect these will be described. Issues around drug regulation will be raised.

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Applied Statistics (PU5017) - 15 Credit Points

This course intends to develop the student's awareness of the fact that statistical techniques are integral to scientific research. Researchers must be able to specify a precise research question in statistical terms and then select an appropriate study design in order to carry out an effective research project. They must also be able to assess the adequacy of the research presented in scientific or medical literature. The same skills are also required for many MSc dissertation projects.

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Introduction to Bio - Business and the Commercialisation of Bioscience Research (BT5012) - 15 Credit Points

This course will describe the basic language of business and give examples of large versus small businesses in the bioscience area. Intellectual property rights will be explained as will how present your business and how to set up a small biotech company. A comparison will be made of the big Pharma business model and that of small biotech businesses.

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Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Advanced Biotechnology (BT5510) - 15 Credit Points

This course will take the student through in depth study of how synthetic biology and systems biology are transforming the principles and practice of modern biotechnology. The course will teach modern methods of biotechnology including host cell design and optimisation using modern modelling techniques, leading to an understanding of how multiple genes under precise regulatory control can be introduced into a species to endow it with new biotechnologically-valuable properties.

Through hands on study of synthetic biological processes in a series of workshops, students will learn how advanced genetic engineering of host expression systems can transform production of pharmaceuticals, chemical feedstocks and biofuels. The course will equip students with a range of knowledge and skills directly relevant to modern biosciences, including the biotechnology industry.

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Optional Courses

Biologic Drug Discovery (BT5509) - 15 Credit Points

Biologic therapies represent one of the most important and novel areas of drug discovery in the 21st century. The aim of this course is to provide an insight into the success of protein, peptide or antibody based biologic therapies and to examine how this exciting new area will develop over the next decade.

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Genome - Enabled Medicine (MB5517) - 15 Credit Points

A course describing the wide range of ways in which genome sequencing has transformed our understanding of medicine and human disease

A course placing a high value on its teaching and learning; all lecture material supported by workshops – your chance to team-work, ask questions and enjoy the science.

Contains a material detailing a range of examples of genome science and its applications in medicine, ranging from the human genome (genome-wide association studies) to microbial (pathogen genome sequencing).

A course that makes wide use of the literature, allowing you to read about and understand the latest methods in genome science

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Regulation in Microbial Adaption (MC5510) - 15 Credit Points

A course describing the principles behind how microorganisms respond to environmental stresses

A range of microbial stress responses are detailed using a range of model systems, pathogens and non-pathogens, showing how gene expression is regulated by stress.

Contains an extended research practical; you carry out computer-based modelling to understand how cells responds to starvation stress, and write up in research paper format.

We teach with reference to the scientific literature allowing you to place your learning in the context of the latest published research.

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Advanced Bioinformatics and Genome Sequencing (MB5522) - 15 Credit Points

An exciting course that brings a student right up to date with the most modern bioinformatics, genome assembly and annotation technology. You, the student, will isolate a novel bacterium from the environment and purify its DNA. This will be whole genome sequenced, and you will then assemble your own bacterial genome and functionally annotate it, taught by expert bioinformaticians from our Centre for Genome-Enabled Biology and Medicine. Your analysis will enable you to make identifications of the species you have isolated, its metabolic and environmental responses, growth constraints and regulation, cell surface markers and antibiotic resistance, producing a full inventory of genes and their presumptive functions. Overall the course prepares a student for future employment in a biosciences workplace where genome sequencing and annotation is becoming an every-day tool of modern biotechnology.

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Advanced Bio - Business and the Commercialisation of Bioscience Research (BT5508) - 15 Credit Points

This advanced course builds on the basics provided in Introduction to Bio-business and the Commercialisation of Bioscience Research (BT5012). It provides more detail on financing and setting up a Bio-business.

The course deals in depth with finance, corporate governance and business models. The major assessment involves the students working together in teams to set up a virtual bio-business and to pitch this business to a group of experts in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector. The team will adopt the roles of senior management team and present to the experts their part of the business.

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Beyond Your Degree (GS55M2)

This course gives students the opportunity to develop the skills needed to progress in their degree programme and beyond into their chosen career. It focuses on the job application process, the support available from the university both during and after their degree, and the skills that apply to undertaking projects. Sessions include an introduction to the careers service, CV, cover letter and interview skills, workplace professionalism and managing projects. Online resources are provided to support transferable skill development.

The course strongly relies on self-assessment and identification of opportunities by the students to use the support sessions and online resources available. Although completion of the course is compulsory, most of the course sessions offered are optional, and completion of the course is achieved through formative assignments.

This course is the second of two courses relating to generic skills that are compulsory for all taught postgraduate students in the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition.

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Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

In the final semester students will undertake an industrial placement.

Placement (BT5903) - 60 Credit Points

The 60 credit placement course is designed to deliver highly skilled graduates to meet the current and future needs of biopharma, biosciences, biotechnology, both growing and established companies and contract research organisation.

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Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Peer Learning
  • Professional Placements
  • Research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

Assessment Methods

Taught courses are assessed by a combination of written assignments and reports, oral presentations, and by examination. All students undertake a placement, which is submitted for assessment in the form of a portfolio of competencies and a reflective report.

Why Study Industrial Biotechnology?

  • This Masters programme will equip you for career destinations in the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.   
  • You will undertake a placement either within the University or with external industry offering industry-focussed skills training.
  • The programme helps meet the skills gap in this area which has been identified by the Scottish and UK governments.
  • The programme runs from the Foresterhill Health Campus which includes a large teaching hospital, Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute.
  • You will benefit from skills training to help with scientific writing, analytical skills, CV writing, interview skills and reading scientific literature.
  • Our small class sizes give you the opportunity to participate in class discussions and to have good access to the teaching staff.
  • The University of Aberdeen is a Top 30 UK University, Complete University Guide 2020
  • The University of Aberdeen is a World Top 160 University (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019)
  • 85% of all research submissions were rated as "outstanding" or "very considerable" for impact

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

A second class Honours degree (2:2 or above) or equivalent qualification in a biological science degree is required for entry onto this programme.

Please check the In My Country pages to find out if your degree is equivalent.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

CV
an up-to-date CV/Resumé
Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,700
Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year
International Students £20,000
Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

The SFC Postgraduate tuition fee scholarship may be available for those classified as Home/EU fee status students for this programme. Visit the scholarship page for more information.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

Students will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to enable them to pursue a career in the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors and to meet the growing demands of those industries for good quality, highly skilled graduates and contribute to the UK knowledge-based economy.

Industry Links

We have strong links with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry including Servier, GSK, Pfizer and AstraZeneca and with small biotechnology companies such as Novabiotics, Antoxis, Cell ProTx and TC Biopharma. These companies provide expert teaching and training opportunities during the degree.

We also have excellent links with the NHS and are co-located with a large NHS teaching hospital on the Foresterhill Health campus.

Top 10 for Spin-Out Companies

We are one of the top 10 UK Universities for spin-out company formation.

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Professor Bernadette Connolly

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Facilities

Image for The Institute of Medical Sciences
The Institute of Medical Sciences

The Institute of Medical Sciences

Focused on developing future effective therapies, the Institute of Medical Sciences houses nearly 400 researchers and support staff working on cutting-edge biomedical subjects aimed at understanding the human body's response to infection and disease.

Image for Foresterhill Health Campus
Foresterhill Health Campus

Foresterhill Health Campus

The Foresterhill Health Campus is one of the largest clinical complexes in Europe which includes the Medical School, large teaching hospital, the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX