MSc Molecular Biology & Biotechnology


Programme Description

MSc Molecular Biology & Biotechnology


Biotechnology is the exploitation of living systems or molecules from them for commercial gain. Although the word 'biotechnology' is only a few decades old, humankind has been using biotechnology for millennia, for example in baking, brewing and sewage treatment.

Modern biotechnologies rely on our increasing ability to manipulate organisms at the genetic level and include novel waste treatments and bioremediations, new pharmaceuticals, the exploitation of enzymes in 'green catalysis' an exciting new diagnostic techniques. In the 20th century, our lives were transformed by information technology; the 21st century may see an equally great transformation, but this time led by biotechnology.

This Masters degree aims to teach the fundamental molecular bioscience underpinning biotechnology along with examples of its current applications.


Staff from the QUESTOR Centre contribute to this programme. The Centre is a dynamic, cross-disciplinary unit in which industrial partners solve key biotechnological problems in collaboration with Queen's academics. The School is well equipped and carries out internationally competitive research in microbial, environmental and medical biotechnology.


This MSc is taught by research-active staff members in the School of Biological Sciences. In addition, fundamental biological research skills are taught and students are given an understanding of bio-entrepreneurship. The degree culminates in a three-month, intensive research project in a laboratory in Queen's, thus preparing graduates for a career in research biotechnology.


  • Bio-entrepreneurship
  • Biotechnology
  • Foundations for Research in the Biosciences
  • Literature Review
  • Nucleic Acid Structure and Function
  • Protein Structure and Function
  • Research Project (triple module)


Awards are based on continuous assessment of coursework, examinations and assessment of modules based solely on submitted work related to private, individual study. An MSc with Distinction will be awarded to a student who achieves a dissertation and average mark both exceeding 70 percent.


At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high-quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable the student to achieve their full academic potential.

On the MSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners.

Teaching is a combination of morning, evening and afternoon classes.

Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course include; lectures, practical experiences, E-Learning technologies, Self-directed study and added value qualifications to enhance employability.



Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or above in a relevant area of science or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Applicants with qualifications below 2.2 Honours degree standard (or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) will be considered on a case-by-case basis if they can demonstrate appropriate experience, acceptable to the School.


International students (for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their studies. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for the English language for visa purposes. Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required (*taken within the last 2 years).

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this programme, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this programme.


What types of jobs do students go on to do after finishing the MSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology?

Many of our students go on to pursue further PhD study in many areas including healthcare research and biological sciences here at Queen’s and further afield. Others go on to work in a wide variety of roles in both the private and public sector here in Northern Ireland and internationally. The following are some of the jobs they have taken on:

  • Lab Technician, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Regional Sales Manager at Integrated DNA Technologies, Melbourne
  • Organic Analyst, RSK Group
  • Formulations Analyst, Norbrook
  • Right First Time Specialist, Pfizer
  • Research Associate at Zymergen, Inc
  • Technical Support, Qiagen
  • Systems Verification & Validation Scientist, BD Bioscience
  • Quality Assurance, Baxter International
  • Trainee Biomedical Scientist, Western Trust
  • Clinical testing, Almac Group
  • Associate Scientist Technical Operations, Abbott

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts help our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.


There is a range of funding and scholarship options available to those considering study at Queen's.

Postgraduate loans

The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

Last updated Jul 2019

About the School

The Faculty of Medicine, Health & Life Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast has a reputation for excellence in education and research - a reputation which is reflected in our position in the top ... Read More

The Faculty of Medicine, Health & Life Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast has a reputation for excellence in education and research - a reputation which is reflected in our position in the top ten universities in the UK for Research Intensity. Read Less