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MSci Biotechnology / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course description

Our MSci Biotechnology 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 learn about the science behind biotechnology while also looking at how to succeed in a career in the industry.

The course explores how new start-up biotechnology companies are created, as well as how to assess the market potential of products and processes, create business plans and raise money from venture capitalists.

Our group enterprise projects, which involve close collaboration with entrepreneurs, provide a great opportunity for you to stand out from other graduates.

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.

This course is designed to produce graduates who have a solid understanding of science, technology and business management, along with the entrepreneurial skills required to exploit technological advances within a competitive environment.

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

Work with entrepreneurs

Undertake a group enterprise project involving collaboration with entrepreneurs to develop a business plan for a real life sciences product or service.

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.

Teaching and learning

Teaching and learning will be delivered using a variety of methods. A typical week in your first year of study will comprise approx. 30 hours of activity, of which approximately 15 hours will be timetabled study, such as interactive/active learning lectures, videos, tutorial sessions, laboratory classes and 15 hours will be independent or self-directed study.

As you progress through the course an increasing emphasis will be placed on independent study, and this reflects you applying your knowledge and skills in individual projects. 

The course contains strong practical elements. This commences in year 1 with 'Introduction to laboratory science' (semester 1) and 'Introduction to experimental biology' (semester 2) which will enable you to develop basic experimental and data analysis skills.

In year 2, the Experimental Design modules (semester 1) will enable you to develop experimental skills, which are closely aligned to your degree programme. In Semester 2 you will take an intensive, degree specific Research Skills Module (RSM) module where you will have the opportunity to learn key experimental skills and design and analyse simple experiments relevant to your degree.

Students studying Organismal degrees, such as Biology, have the opportunity to take a field course instead of a laboratory based practical unit in Semester 2. For students taking BSc (Hons) Zoology a field course is a compulsory component of both year 1 and year 2.

In year 3, BSc (Hons) students carry out an independent research project. This can involve laboratory or field based research or you can opt to conduct a non- laboratory based project, such as education, business and science media projects. All of these projects contain a research element and will require you to both generate and statistically analyse data.

For the MSci programmes, in year 3, a suite of Experimental Skill modules tailored to groups of degree programmes enables training in more complex experimental skills to take place in preparation for the 7-month MSci research project in year 4.

The course is assessed by a variety of methods, each appropriate to the topic being assessed. These methods include coursework exercises, written examinations, online examinations, presentations and practical demonstrations. You will also have many opportunities to self-assess your progress using online quizzes and tutorial exercises.

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.

Year 2

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam.

Year 3

Lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exam. Students also take two 'honours' papers: degree programme-specific examinations comprising essays and data-handling problems. On the MSci programme, students take several MSci specific courses, including a group-based practical unit, a literature review and a written research proposal.

Year 4

The final year is based on a 7-month research project (120 credits), carried out in a research laboratory or fieldstation run by University staff. The project is assessed by a written assignment, a scientific talk, a written report, a poster and presentation and your performance during the project. In order to progress on the MSci degree, you must fulfil certain progression criteria. Students that do not meet these criteria are transferred to the 3-year BSc.

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:

  • biochemistry
  • genetics
  • microbiology
  • pharmacology
  • molecular biology

In addition, you will study fundamental concepts of management and entrepreneurial skills.

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
Microbes, Humankind and the Environment BIOL10532 10 Mandatory
Writing and Referencing Skills (online unit) BIOL10741 0 Mandatory
Exploring Enterprise MCEL10001 10 Mandatory
Entrepreneurial Skills MCEL10002 10 Mandatory
History of Biology BIOL10381 10 Optional
Biodiversity BIOL10511 10 Optional
Genes, Evolution and Development BIOL10521 10 Optional
Body Systems BIOL10811 10 Optional
Drugs: From Molecules to Man BIOL10822 10 Optional
Excitable Cells: the Foundations of Neuroscience BIOL10832 10 Optional
Chemistry for Bioscientists 1 CHEM10021 10 Optional
Chemistry for Bioscientists 2 CHEM10022 10 Optional
Fundamentals of Chemistry CHEM10111 10 Optional
Science & the Modern World HSTM10221 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 20 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 an extended essay on a subject-specific topic.

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 and Cellular Biology EDM BIOL21041 10 Mandatory
Genome Maintenance & Regulation BIOL21101 10 Mandatory
`Omic Technologies & Resources BIOL21152 10 Mandatory
Fundamentals of Bacteriology BIOL21181 10 Mandatory
Plants for the Future BIOL21202 10 Mandatory
Tools and Techniques for Enterprise MCEL30001 10 Mandatory
Proteins BIOL21111 10 Optional
The Dynamic Cell BIOL21121 10 Optional
Cell Metabolism & Metabolic Control BIOL21132 10 Optional
Cell Membrane Structure & Function BIOL21141 10 Optional
Principles of Developmental Biology BIOL21172 10 Optional
Principles of Infectious Disease BIOL21192 10 Optional
Immunology BIOL21242 10 Optional
Parasitology BIOL21252 10 Optional
Clinical Drug Development BIOL21302 10 Optional
Molecules and Cells in Human Disease BIOL21351 10 Optional
Disease in Nature BIOL21442 10 Optional
Chemistry of Biomolecules CHEM21162 10 Optional
Advanced Technology Enterprise MCEL30012 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 20 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

In Year 3, you will take a number of mandatory and optional lecture units as specified by your degree programme.

Year 3 lecture units are usually assessed by essay-based exams. Students also take two 'honours' papers: degree programme-specific examinations comprising essays and data-handling problems. You will prepare for these papers through tutorials with current BSc students.

You will undertake a group-based project (the MSci Experimental Skills Module), and begin working with your MSci supervisor to write a Literature Review and Project Proposal that will form the basis of your MSci project in Year 4. You will also take at least one of the following special MSci (10 credit) units:

  • Bioinformatics Tools and Resources
  • Computational Approaches to Biology
  • Reproducible Data Science

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
Post-Genome Biology (L) BIOL31301 10 Mandatory
Green Biotechnology (E) BIOL31501 10 Mandatory
MSci Project Literature Review and Research Proposal BIOL33000 10 Mandatory
MSci Experimental Skills Module BIOL33012 20 Mandatory
Biotechnology - Essay Paper BIOL40522 10 Mandatory
Current Topics in Microbiology (E) BIOL31351 10 Optional
Gene Regulation & Disease (E) BIOL31381 10 Optional
Bioethics: Contemporary Issues in Science & Biomedicine (E) BIOL31522 10 Optional
Toxins, Toxicants & Toxicity (E) BIOL31602 10 Optional
Molecular Biology of Cancer (E) BIOL31742 10 Optional
Stem Cells (L) BIOL31751 10 Optional
Role of Diagnostics in Medicine BIOL31832 10 Optional
MSci Bioinformatics Tools and Resources BIOL33011 10 Optional
Computational Approaches to Biology BIOL33021 10 Optional
MSci Reproducible Data Science BIOL33031 10 Optional
Chemistry of Biological Processes (E) CHEM31812 10 Optional
Enterprise Feasibility MCEL30052 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 18 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

Scholarships and bursaries

A small number of scholarships may be available to overseas applicants. Details will be made available once confirmed.

What our students say

Find out 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