Applied Biomolecular Technology for the Biopharmaceutical, Food and Biotechnology Industries MSc


Fact file

Qualification name:Applied Biomolecular Technology for the Biopharmaceutical, Food and Biotechnology Industries
Duration:1 year full-time
Entry requirements:At least a second class (2:2) honours degree (or international equivalent)
IELTS:6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
Part time details:2 years part-time
Start date:September
Campus:Sutton Bonington Campus

Course Overview

The MSc Applied Biomolecular Technology offers advanced training for biological, chemical and physical scientists (pure and applied) for careers in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, biomedical and food biotechnology and other important industries or as a basis for entry to MRes or PhD. 

Biomolecular Technology underpins the production of drug delivery systems, the making of healthier food products, the design of health-care products, the making of antisera and vaccines - and even the efficient extraction of oil from the harsh environment of a deep well: these are among the biotechnology processes which depend in fundamental terms on our ability to handle giant molecular complexes of living origin. Furthermore, molecular biologists and chemists are now increasingly able to engineer new types of proteins and complexes over and beyond those which 3 billion years of evolution have provided. 

Industry needs skilled personnel capable of understanding how these molecules may be used in an industrial context and the processes of gene cloning and protein engineering.

A three month industrial placement module offers an exciting opportunity to discover first hand the needs of modern industry and provides advanced training for employment and further academic studies.

Key facts

  • The University's location in the midlands, means that many high-tech Pharmaceutical and Biotech small-medium-enterprise companies are nearby, in addition to pharmaceutical and food 'giants' such as Astra Zeneca, Boots, Riker 3M, Mars-Pedigree, Cotts, Walkers, United Biscuits. 
  • The course is run by the School of Biosciences (based at the Sutton Bonington Campus) in conjunction with The University of Nottingham's Schools of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Laboratory Sciences and with local and national industries. Teaching links also exist with the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Leicester. Contributions by experts from other schools and local and national industry ensure you have access to the latest developments in the field.
  • The school is ranked the no.1 research environment in the UK (for agriculture, veterinary and food science) in the 2014 REF (Research Excellence Framework). 97% of our work (in the Schools of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine and Science ) was judged to be of international quality.

Course Details

The content of the MSc Applied Biomolecular Technology course will train you to analyse the natural and artificially engineered large bio-molecules of importace to the pharmaceutical, food/nutrition, healthcare, biomedical, oil and other important industries.

By the end of the course, you will be conversant with methods of gene cloning and protein engineering central to the biotechnology sector.

This course requires 180 credits.

You will take taught modules (120 credits) over the autumn and spring semesters before completing a 60-credit three month industrial placement and dissertation project.  



Taught modules (compulsory)

  • Fundamentals of Biomolecular Science (D24BT7)
    This module will provide students with a firm understanding of the basic chemistry behind the properties of biomolecules - properties which underpin their behaviour in vivo - and their technology and some of the techniques used to characterise their size. Students will learn about biomolecular structure, properties and function relevant to industry or in a biomedical environment.
  • Basic Laboratory Techniques (D24AM3)
    This module will provide students with a firm understanding of the principles of the basic biochemical and molecular biological laboratory skills required for biomolecular technology, ranging from the preparation and handling of solutions, safe handling of microorganisms, DNA analysis and statistical analysis of data.
  • Industrial and Biomedical Macromolecules (D24BT1)
    This module will provide students with a firm understanding of the structure, properties and function of industrially and biomedically important macromolecules under a variety of conditions (solution, colloid, glassy state, crystal). Students will learn about biomolecular structure, properties and function of relevance to an industrial and biomedical setting.
  • Genetic Analysis and Bioinformatics (D24BT9)
    The methods available for the analysis of genome structure and function are constantly developing. This module will provide students with a fundamental understanding of the key methods used (PCR, hybridisation, cloning and trancriptomics and proteomics). However Bioinformatics, the managing, utilisation and analysis of biomolecular/ molecular biological data, is increasingly important to biomolecular scientists as the volume of data increases. Biomolecular scientists need to be familiar with the international databases, and be able to retrieve relevant data and use programmes to analyse it for biologically significant features. A familiarity with bioinformatics is now as important as any laboratory skill and bioinformatics is also emerging as an important career opportunity. The module will equip students with the basic skills required in this field.
  • Antibody Biotechnology (D24BT4)
    This module will provide the students with an understanding of how antibody biotechnology can be applied to solve problems in an industrial and biomedical context.
  • Structural Biology (D24BT8)
    This module is aimed at equipping students with a firm understanding and appreciation of the techniques used to characterise biomolecular structure in the solid state and in solution. Students will learn about advanced biophysical techniques of relevance to an industry and a biomedical environment.
  • Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology (D245F2)
    This module focuses on protein production and protein engineering. It considers the biological factors that affect protein production and looks at the advantages and disadvantages of a range of different protein expression systems, including bacterial, yeast, fungal, viral and transfection of eukaryotic cell lines. Detailed examples of protein engineering of food-relevant proteins are considered in the context of the legislative framework governing the use of GM material.
  • Polysaccharide and Drug Delivery Biotechnology (D24BT5)
    Students will learn how knowledge of enzyme and polysaccharide biotechnology can be applied to solve problems in an industrial and biomedical setting, including drug delivery.
  • Postrgraduate

More module information is available in the University's module catalogue.  


 Postgraduate Research Project (D24PR0) Industrial and laboratory placement

The three month industrial placement aims at developing students' ability to research a subject of industrial or biomedical relevance in depth and gives a full appreciation of what is required by modern industry.

The placement takes place May-August, and students are placed either locally or nationally. The school’s industrial placement supervisor visits each student during their placement to ensure adequate progress is being made. All students are required to submit a written report. Where appropriate, special arrangements can be made for non-UK students to undertake this placement in their normal country of residence.


UK/EU students

The Graduate School website at The University of Nottingham provides information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.   

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Applications for 2016 entry scholarships will open in late 2015. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.


Graduates of the courses are deemed to have a highly attractive skill set by both academia and industry. We have a high proportion of graduates who are offered either fully funded PhD places or jobs in UK industry (eg biotechnology, pharmaceutical, food and medical sciences sectors) as a result of this course.

The University itself - with its location in Nottingham - is surrounded by many high-tech pharmaceutical and biotech small-medium-enterprise companies, in addition to the Pharmaceutical and Food ‘giants’ such as Astra Zeneca, Boots, Riker 3M, Mars-Pedigree, Northern Foods, Cotts, Walkers, and United Biscuits. As such, job opportunities may arise in these companies who share a good relationship with the University.

MSc student case studies

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 82% of postgraduates in the School of Biosciences who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £25,076 with the highest being £38,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU postgraduates, 2013/14.

Career prospects and employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential. Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.

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