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Biotechnology - BSc (Hons)

Why study this course?

Learn about developing disease-resistant crops to feed the world, treating genetic disorders and developing biobased plastics. Taught in our £30 million Science Centre, this fascinating degree course will put you in touch with the latest developments in this growth area. You will explore the molecular, cellular and physiological bases of life processes, discuss ethical considerations and learn key career skills, from report-writing to teamwork. 

In the most recent (2015-16) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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Biotechnology is a relatively new, rapidly advancing area, and can be broadly defined as using living organisms or cell processes to make useful products. As a biotechnologist, you might be involved in anything from producing environmentally friendly alternatives to pesticides, to finding treatments or cures for genetic disorders.

On this course, you'll explore the molecular, cellular and physiological bases of life processes, and develop the academic and practical skills needed to collect, analyse and interpret biotechnology information and data. You will also study the ethical issues presented in contemporary biotechnology and develop skills of reflection and self-evaluation.

Your first year will comprise a broad introduction to life sciences and the study of aspects of chemistry relevant to biological systems. You'll focus on developing the necessary data handling and laboratory skills.

In the second year, you will have the opportunity to carry out state-of-the-art research techniques, such as gene cloning and amplification by genetic engineering.

In your final year, as well as studying at a more in-depth level, you’ll undertake a year-long research project on a topic of your choosing.

Assessment

Your skills are assessed by essays, group reports, poster presentations, seminar presentations, data analysis and interpretation exercises, and the production and maintenance of a personal profile and curriculum vitae.

Data handling skills are assessed through practical reports, problem-solving exercises, information abstracting and reviewing exercises, poster presentations, exams and seminar presentations.

Professional accreditation

On graduation, you'll be eligible to apply for Graduate or Associate Membership of the Royal Society of Biology, depending on your degree classification.

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of grades CCC in three A levels in academic subjects including Biology and Chemistry (or a minimum of 96 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification, eg BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma/Diploma; or Advanced Diploma; or Progression Diploma; or Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits) 
  • English Language and Mathematics GCSE at grade C or above (or equivalent)

Applicants with relevant professional qualifications or extensive professional experience will also be considered on a case by case basis.

Entry from appropriate foundation and access courses will also be considered.

If you don’t have traditional qualifications or can’t meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the BSc Biotechnology Extended Degree.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Accelerated study

If you have relevant qualifications or credit from a similar course it may be possible to enter this course at an advanced stage rather than beginning in the first year. Please note, advanced entry is only available for September start. See our information for students applying for advanced entry.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2017/18 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning

    This module introduces students to the theoretical and practical aspects of human anatomy and physiology in health and disease. It is designed for life-science students with an interest in human biology, but particularly for those wishing to pursue advanced studies in forensic science, biomedical science, nutrition, dietetics, and other health related sciences.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning

    This is a module which provides students with an understanding of basic cell structures and an awareness of different cell types and relates the structure and activities of cell components to their functions and to cellular activities as a whole. An overview of the organisation, expression, and replication of genetic information will be provided and the principles of Mendelian inheritance will be investigated. The consequences of mutation on gene expression are examined together with an introduction to techniques of gene analysis and manipulation.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    The module provides an introduction to core aspects of chemistry - concepts of chemical formulae, reaction processes, and interactions between particles are enumerated. Fundementals of organic chemistry are expounded, with emphasis on bonding, molecular structure, and simple reaction mechanisms. The second half of the module is concerned with biochemistry focusing on the properties of key biochemical molecules and their role in biochemical function.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    This module will introduce students to safe contemporary (GLP) practice in the laboratory environment, practical bioscience techniques, simple chemical techniques and the discipline of accurate laboratory record keeping. Professional issues, study skills and data analysis will be integrated in the module.In the final 10 weeks the three variants diverge and techniques are related more specifically to the degree area the student is studying.

    Read full details.

Year 2 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday afternoon

    This module will survey the fundamentals of analysis of simple molecules in biological and other relevant systems. Modern instrumental methods will be reviewed and practical experience given.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Thursday afternoon
    • spring semester - Wednesday afternoon

    This module introduces different normative philosophical bases for ethical decision-making, and gives opportunities for critically applying these principles and approaches to a range of contemporary moral issues in the human sciences.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning

    This module investigates the key metabolic pathways in eukaryotes and prokaryotes and investigates how these pathways, in different organisms, satisfy energy requirements for growth and reproduction using the nutrients in their surroundings. This module also examines the intrinsic and extrinsic factors which regulate microbial growth and development.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    AS5005 Molecules of Heredity and Defence runs throughout the year and starts with the underlying principles of molecular biology in eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms, with emphasis on understanding mechanisms of gene expression, genome structure, variation and replication, and genetic inheritance and genetic causes of disease. The latter half is an introduction to immunology with an emphasis on molecular aspects, especially linked to immune system genes, genetic variation and immune defence.
    Required prior learning: to successfully complete this module, students are expected to have adequate knowledge of AS4003 Cell and Molecular Biology or its equivalent. The module is assessed by a combination of practical report, in-class quizzes, an in-class test, a written report and an exam. Successful completion of the module requires attendance of practical classes.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Friday afternoon

    The module addresses the major parasites of medical importance. It emphasises those aspects of parasite life-cycles that contribute to disease and pathology, the anti-parasite immune responses they engender, how parasites evade these responses, and alternative control measures.

    Read full details.

Year 3 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning

    The module will use online public databases and software to extract, analyse and interpret nucleic acid and protein sequences and to model the structures of RNA and protein sequences. Genomics in particular pharmacogenomics and phylogeny are covered. Additionally, it will review advanced bioanalytical techniques, including hybrid techniques, used in the analysis, detection and quantification of molecules in biological and other relevant systems.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday afternoon

    This module will provide students with an understanding of applications of manipulation of microorganisms and potential genetic model organisms for gene manipulation, expression and regulation, microbial cultivation and their applications in pharmaceutical, food and agriculture sectors. In addition, students will gain in-depth skills in research processes.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start)

    This module will enable students to demonstrate the skills necessary to carry out a scientific programme requiring significant research. It will allow students to demonstrate the final development of their subject knowledge, skills and understanding through extended research based on laboratory, literature or field work, or meta-analysis of databases. This research will lead to the presentation of a detailed written report.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday afternoon

    This module characterises the aetiology, pathophysiology, clinical investigation and treatment of selected systems diseases that make a significant contribution to morbidity and mortality within healthcare. Aspects covered begin with an overview of pathology, followed by a systems approach to disease, including cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, endocrine, immune disorders, obesity, diabetes, inborn errors of metabolism, nutritional deficiencies, and cancer

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Thursday afternoon
    • spring semester - Thursday afternoon
    • spring semester - Thursday morning
    • autumn semester - Thursday morning

    Why do some companies succeed while others fail? Are some business ideas fundamentally better than others? How can you tell which ideas are worth investing time and money in and which are not? How can you find an idea to pursue that matches your skills, network and passion?

    This module is a key introduction to identifying, critically assessing and developing new business opportunities. The approaches and processes covered can be applied equally to new commercial ideas, social enterprises or new ventures within an existing business.

    The foundation of the module is a live project where you will develop your own startup idea leading to a live pitch and designing a business model. At each stage you will learn the concepts covered in the module by applying them to your own idea. You will have the opportunity to come up with new ideas on the module and do not need to have a business idea before you begin.

    The module is relevant for anyone considering starting their own business, working for a SME or taking on an entrepreneurial role within a large organisation.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday afternoon

    This module builds on the knowledge and understanding developed at level 4, through the module Cell and Molecular Biology. It will also be underpinned by topics covered in the corequisite module entitled “Molecules of Heredity and Defence”. In this module specific diseases will be used to illustrate genotype/phenotype relationships. The module will address the application of current knowledge to clinical practice in the NHS and will examine how a family with affected offspring, would be counselled.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday afternoon

    This module will focus on the structure, genome and replication strategy of viruses, their role in disease, epidemiological factors that facilitate transmission and their control with antiviral drugs and vaccines.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester
    • spring semester
    • summer studies

    This module focuses on extending students' learning experience by providing them with an opportunity to tackle real-life problems, appropriate to their academic level, in the workplace. The placement needs to be approved prior to be undertaken by the work placement coordinator.

    Read full details.

If you're studying full-time, each year (level) is worth 120 credits.

Year 1 modules include:

  • Laboratory Science (for Applied Biology)
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry (for Applied Biology)
  • Cell and Molecular Biology (for Applied Biology)
  • Anatomy and Physiology (for Applied Biology)

Year 2 modules include:

  • Metabolism and Microbiology
  • Molecules of Heredity and Defence
  • Parasitology
  • Ethics for Science
  • Bioanalytical Science

Year 3 modules include:

  • Microbial Biotechnology
  • Bioinformatics and Bioanalytical Techniques
  • Systems Pathology
  • Research Project (for Applied Biology)
  • Medical Genetics (optional)
  • Virology (optional)
  • Work Placement (for Applied Biology) (optional)

Demand for biotechnology graduates is ever-increasing and you will complete the course with knowledge that places you in a strong position in the job market. You'll be equipped to enter a career in biochemistry, biotechnology, microbiology, bioinformatics or molecular genetics.

The programme is also excellent preparation for further research or study.

Previous graduates have found work in hospital and public health laboratories, in medical research, and also in the pharmaceutical, food and agricultural industries.

The analytical, numerical and communication skills you'll develop through this course are also in demand in careers outside the science sector, such as accountancy, journalism and marketing.

Between 2016 and 2020 we're investing £125 million in the London Metropolitan University campus, moving all of our activity to our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching location of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2018. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

Unistats is the official site that allows you to search for and compare data and information on university and college courses from across the UK. The widget(s) below draw data from the corresponding course on the Unistats website. If a course is taught both full-time and part-time, one widget for each mode of study will be displayed here.

How to apply

Applying for September 2017

UK/EU students wishing to begin this course studying full-time in September 2017 should apply by calling the Clearing hotline on .

Applicants from outside the EU should refer to our guidance for international students during Clearing.

Part-time applicants should apply direct to the University online.

If you're a UK/EU applicant applying for full-time study you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified.

UK/EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University.

Non-EU applicants for full-time study may choose to apply via UCAS or apply direct to the University. Non-EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University, but please note that if you require a Tier 4 visa you are not able to study on a part-time basis.

All applicants applying to begin a course starting in January must apply direct to the University.

When to apply

The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September from one year before the start of the course. Our UCAS institution code is L68.

If you will be applying direct to the University you are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only be able to consider your application if there are places available on the course.

Fees and key information

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