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School - School of Environment & Life Sciences

Subject area - Biomedical Science

Start Date(s): September; January


MSc (one year full-time or up to three years part-time)

Fees 2018-19:

2019-20 fees will be displayed shortly.

Part-time - £1,260 per 30 credit module

UK - £7,560

International - £13,860

In Brief:

  • This MSc will give you the opportunity to engage with key employers and equip you with the skills and knowledge to be attractive to prospective employers in the future.
  • Biotechnology is a priority growth area in the UK (particularly the North West) as well as a globally important industry
  • Through this MSc you will acquire the skills needed to address the global challenges of population growth, increased life expectancy, antibiotic resistance, sustainable agriculture and the demand for food and fuel.
  • Part-time study option
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

The field of biotechnology has been revolutionised in the past ten years by advances in molecular biology, genome sequencing and large scale-omics profiling (including proteomics) as well as the ability to manipulate genomes via genetic modification and genome editing tools. 

This programme reflects this by directly teaching core Molecular Biology and Proteomics (MBP) and a Genomics module, which further incorporates training in computational science, which is a current high demand skill for graduates. 

The modules Medical Biotechnology, Novel Therapeutics and Green Biotechnology detail how genetic modification and genome editing contribute to both medical and commercial research while providing students with training in the key practical techniques required to work in these areas. The genome editing technology known as CRISPR (for clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeat) has emerged as a disruptor in the life sciences realm. It has even been called the “discovery of the century” and CRISPR provides the real possibility of adjusting the genome to achieve desired goals: elimination of genetic diseases, eradication of pathogens, precision engineering of crops, thus focusing on this technology in two specialist modules ensures that the programme is at the forefront of research.

The syllabus is designed to develop the “analytical techniques and problem-solving skills” that you will need for postgraduate-level employment in both the biotechnology sector but also to provide access to transferable skills relevant to a great variety of professional careers.

Biomedical Research at the University of Salford

Course Details      

This module will provide you with the key skills and knowledge to pursue academic research at the postgraduate and professional level.  You will gain knowledge and understanding of the current ‘big issues’ in the life sciences and will understand how ethics and bioethics can enhance critical thinking in often controversial subject areas.                  
You will develop a comprehensive conceptual understanding of molecular biology and proteomics and their uses in biotechnology along with a practical knowledge of bioinformatics. Crucially you will develop skills in the application of laboratory techniques in the field of molecular biology.                  
You will build a systematic understanding of whole genome sequencing technologies and the field of genomics  and develop a general understanding of sequence assembly, annotation and analyses using different types of sequence data. The module will demonstrate a range of medical applications of genomics, and genetics counselling, and describe future directions of the field, including employment opportunities and the skills required for research in this field.                  
You will develop an understanding of the molecular and cellular biology of age-related pathologies such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and dementia as well as a comprehensive conceptual and practical understanding of molecular medicine driven treatment strategies. You will have the opportunity to use the acquired theoretical and practical knowledge for designing creative and innovative solution to “real world” problems applicable to translational molecular medicine.                  

Semester 2      

This module will enable you to design, plan and execute a programme of research and to apply appropriate analysis of research results, it has a strong focus on acquiring laboratory skills prior to undertaking the final research project module and as such will develop your practical skills beyond that of a standard MSc programme. It will provide opportunities for you to develop essential research skills in the discipline and allow you to undertake project work broadly aligned to the focus of your dissertation.                    
You will develop a systematic understanding of how molecular biology and genomics (green biotechnology) contribute to the agricultural (food and fuel) industry and build a comprehensive understanding of both technical approaches and real world applications of the technology. Your critical  thinking will be enhanced and challenged through seminars/debate on this often controversial area and you will develop practical skills in the application of –omics laboratory techniques to the field of green biotechnology.                  
You will build a systematic understanding of how biotechnology can contribute to medical advances (focusing on personalised medical approaches, stem cells, regenerative medicine and genome editing technologies) and develop a conceptual understanding of how the challenge of antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics is being addressed. You will gain practical knowledge in the application of laboratory techniques in the field of medical biotechnology.           
This module provides the opportunity for you to use research skills acquired in the applied context of ‘real world’ project work in a variety of professional settings (companies, charities etc) and develop the skills necessary for successful delivery of project outcomes. You will design, plan and execute a programme of research through active enquiry and to apply appropriate analysis of research results.                  

Semester 3      

Following successful completion of Semesters 1 and 2, you will undertake a laboratory-based research project for a minimum of four months. Set projects are available but you are welcome to propose your own project, providing you choose a supervisor and discuss the project with them.                        

Examples of staff research interests and potential projects:                  

  • Genomics, analysis of microbial genomes (including clinically relevant studies)                
  • Genomics, analysis of plant genomes                
  • Genome editing (CRISPR/Cas)                
  • Plant biotechnology (genetic modification)*Biofuels and enzyme discovery                
  • Cancer Studies: DNA repair mechanisms, protein - protein interactions                
  • Cancer Studies: glycobiology, anticancer drugs                
  • Parasitology and Diseases: microbiology, bacteriology, microbial pathogenicity, MRSA, antibiotics, antimicrobials        
  • Synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry: free radical chemistry, asymmetric synthesis of anticancer agents                
  • Development of spectrometry-based techniques to measure biomarkers of DNA, protein and lipid damage and DNA repair                
  • Pharmacology: biological evaluation of novel anticancer agents                
  • Nanotechnology, medical and biosensor applications
  • Entry Requirements

    Applicants should possess at least a UK lower second class honours degree (2:2) or equivalent in bioscience, biochemistry, pharmacy medicine or related subject.

    Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

    We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

    The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

    Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

    English Language Requirements

    International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

    Suitable For

    This course is suitable for UK and international graduates who wish to gain knowledge in the emerging fields of biotechnology, and acquire the skills necessary for entering employment or those who wish to pursue a research career in the growing biotechnology sectors such as biomedicine, genomics, green biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry.

    Applicant profile

    This course is ideal for those who are interested in Biology, Biotechnology and Biochemistry and are motivated by experimental science.

    Fees 2019-20

    Fees for entry in 2019 will be displayed shortly.

    Fees 2018-19

    Type of StudyFee
    Part-time£1,260 per 30 credit module
    Full-time International£13,860

    Additional costs

    • Field courses - a non refundable deposit of £25 is charged for all residential field courses 
    • Field trips - students will not be charged for field (day) trips but are expected to provide their own refreshments.

    You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

    Scholarships and Bursaries

    For more information please see our funding section


    Teaching, learning and assessment are balanced and progressive to facilitate and encourage increasing your independence and self-responsibility for learning during advancement through the programme. The multidisciplinary nature of the programme will be conveyed through cross-referencing of subject content to ensure integrated learning. An overarching strategy for learning and teaching at the University of Salford is that of co-creation of knowledge. You are encouraged to see yourself as producers of knowledge and collaborators in your learning experience.

    You are encouraged to engage in: Learning Discovery, Technology Enabled Learning, Research and Evaluation, and Knowledge Creation. These principles are embedded into the teaching curriculum.

    This programme offers you an opportunity to undertake intensive study in eight core 15 credit modules that focus on several highly relevant topics in the field such as molecular biology, proteomics, genomics, medical biotechnology, novel therapeutics and green (plant) biotechnology. These modules provide a springboard for an independent 60-credit research project. The dissertation stage provides you with the opportunity to produce a robust scientific argument, to formulate and test hypotheses and to assess contrasting scientific theories. This dual approach consolidates crucial skills whilst offering the flexibility to pursue a semi-independent research agenda.

    As well as obtaining theoretical and practical skills from taught components and practical experience of cutting-edge techniques during the research project, you will improve your autonomous problem-solving and decision-making skills. Three 15-credit modules focus on advanced scholarship, advanced research and professional skills. These modules aim to develop your communication skills, analytical ability, confidence in critical evaluation, and your competence in interpreting data in a bioscience context. The professional practice module will provide opportunities for you to use research skills acquired in the applied context of ‘real-world’ project work in a variety of professional settings and develop the skills necessary for successful delivery of project outcomes.

    Postgraduate Scholarship Skills (15 credits)

    Professional report – 3500 words

    Molecular Biology and Proteomics (15 credits)

    Exam 100% 2 h. To be linked to an analysis of the lab classes

    Genomics (15 credits)

    Portfolio: a. Group Poster presentation b. Individual reflective essay, peer-review (1,000 words)

    Novel Therapeutics (15 credits)

    Project portfolio (3500 words) (a) writing a scientific article (60%) (b) PBL sessions (40%)

    Research Design and Delivery (15 credits)

    Individual presentation – developing a discipline-specific programme of research 100% (15 mins max)

    Green Biotechnology (15 credits)

    Coursework Portfolio (a) media communication (5-10 min) (b) lab report  (3000 words)

    Medical Biotechnology (15 credits)

    Exam 100% - 2 hours. To be linked to an analysis of the lab classes

    Professional Practice (15 credits)

    Project portfolio – group report, poster, reflective commentary - 10,000 words (group)

    Research project (60 credits)

    a. Presentation 10 min (25%) b. Dissertation 11,000 words 75%


    Assessment strategies in this programme are authentic and designed for both assessment of and assessment for learning. There are numerous opportunities for feedback that promotes learning and aims to develop student’s skills towards both employability improvement and assessment success.  Every student has regular opportunities to receive feedback and communicate with staff. Feedback is regularly given and can take form of personal written communication, online notes, group based feedback. Students are trained to assess real life situations and provide measures that would lead to improved professional practice. Project planning; laboratory practical skills, data anlysis and interpretation along with oral communication of science to a non-scientific audience; and scientific poster communication of conference material are crucial skills that are encouraged.

    Learning styles (% can not be given as learning style in not confined to a single module, i.e. total can not be 100%):

    Problem based learning (in 7 modules)

    Group Work( in 4 modules)

    Practical Work (in 7 modules)

    Individual report writing (in 6 modules)

    Scientific Communication (in 4 modules)

    Peer Review (1 module)

    Refletive Writing (2 modules)

    Examination (2 modules)

    Postgraduate Staff Profile

    Dr Natalie Ferry

    Programme Lead for MSc Biotechnology, Drug Design and Discovery and Biomedicine
    Module Lead for Green Biotechnology

    I took my lectureship in Biotechnology at the University of Salford in 2010 where my research now focuses on identifying plant cell wall degrading enzymes from under-studied environments, GM crops and plant peptides.

    Dr Gianpiero DiLeva

    Module Lead for Novel Therapeutics and Medical Biotechnology

    Dr Joe Latimer

    Module lead for Postgraduate Scholarship Skills

    Dr Ian Goodhead 

    Module lead for Genomics

    Prof Mike Wood

    Module lead for Research Design and Delivery

    Dr Rhod Elder

    Module lead for Molecular Biology and Proteomics

    Elisabet Fernández
    MSc Biotechnology student

    "The MSc in Biotechnology has given me the knowledge and experience necessary to excel in any job related to the field. I am now more competitive in the market and richer in experiences. The lecturers at the University of Salford are the best, very approachable and great professionals."   

    Doxi Misatziou
    MSc Biotechnology student

    I feel that this MSc course is necessary for anyone who would be interested in going into industry or pursue a PhD. Personally I have gained many skills that I wouldn't have if I had not done this course.  

    Daniel Murray
    MSc Biotechnology student

    "The biotechnology course has greatly expanded my knowledge in a range of areas and has developed my confidence to construct better assignments and present to groups of people. I was in two minds about doing the MSc Biotechnology after my degree but now I feel like it was a great decision  

    The bioscience enterprise material bridged the gap between science and business that will help improve my employability. The guest lecturers provided some great information and career direction and the assessment has built my confidence in developing new ideas and presenting them"  

    Aishwarya Damodaran Nambiar
    MSc Biotechnology student

    "Futuristic research, impactful teaching, outstanding guidance, valuable support and plentiful fun - my experience at University of Salford. This course has prepared me  for the future!"


    Career Prospects

    Many students have progressed to PhD (working in the areas of genomics, biofuels, cancer research and genome editing (CRISPR/Cas). Many students have progressed to PhD here at Salford but we have recent alumni pursuing PhDs in Canada and  Sweden.

    We have recently had students find employment running clinical trials (Christie Hospital), and as Research Assosiates (John Innes, Cambridge University, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester), Technical roles (Salford University and University of Manchester) and with Biotech Companies (Lonza, Hematogenix) both in the UK, Europe and worldwide.

    Being an international student, I could say, to complete both undergraduate and Master’s degree at the University of Salford was an amazing opportunity. I was able to equip myself with valuable skills and knowledge needed to prepare an individual for the job market. This thus, led me to working at the 37 military hospital in Ghana, which is one of the most highly recognised government institutions in my home country.

    Stephen Austin

    MSc Biotechnology

    Alumni Profile

    Periklis Selevos
    MSc Biotechnology graduate 2016

    My name is Peri and in 2016 I graduated from Salford University with a MSc in Biotechnology. I am currently working in a biopharmaceutical company called Lonza, in the R&D team trying to develop new processes in monoclonal antibody production. During my studies in the University I was given the  opportunity to meet up-close companies like Lonza and see from within, the structure of this particular industry. With essential courses and regular assignments, my professors kept my interest peaked and my motivation high to achieve the best of my skills and acquire as much knowledge as I could.

    When the time came to decide on my dissertation project, I chose the one most appropriate for a future career based on what I wanted to apply for in companies. At the time of the interview firms do not have the illusion that you will know everything and be able to work unassisted from day 1; their infrastructure  and their processes are so complicated that they will always train you and they wouldn’t require you to know them beforehand. Instead try to be really passionate about what they do, show them investment from your side and be enthusiastic about every project given. In the interview my thesis helped  me base my answers in order to support my experience on working with cells.

    All courses contributed in shaping me to be a now valued member of staff at Lonza, who utilise me for everything I learned in my studies. Mostly I was happy that my professors taught me how to use critical evaluation and always think through every outcome, without acting out of habit or standardised notion. I was also taught on how important ethical evaluation is on our line of work; you need to love what you will be doing because the hours and the demand for results are quite intense. Biotech companies want to see profit and are working on specific deadlines, so resource allocation and team work is very important, I was introduced to that from different assignments and lab courses during the MSc.

    Lastly, I would like to emphasise how important the lab reports were, it helped me utilise my skills immediately based on the work that we had previously done inside the laboratories. Pharmaceuticals are built on good reports and their method of writing one is so stringent that without any experience I would have failed to show my potential. So I would like to thank the University for this unparalleled experience that was given to me and thank my tutors for guiding me all the way there and teaching me how persistence beats resistance.

    Links with Industry

    Certain modules include industrial site visits and research projects may be carried out at other institutions (recently Universities in Bremen or France and the Cancer Research UK Manchester institute). We also invite visiting lecturers to share their expertise on the subject areas.

    Further Study

    After completion of this course you may wish to specialise in a chosen subject area in one of the School’s two main research centres: Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre (EER) or Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

    Biomedical Research at Salford

    Kariem Reda Ahmed
    MSc Biotechnology graduate

    I particularly enjoyed the Plant Biotechnology (now Green Biotechnology) module of the course and found the lab work helpful as this related to the theoretical aspects of the course and really helped me to understand certain elements. This course has helped me in terms of career potential and I am now  looking  at roles in pharmaceutical companies, in hospitals and in food processing. I am also considering continuing my studies at Salford and working towards a PhD in stem cells and cancers.

    Rozalia Lubiatowsua
    MSc Biotechnology graduate

    I have really enjoyed studying for the MSc in Biotechnology at the University of Salford. My tutor, Natalie Ferry, has been especially helpful and supportive and actually helped me get a job after the course at the Christie Hospital Oncology Unit in Manchester. I am currently undertaking the role of  Clinical  Trials Coordinator and was passed this opportunity by Natalie. I have particularly enjoyed the lab classes as part of this course and the tutors were all really helpful and would respond to any queries really quickly. I would definitely recommend this course to others as long as you are well  organised  and have good practical skills.


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