Person working in industrial biotechnology laboratory

MScIndustrial Biotechnology

Why this course?



This course is 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 MSc Industrial Biotechnology will also appeal to those with a primary industrial background as a further training opportunity and as a means of becoming involved in this important field.

The course has been designed in direct response to industry needs and is at the forefront of developments in biotechnology and engineering. The 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.

You will be taught at Strathclyde’s campus in Glasgow and eight other higher education institutions across Scotland

This unique MSc degree is awarded by the University of Strathclyde; students are taught at Strathclyde’s campus in Glasgow and eight other higher education institutions across Scotland. These are:

  • Abertay 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.

You’ll study

The course includes a range of compulsory core classes and electives which ensure graduates have the opportunity to specialise for their preferred career path. The Masters degree culminates in a minimum 10 week industrial placement which enables you to carry out an industrially-relevant project.

Core classes include:

  • Bioprocessing (Strathclyde University)
  • Applied Biocatalysis (Strathclyde University)
  • Synthetic Biology (Glasgow University)
  • Downstream Processing (Heriot-Watt University)
  • Induction Scientific Programming (Edinburgh University)
  • Bioinformatics (Edinburgh University)

Elective classes include:

  • Introduction to Industrial Biotechnology and its Governance (The Innogen Institute, Edinburgh University)
  • Blue Biotechnology (SAMS, University of the Highlands & Islands)
  • Renewable Energy Technologies (Abertay University)
  • Sustainable and Resource Efficient Formulation (Abertay University)
  • Case studies in Supply Chain Management (Strathclyde University)
  • Advanced Project Management (Strathclyde University)


The Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS) offers an excellent environment for research and teaching. It is located in a new building with several laboratories. All are fitted with modern equipment.

Course content

Compulsory classes

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 understand:
  • the basic principles of bioprocessing including process kinetics
  • the importance of and mechanisms for strain/cell line stability and preservation
  • the importance of medium design, bioreactor design and operation
  • the principles of mass transfer and its relationship to the success of bioprocesses
  • the principles of good manufacturing practice and its relevance to regulatory issues
  • the 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 aims to 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
Synthetic Biology

University of Glasgow

This class explores the concepts of rational design, computer modelling, construction and characterization 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.

Introduction Scientific Programming
University of Edinburgh 

This course which is specifically designed for taught MSc students in Drug Discovery & Translational Biology will provide through lectures and tutorial exercises a basic knowledge of computer programming. The course will give the students the ability to write simple programs to manipulate digital and text data, and to perform simple mathematical transformations.

The following areas will be covered: 

  • how programming is done
  • introduction to general concepts 
  • input and output 
  • using data structures
  • a typical program for the analysis of a protein data bank file
  • advanced topics (object orientated programming, parallel programming)
  • after the initial introductory session all exercises will be in Java
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 will 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.

Elective classes

Choose from this list

Introduction to Industrial Biotechnology & its Governance
Innogen Institute, University of Edinburgh

This class aims to provide you with a broad grounding in industrial biotechnology, the innovation opportunities in the global bio-economy and the governance of the technology, drawing on Innogen's research and expertise in the area.

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.

Sustainable & Resource Efficient Formulation
Abertay University?

This class will provide you with an insight into the impact of human activities on both the depletion of the earth's natural resources and altering of microbial processes leading to poor health and food insecurities.  The fate of emerging pollutants such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products, heavy and rare earth metals and persistent organic pollutants and their potential impact to the environment will be discussed. The need for the development of innovative biotechnological microbial formulation to mitigate these negative effects in a sustainable manner and ways to increase the manufacturing efficiencies of formulations to address these emergencies will be discussed.

Case Studies in Supply Chain Management
University of Strathclyde

You're expected to analyse a series of case studies and relatively unstructured problems in various areas of supply chain management.

The class aims to introduce you to as much as possible of the practical reality of analysing and, where possible, solving supply chain management problems in real life.  To this end, you're given the opportunity to explore, through the use of case studies and unstructured problems, situations where, for example, data may be ambiguous and hard to come by, it may be far from obvious which methods or models can be applied, and where managers will need to be convinced of the merits of any suggested solutions.

Advanced Project Management
University of Strathclyde

Project management and project based organisations are becoming increasingly common in industry, therefore this class assumes that the students require some knowledge of the tools and techniques used to manage projects within organisations.  This class aims to provide the student with these by introducing the student with no project management background to:

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

MSc only

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.

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.

Entry requirements

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.

Fees & funding


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


  • £8,100

Rest of UK

  • £13,000


  • £19,500

How can I fund my course?

A number of scholarships are available for outstanding UK, EU and international applicants. For details, please visit our scholarship search.

Fully-funded places

We have 30 fully-funded places for Scottish/EU students. If you're applying as a Scottish/EU student and receive an offer of study, you'll be automatically considered for one of these places.

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU 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.

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.

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.

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.

International students

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

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


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 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.


Industrial Biotechnology (IBioIC)

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2019, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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