Course overview

Explaining biotechnology

This combination of science and technology develops innovative technologies and 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

What you’ll study

In the first three years of this integrated masters degree you will be introduced to the fundamental aspects of biotechnology, genetic manipulations, and cellular processes relating to plants, microbes and animals. In the final year you will do a research project on ground-breaking research topics addressing global challenges.

  • microbial biotechnology – learn how to apply microorganisms to food, the environment, and medicine
  • plant biotechnology – enhance the nutritional value of plants and develop more resistant crops
  • animal biotechnology – understand animal nutrition, growth and welfare, and how biotech can be used to develop new disease treatments

Throughout the degree you can choose the aspects of biotech that interest you most.

Topics include:

  • genes and cells
  • analysis of gene expression
  • molecular pharming
  • microbiology and immunology
  • genomes and gene editing techniques
  • protein expression
  • ethics of biotechnology
  • animal physiology and biotechnology

Why choose this course?

  • Learn the latest techniques to develop new products and processes that help improve our lives
  • Study in specialist laboratories of molecular biology, genetics, cell culture and microbiology
  • Use our facilities for gene cloning and sequencing to build your practical knowledge
  • Experts in the field give lectures and thought-provoking debates about the ethical, commercial and environmental concerns
  • Gain work based experience with an industrial placement year. You could work with global pharmaceutical companies like GSK or food giants like Mondelez International

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level BBC in Clearing for home students

Please note: Applicants whose backgrounds or personal circumstances have impacted their academic performance may receive a reduced offer. Please see our contextual admissions policy for more information.

Required subjects

A levels to include two science-based subjects.

IB score 28; 5,5 in two science-based subjects at Higher Level in Clearing for home students

A levels

BBC in Clearing for home students, including two science-based subjects from:

Biology, chemistry, physics, maths, geography and psychology.

General studies, critical thinking, citizenship studies and leisure studies are not accepted.

Mature Students

At the University of Nottingham, we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on the mature students webpage.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

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

How you will be assessed

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.

Assessment methods

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

Contact time and study hours

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.

Study abroad

There are a number of options to apply to study abroad during your time at Nottingham. We offer designated support to guide you through the entire process. You can apply to: 

  • study at University of Nottingham Malaysia for a semester or a whole year
  • study in Australia or Canada. We'll help you apply to spend a semester of your second year at one of our highly ranked international partner universities
  • study in France, Austria or Spain for an additional year between years two and three

Year in industry

We have excellent links with employers and can help you find the best placement. Often a placement year can help you to secure a graduate job and help with your career skills.

Our students have been on placement with organisations such as:

  • GSK
  • Absenza
  • Mondelez
  • Azotic Technologies
  • NV Biotech

The industry placement takes place between years two and three of your degree. You can apply during year two of your degree, subject to meeting minimum academic requirements.

Study Abroad and the Year in Industry are subject to students meeting minimum academic requirements. Opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update information as quickly as possible should a change occur.


Study a broad range of core modules in biochemistry, genetics and cell biology, animal biology and microbial physiology.

Core modules

Introduction to Biotechnology

The aim of the module is to introduce the you to the broad based biotechnology discipline. You will study plants, animals and microbial systems and the impact and ethics of biotechnology in different sectors. An active learning approach is coupled with tutorials to understand the impact of the discipline. 

Foundation Science for Bioscientists

This module covers essential topics in the following scientific areas:

  • physics - radiation, thermal methods, units and measurements
  • chemistry - moles and atoms, organic chemistry, thermodynamics 
  • mathematics - equations, functions, logs and exponentials and graphical representations
  • statistics - mean, standard deviation, standard statistical tests and biases in data
Essential study skills

This module is intended to enhance your transition into university and guide you through the academic expectations of your degree. This module includes three generic sessions on ‘study skills and plagiarism’, ‘study opportunities’ and ‘career and personal development’, and a series of small group tutorials with your academic tutor to develop core skills such as finding crucial information, oral presentation, data handling and presentation of results, preparation for examinations, and essay writing skills relevant to biosciences.

Introduction to Plant Science

How can mutant plants be used to improve crop yield? In this module you’ll be introduced to plant evolution and the cellular structure of plants, in particular seeds, leaves, flowers and roots, and how these multicellular tissues are constructed. You’ll become familiar with the techniques used to study plant science, including genetics and the use of mutants. Using model plants, such as Arabidopsis, you’ll look at the development of modern plant biology and genetics and then explore the applications of biotechnology in plant science. You’ll also examine the importance of plant nutrition and how the interaction with pathogens is crucial to plant growth and production. You’ll have a mix of lectures and practical laboratory sessions to apply your learning.

The Physiology of Microbes

This module will develop your knowledge of bacterial cell structures and growth. You'll understand the mechanisms that allow bacteria to respond to their environment. You'll study:

  • how to handle data commonly used in microbiological experimentation
  • basic practical methods required for all microbiological laboratory work

You'll learn through a three hour practical and four hours of lectures each week. This is a 20 credit module.

Introductory Physiology

What major physiology systems are essential for life in animals and humans? In this module you will learn about:

  • the body's principle physiological systems including the nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, renal and digestive systems
  • the structure and function of the major organs including the function of individual cell types

Through weekly lectures, we will cover topics on genes, proteins and membranes, transport of molecules across membranes, nerve signalling and biorhythms. 

Plant Science Research Tutorials

In this 10 credit module you'll learn about our latest plant and crop research. Each week different academics will explain and demonstrate the research being carried out by their group.

You’ll be able to:

  • find out how research is contributing to our understanding of plant function and society’s needs
  • discover what area of plant science you find most interesting
Introduction to Genetics and Biochemistry

This 30 credit module will give you a solid foundation in the growth and development of cells. You will gain understanding in cellular processes and the key macromolecules. Understanding the chemistry of these macromolecules is important in many areas of bioscience.

You’ll apply your learning of basic concepts though practical sessions and workshops.

You will study:

  • Mitosis, meiosis, cell division and differentiation. 
  • Basic genetic principles and gene expression processes
  • Areas of nucleic acid structure
  • Genetic variation; mutation and repair
The above is a sample of the typical modules 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Friday 02 September 2022.

Specialise in the areas which interest you most with a wide choice of optional modules.

Core modules

Molecular Biology and the Dynamic Cell

This module offers a detailed study of the core molecular processes that enable cells to function such as DNA biochemistry, gene expression, protein synthesis and degradation. You will learn about the basic molecular processes that underpin the function of eukaryotic cells and to describe how different organelles within the cell function, with an emphasis on the dynamic nature of cell biology. You will have lectures, practical classes, a poster presentation and tutorials.

Molecular Pharming and Biotechnology

The creation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is having a major impact on modern agriculture. Transgenic research and “synthetic biology” approaches have the potential to enable plants to be used as “green factories” for the production of novel products. Through this module, you’ll gain both theoretical and practical knowledge as to how transgenic organisms are engineered. You’ll also learn about the production of traditional plant products and their uses in biotechnological industries, and the use of marker assisted breeding techniques. You’ll have lectures and practical laboratory sessions to really get into the analysis of the applications of these technologies, but you’ll also get to look out into industry and broader. There will be industrial field trips to see what you’ve learnt in practice and experts in the field will be invited to lecture and give some thought-provoking debate about the ethical, commercial and environmental concerns around GMO technology.

Professional Skills for Biotechnologists

This module focuses on career management skills and the knowledge required to gain success within the global job market. You will have the opportunities to evaluate your own skills, interests, experiences and goals to identify suitable opportunities. Training will be given in core competencies and techniques that can be used to make strong job applications.

Research Skills for Biotechnologists

In this module you will develop and consolidate your professional competencies and abilities as a biotechnologist. You’ll improve your core professional skills in the scientific method, experimentation, data analysis and measurement techniques that enable you carry out scientifically-sound research in animal, plant and/or microbial biotechnology. You’ll also cover discipline-specific topics in problem based learning scenarios. There will be a mix of lectures, workshops and group activity sessions for you to work on your skills.  

Epigenetics and Developmental Biotechnology

This module introduces current concepts of molecular mechanisms in animal development and techniques to study and manipulate animal phenotypes. You will study how developmental programs are remarkably conserved among species, including humans. Insights gained from molecular studies of the fruit fly, zebra fish and chicken are directly relevant to our understanding of mammalian development. Signals and factors regulating key events in establishing the body plan of an animal are discussed. Epigenetic processes in mammals that mediate X-chromosome inactivation and genomic imprinting will be described.

Optional modules

Bacterial Biological Diversity

This module is designed to provide an understanding of the extent of bacterial biological diversity. Following introductory lectures on bacterial taxonomy and classification and web-page design, you’ll undertake two student-centred exercises. The first will be the production of an essay on a chosen organism covering its taxonomy, biology and ecology. The second will be a group exercise to design a web site including the material collated for the essay.


The module will provide an introduction to viruses and their interactions with their hosts (bacteria, plants and animals including humans) as well as discussing the structure of viruses and their significance including pathogenesis and molecular biology. You’ll spend four hours per week in lectures studying for this module.

Reproductive Physiology

In this module you’ll learn about the development, physiology and regulation of mammalian reproduction, the control of avian reproduction, and lactation. You’ll cover mammalian reproduction, including physiological control, cyclicity and reproductive efficiency. You’ll also consider avian physiology and reproduction in domestic fowl, with an emphasis on the nutritional and metabolic challenges associated with commercial rates of egg lay. Lactation will also be covered, where you’ll learn about the development of mammary tissue, the biochemistry of milk synthesis, the endocrine control of milk secretion, and the metabolic correlates of lactation in dairy ruminants. You’ll have a mix of lectures and practical laboratory sessions for experimental work and dissection.

Evolutionary Biology of Animals

Introduces key evolutionary concepts and their application in the animal kingdom. Areas you will study include the history of evolutionary thinking, natural selection versus the neutral theory, sexual selection and human evolution. 

Applied Plant Physiology: from cell to crop

In this module you will gain a comprehensive understanding of plant physiology. We’ll take an applied approach – right from the molecular level to the field – to understand what it means for growers in the UK and worldwide. We’ll examine:

  • the mechanisms that plants use to capture and utilise physical resources: i.e. solar energy, water and nutrients
  • the physiological basis of resource capture and utilisation in growth and development
  • physical aspects of the plant environment combining these key processes

The module also considers contemporary issues and future developments in agronomy and the role of the agronomist in successful crop management. You will learn through lectures, practical classes and tutorials.

Applied Animal Science

A highly applied module, you’ll learn about animal physiology, nutrition and management and use your knowledge to think critically about production systems. Focusing on the nutrition, growth and welfare of farmed animals, you’ll cover a wide range of subjects, including investigating the energy and protein evaluation systems for ruminants and non-ruminants and the differential maturity of individual carcass components. You’ll compare systems of production for all major species of livestock and explore how these different systems integrate with each other and other enterprises on farms. Visits to local livestock farms give you the opportunity to further develop your understanding within a ‘real-life’ context and are a core component of the module.

Structure, Function and Analysis of Genes

This module will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the structures of DNA and RNA and how the information within these nucleic acids is maintained and expressed in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell types. Additionally, this module describes how nucleic acids can be manipulated in vitro using molecular biological approaches. Practical classes will focus your learning on the cloning and manipulation of DNA to express recombinant proteins in bacterial systems.

Fundamental and Applied Yeast Physiology

This module considers fundamental and applied aspects of cell biology and yeast physiology. A combination of lectures, practical sessions and online self-guided exercises will be used to introduce you to the subject of yeast, focusing on aspects particularly relevant for the production of foods, beverages and other fermented products.

You will gain an understanding of:

  • yeast cell functionality
  • including yeast cytology,
  • the cell cycle
  • growth and division

We will also cover yeast genomics and how this relates to yeast diversity, taxonomy and identification. Finally, practical aspects of working with yeast will be addressed, including storage and preservation strategies, quality analysis, and how yeast cultures for commercial applications can be produced and handled.

Bacterial Genes and Development

Molecular events that occur during the control of gene expression in bacteria will be explored. You'll learn by considering case studies, which will show you how complex programmes of gene action can occur in response to environmental stimuli. You will also study the regulation of genes in pathogenic bacteria.

Microbial Biotechnology

You'll cover the key groups of eukaryotic and prokaryotic microorganisms relevant to microbial biotechnology, principles of GM, and strain improvement in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The impact of “omics”, systems biology, synthetic biology and effects of stress on industrial microorganisms are explored, alongside the activities of key microorganisms that we exploit for biotechnology.

Analysis of Bacterial Gene Expression

This module covers the major techniques required for analysis of gene expression including methods for gene sequence and transcriptional analysis. An in depth study of vectors and gene constructs provides an understanding of the different strategies used in creating mutants and identifying gene function in bacteria. As well as practical's, the coursework exercises are designed to illustrate the topics covered in the lecture course and will give students experience of experimental design and critical analysis of research data and an introduction to bioinformatics for the analysis of DNA and protein sequences.

Computer Modelling in Science: Introduction
The aim of this module is to introduce the use of computing programming and modelling in the biological and environmental sciences for model simulation and image processing.
Plant Pests and Diseases

Sugarbeet root aphids feed on the sap in the roots, causing damage and production losses. But how does this pest work and what can be done? In this module, you’ll explore how microbes and insects cause disease in plants and the effect of interactions between plants, microbes and insects. Looking globally, you’ll be able to explain the importance and the nature of the organisms that are pests and diseases of plants, including population dynamics and epidemiology. You’ll also assess the main approaches for control and management of pests and diseases, including chemical interventions, resistance breeding in plants and biological control. You’ll have lectures complemented by practical laboratory sessions, videos and demonstrations.

Principles of Animal Nutrition

How important is protein quality in your livestock’s diet? How can you formulate an optimum diet? In this module you’ll learn about diet formulation and food analysis. You’ll examine topics such as: dietary energy and nutritional energetics, protein and amino acid nutrition, and regulation of appetite and energy expenditure. You’ll be able to calculate the different energy requirements of animals in different physiological or pathological states. There will be a mix of lectures, seminars and computer-based workshops to apply what you’ve learnt. 

Principles of Animal Health and Disease

This module will introduce the major effects of diseases on the body’s physiological and immunological systems. The main types of disease will then be systematically discussed using a range of companion, farm and exotic animal species including poultry, equine, bovine and ovine species. You’ll have lectures and laboratory practicals each week.

Structure, Function and Analysis of Proteins

This module considers the structure and function of soluble proteins and how individual proteins can be studied in molecular detail. More specifically you will learn about the problems associated with studying membrane-bound proteins and build an in-depth understanding of enzyme kinetics and catalysis. You will learn about the practical aspects of affinity purification, SDS PAGE, western blotting, enzyme assays, bioinformatics and molecular modelling approaches.

Yeast and Fermentation Technology

This module considers fundamental aspects of yeast biochemistry, metabolism and the fermentation process. A combination of lectures, practical sessions and online self-guided exercises will be used to introduce you to the subject of yeast and fermentation, focusing on aspects particularly relevant to the production of fermented beverages and related products.

You will gain an understanding of the different ways yeast can be employed for a range of applications. The specific characteristics of yeast which make this organism valuable will be described in detail, including properties, functionality, pathways and their ability to convert substrates into commercially valuable end products. The different types of industrial fermentation systems that can be employed will also be considered, along with how they can be controlled and monitored, and how yeast key performance indicators are evaluated.

The above is a sample of the typical modules 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

You'll work in close collaboration with research-active scientists on problems of real significance. You will access considerable research expertise and specialist facilities on campus.

You can then choose optional modules to focus on your interests. Some of the most popular options are listed below.

Core modules

Biotechnology Research Project

This module will provide you with an opportunity to use your initiative and knowledge to undertake an original research project under the supervision of an individual member of academic staff. You will design the study, gain familiarity with the techniques, undertake data collection, debate ethical issues and where appropriate safety procedures relevant to the topic. You’ll undertake appropriate quantitative analysis and prepare a report. Many of these projects are carried out in collaboration with research institutes and industrial partners, and many of the inventions arising from research at Nottingham have led to patents being granted and the development of successful commercial products.   Examples of recent research projects include:

  • impact of compaction stress on Arabidopsis ecotypes
  • use of phage to infect bacteria internalised within leafy herbs
  • carotenoid mutants and RNAi plants
  • molecular detection and diagnosis of plant pathogens by DNA sequence homology
  • interleukin-1 receptor antagonists as potential anti-inflammatory drugs
  • expression of biotinylated proteins in the yeast system
  • biopharmaceuticals and natural product drug discovery
  • expression and characterisation of E. coli Tus proteins
  • understanding diversity and dynamics of bacterial populations
  • waste water treatment, bioremediation, biofuels  

Optional modules

Molecular Plant Pathology
Covers the molecular techniques being used to develop an understanding of plant/pathogen interactions. You will consider the molecular biology of plant pathogens, how these cause disease, and the mechanisms used by plants to defend themselves against such pathogens. You will spend around three hours per week in lectures studying this module.
Biotechnology in Animal Physiology

Building on the principles of animal development from earlier modules, you will be introduced to the world of the biotechnology industry, the techniques involved, and to the opportunities offered by this growing sector. You’ll learn about the genetic and epigenetic basis of gene regulation, and how this knowledge is used for developing new disease treatments and for improving livestock production and animal welfare.

Applied Bioethics 1: Animals, Biotechnology and Society

Animal-human interactions raise some prominent ethical issues. In this module, you’ll examine the ethical dimensions concerning animal agriculture, modern biotechnologies and research in the biosciences, in relation to both humans and non-human species. You’ll learn about the ethical frameworks used to analyse specific dilemmas raised by the human use of animals. Using specific animal and biotechnology case studies, you’ll interpret the main ethical theories and principles and apply them to the case studies to inform professional decision-making. You’ll have a mix of lectures and seminars to explore these concepts.

Advanced Developmental Biology

You will consider the molecular mechanisms underlying stem cell function during embryogenesis and adulthood. This will involve studies of regeneration and repair of tissues and pluripotency. You will have one two-hour lecture per week in this module. 

Gene Regulation

Examines the mechanisms through which eukaryotic genes are expressed and regulated, with emphasis placed on recent research on transcriptional control in yeast and post-transcriptional control in eukaryotes. Studying this module will include having three hours of lectures per week.

Basic Introduction to Omic Technologies

Over the past few years major developments have been made regarding the study of genomes. Sequencing programmes now mean that the complete DNA sequence is now known for many species. Such information is revealing the high degree of similarity and conservation between different species and organisms, revolutionising the way in which gene function analysis is carried out. This module will provide a basic overview of recent research in the field of post-genomic technologies known as “omics” with emphasis on genomics, proteomics and metabolomics. Case studies will show how different approaches have been used to study genomes and how such developments are influencing the way genetic analysis and biotechnological improvement can be made. You will study by hands-on experience with problem-based lab and computer training sessions.

Computer Modelling in Science: Applications
Modern biological and environmental science includes the study of complex systems and large data sets, including imaging data. This necessitates the use of computer models and analyses in order to understand these systems. This module contains an introduction to computer programming and modelling techniques that are used in the biological and environmental sciences. Specifically, it contains: (i) Development, simulation and analysis for models in space and time, using the Python language, with applications in the biological and environmental sciences; (ii) Analysis of long term behaviour of models in two or more dimensions; (iii) Methods for fitting models to experimental and environmental data; (iv) analysis of image data. The module will focus on relevant applications in environmental and biological science, e.g. chemical, radioactive and biological pollution, crop development and pathogens and microbiology. The module will use the Python programming language throughout and be assessed by a patchwork assessment consisting of write-ups of assignments from during the semester.
Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology

This module will enable you to comprehend the opportunities that protein engineering provides in applied microbiology and to appreciate some of the practical limitations associated with technology. You’ll gain a detailed understanding of prokaryotic protein expression and examples of its application to biotechnology. Practical classes and seminars will provide an insight into the necessary constraints and practicalities of experimental design and execution. The major coursework assignment introduces you to the rigour required for writing scientific papers.

Genetic Improvement of Crop Plants

The genetic improvement of crop plants is critical to address issues of food security for a growing world population and in the face of a changing climate. It is also the key to tackling environmental degradation and to meeting the increasing strict regulations on agricultural pollution which are coming into force in many Western countries. While these issues are not identical, they are linked and efficient plant breeding can be part of the solution to both. In this module, you’ll develop an understanding of crop genetic improvement through lectures, case and literature studies, research plan presentations, external expert seminars and practical exposure to crop breeding and molecular techniques. You’ll examine how modern and technological approaches can enhance crop breeding programmes and be able to assess the limitations of these approaches. The emphasis is on the application of biotechnology to conventional breeding, but you’ll also learn about genetic modification in the genetic improvement of crops. You’ll cover temperate and tropical, annual and perennial, and in-breeding and out-breeding crops.

Sex, Flowers and Biotechnology

The processes of floral development and reproduction are some of the most critical stages occurring during plant growth and development. They are fundamental for plant breeding, crop productivity and horticulture. The significance of plant reproduction is particularly pertinent to issues of food security and the future development of high yielding crops. In this module, you’ll focus on recent developments that have been made in the understanding of floral development, reproduction and seed production, including the current goals, methods and achievements in the genetic engineering of crop and horticultural plants. With an emphasis on reproductive biology or fruit production, you’ll learn how such processes can be manipulated for commercial exploitation and to facilitate crop improvement. Through a mix of lectures and seminars, you’ll gain a detailed knowledge on the developmental and molecular processes associated with flowering, seed production and fruit development.

Current Issues in Crop Science

In this integrative module you’ll consider the future options and possible strategies for maintaining or increasing crop production in the UK and world agriculture. You’ll learn about the latest trends and developments within crop science, and the philosophical, ethical and policy issues associated with them. The topics covered will vary to reflect the most recent issues, but have included: the future of genetically modified crops, impact of crop production on biodiversity and prospects for organic crop production. Using your subject knowledge and research skills, you’ll be in a position to critically analyse the advantages and disadvantages of developments in crop science, both for the module and in your future career.

Microbial Fermentation

This module commences with a review of microbial fermentation, including beer, cheese, yoghurt, meat and single-cell protein production, as well as sewage treatment. The underlying principles of microbial fermentation will be discussed, in addition to specific examples which will be examined in depth. From this basic knowledge the problems of microbial contamination and spoilage of the finished product will be analysed. You’ll spend four hours in lectures and have a four hour practical each week to study for this module.

Plant Cell Signalling

How does a plant know when it is being attacked? In this module you’ll learn about plant signalling molecules and the ways in which these signals are integrated to ensure appropriate responses to environmental conditions or plant pathogen attack. You’ll gain a detailed knowledge of how plants use intercellular and intracellular signalling strategies to provide information about their environment, with particular emphasis on the use of molecular genetics in enabling us to determine the nature of the signals and the cross-talk that takes place between them. You’ll have lectures and demonstrations, as well as laboratory sessions to gain practical experience of the techniques for studying plant hormone signalling.

Plant Disease Control
Discusses applied aspects of plant disease control, comprising transmission, epidemiology, detection and diagnosis, and control options. You will cover control strategies based on application of fungicides, biological control, deployment of disease resistant varieties and biotechnological approaches. You will also consider the relative strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches. This module consists of a four-hour lecture once per week.
Virology and Cellular Microbiology

The module will provide an in depth induction into the relationship of bacterial and viral pathogens and their hosts. Including understanding the underlying molecular basis of the adaptive response of bacteria to various environments and the mechanisms by which bacteria and viruses subvert cellular machinery. You’ll have a four hour weekly lecture to cover material for this module.

Environmental Biotechnology
This module provides training in environmental biotechnology, with particular emphasis on the interaction between microorganisms and the environment. The main topics covered will be wastewater treatment, bioremediation of organic and inorganic pollutants, microbes as indicators of risk factors in the environment, microbes in agriculture (biocontrol and biofertilisers) and the role of microorganisms in bioenergy production.
Molecular Nutrition

This module will examine the concept of metabolic control at the gene, cell and tissue level with particular reference to the role of nutrients in regulating this process. Selected processes by which nutrients and hormones act via receptors and their signal transduction pathways to regulate tissue growth and metabolism will be described along with the mechanisms by which nutrients can act directly on the processes controlling gene expression. You’ll have a mix of lectures and practical sessions for this module.

Molecular Evolution: Constructing the Tree of Life

During this module you will examine the ways in which DNA and protein sequences are used to investigate evolutionary relationships among organisms. You will study topics including the techniques of sequence comparison and the construction of evolutionary trees.

Technology Entrepreneurship in Practice

This module aims to provide you with the skills, knowledge and practical experience required to respond to the challenges involved in managing, commercialising and marketing technological innovation and new business development.

The above is a sample of the typical modules 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Core modules

MSci Research Project in Biotechnology

This module will train you in the planning, execution and reporting of an independent advanced level research project. The module will help develop the skills associated with planning, recording and executing an individual research project; presenting research both orally and visually to an audience of peers; writing scientific papers; effective time management and assimilating new research skills associated with a specific project.

Statistics and Experimental Design for Bioscientists

This module explains the major principles and techniques of statistical analysis of research data without becoming too involved in the underlying mathematics.  It explains the importance to collect data in an appropriate and planned manner for later analysis. There are two routes through the module; one focusing on crop improvement and one focusing on more general issues. You will gain an understanding of the major analytical techniques available, and how they relate to each other, and have developed abilities in experimental design, data analysis using appropriate software and presentation of results.

Project Management

Project management skills are a highly transferable skill directly relevant to work. The module covers the fundamentals of project management:

  • project lifecycles
  • leadership in project management
  • managing risk in projects
  • analysis of project successes and failures
  • project management software

You will produce a documented project management outline tailored to your research project. You'll identify the key constraints, bottlenecks and milestones. You'll produce a project management visualisation diagram such as Gantt or PERT chart. You'll present an interim verbal report to your supervisors and the module convenor to rehearse such reporting skills.

Communication and Public Engagement Skills for Scientists

This module aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills that you need to communicate confidently with a wide range of stakeholders about the research that you are engaged in and the contribution that it makes to society.

Writing and Reviewing Research Proposals
The overall aim is to consider, practice, write and assess research proposals. In the real world, one may have to communicate to experts within your discipline or to non-specialist professionals. A subsidiary aim is to give students information and teach skills, which will help them in coursework assignments. A third aim is to give students the opportunity to study a topic, which may not otherwise be formally covered, and to communicate that topic to their peers.
The above is a sample of the typical modules 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

Per year

International students

Per year

*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies. If you do these would cost around £40.

Due to our commitment to sustainability, we don’t print lecture notes but these are available digitally. You will be given £5 worth of printer credits a year. You are welcome to buy more credits if you need them. It costs 4p to print one black and white page.

If you do a work placement, you need to consider the travel and living costs associated with this.

Personal laptops are not compulsory as we have computer labs that are open 24 hours a day but you may want to consider one if you wish to work at home.

Scholarships and bursaries

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships


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

85.3% of undergraduates from the School of Biosciences secured employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £24,418.*

*Data from UoN graduates, 2017-2019. HESA Graduate Outcomes. Sample sizes vary.

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).

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" 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. "

Related courses

Important information

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.