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MSci Molecular Biology at The University of Manchester
MSci Molecular Biology
Gain invaluable research skills and experience through our four-year course and achieve an undergraduate master's award alongside your BSc.

This course may be available through clearing

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MSci Molecular Biology / Course details

Year of entry: 2019

Course description

Our MSci Molecular Biology course will enable you to achieve an integrated master's degree while you study for a BSc, giving you significant research experience that will be invaluable for a PhD and a career in research.

You will study the structure and function of biologically important molecules, giving you a range of theoretical knowledge and practical lab skills.

The course covers DNA, RNA and proteins and the molecular events that govern cell function while exploring the relevant aspects of biochemistry, genetics and cell biology.

You will also find out how large genome projects have helped us to begin to understand the molecular basis of illnesses and use genetic manipulation in biotechnology to make valuable products including blood clotting factors, insulin and vaccines.

In Year 4, you will undertake a major research project in one of the University's more than 200 research labs to achieve your undergraduate master's award.

Our course has Advanced Accreditation from the Royal Society of Biology , which recognises academic excellence in the biosciences and highlights degrees that educate the research and development leaders and innovators of the future.

Special features

Foundation year available

You can prepare for the full degree course if you do not have the appropriate qualifications for direct entry by undertaking our foundation course first.

Flexibility to transfer between courses

You can transfer between most of our biological sciences degree courses at the end of your first year or, in some cases, later. However, you can only transfer onto this course if you have completed the required Chemistry units in Year 1.

Teaching and learning

You will benefit from a wide range of teaching and learning methods that suit the content and aims of each course unit.

These range from lectures and tutorials to practicals and research projects.

Find out more about how you will learn and see a typical Year 1 timetable on our teaching and learning page.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment methods vary widely to suit the nature of the course unit and each level of study. 

  • Lecture units are usually assessed by written exam (multiple choice or essay-based), which are held at the end of an academic semester in either January or May/June.
  • Field courses are usually assessed via oral and written presentations, group work and/or projects.
  • Practical units are usually assessed by experimental report and/or short written assignment and/or written exam.
  • The proportion of independent study assignments increases during each year of study.

Year 1

Lecture units are usually assessed by e-learning activities during the unit and multiple choice exams at the end of the semester. 

If you wish to continue on the MSci, you must normally obtain a mean mark of at least 60% in Year 1.

Year 1 contributes 6% to your overall degree mark.

Year 2

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam.

Year 2 contributes 19% to your overall degree mark.

Year 3

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam.

You will also take two 'honours' papers and examinations comprising essays and data-handling problems.

The three MSci-specific units are assessed through different means such as e-learning, reports and poster and oral presentations.

Year 3 contributes 37.5% to your overall degree mark. To continue on to the final year of the MSci course, you must obtain a mean mark of 60% in Year 3.

Students who fail to meet this grade will graduate with a three-year BSc degree.

Year 4

The whole year is dedicated to the research project assessed through a scientific talk, written abstract, poster presentation and a report in the format of a journal. There will also be a project performance mark.

Course unit details

This course is modular. You will study compulsory course units and choose some optional units.

Most units are assigned 10 credits and you will take 120 credits each year.

Course content for year 1

You will gain a broad introduction to biological sciences, covering key concepts such as:

  • basic molecular biology
  • biochemistry
  • genetics
  • microbiology.

You will also study topics in chemistry that are relevant to biology.

Year 1 also provides an introduction to the essential data handling and laboratory skills required for all biological scientists.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Academic Tutorials Year 1 BIOL10000 10 Mandatory
Biochemistry BIOL10212 10 Mandatory
Molecular Biology BIOL10221 10 Mandatory
From Molecules to Cells BIOL10232 10 Mandatory
Introduction to Laboratory Science BIOL10401 10 Mandatory
Introduction to Experimental Biology - Molecular & Cellular Biology BIOL10412 10 Mandatory
Genes, Evolution and Development BIOL10521 10 Mandatory
Microbes, Man and the Environment BIOL10532 10 Mandatory
Writing and Referencing Skills (online unit) BIOL10741 0 Mandatory
Chemistry for Bioscientists 1 CHEM10021 10 Mandatory
Chemistry for Bioscientists 2 CHEM10022 10 Mandatory
A History of Biology in 20 Objects BIOL10381 10 Optional
Biodiversity BIOL10511 10 Optional
Body Systems BIOL10811 10 Optional
Drugs: From Molecules to Man BIOL10822 10 Optional
Excitable Cells BIOL10832 10 Optional
Science & the Modern World HSTM10221 10 Optional
Bodies in History: An introduction to the History of Medicine HSTM10272 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 18 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

You will continue your studies in greater depth and begin to specialise. You will also undertake a dissertation.

In the Research Skills unit, you have the opportunity to carry out techniques that are widely used in current biological science research.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Academic Tutorials Year 2 BIOL20000 10 Mandatory
Molecular Biology RSM BIOL20352 10 Mandatory
Molecular and Cellular Biology EDM BIOL21041 10 Mandatory
Dissertation BIOL21090 10 Mandatory
Genome Maintenance & Regulation BIOL21101 10 Mandatory
Proteins BIOL21111 10 Mandatory
The Dynamic Cell BIOL21121 10 Mandatory
Cell Metabolism & Metabolic Control BIOL21132 10 Mandatory
`Omic Technologies & Resources BIOL21152 10 Mandatory
Cell Membrane Structure & Function BIOL21141 10 Optional
Principles of Developmental Biology BIOL21172 10 Optional
Prokaryotic Microbiology BIOL21181 10 Optional
Principles of Infectious Disease BIOL21192 10 Optional
Plants for the Future BIOL21202 10 Optional
Fundamentals of Evolutionary Biology BIOL21232 10 Optional
Immunology BIOL21242 10 Optional
Parasitology BIOL21252 10 Optional
Endocrinology BIOL21261 10 Optional
Gut and Renal Human Physiology BIOL21272 10 Optional
Clinical Drug Development BIOL21302 10 Optional
Membrane Excitability: Ion Channels & Transporters in Action BIOL21321 10 Optional
Molecules and Cells in Human Disease BIOL21351 10 Optional
Organismal Genetics BIOL21371 10 Optional
Introduction to Virology BIOL21381 10 Optional
Chemistry of Biomolecules CHEM21162 10 Optional
From Cholera to Aids: A Global History of Epidemics HSTM20031 10 Optional
British Sign Language ULBS20011 10 Optional
British Sign Language - semester two ULBS20012 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 28 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

You will take two papers and six lecture units specific to molecular biology. 

You will prepare for the papers through tutorials with current BSc students.

The remaining 40 credits will come from the following MSci units:

  • Research Project Proposals (10 credits)
  • Bioinformatics Tools and Resources (10 credits)
  • Experimental Skills (20 credits)

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Academic Tutorials Year 3 BIOL30000 0 Mandatory
MSci Research Project Proposal BIOL33000 10 Mandatory
MSci Bioinformatics Tools and Resources BIOL33011 10 Mandatory
MSci Experimental Skills Module BIOL33012 20 Mandatory
Computational Approaches to Biology BIOL33021 10 Mandatory
Post-Genome Biology (L) BIOL31301 10 Optional
Protein Assembly, Dynamics & Function (E) BIOL31311 10 Optional
Glycobiology: Glycan Function in Health & Disease (E) BIOL31321 10 Optional
Biochemical Basis of Disease (E) BIOL31332 10 Optional
Macromolecular Recognition in Biological Systems (L) BIOL31341 10 Optional
Current Topics in Microbiology (E) BIOL31351 10 Optional
Advanced Immunology (E) BIOL31371 10 Optional
Gene Regulation & Disease (E) BIOL31381 10 Optional
Evolution of Genes, Genomes & Systems (E) BIOL31391 10 Optional
Human Genetics & Evolution (E) BIOL31402 10 Optional
Protein Sorting (L) BIOL31411 10 Optional
Cell Signalling (E) BIOL31441 10 Optional
Green Biotechnology (E) BIOL31501 10 Optional
Bioethics: Contemporary Issues in Science & Biomedicine (E) BIOL31522 10 Optional
Advanced Developmental Biology (E) BIOL31642 10 Optional
Molecular Biology of Cancer (E) BIOL31742 10 Optional
Stem Cells (L) BIOL31751 10 Optional
Cell Adhesion (L) BIOL31771 10 Optional
Immune Response & Disease (E) BIOL31802 10 Optional
Chemistry of Biological Processes (E) CHEM31812 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 25 course units for year 3

Course content for year 4

You will undertake a 120-credit research project over a period of six to seven months in research laboratories or a field station run by University staff to complete the work needed for your MSci award.

Course units for year 4

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
MSci Research Project BIOL40010 120 Mandatory

What our students say

Find out more about what it's like to study at Manchester on the  Biology, Medicine and Health Student Blog .

Facilities

Learning facilities

Our modern teaching labs are equipped for a range of biological and biomedical techniques. The following are just a few of the techniques you could undertake during your degree:

  • polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • DNA sequencing
  • gel electrophoresis
  • spectrophotometry
  • dissection and histology
  • electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiography (ECG)
  • immunofluorescence microscopy.

Our computing facilities include access to over 200 PCs in dedicated clusters and e-learning tools including online lecture notes, discussion boards, lecture podcasts and quizzes.

You will also have access to the University's other facilities for undergraduate students .

Research facilities

As a final year student, you have the opportunity to undertake a project in the labs of our world-class bioscience researchers.

To support our research, we have extensive  research facilities equipped with high-quality technology.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk