Biotechnology MSc

This Masters in Biotechnology programme provides you with an advanced practical knowledge of biotechnology and molecular genetic technologies underpinning modern biotechnology and how they can be applied to solve real world problems. The programme offers training in a broad range of topics including; environmental biotechnology, synthetic biology, plant engineering, stem cell therapies and vaccine development.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • Ranked world top 100 for Biological Sciences
  • If you wish to improve your knowledge of modern molecular, biochemical, cell biological and genetic techniques for biotechnological applications, this programme is designed for you.
  • You will gain a sound understanding of the nature of business based on bioscience knowledge and research, their opportunities for innovation and regulatory requirement constraints, intellectual property and ethical issues.
  • We have exciting scholarship opportunities.
  • You will learn how to assess the current literature, be encouraged to form opinions based on scientific merit, and implement these ideas in future research planning.
  • You will be taught by experts in the field of Biotechnology who run active, internationally recognised, research groups here at Glasgow.
  • The course involves extensive interaction with industry, through site visits, guest lectures and an "Industrial Networking Symposium" where representatives from the European biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry will discuss their companies and answer your questions on working in the industrial sector.
  • This course has a strong laboratory component, with courses that run throughout the year, giving you hands on experience of diverse biotechnological research skills.
  • The flexible independent research project provides valuable training for students wishing to proceed to a Ph.D. or into an industrial career; this may also be completed as a business based project.
  • Additional programme components include industrial networking sessions and a dedicated career workshop on progression planning. 
  • Our Masters in Biotechnology provides an advanced practical knowledge of how research and industry are being applied to solve real world problems.

Programme structure

The programme is made up of five teaching modules and a dissertation project. Each module explores different aspects of Biotechnology. The dissertation allows you to specialise the degree through a chosen field of research. You will undertake this project with the support and guidance of your chosen academic expert.

The aims of the course are:

  • To enable students to study a wide range of biotechnology topics in depth;
  • Allow students to benefit from leading-edge research-led teaching;
  • To enhance students' conceptual, analytical and generic skills and to apply them to biotechnology problems;
  • To prepare students for leading positions in the biotechnology industry or entry into PhD programmes.

Resources and facilities

The Masters in Biotechnology is run by the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, which has expertise covering a wide range of contemporary integrative biology, from molecules to organisms. Including; cell engineering, plant science, molecular and cell biology, systems and synthetic biology, genetics, transgenics and functional genomics and protein characterisation.

Contributions to this course are also made by academic staff from:

Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation

Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences

School of Life Sciences

Core and optional courses

  • Molecular Research Skills
  • Industrial and Environmental Microbiology
  • Bioscience Commercialisation
  • Recombinant Protein Expression
  • Omics Technologies
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Bioimaging for Researchers
  • Plant Biotechnology
  • Biotechnology Research Project

What our students say

Abioye Jumai is a current MSc Biotechnology student.

"As an African, I wanted to leave my comfort zone and gain a global perspective of the world and modern technological skills by studying a one-year MSc before proceeding to my PhD and the UK had that, quality education in one year. I chose the University of Glasgow because it is one of the best schools in the UK and a part of prestigious groups such as the Russell group and Universitas 21. The most beautiful thing about Glasgow is the hospitality, the people are so kind. There's so much to see, and there is something for everyone, ranging from museums and galleries to clubs and pubs. I've also been on trips with the international society and I must admit that Scotland is beautiful. I chose this course as I wanted to gain theoretical insight into bioenergy production so I chose an all-encompassing course. The diversity of skills I have learnt in this short time is amazing. I came for bioenergy but now I know so much more and I feel and think more like a scientist now. I have also been able to activate my leadership potentials by representing my class as the rep. My advice for new students would be do not procrastinate, deadlines are deadlines. Take up every opportunity to network and gain skills. If you are an international student, join the International Student Society and read all information properly so you can take full advantage of opportunities as there are so many. The lectures are astonishing, I get to actually think and come up with innovative solutions. The city has so many amazing activities and there are also opportunities to travel with the International Student Society.

Sanya Aggarwal is a former MSc Biotechnology student who is now working as a Research Scientist in the University of Edinburgh. She is currently working with the artificial insemination of the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo

"I got this position of research trainee in this project with the help of Dr. Mathis Riehle. During my course at the University of Glasgow, Dr. Riehle was my dissertation supervisor. I feel that doing an M.Sc. in Biotechnology at the University of Glasgow was one of the best decisions of my life. It added on to my experience in the field, improved my self-confidence and versatility. Working with Dr. Riehle on complex topic of protein engineered biomaterials was a great experience. He had been a great mentor. He was very helpful, supportive and provided me with the right motivation. When he heard that I was back in Glasgow and looking for experience he immediately stepped forward and informed about this project. He said he could recommend me if I was interested. I said yes and then I was asked to give an interview to the research director of IBREAM (Institute of Breeding Rare and Endangered African Mammals) and I was sent an acceptance letter. For the last 4 months I have been living at the Edinburgh Zoo and it has been a great experience. I don't think it could have gone any better. If it was not for Dr. Riehle and his confidence in me, I would not have achieved this."

Former student from the UK

"My overall impressions of the MSc Biotechnology course were extremely positive. I came into it after studying physiology and although I found that interesting, it wasn't the most inspiring. In my MSc, I found myself being inspired and enthused almost every time I went into a lecture. All the material is highly relevant and applicable to solving some of the world's biggest problems from putting an end to world hunger to engineering new sustainable and effective biofuels. I would highly recommend the course to anyone who is generally interested in the world and how we use our environment more effectively."

Former student from Nigeria

"I would recommend MSc Biotechnology at the University of Glasgow for students interested in learning various molecular approaches that have been adopted in OMICS technologies - Genomics, Proteomics, Transcriptomics and Metabolomics. These modules are covered in the molecular biology part of the course. Similarly, insightful knowledge about growth in technology within a medical career is provided with a course called General Biology. MSc Biotechnology is also particularly useful to students enthusiastic about sustainability and food production as a dedicated Plant Biology course highlights achievements/breakthroughs in that subject area."

Former student from Greece

"The MSc Biotechnology course was truly an amazing experience. It provided an in-depth understanding of the technologies underpinning Biotechnology as well as the problems associated with it. I have to admit it was a lot of fun and I particularly enjoyed the environmental focused classes."

Former student from the UK

"The course was structured in essentially two parts, and the year's teachings culmanating with a dissertation of our choice. The first half of the year focuses on general/human biotechnology, from stem cell applications and organ regeneration, to waste remediation strategies used for pollution clean-up and extremophile uses. These classes really offered a greater breadth and exposure to areas of biotechnology I am sure many of us were unfamiliar with beforehand. The second component of the course focused on plant biotechnology, such as abiotic stress and insect resistance in plants, and a particular favourite of mine, biofuels from genetically engineered crop wastes. This aspect was particularly interesting for me, as I had not been exposed to plant biochemistry/biotechnology during my undergraduate degree, therefore I welcomed this field with such enthusiasm and interested that after the classroom lecture, I did my end of year dissertation on the subject."

Former student from India

"I personally found the course to be quite interesting, the course structure was very good and very much targeted towards pharmaceutical and agricultural based industries. The course co-ordinators were extremely helpful with information and studies all the time."

Former student from Bangladesh

"I found the MSc Biotechnology course to be intellectually stimulating and it groomed us to be competent in the real world, whether we want to start our careers or pursue higher education. The course was intensive and not at all easy, but it encouraged us to work hard and achieve the best we could. I also appreciated the various ways assessments were done (there were 10 types according to my count. e.g. exams, presentations, leaflets, paper analysis, business proposal, etc.) as that ensured we do not memorize our coursework, but understand it and are able to apply it. All in all I have absolutely no regrets about choosing MSc Biotechnology at the University of Glasgow. I think it was the right choice and would recommend it to others. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there."

Former student from India

"My year at the University of Glasgow has been exceptionally brilliant. The course, MSc Biotechnology was new but very well planned, offering students the basic as well as advanced knowledge about the various happening areas of biotechnology - especially environmental , pharmaceutical and agricultural biotechnologies. The business and bioethics module was quite exciting. We all worked in groups to come up with a product, it was a very innovative activity. Overall, I was glad and lucky to be part of this course and the University of Glasgow. I would like to thank and appreciate the very friendly and approachable Institute of Molecular, Cell and System Biology for their high standard of teaching and guidance. I would also like to specially thank the co-ordinators for giving me proper guidance throughout the year, and clearing all the confusions and doubts I had regarding my next step, after graduation."

Former student from Greece

"It was a great experience to study at the University of Glasgow and especially on the MSc Biotechnology course because I had the chance to improve my knowledge about biotechnology and to learn all the recent advance in the area of molecular genetic technologies and biotechnology. I also found very interesting the seminars that were organised. They were very helpful as they made us understand how biotech-pharmaceutical companies work and a lot of other useful information. I am glad to say that the teaching staff was great. Furthermore, it was very nice to study for this course because I had the chance to meet and work together with international people. I am happy that I studied at the University of Glasgow. I have already suggested the course to friends from my previous university and I would strongly recommend it to everyone who wants to improve his knowledge about biotechnology."

Former student from India

"I enjoyed the MSc programme as it was an eye-opener to me. I have learned how to critically analyse a paper, hi-tech equipment used in DNA sequencing and nowadays I appreciate every invention I see as I understand it was all about ideas as we were taught a business course."

Former student from the UK

"The Biotechnology MSc at Glasgow contains a wide variety of cutting edge subject matter, all of which relevant. For me the most enjoyable aspect of the course was the many different areas of Biotechnology covered in the course, it gave the student an ability to gain a great deal of scope and insight into the potential of working within the Biotech industry. I would be surprised if there are other current MSc Biology courses available that could rival the spectrum of biology covered. This allows you as a student to discover which areas of bioloogy you are most interested in, for example biomedical application was covered in the form of tissue engineering and stem cells, whereas bio-fuels and industrial microbiology demonstrated a more industry based application. Also I believe having a post-graduate qualification in Biotechnology is a positive addition to any CV as the importance of molecular biology is continually becoming more apparent, for example this course also covers the up and coming field of synthetic biology. Overall it was a very enjoyable year!"

Career prospects

This programme will prepare you for a career in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industrial sectors or for entry into PhD programmes.

Entry requirements

A second class honours degree or equivalent in a related subject area – Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology or Biochemistry – although applicants with a degree in other areas may be considered. Professional experience may also be taken into account.

International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of pre-Masters courses.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification:

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 90; no sub-test less than:
    • Reading: 20
    • Listening: 19
    • Speaking: 19
    • Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):  176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's English for Academic Study Unit offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2017-18


Home and EU
Full time fee£7250
Full time fee£19500

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only


International applicants (from beyond the EU) are requested to pay a deposit of £1000 when an offer is made.

Deposits terms & conditions

The University requires a deposit to be paid by International (beyond the EU) applicants in receipt of an offer to this programmes and who require a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University in order that they can apply for a student visa. This is required where the programme is competitive and the deposit is required in order to demonstrate your commitment to attend the programme should you meet all the conditions of your offer.

If you are made an offer for this programme the University will write to you and request a deposit with information on how to pay your deposit and the deadline for making the deposit payment. Please note that if you are unable to pay a deposit because you are planning to fund your studies through an official financial sponsor then you should upload a copy of your scholarship application or award letter to your application by the deadline date.

The following guidelines will apply in determining whether or not a deposit will be refunded. Where the deposit is refunded, a 10% handling fee will be deducted.

Deposits WILL be refunded to applicants under the following circumstances:

  1. Where the University is unable to offer you a place.
  2. Where the applicant has personal circumstances such as illness, bereavement or other family situations that has prevented them coming to the UK. Medical or other proof may be requested.
  3. Applicant can prove that they have applied for a visa to attend the University of Glasgow, but the VISA has been refused. The applicant must have shown ‘real intent' to study at the University of Glasgow but has been unable to obtain their visa.
  4. Applicant does not meet his / her conditions of offer: this may be academic or language test requirements. Satisfactory evidence must be uploaded to the student’s online application to prove that they have not met the conditions of their offer (note that applicants who do not meet the language condition of their offer must show reasonable attempt to meet this, i.e. they must provide a language test which was taken after the date that the deposit was paid).

Deposits WILL NOT be refunded to applicants under the following circumstances:

  1. Applicant decides to go to another institution.
  2. Applicant cannot be released from work to study at the University of Glasgow.
  3. Applicant does not send completed documentation as requested in the condition of the offer: this may be required in order to prove that the offer has not been met for academic or language test conditions - failure to respond to requests for this information will result in no refund.
  4. Applicant has not secured funding to attend the University of Glasgow: this may be as a result of not being successful in applications for scholarships, OR simply not having sufficient funds in bank at time of visa application. This condition will apply unless it can be proven that there are clear mitigating circumstances which have significantly changed the applicant’s position since the time of application.
  5. Applicant has decided to defer – in this situation the University will retain the deposit and credit it against the applicant’s account for securing their place for the following year of entry. 

Refund requests must be made within 60 days of the programme start date stated on your offer letter: requests made after this date will be subject to discretion.

Additional fees

  • Fee for submission by a research student: £460
  • Fee for re-assessment of a dissertation (PGT programme): £300
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work: £1,000
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed: £200
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship: £680
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period): £260
  • Registration/exam only fee: £110
  • General Council fee: £50

Alumni discount

A 10% discount is available to University of Glasgow alumni applying to the MSc. This includes graduates and those who have completed a Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School at the University of Glasgow. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

Funding opportunities

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Postgraduate Admissions
Marketing, Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU): 21 July 2017 
  • UK and EU applications: 25 August 2017

Classes start September 2017 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now