Enhance your undergraduate degree with a year's placement in an industrial, commercial or research environment.
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At a Glance
On Campus Learning
Biotechnology is a technology based on the unique properties of biological molecules, cells and organisms, and provides new ways of diagnosing disease, producing antibiotics, pharmaceuticals and chemical feedstocks for industrial processes, reducing industrial contamination of the environment and improving food safety.
The study of biotechnology at Aberdeen involves study of microbiology, biochemistry and genetics. Knowledge of all three subjects is crucial in an area where microorganisms are frequently being genetically engineered to perform novel or enhanced biochemical reactions, and will become increasingly important as synthetic biology is used throughout biotechnological processes.
The potential of biotechnology to provide new health products, new fuels such as hydrogen, advances in agriculture and management of the environment (e.g. oil spill clean-up) is immense but at present only partly tapped. Biotechnology is well-placed to contribute significantly to future sustainable technology development.
In your fourth year you will undertake a year's industrial placement and graduate after five years with an MSci (an undergraduate Masters degree) instead of a BSc. Placements vary considerably but, in general terms, you will have the opportunity to do a placement in an industrial, commercial or research environment where you will be able to develop a breadth of practical experience to complement your degree programme and enhance your employability.
What You'll Study
A degree in Biotechnology is taught via a selection of compulsory and optional courses to enhance your learning and prepare you for a future career or further study. In each year you will take courses adding up to 120 credits. Depending on the number of compulsory and optional courses offered by your degree, you can also choose other eligible courses which fit your timetable.
This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.
Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.
Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.
This course covers the foundations of chemistry that underpin the life sciences at a molecular level and is suitable for students with different backgrounds including little or no previous study of chemistry. The basic concepts of quantitative chemistry will be covered, along with the different types of organic molecules, acids and bases, and the principles of kinetics and thermodynamics. The relevance of the course materials to life science is emphasised throughout.
Laboratory classes introduce important practical techniques, with experiments that reinforce and complement the taught material.
The course will allow students to continue with other chemistry courses as part of their enhanced study by providing discipline breadth.
Chemistry plays a vital role in the life sciences, explaining the properties of biomolecules and how biological processes work at a molecular level. Organic reaction mechanisms give insight into how different types of molecules can be synthesised and methods of chemical analysis introduce other important topics linking the chemical and life sciences. The relationship between energy, entropy and equilibrium in driving reactions will be covered and the course concludes with a survey of the molecules of life – proteins, enzymes and sugars.
Laboratory classes complement lectures by consolidating learning and developing problem-solving and hands-on practical skills.
• Cells are the fundamental unit of life – without them life could not exist, and as such understanding how they function is crucial to our understanding of biology and medical science.• This course provides theoretical knowledge in a diverse range of topics covering the fascinating world of cells, from molecules like DNA, to how different cell types function within our bodies.• All practical classes are research based and will provide theoretical knowledge and skills training in many areas of molecular and cell biology.• Employability skills will also be explored through a highly interactive enterprise session and our online mini course.
In year 2 you will take core courses drawn from Biochemistry (Molecular Biology of the Gene, Energy for Life), Genetics (Genes & Evolution) and MicrobiologyandImmunology (Microbes, Infection and Immunity) programmes.
this course will provide a comprehensive understanding of how genetic information is stored, how it is accessed by the cell to form functional proteins and how the release of this information is controlled to produce a healthy human child;
understanding this process is essential to understanding the basis of human disease and the course will examine how genetic differences affect disease susceptibility;
this popular, comprehensive and cutting edge course will equip students with the essential knowledge, skills and confidence in molecular biology required to progress on all courses undertaken in the School of Medical Sciences
understanding the fundamental workings of cells is important to a wide range of scientific disciplines;
this course integrates the key metabolic and biochemical processes that underpin human, animal and plant life in relation to health and disease;
this core knowledge prepares you for more advanced study in all areas of life sciences and has wide ranging applications;
you will also participate in an award winning practical series focussed on drug discovery which will build essential employability skills in experimental design, data analysis and practical laboratory skills
course cultivates literature research skills, building confidence in
team-working and communication through scientific writing and seminar
encourages student-led learning and organisation in researching a topic on
human health or disease of your own choice, with tutors providing guidance;
will learn to use online and library resources to search for information
from primary research articles and relay that information in the form of a
written report and a Powerpoint presentation to peers and academic tutors;
are all fundamental skills for scientific researchers, but are also
transferrable talents for many other career pathways
In year 3 the curriculum in Biotechnology is interdisciplinary. Courses consider both the fundamental science that has enabled the biotechnology industry to develop, and the applications of different biological systems.
A pre-requisite for all students intending to apply for a year’s industrial placement.
This course covers the skills necessary to complete placement applications by exploring CV preparation, writing covering letters, completing application forms, identification of your skill sets and good interview technique.
The course will prepare you for the workplace by making you aware of general employability skills and by helping you identify your own transferable skills.
This Biochemistry course focuses on the role of proteins in cells, tissues and organisms. It covers topics such as the role of proteins in catalysis of enzymatic reactions, in cell signalling, cell-cell interaction and cell shape and movement, and touches on the critical roles of selected proteins in human health. Teaching is delivered by a combination of lectures, workshops and practicals.
• This course covers many of the core technologies that are essential for advanced research in molecular medical sciences and will demonstrate how they have allowed us to push the boundaries of medicine beyond anything we could possibly have imagined just a few years ago• You will gain in-depth and focussed knowledge of core experimental approaches and technologies and their practical applications• Most especially, you will see how these cutting edge technologies are allowing us to develop treatments and deliver hope to those suffering from previously-incurable genetic disorders • (Hopefully), you will see the incredible future and opportunities this subject offers for the development of treatments for any number of unmet medical needs, and the potential benefits to humanity waiting to be tapped into (in your future careers!) • You will acquire core practical laboratory skills• This course will prepare you for advanced study of molecular medical sciences• Wider transferrable skills such as creativity, independent research, analytical thinking, problem-solving and advanced laboratory techniques are interwoven strands aimed at developing graduate attributes and employability
this course provides core information to prepare you for advanced studies in the areas of molecular microbiology and infectious diseases;
in depth knowledge will be provided for the advanced study of microbes and their impact on all areas of life and society;
you will participate in a practical that provides you with an insight into a real-life research project providing skills in experimental design, data analysis, practical laboratory skills and research publication;
wider transferrable skills including problem solving and data interpretation are aimed at developing graduate attributes and employability
this is a comprehensive course, providing an essential foundation for all advanced studies in Genetics, Chromosome Biology and Molecular Biology;
the principles of molecular genetics and population genetics will be covered, with an emphasis on their application to the understanding of human biology. The teaching material will integrate information arising from the recent explosion of genome sequence data, equipping students with the necessary skills to engage with this rapidly developing field;
a wide range of transferable skills are embedded within the course, including problem-solving, critical analysis of research materials, essay writing and subject-specific laboratory and computational skills;
an industrial placement allows students to experience workplace culture and makes them more effective employees following graduation;
placements vary considerably but in general terms, students are placed in an industrial, commercial or research environment where they obtain a breadth of practical experience to complement their degree programme;
students are employed by their host company and can expect to work a normal 40 hour week, possibly on a number of projects, over a full calendar year;
tutorial assistance from a member of the University academic staff is available via email and / or telephone throughout the year
The Honours year aims to explore in depth, specific aspects of biotechnology. An important feature is the ten-week research project, carried out in research laboratories at the University or in local research institutes.
Honours candidates are required to take both a two hour general examination (SM4901) and a three hour problem solving examination (SM4902) at the end of the Final Honours Year.
A course detailing how gut environmental factors, including anaerobiosis and pH, impact on the composition of the human colonic microbiota and virome
A course in which lecture material is supported by bioinformatics workshops using various online software packages which are primarily DNA sequence-based to study and profile complex microbial communities.
Contains a research literature based tutorial in which you are provided with research papers and prepare an essay.
Incorporates lectures detailing different mechanisms underlying the regulation of bacterial gene expression including different strategies for bacterial gene regulation and bacterial strategies that contributes to the spread of antibiotic resistance genes between bacteria.
This course provides an advanced insight into molecular events that ultimately lead to cancer. It covers the mechanisms that prevent cancer by for example ensuring genome stability, and how events such as viral infections can interfere with these mechanisms and promote cancer formation. In addition, the course provides insight into stem cell biology and its applications. Teaching will be delivered through a combination of lectures, workshops and tutorials.
the sequencing of the human genome, genome wide association studies (GWAS) and next generation sequencing have permitted an understanding of genetic variation and epigenetics in health and disease that would have been inconceivable 10 years ago;
this course will encourage student access to the latest advances in human molecular genetics and will highlight the availability of genomic information currently available and how this information was derived;
the course will permit a balanced understanding of the role of human genetic and epigenetic variation in the maintenance of health and disease and will examine the future of personalised medicine.
You will be taught using a variety of methods and styles and we continually seek to make the teaching engaging, exciting and responsive to the latest research in your subject area. The research we carry out in the School directly informs and guides our teaching, particularly in the final Honours year. Our commitment to teaching is recognised by the range of University of Aberdeen Student-led Teaching Awards given to staff from our School.
As a student, your learning is supported by MyAberdeen, our virtual learning environment from which you can access the lecture Powerpoint slides, online practice tests, links to related reading, and tutorial support material.
We make innovative use of 'educational voting' handsets in class, remote control 'clickers' that allow each and every student to electronically respond in class by anonymous vote to questions posed by the lecturer.
Your academic development is supported from year 1 through to year 5 by an assigned personal tutor, who acts as adviser and mentor throughout your University career.
Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:
coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
written examinations at the end of each course.
The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.
Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.
Why Study Biotechnology (Applied Molecular Biology)?
You will spend the fourth year of your degree in paid employment and graduate after five years with an MSci (an undergraduate Masters degree) instead of a BSc.
You will gain a broad base of knowledge regarding biotechnology at the molecular and cellular levels.
First-class courses in Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology.
Innovative and flexible teaching allowing you the student to follow your particular interests.
The University has a strong reputation in spinning out biotechnology start-up companies. For instance, there are over 30 patents worldwide pending or granted for their immunisation technology developed from shark immune systems.
You will have opportunities for gaining (paid) experience in industry.
Training is provided in both specialist and employment-related skills.
SQA Highers- AAAB* A Levels- ABB* IB- 34 points, 6 at HL* ILC- 5H with 4 at H2 and 1 at H3, with H2 and H3 from Chemistry and another Science or Mathematics subject, OR AAABB including AB from Chemistry and another Science or Mathematics subject. The grading within band B must be B2 or above.*
*Including AB in two Science or Mathematics subjects.
Applicants who achieve AAAB or better over S4 and S5 are likely to be made an offer of admission. This may be unconditional or it may be conditional, dependent upon academic profile. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers may be required.
Highers at AB from two Science or Maths subjects required.
A minimum of 3 A Levels at ABB.
A levels at AB from two Science or Mathematics subjects.
A minimum of 34 points. 6 points at HL from two Science or Mathematics subjects.
Irish Leaving Certificate:
Five subjects at Higher, with 4 at H2 and 1 at H3. H2 from two Science or Mathematics subjects.
The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.
English Language Requirements
To study for an Undergraduate 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:
You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.
Tuition Fees for 2023/24 Academic Year
EU / International students
Tuition Fees for 2023/24 Academic Year
Tuition Fees for 2023/24 Academic Year
Scholarships and Funding
Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.
A wide variety of career opportunities are available to Biotechnologists. Many of our graduates follow their undergraduate degree with PhD research in a wide range of research laboratories, in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in the UK and overseas. Others move directly in to positions in hospital research, diagnostic laboratories and research institutes. Other major employers of Biotechnology graduates include the scientific civil service, and the food and fermentation industries.
Our degree programmes are built to enhance your employability and three flagship options give our degrees a distinctively different flavour from many others. All our degrees offer:
A 10-week full time research project in the final year which will provide you with valuable experience of working in a medical science research environment
Highly relevant and sought after experience in bio-business aimed at giving you an understanding of the commercialisation of scientific ideas and an opportunity to learn about the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries
Useful Fact about this Degree
Biomedical scientists in Aberdeen have made major medical advances, including the discovery of Insulin (Nobel Prize) and the discovery of Endorphins with improved quality of life for people globally
Top 20 UK University
The University of Aberdeen is ranked 12th in the UK in the Guardian University Guide 2024 and 19th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023
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.
With a focus on developing future effective therapies, the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) houses nearly 400 researchers and support staff working on cutting-edge biomedical subjects aimed at understanding the human body and its response to infection and disease.
We have a dedicated Medical Library located on the Foresterhill Health Campus as well as the fantastic facilities in the Sir Duncan Rice Library at King’s College.
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.
A dedicated Medical Library on the Foresterhill Health Campus and the fantastic facilities in the Sir Duncan Rice Library at King’s College, are complemented by online access to the key medical and health sciences journals and textbooks.
Science Teaching Hub
Our state-of-the-art Science Teaching Hub provides students with a digitally focussed environment including advanced analytical tools, research-grade equipment and flexible laboratory spaces.
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Get in Touch
Student Recruitment & Admissions University of Aberdeen University Office Regent Walk Aberdeen AB24 3FX