Postgraduate study
Biotechnology is a revolutionary science with proven impact in the health, medicine, food, environment and energy sectors.
MSc Biotechnology
1 year full-time; 2 years part-time
Entry requirements
2:2 (or international equivalent) in biotechnology, plant sciences, animal sciences, microbiology, genetics or veterinary medicine
6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£9,450 - Terms apply
International fees
£24,030 - Terms apply
Sutton Bonington Campus



This exciting new course is designed to equip you with the knowledge and application of science and technology to tackle todays global challenges.  

It offers specialisms in plant, microbial and animal biotechnology. The overarching theme is based upon understanding the fundamental cellular mechanisms, genetic manipulations of biological systems and production processes.

You will be introduced to pioneering technologies in biotechnology and have the opportunity to find out more about current opportunities in this field of science with visits to industry and career workshops.

A key feature of the course is a three months research project in your chosen pathway, with an option to choose projects based in industry.


Full course details

This one year full-time master's course (or two years part-time) consists of 120 credits of taught modules, with a research project and a dissertation contributing 60 credits. This course offers unique components related to specialist skills in three pathways; plant, microbial or animal biotechnology.

Plant Biotechnology pathway

This will provide theory and practical skills in plant genetic manipulation, plant breeding and genome research, which underpin all aspects of agriculture and horticulture worldwide. Specialist modules will provide an understanding of plant cell biology and the role of phytohormones in plant physiology.  Plant sexual reproduction is also covered in the context of improved breeding. A series of off-site visits will inform you about the latest technologies and research allied to plant improvement and provide an insight into current plant research in the agricultural and agro-industry sectors.

Microbial Biotechnology pathway

This offers knowledge in using micro-organisms as production platforms for valuable compounds such as therapeutics, food additives and antibiotics. Specialist modules will provide you with an understanding of how antibody biotechnology can be applied to solve problems in an industrial and biomedical context. The Bioprocessing and Bioengineering module covers a range of topics from recent advances in the heterologous expression systems, metabolic engineering, challenges in scale-up of production processes and understanding production processes at molecular, genetic, physiological and cellular levels in an integrated manner. Theory is supported by practical based learning approaches and industry visits.

Animal Biotechnology pathway

This will prepare you for a wide range of options offered by the animal biotechnology industry. This stream covers a range of topics from molecular techniques used to study gene function in eukaryotic cells to whole organisms, to more specialized aspects of bioinformatics, glycoengineering, molecular immunology, developmental epigenetics, molecular nutrition, reproductive biotechnologies and stem cell technologies. Our areas of expertise includes multidisciplinary projects, e.g. transgenic technologies, in vitro embryo production systems, biomarker discovery, nutritional influences on physiological functions, genetic and epigenetic basis of disease, genetic evaluation and healthy ageing.   

Key elements of the course include:

  • training in advanced molecular methods
  • industry placement and offsite visits to industries
  • training in professional skills and core competencies
  • training in research skills
  • skills in bio-entrepreneurship
  • career workshops

Research project

You will complete a three months research project in your chosen pathway (plant, microbial or animal biotechnology) supervised throughout by an experienced member of academic staff.  Projects can be chosen either to be conducted at the University or in a few select industries. For projects in industry, dedicated placement officers will work on a one-to-one basis to help you source and prepare for your industrial placement.

Course venue

The course is based on the Sutton Bonington Campus, a self-contained site only 20km south of Nottingham. Sutton Bonington is an easy bus or car journey to University Park Campus and on to Nottingham city, with a free bus service between campuses. Two other cities, Derby and Leicester are nearby. East Midlands International Airport is 7km away, plus there are fast rail links close by to London.



Core modules

For all pathways:

  • Advanced Molecular Methods in Biotechnology
  • Cell Factories
  • Basic Laboratory Techniques
  • Professional Skills for Biotechnologists
  • Technology Entrepreneurship
  • Postgraduate Research Project

Plant Biotechnology pathway


  • MSc Pre-Project
  • Plant Cell Signalling
  • Sex, Flowers and Biotechnology
  • Plant Biotechnology Industrial Visits


  • Genetic Improvement of Crop Plants

Microbial Biotechnology pathway

  • Research Skills in Microbial Biotechnology
  • Bioprocessing and Bioengineering
  • Microbial Biotechnology Industrial Visits
  • Antibody Biotechnology

Animal Biotechnology pathway

  • Research Techniques in Animal Biotechnology
  • Molecular Nutrition (Biotechnology option)
  • Animal Biotechnology
  • Animal Biotechnology Industrial Visits

The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding


UK/EU students

The Graduate School website provides more information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.


Careers and professional development

Biotechnology is a fast growing and dynamic sector with ample career opportunities in both industry and academia.  Alternatively, with an innovative idea and a mix of business skills, you can start your own enterprise and ‘be your own boss’.

Our Careers and Employability experts are here to help you at every stage of your University life. Recent postgraduates (2017-18) have secured jobs in Oxford University as research associates and in teaching.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 100% of postgraduates in the School of Biosciences who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates, 2016/17.

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.


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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