Biotechnology student reaches for laboratory glassware
Mode of Study
Full-time, Part-time
Duration
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start Date
September 2022, January 2023

Overview

Turn your ambition into the postgraduate qualification you need and open doors to an exciting career in biotechnology. 

With the UK being Europe’s leading biotech hub and Portsmouth ranked third of all modern post-92 universities in the UK for research power, there’s no better time to study our Master’s in Biotechnology. 

You’ll develop your understanding of molecular tools that are used to solve global issues, including the exploration of genetic engineering, bioinformatics, online biological databases, and tailor your studies and experiments to the areas of biotechnology that match your interests.

When you graduate, you’ll be in a strong position to succeed in many fields from industry and academia to research and development – with the opportunity to specialise later in your career.

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

Course highlights

  • Prepare to work in industry, or academic environments, choosing subjects that match your aspirations
  • Unpack a practical and a theoretical understanding of the molecular techniques used in the biotechnology sector
  • Develop your practical skills using professional research equipment in the University's complex of over 30 laboratories
  • Benefit from our world-renowned Centre for Enzyme Innovation where we're researching solutions to some of the most pressing global environmental problems
  • Study modules in entrepreneurship, bioinformatics, and genetic engineering
  • Access opportunities to build your business ideas through our Student start-up and Entrepreneurs in Residence

What you'll study on this MSc Biotechnology degree course

Full-time

Modules studied
On this course, you'll study four core modules and one optional module.

Core

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Describe in detail the molecular basis of selected diseases and novel therapeutics.
  • Critically discuss the clinical management of common diseases.
  • Analyse and interpret clinical diagnostic and prognostic criteria.
  • Research, analyse and present reports on selected topics both orally and in written form.
  • Employ a systematic problem-solving approach to learning a topic within a group environment, using problem-based learning (PBL), including an opportunity for reflecting on own performance.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Critically discuss the ethical issues and associated implications of working with human samples, animals and/or stem cells to a variety of research topics associated with medical biotechnology.
  • Critically evaluate a current medical biotechnology topic area, demonstrate an intimate knowledge and thorough understanding of the chosen topic and critical appraisal of published information.
  • Design complex experiments to investigate a specific research area that generates significant new knowledge, demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the research process through explanation, justification and critical evaluation of the chosen methodology.
  • Utilise a range of research techniques and undertake independent research.
  • Present, analyse and critically appraise your research findings in an appropriate scientific format, demonstrate a critical awareness of the application of knowledge to a systematic problem solving approach.
  • Effectively communicate your key research findings to other scientists using advanced written and verbal skills.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Demonstrate an in-depth level of knowledge regarding the development of diagnostic methodologies and the theoretical basis of a range of medical biotechnology techniques.
  • Demonstrate advanced laboratory skills by performing key medical biotechnology techniques used in the diagnosis of disease.
  • Evaluate the validity of medical biotechnology experimental approaches to the diagnosis of disease.
  • Present, analyse and appraise a range of data generated from laboratory practical sessions.
  • Demonstrate advanced skills in the verbal communication of scientific data.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Demonstrate an in-depth level of knowledge regarding the development and efficacy testing of novel therapeutic agents, and the theoretical basis of a selection of medical biotechnology methodologies used in this field.
  • Demonstrate advanced laboratory skills through the performance of a range of medical biotechnology techniques associated with the development and efficacy testing of novel therapeutic agents.
  • Evaluate the validity of medical biotechnology experimental approaches to the use of new and existing medical therapeutics.
  • Present, analyse and appraise a range of scientific data generated from laboratory practical sessions.
  • Demonstrate advanced skills in the verbal communication of scientific data.

Explore this module

Optional

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Analyse advanced integrated case study data for selected body systems.
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the significance of a range of test data and modalities used in diagnosis.
  • Demonstrate an integrated clinical approach in reviewing selected disease conditions.
  • Demonstrate the ability to research, review and analyse complex clinical data.
  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the potential disease conditions associated with clinical findings and the medical biotechnology investigations associated with patient diagnosis and treatment.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Examine and analyse gene structure and genome organisation.
  • Use computer software to work with, and to analyse nucleotide and protein sequences.
  • Mine and interpret the data in online biological databases.
  • Assess various data sources to infer how gene expression is regulated.
  • Examine and interpret next generation sequencing data.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Demonstrate the ability to generate, critically evaluate and integrate a variety of business ideas and information.
  • Interpret business information in the preparation of convincing argument for the development and deployment of strategy success for a biotechnology business venture.
  • Demonstrate successful cooperative working using enhanced information seeking, communication, debating, problem solving and team working skills.
  • Develop rational, coherent arguments in support of, or against, technical and business ideas based upon publicly available information, and debate these with peers.
  • Reflect on their own and others' performance to constructively make `Smart Actions' for the future.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Critically appraise the complexity and limitations of using tissue engineering approaches to regenerate tissues.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the combined role of materials engineering, cells, tissues and associated medical devices.
  • Creatively design and formulate a new potential treatment that specifically is used either to regenerate or replace a specific tissue.
  • Be familiar with the translational pathways for developing new products and the regulatory environment used to control medical devices and advanced tissue medical products (ATMPs).
  • Demonstrate communication skills associated with critical assessment of the science and literature associated with repair and replacement of medical devices and ATMPs.

Explore this module

Part-time

Year 1
Year 2
In year one, you'll study three core modules.

Core

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Describe in detail the molecular basis of selected diseases and novel therapeutics.
  • Critically discuss the clinical management of common diseases.
  • Analyse and interpret clinical diagnostic and prognostic criteria.
  • Research, analyse and present reports on selected topics both orally and in written form.
  • Employ a systematic problem-solving approach to learning a topic within a group environment, using problem-based learning (PBL), including an opportunity for reflecting on own performance.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Demonstrate an in-depth level of knowledge regarding the development of diagnostic methodologies and the theoretical basis of a range of medical biotechnology techniques.
  • Demonstrate advanced laboratory skills by performing key medical biotechnology techniques used in the diagnosis of disease.
  • Evaluate the validity of medical biotechnology experimental approaches to the diagnosis of disease.
  • Present, analyse and appraise a range of data generated from laboratory practical sessions.
  • Demonstrate advanced skills in the verbal communication of scientific data.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Demonstrate an in-depth level of knowledge regarding the development and efficacy testing of novel therapeutic agents, and the theoretical basis of a selection of medical biotechnology methodologies used in this field.
  • Demonstrate advanced laboratory skills through the performance of a range of medical biotechnology techniques associated with the development and efficacy testing of novel therapeutic agents.
  • Evaluate the validity of medical biotechnology experimental approaches to the use of new and existing medical therapeutics.
  • Present, analyse and appraise a range of scientific data generated from laboratory practical sessions.
  • Demonstrate advanced skills in the verbal communication of scientific data.

Explore this module

In year two, you'll study one core module and one optional module.

Core

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Critically discuss the ethical issues and associated implications of working with human samples, animals and/or stem cells to a variety of research topics associated with medical biotechnology.
  • Critically evaluate a current medical biotechnology topic area, demonstrate an intimate knowledge and thorough understanding of the chosen topic and critical appraisal of published information.
  • Design complex experiments to investigate a specific research area that generates significant new knowledge, demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the research process through explanation, justification and critical evaluation of the chosen methodology.
  • Utilise a range of research techniques and undertake independent research.
  • Present, analyse and critically appraise your research findings in an appropriate scientific format, demonstrate a critical awareness of the application of knowledge to a systematic problem solving approach.
  • Effectively communicate your key research findings to other scientists using advanced written and verbal skills.

Explore this module

Optional

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Examine and analyse gene structure and genome organisation.
  • Use computer software to work with, and to analyse nucleotide and protein sequences.
  • Mine and interpret the data in online biological databases.
  • Assess various data sources to infer how gene expression is regulated.
  • Examine and interpret next generation sequencing data.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Demonstrate the ability to generate, critically evaluate and integrate a variety of business ideas and information.
  • Interpret business information in the preparation of convincing argument for the development and deployment of strategy success for a biotechnology business venture.
  • Demonstrate successful cooperative working using enhanced information seeking, communication, debating, problem solving and team working skills.
  • Develop rational, coherent arguments in support of, or against, technical and business ideas based upon publicly available information, and debate these with peers.
  • Reflect on their own and others' performance to constructively make `Smart Actions' for the future.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Analyse advanced integrated case study data for selected body systems.
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the significance of a range of test data and modalities used in diagnosis.
  • Demonstrate an integrated clinical approach in reviewing selected disease conditions.
  • Demonstrate the ability to research, review and analyse complex clinical data.
  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the potential disease conditions associated with clinical findings and the medical biotechnology investigations associated with patient diagnosis and treatment.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Critically appraise the complexity and limitations of using tissue engineering approaches to regenerate tissues.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the combined role of materials engineering, cells, tissues and associated medical devices.
  • Creatively design and formulate a new potential treatment that specifically is used either to regenerate or replace a specific tissue.
  • Be familiar with the translational pathways for developing new products and the regulatory environment used to control medical devices and advanced tissue medical products (ATMPs).
  • Demonstrate communication skills associated with critical assessment of the science and literature associated with repair and replacement of medical devices and ATMPs.

Explore this module

Changes to course content

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Joining us as an international student

Joining us as an international student

You'll feel at home in our international community and our diverse city. You'll be joining over 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries who are studying with us.

Learn more about international student life and how we can help you with visas, applications, arrival and settling in. 

Information for international students

Careers and opportunities

Careers this Master’s prepares you for

This Master’s degree will help you to specialise in biotechnology and build your career in a variety of companies, including innovative start-ups and global corporations. You could also decide to start your own business, which we can support you with.

Once you graduate from this MSc Biotechnology degree, you’ll have a broad understanding of the ongoing development of life-improving technologies, strategies and products used in the biotechnology sector. You'll have the practical skills to operate successfully in this pioneering field, or you could proceed to a research degree.

Graduates of this course have gone onto roles such as:

  • research scientist
  • business associate
  • sales representative
  • forensic interpretations team leader
  • molecular pathologist
  • bone densitometry technician
  • data analyst
  • clinical trials assistant
  • account executive 

Graduates of this course have gone on to work for companies such as:

  • Cellmark Ltd
  • Portsmouth Trust NHS
  • Publicis Health
  • Eli Lilly

Career outcomes shown are sourced from the latest available graduate outcome surveys. The data shows career outcomes at 15 months after graduation.

If you're interested in starting your own business, our student enterprise team will be on hand to give you help, support and advice. You can even access specialist support from our Entrepreneurs in Residence to help develop your business ideas.

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert career support from your tutors and our Careers and Employability Centre – which you can access for up to 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • Applied projects with employers
  • 1-to-1 appointments
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

It is our expectation that all international students will join us here on campus in Portsmouth.

Course structure

This Master’s degree will take:

  • 1 year (full-time study)
  • 2 years (part-time study)

You can expect:

  • 37 hours of study time every week, including independent study and teaching, if you study full-time, or 18 hours each week if you study part-time. 
  • Between February and June, full-time students are expected to be on campus Monday–Friday to complete project work.

Teaching

Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • worships
  • practical work

Assessment

You'll be assessed through:

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

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

Dr Darren Gowers

I'm a Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry at the University of Portsmouth. My doctoral work at Southampton University was funded by the Cancer Research Campaign and here I used DNA footprinting techniques to investigate the formation and stability of three-stranded (triplex) DNA structures.

This was followed by a postdoctoral position at Bristol University, funded by the Wellcome Trust. Here, I worked in the laboratory of Prof Stephen Halford and examined DNA looping proteins, Type II restriction enzyme diversity, and DNA target-site location by proteins.

Read my full profile

Dr Sassan Hafizi

I'm a Reader in Cell and Molecular Biology and lead for both the Cellular Signalling Group within Cell Biology and Pharmacology Division of Institute of Biomedical and Biomolecular Science (IBBS) at the University of Portsmouth.

My current research interests focus on The Gas6-TAM ligand-receptor system and its role in normal and pathophysiological cell biology, and Intracellular signalling via the Tensin family proteins in normal and cancer cell biology.

Read my full profile

Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project / dissertation.

January start

Courses that start in January have the same amount of teaching as September-start courses, but they normally run over a longer time period.

January-start courses normally run between 14–18 months, beginning in January and ending in the spring / summer of the following year. There are breaks at Christmas, Easter and in the summer. In the last few months you’ll be writing your project / dissertation.

See key dates

Research centres and facilities

Marine research tanks

European Xenopus Resource Centre (EXRC)

Discover the world’s largest Xenopus research facility and access different Xenopus specific resources, including antibodies, wild-type strains, DNA resources and egg extracts.

Explore the centre

Plastics bottles - Centre for Enzyme Innovation

Centre for Enzyme Innovation

Explore our research at CEI as we develop state-of-the-art facilities and work with industry experts to research some of the planet's most-pressing environmental problems.

Explore the centre

Female student  on computer in biology lab

Biophysical laboratories

Use professional-standard equipment to analyse enzymes, genes and chromosomes to discover how they interact with different substrates and change under different conditions. 

Discover the lab

Two female students concentrate on pouring lab vials

Lab and testing facilities

Discover how we use our lab and testing facilities to solve research challenges and gain experience using industry standard equipment.

Learn more about the labs

Supporting your learning

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK) for one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to:

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from the faculty librarian for science.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

The Maths Café offers free advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your maths skills at a workshop or use our online resources.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2022 / January 2023 start)

  • Full time: £10,900
  • Part time: £5,450 per year

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full time: £10,900
  • Part time: £5,450 per year

  • Full time: £18,300
  • Part time: £9,150 per year

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

If you're a UK student who achieved a first in your undergraduate degree you may be eligible for a £3,000 University of Portsmouth scholarship.

Additional costs

These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees so you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. Additional costs could include:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages.
  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: such photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Entry requirements​

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

September 2022 and January 2023 start

  • An upper second class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, view the equivalent entry requirements we accept for your country.

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.0.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Ideal skills and qualities for this course

Ideally, we're looking for people who have studied, or have some subject knowledge of, biochemistry, genomics, cell biology, microbiology, immunology and biotechnology. You do not need to have studied these subjects to get a place on this degree, as we're flexible on our requirements.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start dates in September and January, as long as there are places available. If you wait until your start month to apply, you may find that the course is full. 

If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Extra information for international students

If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

You could also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Ready to apply?

Standard applications

Start this course in September 2022 

Apply now (Full-time) – 1 year

Apply now (Part-time) – 2 years

Standard applications

Start this course in January 2023 

Apply now (Full-time) – 1 year

Apply now (Part-time) – 2 years

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2021, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.