Typical Course Length
The Biotechnology MSc within the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) provides you with key skills, specialist knowledge and essential training for a career in industrial or academic bioscience. Increasingly, biotechnology companies are recruiting Master’s students with specialised skills to perform jobs previously the reserve of Doctorate level scientists.
At the end of the course you will be able to meet the challenges of biotechnology, demonstrate critical thinking and solve problems, exploit opportunities, and know how ideas can be turned into viable businesses or a successful grant application.
- Course Code: J701
- Qualification: MSc
- Course Length: Full Time 1 Year
- Entry Requirements: Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or better) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above in biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, applied biology, biological sciences or closely related discipline. European and International applicants can find their grade equivalence on our comparability page. Those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.
- English language Requirements: If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test. Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.
- Course Fees: Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.
- Funding: Funding opportunities may be available, please check our funding calculator for details.
Why study Biotechnology at IBERS?
- You want specialist experience and knowledge in biotechnology research and commercial application to give you a competitive edge in the job market and underpin your successful career.
- IBERS has the credentials to deliver these goals.
- With 360 members of staff, 1350 undergraduate students and more than 150 postgraduate students IBERS is the largest Institute within Aberystwyth University. Our excellence in teaching was recognised by outstanding scores in the National Student Satisfaction Survey (2016), with three courses recording 100% student satisfaction and a further 10 scoring above the national average. The latest employability data shows that 92% of IBERS graduates were in work or further study six months after leaving Aberystwyth University.
- IBERS is internationally-recognised for research excellence and works to provide solutions to global challenges such as food security, sustainable bioenergy, and the impacts of climate change. IBERS hosts 2 National bioscience facilities: The National Plant Phenomics Centre –a state of the art automated plant growth facility that allows the high throughput evaluation of growth and morphology in defined environments, and the BEACON Centre of Excellence for Biorefining - a £20 million partnership between Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea Universities set up to help Welsh businesses develop new ways of converting biomass feedstocks and waste streams into products for the pharmaceutical, chemicals, fuel and cosmetic industries.
- IBERS has a track record of working with academic and industrial partners to develop and translate innovative bioscience research into solutions that help mitigate the impacts of climate change, animal and plant disease, and deliver renewable energy and food and water security. The economic and social impact of IBERS research was recognised in 2011when the institute won the national BBSRC Excellence With Impact Award.
In the first 2 semesters the course focuses on 2 key areas of biotechnology: industrial fermentation (manufacturing processes, feedstock pretreatment, fermentation, and the biorefining of low cost feedstocks to high value products) and plant biotechnology (synthetic biology, gene editing, precision genome modification, transformation technologies, up and down gene regulation and silencing, and gene stacking). In addition you will receive practical training in state of the art molecular and analytical bioscience techniques and technologies, learn of marine, food and health biotechnology, and how the sustainable use of bio-resources and bioscience can help meet the needs of the growing human population. All course modules are delivered by academics and professional practitioners at the forefront of activity in the field.
In the final semester you will work on your own research project with your dissertation supervisor. This could be a project of your own design and will focus on an aspect of biotechnology that you found particularly interesting, it may even be something that you want to develop as a busines idea in the future. During your dissertation project you will use the knowledge and the skills that you gained during the first 2 semesters. Your dissertation project will give you an opportunity to become an expert in your topic and to develop research skills that will prepare you for your future career in biotechnology. Your tutor will mentor you in hypothesis driven experimental design, train you in analytical techniques e.g. gas and liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, vibrational spectroscopy, fermentation, product isolation, biomass processing, the analyis of complex experimental data, and the formation of robust conclusions. You will also be guided in writing your dissertation .
Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.
- Bioconversion and Biorefining
- Frontiers in Biosciences
- Research Methods in the Biosciences
- Current Topics in Biotechnology
- Crop Biotechnology
- Biotechnology for Business
There is great demand nationally and internationally for skilled graduates in Biotechnology, indeed the UK Biotechnology and Biological research Council (BBSRC) have made ‘Bioenergy and Biotechnology’ a strategic priority for science funding.
Biotechnology is a rapidly expanding sector providing employment opportunities for a wide range of biotechnology graduates. In the UK alone the industry employs 160,000 people and has annual revenues of £50 billion.
In a survey of major life science firms conducted by Deloitte 32% of the of respondents said they were going to diversify their employee base, hiring skilled graduates from more countries and with a wider range of expertise thus demonstrating a buoyant labour market within the life science area. In addition, an IBM survey of CEOs in the life science sector reported that 63% of respondents agreed that their firms were changing the mix of capabilities and assets (which includes training of personnel), demonstrating an increasing interest in employing graduates from innovative areas such as Biotechnology.
The number of jobs in Biotech is increasing worldwide, for example Biotechnology Research and Development jobs in Singapore doubled to 12,000 between 2000 and 2008. In addition according to IEEE Board of Directors no single occupation is expected to have more job growth over the next decade, and employment of biotechnology engineers is expected to grow by 72% between 2008 and 2018. The USA saw a 5% growth between 2009 and 2010 in Biotechnology jobs with 112,000 people employed. As reported in the US Government’s Monthly Labour Review January 2012. Biotechnology engineers are the 3rd fastest growing occupation according to employment projections.
Our students are provided with a range of vocational skills to enable them to enter professional employment in the Biotechnology sector or in research.
Learning & Teaching
IBERS offers excellent core and specialist MSc training in Biotechnology. The course structure was developed to provide students with both a breadth and specialism of skills making them more competitive in the jobs market. The course includes 20 credit modules on Frontiers in Bioscience, Current Topics in Biotechnology, Research Methods in the Biosciences, Biotechnology for Business, Crop Biotechnology, and Bioconversion and Biorefiningy that provide a strong grounding in key areas of biotechnology science. In the 60 credit Dissertation module you to apply these skills to a research topic you have been guided to propose and you will specialise in a particular aspect of biotechnology research of your choosing, often in collaboration with external organisations.
Importantly, the unique MSc structure provided at IBERS offers scope for employment in a wide range of biotechnology areas.
Following my BSc in Biology I pursued an MSc in Biotechnology at Aberystwyth University. I developed a wide range of practical lab skills, built industrial networks and since the conclusion of the scheme have had continued support from IBERs scientists. Six months since my course finished I am the CTO/ founder of a start-up company that is looking to develop novel solutions for the recycling of absorbent hygiene products and through my connection with Aberystwyth University have been featured on the BBC for these efforts. Studying with and receiving support from, IBERS, Aberystwyth has definitely helped me to develop the capabilities required for a start-up venture. I am grateful to Aberystwyth University for giving me the tool set which I will use throughout my career and would highly recommend Green Biotechnology and Innovation Management to anyone. Joe