Select your course options:
Why choose the School of Life Sciences
Our Life Sciences Liaison Board draws in professionals from across the industry including Glaxo Smith Kline, Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and Cellmark Forensics
Our academics are involved in real-world research, leading the way in areas such as COVID-19 testing technology, autoimmune disease, obesity, cancer pathways and global food security
We work with leading employers including Glaxo Smith Kline, Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Nelson’s Natural Healthcare and Cellmark
About the course
This course gives you an advanced understanding of molecular and computational biologies as well as the microbiological techniques at the forefront of technological developments in the field. It opens the door to a career in the biotechnology and allied industries.
Modern biotechnology is a hugely complex subject drawing from a range of fields and technologies. On this course you learn the latest new technologies in key areas; gain insights into how they are used in the global biotechnology industry; and discover how microbes can be used on an industrial scale to benefit humankind.
You also hone your research skills with a laboratory-based project in one of five taught areas: molecular biology; computational biology; applied microbiology; analytical biology; and biomaterials.
Why choose this course?
- Study the latest developments in applied microbiology and computational biology in high-quality broad-based classes taught by dedicated staff with research experience in specialist subject areas
- Explore the latest technologies in molecular biology and the industrial processes that are used to exploit microbes for specific products and applications
- Develop the ability to use information from relevant sources and independently and critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship
- Gain the ability to use assured accurate and fluent language to present your work and learn to develop graphs and images that clearly illustrate complex points
- Benefit from a wide knowledge base and the key transferable skills that will give you the opportunity to take your career to new heights
- Take the part-time pathway option to better fit study around your work and family commitments
What will you study?
Analytical methods underpin biotechnology since without measurement there can be little knowledge or understanding. This unit will provide you with a perspective on the use of analytical methods within the disciplines of Biotechnology. It will equip you with the necessary knowledge and techniques to incorporate analytical methods practise into Biotechnology application.
- The unit aims to address fundamental concepts of metrology in a biotechnology context.
- To consider the range of strategies for separation, detection and measurement of components in complex mixtures.
- Subject knowledge and understanding are complemented with the development of skills in the objective and critical interpretation of information sources together with effective communication of information and ideas.
The field of microbiology has from the outset been motivated by its application. Even before such organisms were isolated and understood, their products were exploited by industries, such as food, agriculture and medicine. Today, microorganisms continue to provide us with a range of novel products and applications in diverse biotechnology contexts.
The unit aims to equip you with the knowledge required to underpin studies in applied microbiology. Consider examples of how microorganisms have been applied to meet the needs of diverse industries. Analyse and evaluate how microorganisms may be modified to enhance their utility in applications. To reflect on the potential of microorganisms to meet the needs of society and deliver economic and health benefits. To equip you with the practical skills required to manipulate microorganisms, and appropriately manage health and safety considerations related to such activity. Enable you to appraise scientific literature and discussions related to applied microbiology and to prepare you to confidently contribute to these developments.
Sound understanding of applied microbiology and good practical skills in related areas are critically important attributes that will enable you to seek employment and/or continue further studies and research to contribute to biotechnology innovations for sustainable development.
Biotechnology Research Project
Independent research is a critical part of any master’s degree and the part that most students find the most satisfying as it is an opportunity to undertake an extended period of personal research and present it in a professional format.
Advances in molecular biology are central to the development of biotechnology. In this unit you will learn how the synthesis and manipulation of recombinant DNA has led to this revolution in industrial scale biological science. Emphasis will be given to the methodological basis of these techniques and their historical development. The relationship to recombinant protein synthesis, as well as the development of new genetically modified organisms, will be discussed. The role of genetically modified prokaryotes and eukaryotes will be studied and the production of economically important strains and livestock will provide a focus for discussion.
The aims of this unit are to:
- Introduce the concepts and principles of molecular biology and explore its applications for use in biotechnology.
- Present the basis of methods that underpin recombinant DNA synthesis and analysis.
- Describe the basis upon which gene expression can be manipulated in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
- Explore the potentials of directed mutagenesis in cDNA and its application to protein engineering.
- Introduce and evaluate the use of nucleic acids as therapeutic agents.
- Present the spectrum of diagnostic methods that are based on DNA analysis.
- Explore the creation and analysis of clonal, transgenic, knock-out and knock-in animals.
- To introduce the concepts and principles related to the development and application of biomaterials to the treatment of human disease and injury.
- Overview the biological mechanisms and the clinical problems associated with immunological rejection.
- Critically evaluate the key mechanisms involved in degradation of biomaterials in vivo.
- Gain a detailed understanding of the clinical application of biomaterials.
- Understand the health issues associated with insertion and removal of implants and devices.
- Compare and contrast the issues associated with development of artificial organs, plastic surgery and bone reconstructions.
Computational And Systems Biology
This unit will provide you with a perspective on the use of computational biology within Biotechnology. It will equip you with the necessary knowledge and techniques to incorporate computational biology practise into your future research.
To equip you with an understanding of problems associated with biological data.
To develop a detailed understanding of protein structure and function.
To demonstrate via the techniques of Systems Biology that cellular pathways can be treated as network systems.
To show how computational methods can be used in the formulation and analysis of high-throughput experiments.
To gain expertise in the use of computer software packages commonly used in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology.
To gain expertise in selective reading of the objective and critical interpretation of information resources and in the written presentation of a hypothesis and the underlying evidence.
How will you be assessed?
Throughout course delivery workshops and tutorials are used to support the development of academic skills alongside the learning and the assessment process. All in-course assessments are supported by timetabled interactive tutorial sessions with formative assessment tasks as appropriate. In addition assessments that are based around practical work will involve a briefing before and a session after the laboratory work to explain further the expectations of the assessment and support specific tasks such as data analysis. Examinations are supported by timetabled revision sessions and by workshop sessions covering examples of past examinations and the expectations of examination questions at each level.
To assist our learners assignment briefs a uniform set of information and a consistent set of assessment criteria across the course. At the start of each level students are given introductory session(s) that set out the expectations for each year. For entry points several sessions are used to provide guidance and support to students joining the University. These provide details of support for the development of academic skills and learning from the School the Study Hub and initiatives such as peer-assisted learning (PASS scheme). For students progressing between levels introductory sessions are also provided to ensure the students are aware of the change in expectations of learning and assessment. This will flag areas such as expectations for increased selfdirected learning critical thinking and analysis that are expected as students go through the learning process.
A key aim for the school is the integration of transferable skills within learning and assessment to enhance employability. Our courses build awareness of business applications of knowledge with assessments that develop practical ideas and employability. This is supported by the University's Careers and Employability service throughout the course. Students who commit academic offences due to a lack of clear understanding of academic integrity are further supported by being invited to attend academic practice guidance (APG) meetings with course staff to discuss the issues and to refer them to the university academic integrity resource (AIR) to encourage them to develop good academic skills.
This course will support you to seek a career in the biotechnology industries; pharmaceutical and food companies; academic institutions; health-related industries including the NHS; and other public-sector organisations.