MSc Biotechnology - University of Portsmouth


Part Time2yrs

Full Time1yr

Develop practical and theoretical understanding of molecular techniques

Course Overview

Why take this course?

Biotechnology is a global industry and is the fastest growing research and development sector in the UK. Increasingly, the industry is relying on molecular tools to solve real world problems.

The Master's degree in Biotechnology will equip you with the theoretical and practical knowledge that is so highly sought after by both global and entrepreneurial start-up companies, opening doors to a wide variety of career opportunities. You will have the opportunity to choose from a number of optional units, tailoring your learning to what suits you best. 

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Work with industry or in an academic environment, choosing subjects that suit your aspirations
  • Develop your practical skills on the very latest high-tech research equipment
  • Develop both a practical and a theoretical understanding of the molecular techniques used in the biotechnology sector

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course will prepare you for a role within either research or industry in the biotechnology sector, and more generally, the bioscience sector.

Here are some routes you could pursue:

  • PhD
  • research scientist
  • business associate
  • sales representative




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Structure & Teaching

The Biotechnology course is made up of one core unit and a number of other optional units that suit you.

Core unit:

  • Biotechnology Research Skills and Project

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioinformatics & Omics
  • Engineering Animals
  • Biotechnology Enterprise
  • Protein Production & Characterisation

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Teaching and Assessment

The course is delivered to enable you to develop both the theoretical and practical aspects of your learning. Teaching is typically in small groups with a mixture of lectures, seminar, workshops and practical work. The course is delivered by a team of expert scientists who are all publishing regularly in international journals.

How are you assessed?

Assessment will cover all aspects of what is required to be a professional scientist, so will assess via a variety of methods, including:

  • written exams
  • practical work
  • problem solving
  • presentations
  • essay
  • project work

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Facilities & Features

Specialist Scientific Equipment

We have state-of-the-art facilities for biological research, including the internationally regarded Biophysics Laboratories, The Institute of Marine Sciences. and the closely associated European Xenopus Resource Centre. Biotechnology research at Portsmouth covers a number of disciplines each supported by advanced equipment such as:

  • the latest equipment for genetic manipulation 
  • protein purification equipment
  • X-ray diffractometer and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers for determining molecular structures
  • confocal-laser and electron microscopes
  • specialist microbiology culturing and analysis facilities


Biotechnology is embedded through the department and ranges from biofilm and antifouling through to genetic engineering protein production and structure determination. To support these activities we have specialist laboratories across the department which include:

  • microbiology and embryology laboratories (with high-tech imaging and gene analysis equipment)
  • protein purification laboratories
  • X-ray crystallography and NMR suites
  • high performance computing system for bioinformatics 
  • European Xenopus Resource Centre 
  • Institute of Marine Sciences with state of the art scientific and field equipment, including a large experimental raft and shallow draft boat for inshore work including a suite of sampling systems.


The School of Biological Sciences has a well-established reputation for both fundamental and applied research. Attracting funding from many sources including industry, Research Councils, The Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, and the European Union, our research activities cover a wide range of interests from the molecular level to the environment. Biotechnology is embedded throughout our six research themes reflecting the complexity of modern biological sciences:

  • biodiversity and evolution
  • epigenetics and development biology
  • ecotoxicology and environmental monitoring
  • marine resource management
  • environmental microbiology and biotechnology
  • molecular biophysics

University Library

Our award-winning library offers a rich mix of resources including over 380,000 books, almost 600,000 e-books and 41,000 journals, as well as extensive off-campus access to online resources. It’s the perfect place to study with over 1,400 study spaces available, giving you a choice of silent, group or social study areas. There’s also a cafe for when you want to take a break.

Budgeting for your studies

There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

The course in Biotechnology is designed to equip you to meet the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises as well as global businesses in the area of biotechnology. The course covers the theoretical as well as the practical skills that will set you up for your new career.

Roles our graduates might pursue include:

• research scientist
• PhD student
• business associate
• sales representative

Career planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.

We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.

In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.

Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.

  • Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
  • Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
  • Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
  • Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
  • If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.

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Apply now or visit us

Online application form

Apply direct using our online form

Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.

Postgraduate Open Evenings

Our Postgraduate Open Evenings are taking place between February and April. Lecturers and support staff will be available to discuss your options. You'll also find out more about your chosen course and subjects that interest you.

Booking will open soon but in the meantime, watch our Postgrad Live series to hear from our staff and students about what it's like studying at Portsmouth. 

Other opportunities to visit

Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University.

We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.

Find out more about our self-guided walking tours.

Can't get to Portsmouth?

If you can’t make it to Portsmouth, come and see us at one of the events we attend around the UK.

If you would like to speak with a member of staff about any courses you are interested in, please email and we will arrange this for you.

Staff from the University of Portsmouth Global office also regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our exhibitions page.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
University House
Winston Churchill Avenue
Portsmouth PO1 2UP

T: +44 (0)23 9284 8484