Postgraduate study

Biotechnology MSc, PgDip

Awards: MSc, PgDip

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Biotechnology

Changing demographics and growing demand for food, fuel and agricultural and environmental sustainability are among the key challenges the world faces today.

In this MSc you will learn research and development skills to enable the creation of new products and services. You will investigate the economic basis for current biotechnology structures and areas of future demand, including the global pharmaceutical industry and carbon sequestration.

You will learn how technology can be applied to solve pressing real-world biological problems and gain the skills and expertise needed for future developments in biotechnology.

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project or industrial placement, leading to a dissertation.

Compulsory courses

All students must take the following:

  • Economics and Innovation in the Biotechnology Industry
  • Intelligent Agriculture
  • Research Project Proposal
  • MSc Dissertation (Biotechnology)

Compulsory Courses - Options

In addition to the above compulsory courses, all students will need to choose 10 additional credits from this list of compulsory courses:

  • Principles of Industrial Biotechnology
  • Metagenomic Analysis of Microbial Communities

Optional courses: *

Students may choose 80 further credits from the following list: (each semester students should take 60 credits)

  • Applications of Synthetic Biology
  • Biobusiness
  • Biochemistry A & B
  • Bioinformatics Programming & System Management
  • Drug Discovery
  • Commercial Aspects of Drug Discovery
  • Enzymology and Biological Production
  • Gene Expression and Microbial Regulation
  • Industry & Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology
  • Introduction to Bioinformatics for the Life Sciences
  • Molecular Modelling and Database Mining
  • Origins of Synthetic Biology
  • Practical Skills in Biochemistry A & B
  • Programming for the Life Sciences
  • Social Dimensions of Systems and Synthetic Biology
  • Tools for Synthetic Biology
  • Vaccines and Molecular Therapies

Research and laboratory work

There will be a considerable practical element to the programme. You will work in a biotechnology laboratory and learn how experimental technology is designed and operated.

Industrial placement

Your dissertation can be based on a laboratory-based project or an industrial placement. You can work with employers in the thriving Scottish biotechnology sector in areas such as multiple sclerosis research (Aquila BioMedical), vaccines research (BigDNA) or biorecovery and bioregeneration (Recyclatec).

*(Revised 25 July to update list of optional courses.)

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScBiotechnology1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
PgDipBiotechnology9 MonthsFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

The programme will open up a wide variety of career opportunities, ranging from sales and marketing, to research and development, to manufacturing and quality control and assurance.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, with a strong background in biotechnology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, plant sciences or related sciences.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section

  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScBiotechnology1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
PgDipBiotechnology9 MonthsFull-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Biology Teaching Organisation
  • School of Biological Sciences
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Biology Teaching Organisation
  • School of Biological Sciences
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD