MSc Industrial Biotechnology

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time
  • Work placement: three-month placement with industry

  • Scholarships: 30 home fee paying funded places; 5 International/England/Wales/N. Ireland places available

Study with us

  • for recent graduates and early-career professionals with a variety of backgrounds, from the UK, EU 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


How could the Covid-19 pandemic affect my studies?

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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 is 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

Associated travel expenses are reimbursed. Teaching on the course combines the expertise of staff from a wide range of academic institutions.

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 industrial placement during which you'll carry out an industrially-relevant project.

Course video

Watch our video to hear more about the course:

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

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Learning & teaching

Two semesters of formal teaching are followed by an intensive research project, carried out with an industrial partner.


The final assessment will be based on performance in exams, coursework and the research project. If necessary there may be a formal oral exam.


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.

The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
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Course content

Bioprocessing (University of Strathclyde)

Bioprocessing is a key skill in Industrial Biotechnology and therefore this class 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
Applied Biocatalysis (University of Strathclyde)

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 class will provide 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
Synthetic Biology (University of Glasgow)

This class 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)

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 is an essential step in many manufacturing processes.

Downstream processing refers to the separation or purification of biological products, but at different scales of operation and for different purposes. Downstream processing implies manufacture of a purified product fit for a specific use, for the sole purpose of measuring a component or components of a mixture and may deal with sample sizes as small as a single cell.

Big Data Fundamentals (University of Strathclyde)

This course 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
Introduction to Bioinformatics for Life Scientists (University of Edinburgh)

Bioinformatics is about the application of computer-based approaches to understanding biological processes. Our programme will introduce you to the current methods used to interpret the vast amounts of data generated by modern high-throughput technologies.

The aim of this MSc is to equip you with a strong background in biology, plus the computing skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the vast wealth of modern biological data. On completing this programme you'll be able to take up PhD studies or bioinformatics posts in academia or in industry.

The programme covers programming skills, statistical analysis and database science as well as bioinformatics. Option courses allow you to specialise in several aspects of bioinformatics.

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

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

Renewable Energy Technologies (Abertay University)

This class 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 class is to provide you with an understanding of chemical, biochemical, microbiological and process engineering aspects of renewable energy production.

Circular Economy and Transformations Towards Sustainability (University of Strathclyde)

The module introduces 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)

This module covers:

  • principles of quality management schemes
  • understanding the role of accreditation systems in processing industries
  • Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)
Advanced Project Management (University of Strathclyde)

Project management and project-based organisations are becoming increasingly common in industry, therefore this class 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 Commodities and Sustainability (Glasgow Caledonian University)

This module covers:

  • global food commodities
  • food sustainability and food security
  • utilisation of waste streams
  • developing circular economies
Food Microbiology and Biotechnology (Glasgow Caledonian University)

This module covers:

  • the roles of microorganisms in the production of foods and beverages
  • industrial fermentation technology
  • emerging technologies
  • plant transgenics
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 students will be based in industry working on an industrially-relevant project gaining invaluable experience in a key area of biotechnology.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements/experience

Minimum upper second-class 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 100 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

Map of the world.

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Fees & funding

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

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Additional costs

Course materials

Lab coats and safety goggles approximately £30. All recommended textbooks are available in the library (and some freely available as online resources), however students may wish to purchase their own copies at approximately £60-180 for second hand to new prices.

Other costs

  • £10 returnable deposit for entry keycard
  • £10 returnable deposit for locker (depending on project location within SIPBS)
  • printing and binding costs of project dissertation (soft-bound so estimated £10)

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.

Industry placements

Our students enjoyed successful placements with the following companies:

  • GSK
  • Xanthella
  • Marine Biopolymers
  • AMT
  • Ingenza
  • Unilever
  • CelluComp
  • Cyanosol

As a result of the MSc experience and particularly the industrial placement, at least 80% of our recent cohorts have secured full-time jobs within the biotechnology sector or have undertaken further postgraduate study.

Our students

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow
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We're no longer accepting applications from International, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland students on this course. We have currently allocated all available places and are operating a waiting list. If you'd like to be added to this waiting list please contact

Applications for 2022 entry will open in October 2021.

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Contact us

PGT Admissions Team

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 3623