The biotechnology sector is fast-moving, often exploiting research from the frontiers of science, and therefore requires imaginative and capable biotechnologists and academic researchers.
This course is intended for those with a life science background who wish to develop their interest and skills to work or research in the biotechnology sector. You will learn and develop skills and techniques in areas including molecular biology, gene regulation and expression, protein and antibody technology, drug discovery and product development, cell culture and business. The MSc award requires that you undertake a research project in an area of biotechnology which will significantly enhance your research skills.
Teaching focuses on the molecular technologies that enable the study of living cells. You will learn the techniques underpinning biotechnology, such as molecular biology, to an advanced level and how products are developed. You will gain expertise in gene regulation and expression, protein expression and learn to grow and exploit different cell types, including bacteria, insect, plant and animal. Because the entire genomes of many model organisms have been sequenced, you will learn about bioinformatics and systems biology, two very new and exciting types of biological research which, for example, enable imaging gene arrays to study large subsets of expressed genes at one time.
An important module of the course will teach you about research methods and career development. The importance of this cannot be overstressed - we will teach you to be biotechnologists but recognise that you will need to take your skills to prospective employers once you graduate. You will learn how to organise and communicate your research to prospective employers and funding agencies.
In Semester 2 you will choose a research project that matches your interests. Research projects are based around applied questions and can utilise combinations of the techniques presented throughout the course. Oxfordshire has a number of laboratories with different research specialisations, both in the academic institutions and in industrial settings, willing to host these projects. Those studying part-time while already working in the sector may conduct their project in the workplace.
You will achieve an MSc degree on successful completion of all the course modules including the research project. A postgraduate diploma will be awarded for completion of course modules without the research project. The course is also offered on a part-time, pro-rata basis with considerable flexibility and we encourage applications from professionals from academia and industry who wish to upgrade their qualifications.
Biotechnology is a modular master's course, in which different subject areas relating to biotechnology are taught and assessed separately. It is organised on a module-credit basis, with each 20 M-level credit module representing approximately 200 hours of student input. This includes approximately 36 hours of staff contact, normally timetabled through three-hour teaching blocks over the 12-week semester.
Teaching and learning methods reflect the wide variety of topics associated with biotechnology. Methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, practical exercises, laboratory sessions and project work. Assessments are via assignments, presentations and written reports. Course tutors are from Oxford Brookes University, with industrialists and visiting academic researchers delivering specialist seminars.
The department includes lecturers who undertake world-class research in biotechnology, microbiology, and cell and molecular biology using a wide variety of modern methods. The Oxford area in general has a vast array of biotechnology researchers and companies, many of whom contribute to the course as lecturers and by providing support. In addition the department has close links with the Oxfordshire Bioscience Network and the local biotechnology industry.
International Student Requirements:
If your first language is not English, you must satisfy our English language requirements by providing us with evidence of a minimum equivalent IELTS score of 6.5 in ALL skills (i.e. reading, writing, speaking and listening), or TOEFL score of 575 (paper-based) or 90 (internet-based).