Course Overview

WINNER Postgraduate Science Course of the Year Award 2016 #HEAwards

  ‌‌

‌This MSc aims to provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a successful career in biotechnology. Through tutorials, lectures, assignments and a research project, the course focuses on the development and application of biological processes in research, commercial and industrial settings. The programme is suitable for applicants who have a primary degree in Biological Sciences and wish to develop a career in a sector of high employment.

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Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Selection is based on academic record, previous relevant experience and a personal statement. Shortlisted candidates may be invited for interview.

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

A variety of different assessment types are included, such as continuous assessment assignments, written examinations, essays and a research project thesis.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Candidates must hold at least a Second Class Honours, Level 8 (or equivalent international qualification) primary degree in Science or a related subject, with a strong background in Biological Sciences. For applicants whose native language is not English, an IELTS score of at least 6.5 is required, with not less than 5.5 in any one component.

Additional Requirements

Duration

1 year, full-time

Next start date

September 2019

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

20

Closing Date

 Please view the offer rounds website.

NFQ level

9

Mode of study

Taught

ECTS weighting

90

Award

CAO

Course code

1MT1

Course Outline

Key Features of this course include:
  • Emphasis on developing biotechnology and business skills
  • Choice of industrial or research focussed streams
  • Small group tutorials
  • Five-month laboratory project providing the opportunity to build research and development expertise while being a member of a scientific research team
Core modules:
  • MSc Biotechnology research and/or work experience: Five month research project.
  • Frontiers in Biotechnology: Tutorials introducing transferable skills and recent advances in biotechnology.
  • Introduction to Business: Concepts of marketing, management and accountancy including student development of a biotechnology business plan.
  • Fundamental Concepts in Pharmacology: Understanding the dynamics and kinetics of drug interactions in the body.
  • Protein Technology: Includes industrial scale-up of protein production, proteomics and glycobiology.
  • Diagnostic Biotechnology: A comprehensive overview of immunological and molecular diagnostics.
Optional modules (choose two):
  • Advanced Industrial Processes: This module is designed to develop an awareness of microbial technologies and their applications to biotechnology.
  • Applied Concepts in Pharmacology: This module introduces students to autonomic pharmacology and drug discovery and development.
  • Scientific Writing: This module aims to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the process of scientific publication (writing and reviewing articles).
  • Immunology: This module is delivered with emphasis on the clinical value of manipulating the immune system as well as the clinical implications of immunological dysfunction.
  • Quality Management Systems for Biotechnology: Quality management systems essential for the efficient and safe running of commercial and industrial biotechnology enterprises are taught in this module.
  • Cell & Molecular Biology: Advanced Technologies: This module outlines the fundamentals of cell & molecular biology.

*Please note that the curriculum information is subject to change from year to year.

Modules—full-time course

 

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Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Module
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (90 Credits)

Required MG529: Introduction To Business


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module MG529: "Introduction To Business" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PM208: Fundamental Concepts in Pharmacology


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module introduces students to fundamental pharmacological concepts of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. A combination of lectures, tutorials and workshops will be used.

Learning Outcomes
  1. describe the main drug targets
  2. interpret dose response curves for agonists, antagonists, inverse agonists
  3. calculate molarities, concentrations, volumes required in making solutions
  4. access and critically analyse and interpret pharmacological data
  5. describe the processes of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion for specific drugs
  6. explain the effects of different routes of administration on absorption of drugs, and effects of food and drug interactions on drug disposition
  7. derive pharmacokinetic data and use them to predict clinical properties of drugs
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (30%)
  • Computer-based Assessment (70%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Pharmacology" by Rang, H.P., Dale, Ritter, Flower & Henderson
    Publisher: Churchill Livingstone
  2. "Principles of Pharmacology" by Golan, D.E., et al
  3. "Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews Pharmacology" by Harvey, R.A.
The above information outlines module PM208: "Fundamental Concepts in Pharmacology" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required BG5101: Frontiers in Biotechnology


12 months long | Credits: 10

This module gives students the opportunity to acquire knowledge and develop skills that are necessary for successful careers in the field of biotechnology. Experts will discuss recent advances in biotechnological research and applications. Furthermore students will develop their transferable skills on this interactive module through a range of continuous assignments.

Learning Outcomes
  1. discuss and analyse a range of scientific and biotechnological topics
  2. carry out independent study of scientific and biotechnology topics
  3. communicate verbally, visually and in writing on scientific and biotechnological subjects
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module BG5101: "Frontiers in Biotechnology" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required BG5104: Protein Technology


Spring | Credits: 5

This module will cover topics on the application of protein biology to Biotechnology. This includes principles of protein production and purification, proteomic analysis, protein glycobiology and industrial scale-up of protein purification. This module is assessed by written examination in an in-house exam in MARCH.

Learning Outcomes
  1. discuss the implementation and usefulness of proteomics to biological research
  2. evaluate and design protein production, extraction and purification strategies
  3. appraise the many roles glycans play in health and diseases, as well as in clinical and industrial applications
  4. describe and propose solutions to bottlenecks associated with the scale up of recombinant protein production from lab to industrial scale
  5. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of industrial enzymes
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module BG5104: "Protein Technology" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required BG5103: MSC Biotechnology Research and Work Experience


12 months long | Credits: 40

Students undertake a research placement in an industrial, academic or research institution. The purpose of this module is for students to acquire and develop research and/or technical skills. Students investigate a research problem/question with direct or potential relevance to biotechnology. Students prepare a thesis describing the research topic, the research project and the impact of the research findings. Students on 1MT1 complete this module over a 5 month period from April to August. Students on 2MT2 may complete the module over an extended schedule.

Learning Outcomes
  1. design methodologic approaches to achieve the desired research aims
  2. successfully perform techniques and methods relevant to the research topic
  3. analyse and critique research results
  4. work in a team to plan and maximise the amount of work carried out.
  5. troubleshoot problems that arise during a research project
  6. effectively manage and plan their research schedule
  7. use resources in the library, information databases and original literature.
  8. collect, organise, synthesise and critically review a large body of information
  9. write an extensive, structured thesis
  10. discuss and critique published research papers in the field of the project
  11. identify and discuss the significance of their work with respect to the state of the art of the topic
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (50%)
  • Research (50%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module BG5103: "MSC Biotechnology Research and Work Experience" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required BG5105: Diagnostic Biotechnology


Spring | Credits: 5

This course provides a comprehensive overview for students of the fundamental principles of immuno and molecular diagnostics. Topics to be covered include: introduction to antibodies and their properties; ELISA and Western blot based processes for diagnostics; FACS analysis for diagnostic purposes with examples; Nucleic acid structure and function, genetics, introduction to nucleic acid isolation and amplification techniques used in infectious disease diagnosis in the clinical setting.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a critical knowledge of the principles of antibody-based diagnostic systems
  2. Understand the concepts of validation and quality control as applied to antibody based analytical systems
  3. Apply knowledge of cellular structure and function, especially DNA and RNA, to molecular diagnostic procedures
  4. Demonstrate a thorough working knowledge of nucleic acid extraction, resolution and detection
  5. Evaluate the most commonly utilized molecular diagnostic testing protocols
  6. Demonstrate a wide, effective and critical reading of current relevant scientific literature and be conversant in the current trends and future possibilities for both immuno and molecular diagnostics
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Janeway's Immunobiology" by Kenneth Murphy
    ISBN: 9780815342434.
    Publisher: Garland Science
  2. "Nucleic Acid Diagnostics:Molecular Diagnostics: Current Research and Applications" by Jim Huggett and Justin O'Grady
    ISBN: 9781908230416.
    Publisher: Caister Academic Press
The above information outlines module BG5105: "Diagnostic Biotechnology" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional BES519: Scientific Writing


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Based largely on a peer-review exercise, this module aims to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the process of scientific publication. Topics include journal author guidelines, review article types, how to write a good review article, how to produce a critique of a review article, how to write to a journal editor and to respond to reviewer comments. Other apsects discussed include open access publishing, paper authorship, the ethics of publication, predatory journals
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Recognise and explain scientific writing
  2. Describe the structure of different kinds of scientific papers
  3. Summarise the different steps in the publication process
  4. Explain the aims, principles and limiations of the peer review process
  5. Produce a well-written critique of a mini-review paper
  6. Respond to peer reviews and write a letter to a journal editor
  7. Produce a well-written mini-review on a specialist topic
  8. Define what is meant by 'journal impact factor' (IF)
  9. Use Journal IFs and other journal information, to select appropriate journals for paper submission
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module BES519: "Scientific Writing" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional BG5102: Current Methodologies in Biotechnology (CMB)


12 months long | Credits: 5

This module gives students the opportunity to acquire knowledge of and develop laboratory and research skills necessary for successful careers in the field of biotechnology. Experts will teach methodologies fundamental to biotechnological research and applications. Skills taught in this module will be further developed during research project or work experience. Furthermore students will develop their transferable skills on this interactive module through a range of continuous assignments.

Learning Outcomes
  1. carry out advanced methods in biotechnology
  2. display detailed theoretical knowledge and understanding of the biotechnological methodologies acquired
  3. effectively communicate verbally, visually and in written reports on methodologies in biotechnology
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module BG5102: "Current Methodologies in Biotechnology (CMB)" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional PM209: Applied Concepts in Pharmacology


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module introduces students to autonomic pharmacology and drug discovery and development. A combination of lectures, tutorials and workshops will be used.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the process of adrenergic and cholinergic neurotransmission including receptors and transporters.
  2. Relate drug mechanism of action to autonomic neurotransmission
  3. Describe how new molecular entities are discovered and developed into drug candidates for human clinical trials
  4. Summarize the clinical trial process including adverse effects
  5. Derive dose-response curves for agonists and antagonists in the ANS
  6. Interpret clinical trial data
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (30%)
  • Computer-based Assessment (70%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Pharmacology" by Rang, H.P., Dale, Ritter, Flower & Henderson
    Publisher: Churchill Livingstone
  2. "Principles of Pharmacology" by Golan, D.E
  3. "Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews Pharmacology" by Harvey, R.A
The above information outlines module PM209: "Applied Concepts in Pharmacology" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional BES5102: Cell & Molecular Biology: Advanced Technologies


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module it is designed to bring students to a common point where all will share the appropriate biological knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals in cellular and molecular biology. The module explores the following: cell composition; sub-cellular organelles; structure of DNA and RNA; transcription, protein synthesis; cell signalling, cell cycle; PubMed, DNA recombination, PCR; transformation, transfection; advanced molecular and cellular biology techniques.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Illustrate the structure of DNA, explaining how DNA is replicated during the polymerase chain reaction technique.
  2. Explain what is meant by the 'genetic code' and how it relates to protein synthesis.
  3. Carry out a Pubmed search in order to identify molecules implicated in a human disease chosen by you.
  4. Use the National cancer and Biological Institute (NCBI) nucleotide database to discover the DNA sequence encoding a protein of your choice and determine the length of the coding sequence and the number of amino acids contained in the protein encoded.
  5. Describe how mammalian cell culture, PCR, DNA recombination, DNA plasmids, bacterial transformation and cellular transfection can be used to understand protein function, localisation and possible relevance to disease.
  6. Name the major structural components a mammalian cell and its constituent organelles.
  7. List cytoskeletal, extracellular matrix, membrane and signalling proteins involved in mammalian cell interactions with each other and with the extracellular environment.
  8. Explain how the mitochondria meet the energy requirements of the cell.
  9. Recognise cellular organelles involved in trafficking newly-synthesised proteins through and out of the cell.
  10. Summarise the main steps and in the cell cycle and proteins involved in regulation of each stage.
  11. Study and present on advanced technologies in cell and molecular biology
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "The Cell: A Molecular Approach" by Geoffrey M. Cooper, Robert E. Hausman
    Publisher: ASM press
The above information outlines module BES5102: "Cell & Molecular Biology: Advanced Technologies" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional BG5107: Quality Management Systems for Biotechnology


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This course provides an overview of the key concepts, benefits and principles of an effective quality management system (QMS) based on the ISO 9000 series quality management standards and extend these principles to QMS standards pertaining to the Food Industry (HACCP), the pharmaceutical/ Healthcare Manufacturing (GMP) and preclinical Scientific research (GLP) as well as an effective Environmental Management System based on ISO 14000 series. This module will include lectures, tutorials, case studies, & directed independent learning.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and insight of different Quality Management Systems (product quality management, food safety and environmental management)
  2. Evaluate the principles of quality management and the role of quality management in different organisations.
  3. Compare the inter relationships between different Quality Management systems (ISO9000, ISO 14000, GMP, GLP and HACCP).
  4. Have an in-depth familiarity with the fundamentals of each of the different Quality Management Systems.
  5. Qualify and appraise quality management definitions, concepts and guidelines
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module BG5107: "Quality Management Systems for Biotechnology" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional MA170: Introduction to Programming for Biologists


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module provides biology students with foundation programming skills in Perl and enables them to perform core bioinformatics tasks. It will also introduce them to the scope for further learning and more advanced applications, and allow them to appreciate that computer-based tools are fundamental to modern biology and medicine.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Access, interpret and apply programming education resources
  2. Assess the usefulness of programming to perform fundamental tasks in molecular biology
  3. Create different types of programming code to compare molecular biology data.
  4. Create and structure a computer program that alters molecular biology data.
  5. Identify and co-opt other coding solutions to perform specific tasks
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Beginning Perl for bioinformatics" by RL Schwartz & T Christiansen
    Publisher: James Tisdall
    Chapters: Learning Perl
The above information outlines module MA170: "Introduction to Programming for Biologists" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional MI5103: Advanced Industrial Processes


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

This module is designed to develop an awareness of microbial technologies. The overall goal of this module is to present several applications of microbial technologies. To this end, microbial processes involved in energy and resource recovery from waste as well as bioremediation will be explored. In addition bioprocess technology and eukaryotic cell cultures will also be introduced.

Learning Outcomes
  1. understand the global challenges around energy and nutrient availability
  2. describe major applications from anaerobic digestion
  3. understand the concepts of bioremediation
  4. provide examples of bioremediation
  5. discuss typical requirements of a bioprocess
  6. demonstrate the ability to scale up a bioprocess and to design bioprocess sterilisation cycles
  7. Define and critique methodological approaches for eukaryotic cell culture
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module MI5103: "Advanced Industrial Processes" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional BES554: Molecular Medicine


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

The molecular mechanisms underlying diseases including cancer, immuno-deficient and neurodegenerative disorders is described. The basis for gene and stem cell approaches to system regeneration is then summarised. A poster preparation and presentation activity enables the investigation by students of aspects molecular medicine not directly covered in lectures., including the mechanisms underlying current treatments, the development of novel therapeutics, including gene or stem cell therapies.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Depict challenges of drug discovery and how molecular mechanisms of action of current drugs vary.
  2. Summarise the molecular mechanisms implicated in the development of global diseases, including cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, and cardiovascular disease.
  3. Explain the basis for current and emerging diagnostics tests and therapeutic interventions for cancer, major neurodegenerative disorders, and cardiovascular disease.
  4. Communicate the principles underlying the development of gene therapies and summarise the relative advantages and disadvantages of different gene delivery strategies.
  5. Compare the properties of stem cells isolated from different sources and give details of the clinical use of a stem cell based therapy
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module BES554: "Molecular Medicine" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional REM508: Graduate Course in Basic and Advanced Immunology


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

A 1-semester, Master's level module focussed on basic principles of the immune system and their relevance to human health and disease. The module may also be suitable for PhD students with limited prior immunology teaching who are seeking a basic grounding in immunology that may be relevant to their thesis project.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify the primary cellular and non-cellular components of the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system and discuss their development, anatomical locations and functional responses.
  2. Understand how the innate and adaptive arms of the immune systems combine to protect against invasive microbial pathogens and other health threats.
  3. Identify cellular and non-cellular mechanisms of immune regulation and their role in health and disease.
  4. Discuss the immunological basis for autoimmunity, vaccination, transplant rejection, cancer and stem cell therapies.
  5. Be capable of writing a scientifically informative brief review of a topic related to human health that requires detailed understanding of one or more basic aspects of the immune system.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (80%)
  • Oral, Audio Visual or Practical Assessment (20%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Janeway's Immunobiology" by Kenneth Murphy,Casey Weaver
    ISBN: 9780815345053.
    Publisher: Garland Science
  2. "Lippincott Illustrated Reviews: Immunology" by Doa,Thao Doan, MD,Roger Melvold, PhD,Dr Susan Viselli, PH D,Carl Waltenbaugh, PhD
    ISBN: 9781451109375.
    Publisher: Lippincott Williams&Wilkins
  3. "Immunology" by Peter M. Lydyard,Alex Whelan,Michael W. Fanger
    ISBN: 9780415607537.
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  4. "Case Studies in Immunology" by Raif S. Geha,Luigi Notarangelo
    ISBN: 9780815345121.
    Publisher: Garland Science Taylor & Francis Group LLC
The above information outlines module REM508: "Graduate Course in Basic and Advanced Immunology" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

A wide range of career options exist for graduates of this programme, such as employment in pharmaceutical industries, diagnostic services and academic research. Furthermore, this programme is a springboard to PhD research opportunities. Our recent graduates have found employment with Abbott, Allergan, ICON Clinical Research, Norbrook Laboratories, Regeneron and Pfizer. They are pursuing careers in manufacturing, quality assurance, product development and research, as well as in the broader sectors of sales, marketing and regulatory affairs.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€7,250 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€7,026 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€15,500 p.a. 2018/19
For further infomation on postgraduate funding and scholarship opportunities see here

Find out More

Dr Mary Ní Fhlathartaigh
T +353 91 495 323
E mary.nifhlathartaigh@nuigalway.ie


What Our Students Say

Liam

Liam Higgins |   Microbiology Technician at Aqualab

The MSc. in Biotechnology at NUI Galway gave me the opportunity and confidence needed to move ahead in my career. I completed the course in 2013 and gained employment within one month; working as a microbiology technician. A beautiful and atmospheric campus setting, along with classmates from different academic backgrounds and very helpful and approachable lecturers make this programme a stimulating and worthwhile experience. For my research project I was based in the Genetics and Biotechnology Lab, which allowed me the opportunity to learn from and work with passionate scientists whose encouragement and dedication inspired me greatly. The theoretical knowledge coupled with the practical skills acquired from this programme allowed for the comfortable transition from academia to industry. Completing the MSc. in Biotechnology will open a range of career opportunities and I highly recommended it.
Mr John

Mr John Kilmartin |   Senior Regulatory Affairs Director in Medtronic

We have had a number of visits from the MSc Biotechnology programme here in Medtronic, all of the participants have been really engaged and one of the graduates has joined my team in the Regulatory affairs dept. We are delighted with her progress and contribution to the company.