Postgraduate MSc


School of Science, Engineering and Environment





One year

Three year

Next enrolment

September 2020

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In a nutshell

The field of biotechnology has been revolutionised in the past ten years by advances in molecular biology, genome sequencing and large scale-omics profiling (including proteomics) as well as the ability to manipulate genomes via genetic modification and genome editing tools.

Through your studies on this programme, you will acquire the skills needed to address the global challenges of population growth, increased life expectancy, antibiotic resistance, sustainable agriculture and the demand for food and fuel.

This programme is designed to develop the analytical techniques and problem-solving skills that you will need for postgraduate-level employment in the biotechnology sector. You will also gain transferable skills relevant to a great variety of professional careers.

You will:
  • Develop the skills needed to address some of the major challenges facing the world today
  • Learn how genetic modification and genome editing contribute to both medical and commercial research
  • Learn genome editing technology (CRISPR) and the possibility of adjusting the genome to achieve desired goals

students accepted

This is for you if...


You are fascinated by recent developments in biotechnology


You are looking to develop your career in this priority growth area


You want to help address some global challenges

Course details

All about the course

Biotechnology is a priority growth area in the UK (particularly the north-west) as well as a globally important industry.

This programme teaches core Molecular Biology and Proteomics (MBP) and a Genomics module, which further incorporates training in computational science, which is a current high demand skill for graduates.

The modules Medical Biotechnology, Novel Therapeutics and Green Biotechnology detail how genetic modification and genome editing contribute to both medical and commercial research while providing you with training in the key practical techniques required to work in these areas.

The genome editing technology known as CRISPR (short for clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeat) has emerged as a disruptor in the life sciences realm; it has even been called the 'discovery of the century'. CRISPR provides the real possibility of adjusting the genome to achieve desired goals: elimination of genetic diseases, eradication of pathogens, precision engineering of crops. Focusing on this technology in two specialist modules ensures that the programme is at the forefront of research.

This programme offers you an opportunity to undertake intensive study in eight core 15 credit modules that focus on several highly relevant topics in the field such as molecular biology, proteomics, genomics, medical biotechnology, novel therapeutics and green (plant) biotechnology. These modules provide a springboard for an independent 60-credit research project. The dissertation stage provides you with the opportunity to produce a robust scientific argument, to formulate and test hypotheses and to assess contrasting scientific theories. This dual approach consolidates crucial skills whilst offering the flexibility to pursue a semi-independent research agenda.

As well as obtaining theoretical and practical skills from taught components and practical experience of cutting-edge techniques during the research project, you will improve your autonomous problem-solving and decision-making skills. Three 15-credit modules focus on advanced scholarship, advanced research and professional skills. These modules aim to develop your communication skills, analytical ability, confidence in critical evaluation, and your competence in interpreting data in a bioscience context. The professional practice module will provide opportunities for you to use research skills acquired in the applied context of ‘real-world’ project work in a variety of professional settings and develop the skills necessary for successful delivery of project outcomes.

Semester one

Postgraduate Scholarship Skills

This module will provide you with the key skills and knowledge to pursue academic research at the postgraduate and professional level. You will gain knowledge and understanding of the current ‘big issues’ in the life sciences and will understand how ethics and bioethics can enhance critical thinking in often controversial subject areas.

Molecular Biology and Proteomics

You will develop a comprehensive conceptual understanding of molecular biology and proteomics and their uses in biotechnology along with a practical knowledge of bioinformatics. Crucially you will develop skills in the application of laboratory techniques in the field of molecular biology.


You will build a systematic understanding of whole genome sequencing technologies and the field of genomics and develop a general understanding of sequence assembly, annotation and analyses using different types of sequence data.The module will demonstrate a range of medical applications of genomics, and genetics counselling, and describe future directions of the field, including employment opportunities and the skills required for research in this field.

Novel Therapeutics

You will develop an understanding of the molecular and cellular biology of age-related pathologies such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and dementia as well as a comprehensive conceptual and practical understanding of molecular medicine driven treatment strategies. You will have the opportunity to use the acquired theoretical and practical knowledge for designing creative and innovative solution to “real world” problems applicable to translational molecular medicine.

Semester two

Research Design and Delivery

This module will enable you to design, plan and execute a programme of research and to apply appropriate analysis of research results, it has a strong focus on acquiring laboratory skills prior to undertaking the final research project module and as such will develop your practical skills beyond that of a standard MSc programme. It will provide opportunities for you to develop essential research skills in the discipline and allow you to undertake project work broadly aligned to the focus of your dissertation.

Green Biotechnology

You will develop a systematic understanding of how molecular biology and genomics (green biotechnology) contribute to the agricultural (food and fuel) industry and build a comprehensive understanding of both technical approaches and real world applications of the technology. Your critical thinking will be enhanced and challenged through seminars/debate on this often controversial area and you will develop practical skills in the application of –omics laboratory techniques to the field of green biotechnology.

Medical Biotechnology

You will build a systematic understanding of how biotechnology can contribute to medical advances (focusing on personalised medical approaches, stem cells, regenerative medicine and genome editing technologies) and develop a conceptual understanding of how the challenge of antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics is being addressed. You will gain practical knowledge in the application of laboratory techniques in the field of medical biotechnology.

Professional Practice

This module provides the opportunity for you to use research skills acquired in the applied context of ‘real world’ project work in a variety of professional settings (companies, charities etc) and develop the skills necessary for successful delivery of project outcomes. You will design, plan and execute a programme of research through active enquiry and to apply appropriate analysis of research results.

Semester three

Research project

Following successful completion of semesters one and two, you will undertake a laboratory-based research project for a minimum of four months. Set projects are available but you are welcome to propose your own project, providing you choose a supervisor and discuss the project with them.

Examples of staff research interests and potential projects:

· Genomics, analysis of microbial genomes (including clinically relevant studies)

· Genomics, analysis of plant genomes

· Genome editing (CRISPR/Cas)

· Plant biotechnology (genetic modification)*Biofuels and enzyme discovery

· Cancer Studies: DNA repair mechanisms, protein - protein interactions

· Cancer Studies: glycobiology, anticancer drugs

· Parasitology and Diseases: microbiology, bacteriology, microbial pathogenicity, MRSA, antibiotics, antimicrobials

· Synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry: free radical chemistry, asymmetric synthesis of anticancer agents

· Development of spectrometry-based techniques to measure biomarkers of DNA, protein and lipid damage and DNA repair

· Pharmacology: biological evaluation of novel anticancer agents

· Nanotechnology, medical and biosensor applications

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


Teaching, learning and assessment are balanced and progressive to facilitate and encourage increasing your independence and self-responsibility for learning during advancement through the programme. The multidisciplinary nature of the programme will be conveyed through cross-referencing of subject content to ensure integrated learning. An overarching strategy for learning and teaching at the University of Salford is that of co-creation of knowledge. You are encouraged to see yourself as producers of knowledge and collaborators in your learning experience.

You are encouraged to engage in learning discovery, technology enabled learning, research and evaluation, and knowledge creation. These principles are embedded into the teaching curriculum.


Assessment strategies in this programme are authentic and designed for both assessment of and assessment for learning. There are numerous opportunities for feedback that promotes learning and aims to develop student’s skills towards both employability improvement and assessment success. Every student has regular opportunities to receive feedback and communicate with staff. Feedback is regularly given and can take form of personal written communication, online notes, group based feedback. Students are trained to assess real life situations and provide measures that would lead to improved professional practice. Project planning; laboratory practical skills, data analysis and interpretation along with oral communication of science to a non-scientific audience; and scientific poster communication of conference material are crucial skills that are encouraged.

There are a variety of learning styles throughout this programme and varies across different modules. Learning styles include problem based learning, group work, practical work, individual report writing, scientific communication, peer review, reflective writing and examination.

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

From cyber security to biomedicine to architecture, our expanding suite of multidisciplinary courses shapes the next generation of scientists, engineers, consultants and conservationists. Through advanced research, we’re pioneering robotics and AI, smart environments and the appliance of data. With a team of over 200 dedicated academic, technical and administrative staff, you’ll experience a supportive, professional environment where you can realise your potential.


The University hosts industry standard instrumentation including cell culture facilities, FACS, MALDI-TOF, LC and GC mass spectrometry, FTIR and FTNMR spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.

Having access to industry standard technology means that upon graduation, our students are fully prepared and equipped to enter the workplace.

We have recently invested in the development of a new, state-of-the-art, integrated teaching laboratory known as the Bodmer Lab. The Bodmer Lab is a specialist, purpose built facility and ensures our students benefit from the latest technologies to support their learning and remain on the cutting edge of innovation and discovery.

Academic profile

Dr Natalie Ferry

Programme Lead for MSc Biotechnology, Drug Design and Discovery and Biomedicine.
Module Lead for Green Biotechnology.

I took my lectureship in Biotechnology at the University of Salford in 2010 where my research now focuses on identifying plant cell wall degrading enzymes from under-studied environments, GM crops and plant peptides.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Many students have progressed to research work and studying for a PhD (working in the areas of genomics, biofuels, cancer research and genome editing (CRISPR/Cas). Some have progressed to PhD here at Salford but we have recent alumni pursuing PhDs in Canada and Sweden.

We have recently had students find employment running clinical trials (Christie Hospital), and as Research Associates (John Innes, Cambridge University, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester), Technical roles (Salford University and University of Manchester) and with Biotech Companies (Lonza, Hematogenix) both in the UK, Europe and worldwide.

A taste of what you could become

A research assistant

A research associate

A technician

A researcher

And more...

Career Links

Certain modules include industrial site visits and research projects may be carried out at other institutions (recently Universities in Bremen or France and the Cancer Research UK Manchester institute). We also invite visiting lecturers to share their expertise on the subject areas.


What you need to know


This course is ideal for those who are interested in Biology, Biotechnology and Biochemistry and are motivated by experimental science. It is suitable for UK and international graduates who wish to gain knowledge in the emerging fields of biotechnology, and acquire the skills necessary for entering employment or those who wish to pursue a research career in the growing biotechnology sectors such as biomedicine, genomics, green biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry.


International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.


Standard entry requirements

Undergraduate degree

Applicants should possess at least a UK lower second class honours degree (2:2) or equivalent in bioscience, biochemistry, pharmacy medicine or related subject.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2020/21 £9,000per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £15,210per year
Part-time 2020/21 £1,500 per 30 credits
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

 Scholarships for international students 2020/21

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our international scholarships worth up to £5,000. Our international scholarships include the Salford International Excellence Scholarship.

To find out more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

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Enrolment dates

September 2020

January 2021

September 2021