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MSc in Sustainable Bioenergy and Industial Biotechnology


You can download a copy of our MSc Brochure here.

The global bioenergy market is undergoing dramatic growth as governments and energy companies around the world look to biological sources to supply a larger share of transport fuels and electricity generation.

As a result, the industry needs qualified people with the right skills to sustainably drive the sector forward. This course is designed to provide you with the advanced knowledge and understanding to do this.

Ideal for individuals seeking to enter the sector, future reseach leaders, government policy makers and biofuels customer service consultants, this course will help you develop the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate, operate, investigate and develop bioenergy processes, whether you have a biology or engineering background.


Entry Requirements

Candidates will usually be expected to hold a bachelors degree in biology, chemistry, engineering or another relevant science at 2:2 level or above from a university recognised by the University of Nottingham. Relevant workplace experience may, in some circumstances, be accepted as qualification for entry.

Course Duration and Structure


This MSc is studied over one year full-time or three years part-time. It is made up of taught modules and a research project undertaken in an area of your own interest. If you are more interested in the research component, we also offer an MRes Sustainable Bioenergy which incorporates a major reseach project. For further information on the MRes click here.


This course is based at the School of Biosciences which is located at the Sutton Bonington Campus, and is linked to the University's brand new Food and Biofuel Innovation Centre (FBIC), which has specially been built to house a major research programme into bioenergy and brewing science.

The course consists of 120 credits of taught modules and a 60-credit bioenergy research project or industrial placement. You can chose to substitute up to 20 credits of optional taught modules with other modules offered by the School of Biosciences or Faculty of Engineering. Please find other modules in the University's module catalogue.

Taught Core Modules

The following are compulsory core modules. You can also choose 30 credits of optional modules giving you the opportunity to focus on your area of interest. Click on the module name for more information.

Sustainability and Biofuels (20 credits)
Addresses key sustainability components related to the production of bioenergy from sustainable resources. Three broad themes are examined: life cycle analysis; farm system economics, energy and environmental trade-offs; and social and ethical dimensions.

Biofuel (I) Fermentation (10 credits)

Focuses on the challenges that need to be addressed in converting lignocellulosic materials to fuels. Topics include the accessibility and extraction of sugars from biomass, hydrolysis, microbial strain development and fermentation optimisation.


Biofuel (II) Biodiesel, Anaerobic Digestion and Thermo Chemical Biofuels (10 credits)

Covers the principles and key issues in the bioenergy production processes via non-fermentation methods; including biodiesel production from vegetable oils, waste cooking oils, yeast and algae; biohydrogen, anaerobic digestion, biomass gasification and pyrolysis.  


Resource Capture by Crops (10 credits)

Covers the key processes by which crop communities capture and use physical resources, principally solar radiation and water. The relative performance of contrasting species and different vegetation systems is considered in terms of their efficiencies in capturing and converting resources into biomass and yield.


Biofuel Process Design (10 credits)

Addresses the principles in engineering process design, covering conceptual design, process flow diagrams, process and instrument diagrams, economic assessment, health and risk assessment and environmental impact assessment.


Biochemical Product Design (10 credits)

Introduces the chemical and biochemical processes for the synthesis of biochemical.


Bioenergy Research Planning (10 credits)

Introduces and builds in knowledge and skills in research planning including problem identification; literature analysis; development of a project plan and schedule; management of project progress; reporting and presentation of outcomes. 


Advanced Biochemical Engineering (10 credits)

Covers underpinning aspects for bio-processing technologies including: microbes; molecular and cell biology; and industrial enzyme engineering technologies with applications.


Research Project

Students will be required to carry out an individual research project in biofuels, industrial biotechnology, biorefining, crop sciences, pre-treatment or life cycle analysis. It enables the student to apply knowledge in the taught modules and carry out a deeper study of a special topic of the sustainable bioenergy. The project could be carried out either in a university laboratory or in an industry partner’s lab.

Industrial Placement

The bioenergy research group in the University of Nottingham has good contact with bioenergy and industrial biotechnology sector in the UK; such as AB Sugar, Algenuity, Briggs, Lindhurst and TMO. In the last year, over 50% of our MSc students secured an industrial placement projects. In the industrial placement project, students spend around 3 months in industrial, working either in the actual production plant or in the industrial research lab.

  • Bioenergy production using yeast strains (AB Sugar)
  • Construction a synthetic expression cassette in the green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Algenuity)
  • Microbial Fuel Cells for the treatment of commercial wastewater and agricultural wastewater (Lindhurst)


You can apply online at where you will also find links to further information about The University of Nottingham and postgraduate study.  

Paper copies of application forms or module information are available.

Please contact the course administrator Henry Bowler for further information. Email:



Bioenergy and Brewing Science
School of Biosciences
Sutton Bonington Campus
Leicestershire, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 6637
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 6162