Undergraduate student with glasses, wearing gloves and holding up a petri dish sample

Biotechnology MSci

Sutton Bonington Campus, Leicestershire, UK

Course overview

What is biotechnology?

Biotechnology is a subject that combines biological science and technology to develop innovative products by changing the genetic make-up of biological cells.Biotechnology impacts on the quality of our lives and the world we live in.

Biotechnologists tackle global issues in healthcare, energy, environment, food, and agriculture to:

  • develop new life-saving medicines
  • feed growing populations by generating plants with better nutritional value
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing cleaner biofuels

Indicative modules

Mandatory

Year 1

Introduction to Biotechnology

Mandatory

Year 1

Foundation Science for Bioscientists

Mandatory

Year 1

Essential study skills

Mandatory

Year 1

Introduction to Plant Science

Mandatory

Year 1

The Physiology of Microbes

Mandatory

Year 1

Introductory Physiology

Mandatory

Year 1

Plant Science Research Tutorials

Mandatory

Year 1

Introduction to Genetics and Biochemistry

Mandatory

Year 2

Fundamentals of immunology

Mandatory

Year 2

Molecular Biology and the Dynamic Cell

Mandatory

Year 2

Molecular Pharming and Biotechnology

Mandatory

Year 2

Professional Skills for Biotechnologists

Mandatory

Year 2

Research Skills for Biotechnologists

Mandatory

Year 2

Epigenetics and Developmental Biotechnology

Optional

Year 2

Bacterial Biological Diversity

Optional

Year 2

Virology

Optional

Year 2

Reproductive Physiology

Optional

Year 2

Evolutionary Biology of Animals

Optional

Year 2

Applied Animal Science

Optional

Year 2

Structure, Function and Analysis of Genes

Optional

Year 2

Fundamental and Applied Yeast Physiology

Optional

Year 2

Bacterial Genes and Development

Optional

Year 2

Microbial Biotechnology

Optional

Year 2

Analysis of Bacterial Gene Expression

Optional

Year 2

Computer Modelling in Science: Introduction

Optional

Year 2

Principles of Animal Nutrition

Optional

Year 2

Principles of Animal Health and Disease

Optional

Year 2

Structure, Function and Analysis of Proteins

Optional

Year 2

Yeast and Fermentation Technology

Mandatory

Year 3

RNA Biology and CRISPR Technology in Cell Function and Disease

Mandatory

Year 3

Biotechnology Research Project

Optional

Year 3

Biotechnology in Animal Physiology

Optional

Year 3

Applied Bioethics 1: Animals, Biotechnology and Society

Optional

Year 3

Advanced Developmental Biology

Optional

Year 3

Basic Introduction to Omic Technologies

Optional

Year 3

Computer Modelling in Science: Applications

Optional

Year 3

Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology

Optional

Year 3

Genetic Improvement of Crop Plants

Optional

Year 3

Sex, Flowers and Biotechnology

Optional

Year 3

Current Issues in Crop Science

Optional

Year 3

Microbial Fermentation

Optional

Year 3

Plant Cell Signalling

Optional

Year 3

Plant Disease Control

Optional

Year 3

Virology and Cellular Microbiology

Optional

Year 3

Environmental Biotechnology

Optional

Year 3

Molecular Nutrition

Optional

Year 3

Molecular Evolution: Constructing the Tree of Life

Optional

Year 3

Technology Entrepreneurship in Practice

Mandatory

Year 4

Molecular Biological Laboratory Skills

Mandatory

Year 4

MSci Research Project in Biotechnology

Mandatory

Year 4

Statistics and Experimental Design for Bioscientists

Mandatory

Year 4

Project Management

Mandatory

Year 4

Communication and Public Engagement Skills for Scientists

Mandatory

Year 4

Writing and Reviewing Research Proposals

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About modules

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer, but is not intended to be construed or relied on as a definitive list of what might be available in any given year. This content was last updated on Wednesday 11 October 2023.

Teaching methods

  • Computer labs
  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Problem-based learning

Assessment methods

We use a range of assessment methods, including exams, essays, verbal presentations and practicals. You will receive a copy of our marking criteria which provides guidance on how we will assess your work. Your work will be marked on time and you will receive regular feedback.

Your final degree classification will be based on marks gained in your second and third years of study.

You must pass each year to progress. This typically means that you will need to achieve marks of at least 40% in each module. Full details on our marking criteria and structure will be provided at your induction.

To study abroad as part of your degree, you must meet minimum academic requirements in year one.

  • Coursework
  • Group project
  • Lab reports
  • Oral exam
  • Poster Presentation
  • Research project
  • Written exam

In your first year, you will take 120 credits of modules. As a guide, one credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. You will spend around half of your time in lectures, seminars and practicals. The remaining time will be independent study.

Core modules are typically taught by professors or associate professors. PhD students may support teaching on some modules.

Industries that need biotechnologists include:

  • pharmaceuticals
  • healthcare
  • bioenergy
  • green chemicals
  • agriculture
  • food production

You can work in research and development (R&D), quality, operations, sales and business development.

You could specialise in one area, which could include:

  • stem cell research and regenerative medicine
  • microbial sciences and antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • biochemistry and plant science

Average starting salary and career progression

86.40% of undergraduates from the Faculty of Science secured employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £27,834.

HESA Graduate Outcomes (2017- 2021 cohorts). The Graduate Outcomes % is calculated using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

University undergraduate students studying in the Monica Partridge Building Digital Hub. Friday November 5th 2021.Khaqan Khan (red jumper); Megan Mahoney (blue top); Cole Pearce and Sara Bintey Kabir (yellow top).

"I chose Nottingham due to the excellent reputation this university has, both academically and for student life. I chose biotechnology as it is such a diverse field, and the course at Nottingham allows you to very specifically tailor your studies towards the field you are interested in the most. "

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