MSc in Biotechnology

Key Points

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This is the most established MSc Biotechnology course in Ireland and is the most popular MSc course at UCC. The international success of this course is attributed to the industry-led curriculum offered to students and the opportunity to complete a six-month placement in industry or in an academic research laboratory. The global recognition of the course is also evident from our international alumni and the receipt of several industry-sponsored scholarships available to students entering and completing the course.

Program description

The Master of Biotechnology is a one-year course designed to provide you with the theoretical and practical skills for employment in the biomedical, biopharmaceutical, agrochemical and biotechnology research industries. 

The course curriculum consists of six months of lectures, practical laboratory sessions, professional service workshops, industry-based seminars and a six-month research project. The curriculum has been developed with input from personnel in the local biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries to provide you with the necessary skills required by employers. Students have the option to complete the six-month research project in a national or international industrial or university setting.

The curriculum consists of approximately 250 contact hours over two academic terms (October to December and January to March), consisting of eight course modules, set practical sessions, professional service workshops and a series of industry lectures.

The course:

  • Presents the theory and practice of bioanalytical chemistry.
  • Presents molecular biotechnology, eukaryotic, prokaryotic and plant biotechnologies, recombinant DNA technologies and their application in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries.
  • Introduces the principles of process engineering and biochemistry
  • Presents the role of process validation and quality assurance in the pharmaceutical industry, and provides insight into the latest trends in good manufacturing, laboratory and validation practices.
  • Introduces the principles of food and industrial microbiology.
  • Provides the opportunity to conduct and complete a body of independent research in an area related to biotechnology and present your research findings in a minor dissertation.

During the third academic term (April to September), students complete a six-month research project on a topic related to biotechnology, biopharmaceutical or biomedical research.

Career options

The course is suitable for those students who wish to extend their specific undergraduate knowledge in biotechnology and for those who wish to join their undergraduate degree and gain more specialised knowledge and training in biotechnology. The course allows you to follow a range of career paths. Each year, over 70 per cent of our students gain employment, while approximately 20 per cent of graduates progress to international PhD opportunities.

Students who obtain employment upon graduation are integrated into the organization and contribute productively much earlier than other graduates. For students with an interest in biomedical research and future careers as PhD researchers, research projects are offered in a wide range of topics including, but not limited to; cancer biology, neuroscience, immunology, microbiology and plant biotechnology.

Program structure

  • Advanced molecular microbial biotechnology
  • Biopharmaceuticals: formulation design, secondary processing and regulatory compliance
  • Bioprocess engineering
  • Cellular and molecular biology
  • Functional foods for health
  • Genetic engineering
  • Modern methods in analytical chemistry
  • Plant genetic engineering
  • Industry placement and research project

Admission requirements

  • Candidates must have earned at least a bachelor’s degree with honors, grade I or equivalent in a subject related to that of the master’s program.
  • In the case of international candidates, the foreign equivalent is required. In addition, a degree officially translated into English will be required.
  • IELTS 6.5, with no less than 6 in any component (or its internationally recognised equivalent).

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