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MSc/PgDip/PgCert Biotechnology

Gain the advanced skills and knowledge needed to specialise in biotechnology. You study the latest advances and applications of a wide range of technologies for modifying living organisms or their products, in areas such as genetic engineering, production of therapeutic proteins, and cell and tissue culture methodologies.

Course length 12-24 Month(s)
Location City Campus

Course description

Enhance your knowledge and skills in biosciences with an emphasis on biotechnology and increase your competitiveness in the job market. Whether you are a new graduate or already employed and seeking to further your career prospects, this course offers a solid career development path. You can also choose this course if you wish to pursue research in biotechnology at PhD level.

Biotechnology is the application of biological processes and is underpinned by • cell biology • molecular biology • bioinformatics • structural biology. It encompasses a wide range of technologies for modifying living organisms or their products according to human needs.

Applications of biotechnology span medicine, technology and engineering.

Important biotechnological advances including
• the production of therapeutic proteins using cloned DNA, for example insulin and clotting factors
• the application of stem cells to treat human disease
• the enhancement of crop yields and plants with increased nutritional value
• herbicide and insect resistant plants
• production of recombinant antibodies for the treatment of disease
• edible vaccines, in the form of modified plants
• development of biosensors for the detection of biological and inorganic analytes

You gain
• up-to-date knowledge of the cellular and molecular basis of biological processes
• an advanced understanding of DNA technology and molecular biotechnology
• knowledge of developing and applying biotechnology to diagnosis and treatment of human diseases
• practical skills applicable in a range of bioscience laboratories
• the transferable and research skills to enable you to continue developing your knowledge and improving your employment potential

The course is led by internationally recognised academics who are actively involved in biotechnology research and its application to the manipulation of proteins, DNA, mammalian cells and plants. Staff also have expertise in the use of nanoparticles in drug delivery and the manipulation of microbes in industrial and environmental biotechnology.

You are supported throughout your studies by a personal tutor.

Course structure
You begin your studies focusing on the fundamentals of advanced cell biology and molecular biology before specialising in both molecular and plant biotechnology. Practical skills are developed throughout the course and you gain experience in molecular biology techniques such as PCR and sub cloning alongside tissue culture.

Core to the program is the practical module where you gain experience in a range of techniques used in the determination of transcription and translational levels, for example.

All practicals are supported by experienced academic staff, skilled in the latest biotechnological techniques.

Research and statistical skills are developed throughout the program. Towards the end of the program you apply your skills on a two month research project into a current biotechnological application. Employability skills are developed throughout the course in two modules.

What is biotechnology
Biotechnology is the basis for the production of current leading biopharmaceuticals and has already provided us with the 'clot-busting' drug, tissue plasminogen activator for the treatment of thrombosis and myocardial infarction. It also holds the promise of new treatments for neurodegeneration and cancer through recombinant antibodies. Recombinant proteins are also found throughout everyday life from washing powders to cheese as well as many industrial applications.

Genetically modified plants have improved crop yields and are able to grow in a changing environment. Manipulation of cellular organisms through gene editing methods have also yielded a greater understanding of many disease states and have allowed us to understand how life itself functions.

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

You must have one of the following

• a minimum of a 2:2 honours degree in a biological subject or equivalent

• a professional qualification of equal standing to an honours degree, for example MIBiol by examination, FIMLS

• other qualifications such as HND, HNC or unclassified degree in a biological subject, plus significant relevant work experience

You may also be able to claim credit points which can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your qualification at Sheffield Hallam. Find out more

If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills, or a recognised equivalent. If your level of English language is currently below IELTS 6.0 we recommend you consider an appropriate Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve the required level of English.

Course structure

Full time – September start – typically 12 months

Full time – January start – typically 12 months

Part time – September start – typically 24 months

Part time – January start – typically 24 months

Typical modules may include

Course structure

The masters (MSc) award is achieved by successfully completing 180 credits.

Core modules

Cell biology (15 credits)
This module gives you an advanced knowledge of cellular organisation and cellular mechanisms in both health and disease. You also learn about cellular interactions including cell signalling, signal transduction, cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions.

Biotechnology (15 credits)
The aim of this module is to explore the use, manipulation and application of biological molecules in areas such as health, agriculture, industry, clinical medicine, the environment and promotion of health and wellness in the community. It will concentrate on developing an in depth knowledge of mechanisms by which biological systems can be manipulated at the DNA, protein and cellular level. Knowledge of current key examples of use of biotechnology in these areas will be investigated.

Plant biotechnology (15 credits)
This module focuses on modern plant biotechnologies that are applied to improve food, fuel, and chemical production. You study key biological principles that underlie our ability to manipulate plants to yield desirable characteristics, develop a framework for assessing the human health and ecological implications of plant biotechnology, and appreciate a range of laboratory techniques important for the manipulation of plants in biotechnology. You use this knowledge and understanding to develop a solution to a current problem. Activities are based on an enquiry-based learning approach, with a strong emphasis on independent research and application of those findings.

Molecular biology (15 credits)
This module examines the structure, production and transfer of genetic information. It provides the basis for study of the application of the most recent developments in the detection and treatment of genetic diseases. You study how naturally occurring and novel proteins can be produced from cloned DNA in various types of host cells. You learn about the design and applications of genetically modified organisms.

Applied biomedical techniques (15 credits)
The aim of this module is to develop laboratory competence in a number of chosen techniques which may include • flow cytometry • RNA extraction • cDNA synthesis • real time PCR and quantitative analysis • SDS gels and western blotting • ELISA and activity assays.

Professional development (15 credits)
This module aims to extend your professional skills and improve your career prospects. It involves sessions on essential practical skills and problem solving, communication of scientific information and IT skills. Assessment includes a personal and professional development portfolio plus reflective self-evaluation of your progress on the course.

Research methods and statistics (15 credits)
You develop the skills needed to formulate, carry out and report on a research or development project. These skills include creativity or invention as well as more formal skills such as application of existing knowledge and searching the literature. Statistical analysis of experimental results and database searches also form an important part of this module.

Research project (60 credits)
During this module you work with an individual tutor to design and carry out a research project. This includes a critical review of the literature, considerable laboratory work, analysis of data and an appreciation of the meaning and application of your work.

Options

Choose one from:

Human genomics and proteomics (15 credits)
This module introduces you to recent technologies that enable large-scale investigation of the human genome, transcriptome and proteome. The vast amounts of data generated by these technologies require bioinformatics skills to makes sense of the results. You learn bioinformatic approaches for analysing these data and how to critically evaluate research in this area and you find out how genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics are being used to diagnose and better understand human disease.

Cellular and molecular basis of disease (15 credits)
This module provides you with an understanding of the major cellular and molecular changes which are the underlying cause of a variety of diseases. The exact role of these changes in a number of specific diseases is illustrated. It extends and applies the knowledge gained in the cell biology module.

Cellular and molecular basis of cancer (15 credits)
This module provides you with the understanding of the major cellular and molecular changes that occur during cancer development, and how cancer-specific genetic changes may be exploited by novel cancer therapies.

The postgraduate certificate (PgCert) is achieved by successfully completing 60 credits.
The postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is achieved by successfully completing 120 credits.

Assessment Assessment methods include written examinations and coursework including
  • problem-solving exercises
  • case studies
  • reports from practical work
  • in-depth critical analysis
  • oral presentations.
Research project assessment includes a written report and viva.

Employability

The course is suitable for people wishing to develop their knowledge of molecular and cell biotechnology and its application to solving health and industrial problems.

You can find career opportunities in areas such as • biotechnology research • medical research in universities and hospitals • government research agencies • biotechnology industry • pharmaceutical industry.

Fees

Home / EU student

Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)

2016/17 academic year

Full-time – typically £6,300

Part-time – typically £2,100 a stage for PgCert, PgDip and MSc stages

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are available across the majority of subject areas.

2017/18 academic year

Full-time – typically £6,400

Part-time – typically £2,135 a stage for PgCert, PgDip and MSc stages

International student

2016/17 academic year

Typically £12,500 for the course

2017/18 academic year

Typically £13,250 for the course

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs information

International and European entry qualifications

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

How to apply

Complete the application form available at www.shu.ac.uk/study/form

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

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