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MSc Industrial Biotechnology

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Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time
  • Work placement: 10-week industry-relevant placement

  • Number of places on course: 35

  • Scholarships: available; please see fees & funding tab

Study with us

  • for recent graduates and early-career professionals with a variety of backgrounds, from the UK and overseas, all with a common desire to be challenged and with a real passion for industrial biotechnology
  • the course is designed to respond to industry needs and is at the forefront of developments in biotechnology
  • undertake a 10-week placement and research project
  • benefit from the expertise of staff from academic institutions across Scotland and industry partners
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Why this course?

The MSc Industrial Biotechnology will appeal to those with a primary industrial background as a further training opportunity and as a means of becoming involved in this important field, as well as being suitable for recent graduates and early-career professionals from a variety of backgrounds.

The course has been designed in direct response to industry needs and is at the forefront of developments in biotechnology and engineering. Course content is informed by industry and reviewed annually to ensure it's up-to-date and optimally aligned to the rapidly growing industrial biotechnology sector.

This unique MSc degree is awarded by the University of Strathclyde; teaching takes place at Strathclyde’s campus in Glasgow and the following higher education institutions across Scotland:

  • Abertay University
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Innogen Institute
  • Scottish Association for Marine Science
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of the Highlands and Islands

Teaching on the course combines the expertise of staff from a wide range of academic institutions.

Course video

Watch our video to hear more about the course:

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you’ll study

The course includes a range of compulsory core classes and electives which ensure you'll have the opportunity to specialise for your preferred career path. The degree culminates in a minimum 10-week placement during which you'll carry out an industry-relevant project.

Learning & teaching

Two semesters of formal teaching are followed by an intensive, industry-relevant research project, carried out with an industrial partner or at the University of Strathclyde.


The assessment will be based on performance in exams, coursework and the research project.


The Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS) is a major research centre in Scotland and is among the UK's top schools of pharmacy. We offer an excellent environment for research and teaching, located in a state-of the art building with laboratories fitted with modern equipment.

Athena SWAN Award

SIPBS received an Athena SWAN Bronze Departmental Award in recognition of practices which support gender equality in higher education.



Work placement

The Masters degree culminates in a minimum 10-week placement which enables you to carry out an industrially-relevant project. This is an opportunity to develop specialist knowledge in an emerging technology and increase your employability.

Students have successfully completed industrial placements with companies such as ScotBio, Ingenza, GSK, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, Devro and AskBio.

Read more about our students' experiences on placement

The course content and invaluable experience gained at my industrial placement with FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies UK (FDBK) really opened my eyes to working in the biopharmaceutical sector. This training also led directly to my current PhD studies in collaboration with FDBK.

MSc Industrial Biotechnology Graduate

Martin Wiese
Industrial Biotechnology addresses the needs of mankind for the future and with its great diversity offers opportunities for many to contribute. The MSc Industrial Biotechnology is the portal to start your journey.
Martin Wiese
Course Director

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If you want to know more about what it’s like to be a Science student at the University of Strathclyde, a selection of our current students are here to help!

Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.

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Course content

Compulsory modules

Bioinformatics 1 (University of Edinburgh)

10 credits

Bioinformatics is an inter-disciplinary subject that develops tools for analysing increasingly large and complex biological data. This module covers the fundamental knowledge from both biological and computational disciplines to enable further practical and theoretical study. Python scripting language will be used, but no previous knowledge of Biology or Python scripting is required.

This module comprises theory and practical work both in workshop sessions and in classwork with real biological case studies. It covers:

  • analysis of biological sequences (DNA, RNA, and protein)
  • use of biological sequence databases
  • process automation
  • algorithms and tools to allow pairwise and multiple sequence alignment
  • use of high-throughput next-generation sequence data


Big Data Fundamentals (University of Strathclyde)

10 credits

This modules aims to provide:

  • an understanding of the new challenges posed by the advent for big data, as they refer to its modelling, storage, and access; and
  • an understanding of the key algorithms and techniques which are embodied in data analytics solutions


Applied Biocatalysis (University of Strathclyde)

20 credits

Applied Biocatalysis is a core technology in Industrial Biotechnology, covering the use of enzymes and related materials as catalysts in industrial processes. It complements fermentation as presented in the bioprocessing class, where whole cells are the catalysts – indeed the two form a continuous spectrum of technologies.

This module will provide you with the following learning objectives:

  • understand the range of approaches available for finding new enzymes
  • appreciate the key properties required in a practical biocatalyst and how they can be obtained
  • appreciate the scope of biocatalysis and how it can integrate with synthetic chemistry
  • understand how the kinetics of enzymatic processes can be modelled and analysed
  • understand the principles of the immobilisation of enzymes and whole cells
  • appreciate key issues in industrial enzyme manufacture, trade and application

Elective modules

Renewable Energy Technologies (Abertay University)

20 credits

This module covers advanced aspects of the science, technology and socio-economic aspects of renewable energy production, with a particular emphasis on biofuels.

The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of chemical, biochemical, microbiological and process engineering aspects of renewable energy production. This module will help you to:

  • Critically appraise current/future status of renewable energy
  • Evaluate biotechnology research in novel biofuel processes
  • Evaluate renewable energy production with regard to:
    • human health
    • climate change
    • energy security

Project Management (University of Strathclyde)

10 credits

Project management and project-based organisations are becoming increasingly common in industry, therefore this module assumes that you require some knowledge of the tools and techniques used to manage projects within organisations. Those with no background in project management will be introduced to:

  • the concept of the project lifecycle
  • project management as a strategic tool
  • the methodologies and tools that enable efficient project execution

Food Microbiology and Biotechnology (Glasgow Caledonian University)

10 credits

This module will provide you with personal transferable graduate skills in areas of food microbiology and biotechnology. You'll develop critical data analysis skills, laboratory skills including report writing and data generation. Additionally, you'll develop your literature searching, and essay writing skills.

This class covers:

  • Production of Biofuels & Bioplastics
  • Generation of Recombinant Proteins & Cell Factories
  • Fermentation Technology
  • Foods and Beverages Production
  • Plant Transgenics & Bioremediation
  • Bacteriophage in Food Industry

Compulsory modules

Bioprocessing (University of Strathclyde)

20 credits

Bioprocessing is a key skill in Industrial Biotechnology and therefore this module underpins the whole course. Bioprocessing forms the basis of the production end of the biotechnology business.

You'll gain an understanding of the:

  • basic principles of bioprocessing including process kinetics
  • importance of and mechanisms for strain/cell line stability and preservation
  • importance of medium design, bioreactor design and operation
  • principles of mass transfer and its relationship to the success of bioprocesses
  • principles of good manufacturing practice and its relevance to regulatory issues
  • skills in data/paper interpretation and writing

Synthetic Biology (University of Glasgow)

20 credits

This module explores the concepts of rational design, computer modelling, construction and characterisation of synthetic biology systems and devices. You'll have the opportunity to design, build and test a simple genetic circuit or metabolic pathway, and to plan a more complex synthetic biology project.

Downstream Processing (Heriot Watt University)

10 credits

Downstream processing refers to the recovery and purification of biosynthetic products from natural sources such as animal or plant tissue or fermentation broth, including the recycling of salvageable components and the proper treatment and disposal of waste. It's an essential step in many manufacturing processes.

You'll gain an understanding of:

  • downstream separation techniques
  • capture and purification operations
  • influence of product type on separations
  • cell disruption operations
  • centrifugation, membrane separations and chromatographic applications

Elective modules

Circular Economy and Transformations Towards Sustainability (University of Strathclyde)

10 credits

The module introduces you to the circular economy as a systems-based concept in which production is designed to be restorative and resilient, while waste is designed out of the system. Circular economy is thus featured as a reaction to the conventional dispensation of the linear ‘make-use-dispose’ economy, and as a framework for the development and management of a sustainable, ‘waste as a resource’ economic system.

Understanding the Regulatory Environment of Bioprocessing Industries (Glasgow Caledonian University)

10 credits

You'll develop critical data analysis skills and laboratory skills, including report writing and data generation. You'll also develop skills in reflective and experiential learning and effective use of learning resources.

This class covers:

  • principles of quality management schemes
  • understanding the role of accreditation systems in processing industries: focus on food & drink manufacturing
  • Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)
  • analytical lab skills

Food Commodities and Sustainability (Glasgow Caledonian University)

10 credits

This module will provide you with personal transferable graduate skills in areas of analysis of foods, report writing and data generation. Additionally, you'll develop your literature searching, critical analysis and essay writing skills.

This class covers:

  • global food commodities
  • food sustainability and food security
  • utilisation of waste streams
  • developing circular economies

Blue Biotechnology (The Scottish Association for Marine Science, University of the Highlands & Islands)

20 credits

This module combines taught and practical elements and covers topics such as taxonomy, systematics and physiology or micro-algae and macro-algae. 

The emphasis will be on the biotechnological exploitation of these organisms focussing on their use as human/animal food; hydrocolloids, fine chemicals; green fertilizers and as feedstock to produce algal biofuels. Issues such as the environmental impacts of macro-algal farms, disease susceptibility and techno-economics will be covered.

Industrial Biotechnology Research Project

The project will be typically based with one of the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre’s industrial partners and be supervised by both an industrial and academic supervisor. The placement will last a minimum of 10 weeks, and you'll usually be based in industry working on an industry-relevant project gaining invaluable experience in a key area of biotechnology.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements/experience

Minimum upper second-class (2:1) Honours degree or international equivalent in:

  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering

or related subjects.

Prospective students with relevant experience or other appropriate qualifications are also welcome to apply.

English language requirements

You must have an English language minimum score of IELTS 6.5 (with no component below 6.0).

We offer comprehensive English language courses for students whose IELTS scores are below 6.5. Please see ELTD for full details.

As a university, we now accept many more English language tests in addition to IELTS for overseas applicants, for example, TOEFL and PTE Cambridge. View the full list of accepted English language tests here.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Additional costs

Course materials

You will have to pay extra for your lab coat and safety goggles. All recommended textbooks are available in the library (and some freely available as online resources). However you may wish to purchase your own copies.

Other costs

There are returnable deposits for entry keycards and lockers (depending on your project location within Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences).

International students

If you are an international student, you may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish postgraduate students

Scottish postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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The course provides an exciting opportunity for science and engineering graduates who are looking for a career in an emerging industry that is sustainable, green and essential to the global economy.

Our graduates are currently working in the following industries and organisations:

  • GSK
  • MiAlgae
  • ScotBio
  • Enough Ltd
  • Roslin CT
  • Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
  • Xanthella                                                                          
  • Roslin CT
  • Lonza
  • Qnostics

As a result of the MSc experience and particularly the industrial placement, the majority of our recent cohorts have secured full-time jobs within the biotechnology sector or have undertaken further postgraduate study.

I was pleased to be offered a permanent role as a Bioprocess Engineer with ScotBio following my industrial placement, and I now lead on the downstream processing part of their production.

MSc Industrial Biotechnology Graduate

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Students eligible to pay tuition fees at the Scotland fee rate

Up to 30 places are available for Scotland fee rate-paying students on the MSc Industrial Biotechnology each year.

In previous years, we have been delighted to have been awarded a number of fully funded places by the Scottish Funding Council for this programme.

Should funded places become available for the 24/25 academic year, applicants who hold an offer for the course will be notified, which we expect would be in April or May 2024.

We therefore recommend applying early to secure a place.

Applicants who receive an offer of admission

To reserve a place on the MSc Industrial Biotechnology, applicants who have been made an offer of admission will be required to accept their offer within 21 days.

Students eligible to pay tuition fees at the International or Rest of UK fee rate

Five places are available for international or Rest of UK fee paying students on the MSc Industrial Biotechnology each year.

There is high demand for these places and once they have been filled, qualified applicants will be placed on a waiting list to be considered for an offer of admission if any places become available. We recommend applying early in the application cycle.

Please ensure you include all supporting documentation before submitting your application to avoid a delay in processing your application.

Applicants who receive an offer of admission

To reserve a place on the MSc Industrial Biotechnology, applicants who have been made an offer of admission will be required to:

  • Accept their offer within 21 days.
  • Pay a deposit or provide evidence of a valid scholarship/ sponsorship, within 21 days of accepting their offer. The deposit is £5,000 for the majority of students paying international tuition fees and £500 for students paying Rest of UK tuition fees.

Start date: Sep 2024

Industrial Biotechnology (IBioIC)

Start date: Sep 2024

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Contact us

PGT Admissions Team

Telephone: +44 (0)141 553 6023


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