Biotechnology Research - MSc
Training in biotechnology research with a strong emphasis on development of advanced practical skills and research methods.Take a look
Training in biotechnology research with a strong emphasis on development of advanced practical skills and research methods.
The overall purpose of the course is to provide advanced education in biotechnology research. The main objective of the course is to improve the pool of knowledge and technological skills available to support biotechnology-based industry and research nationally and internationally. The course has a strong practical element, with laboratory classes integrated in the modules across the first two semesters. Over the summer semester students also have the opportunity to undertake their own independent research project within one of the research groups in the internationally renowned Biomedical Sciences Research Institute (BMSRI) at Ulster. The BMSRI research covers biomedicine from the molecular to the whole human including disease development, prevention, diagnosis and therapy. BMSRI is ranked within the top five out of 94 universities submitted in the UK REF2014 panel in terms of research power in biomedical science. Significantly, in REF2014 our research environment was awarded an unprecedented 100% 4* (world-leading) and 95% of our research impact was scored world leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*) while 81% of research published papers were judged to be world leading and internationally excellent (4* and 3*).
The course is primarily designed for those who wish to develop their career in the biosciences with particular emphasis on biotechnology research; including either academia or bio-pharmaceutical and bio-industries.
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About this course
In this section
The MSc in Biotechnology Research programme comprises three academic semesters in duration.
In Semester 1 and 2, students will complete four 30-credit points modules, two in each semester.
This programme is designed to provide up-to-date knowledge and understanding of core areas of biotechnology with particular emphasis on enhancing practical and research skills. Within the programme, students will cover a range of diverse topics including: bioinformatics, diagnostics, genetic modification, stem cell technology and proteomics and modules will include "hands on" training in advanced laboratory techniques. Further study in research planning, scientific communication, and professional practice will provide opportunities for critical reflection and evaluation of current practice and policy, enabling lifelong learning and professional development in biotechnology.
Full-time on campus three semesters.
- September 2020
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Learning and Teaching Methods: Lectures, seminars, laboratory sessions, group-work, module assignments, problem-based learning, and private study.
Assessment Methods: Coursework will assess outcomes and facilitate learning and the integration of knowledge. Structured coursework will include class test, case studies, literature-based assignments, a research project dissertation, supervisor’s report, plus other formative coursework as appropriate.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
In this section
Advanced biotechnology and bioinformatics
The module aims to give students an appreciation of the systems and concepts applied in Biotechnology research and provides relevance to the biomedical and biotechnology industries. Teaching is primarily through interactive lecture sessions, tutorials, and database mining.
Current Topics in Biotechnology Research
This module involves an in depth study of selected topics in biotechnology research which are the subject of considerable current interest. This module examines a diverse range of topics encompassing areas such as stem cell technology, genetic modification techniques, novel diagnostic technologies and innovations in biofuels and bioprotein. Case studies, augmented by laboratory practical work, are used to illustrate current applications of microbial diagnostics and future directions of diagnostics are discussed.
Scientific Methods and Communication
This module consists of independent pieces of work designed to develop key skills in the areas of literature searching, poster and grant writing, presentation skills, and the critical analysis of disciplines relevant to biotechnology research.
This module is designed to facilitate personal development and a deeper understanding of professional practice in the growing and evolving global bio-sector, further developing personal core concepts, skills, and attributes to enhance graduate employability.
Biotechnology Research Project
Students are expected to apply theoretical knowledge to a problem of a practical nature. They will carry out experiments with the object of solving the problem. They will present their material in oral and written formats.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
In this section
Applicants must have gained:
(a) second class honours degree or better in a bioscience subject from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or from a recognised national awarding body, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard;
or an equivalent standard (minimum 50%)
(b) provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent);
(c) In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Careers & opportunities
In this section
This course aims to prepare students for employment in specific bioscience sectors and to equip them for continuing personal, professional and intellectual development throughout their careers.
On completion of this course, students will have gained experience of advanced laboratory techniques, problem-solving and research design in a range of Biotechnology areas and be well prepared to work in research positions or to proceed on to do a research degree in a related area.
- The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
- Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
- If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
- The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
- The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.