Molecular Biology MSc | Coventry University
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Molecular Biology MSc 2018/19 entry

Course code:

MSc Molecular Biology (HLST176)
MSc Molecular Biology with Professional Experience (HLST177)

Study options:

1 year full-time
2 years part-time (UK/EU only)
20 months full-time with professional experience

How to Apply
Location:

Coventry University

Starting:

January 2019

 

Fees:

£10,650
£11,600 (with prof. experience)

Find out more

Faculty:

Get in touch

Recruitment and Admissions Office

+44 (0) 24 7765 4321


Overview

Molecular biology – the study of the basis of life, focuses on the structure and function of DNA, RNA and protein and their interactions with each other.

This knowledge has led us to understand molecules within viral, microbial and eukaryotic organisms and has been at the forefront of scientific discovery since the identification of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick in the 1950’s. It is responsible for new and exciting techniques to detect and treat disease, produce drugs and vaccines, and uncover further the path of evolution.

This Master’s course responds to the demand for highly skilled scientists who can identify defects in cellular systems at the nucleic acid level and conduct genetic modification of organisms which allow a greater understanding of cellular function. Such insights and innovations are already responsible for the development of new diagnostic tests, novel products, therapeutic agents, detection of biomarkers, identification of faulty genes and subsequent correction of those defects.

Biology degrees have been provided at Coventry University for over 40 years and it is ranked within the top 55 universities in the UK for Biosciences in the Guardian University Guide 2019. Our multimillion pound, state-of-the-art Alison Gingell Building features a suite of analytical and biological laboratories where you can gain hands-on experience in cutting-edge industry techniques.

See the facilities available in our brand new Alison Gingell Building

Why Coventry University?

An award-winning university, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible experience. We continue to invest in both our facilities and our innovative approach to education. Our students benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed. These range from our modern library and computing facilities to dedicated careers advice and our impressive Students’ Union activities.

Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

Employability

Career-ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Student experience

All the support you need, in a top student city

Our Facilities

Facilities Test Image

Mock Operating Theatre

Our Alison Gingell building includes a full-size mock operating theatre, containing scrub sinks and theatre lights. We also have a mock hospital ward so that we can study a complete patient pathway.

 

Hospital Wards

Hospital Wards

We have two fully-equipped mock hospital wards, each containing 4 beds. The wards are built to NHS standards and contain moveable beds, first aid equipment and patient monitoring tools.

 

Facilities Test Image

SuperLab

The Alison Gingell building contains a state-of-the-art SuperLab, capable of holding up to 270 people at once. The lab's facilities include equipment for microscopy, DNA analysis and forensic testing.

What our students say...

I have really gained an insight view of the business acumen that drives the research carried out by a company like InoCardia. I sensibly feel, to some degree, able to think about commercial questions behind my future research studies.

Mohammed Elhag, MSc Molecular Biology with Professional Experience, current student on placement in 2016/17

Course information

Focused on key elements of molecular biology, this course aims to expand your knowledge of and proficiency in advanced molecular biology techniques and molecular microbiological methods.

The programme is composed of a combination of modules which progressively build to the award of Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) or Master’s. Core subject areas include cellular molecular biology, genetics, protein biology, numeracy, statistics and computing and a broad coverage of instrumentation and analytical techniques.

We provide hands-on practical laboratory experience, introducing you to essential techniques in molecular biology including: bioinformatics; nucleic acid and protein extraction; PCR, RT-PCR and qPCR analysis; gel-based analyses; molecular cloning and gene expression using northern, southern and western blotting.

You will be trained in research strategies and gain a sound understanding and knowledge of recombinant DNA technology and recent advances made in the study of a range of diseases from cancer, hepatitis, respiratory viral infections, Alzheimer’s disease and hereditary disorders,  with the emphasis on how advanced molecular technologies inform and impact upon clinical practice. 

To qualify at Master’s level, you will undertake a research project/dissertation. A large selection of projects are offered each year from our academic supervisors and allocated across a spectrum of topics related to molecular biology.  You will have the opportunity to graduate with exceptional scientific understanding and a host of cognitive, practical and professional skills.

Course Specification
Download PDF (136kb)

Modules

Overview

Modules

  • Postgraduate Diploma

    • Research Skills
    • Genomes and DNA Technology
    • Cell Culture and Antibody Technology
    • Molecular Microbiology
    • Mammalian Cell and Molecular Biology
    • Molecular Biology of Disease
  • Master’s degree

    • Project/Dissertation
  • Master’s degree with Professional Experience

    • Professional Experience in Life Sciences 1         
    • Professional Experience in Life Sciences 2         
    • Life Sciences Professional Experience Project and Reflection 

In more detail...

  • Industrial links with local companies such as Inocardia, BioCote and LyteGro.
  • Teaching links with the local National Health Service (NHS) cardiac rehabilitation team and with staff in hospital diagnostic laboratories.
  • Research-inspired teaching with input from experts in cellular and molecular biosciences; biological systems, health and disease; and physical activity, exercise and obesity.
  • High levels of student satisfaction for ‘Biology and related Sciences’ – 89% for the quality of teaching compared to a sector average of 83% in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTSE) 2016.
  • Guest lecturers from current practitioners in the pharmaceutical industry, laboratory research and other jobs in science in areas including pharmacogenomics, neuropharmacology, pharmacovigilance and drug transport and development.
  • Access to a well-equipped suite of analytical and biological laboratories where you will have the opportunity to gain hands on experience using industry standard techniques, such as flow cytometry, mass spectrometry, high performance liquid chromatography, and confocal microscopy.

Your main study themes are:

  • Research Skills: Provides a detailed understanding of the complex processes necessary to formulate, develop and test a scientific/clinical hypothesis. The ethos, requirements and legislation surrounding medical research will also be discussed.

     
  • Molecular microbiology: Provides an in-depth understanding of key topics in molecular microbiology and virology. We cover prokaryotic genome structure, microbial molecular diversity, the molecular responses of microbes to their environment, the molecular biology underpinning microbial infection including antibiotic resistance and viral diseases. 

  • Mammalian cell and molecular biology: We will cover, in depth, the mechanisms by which gene expression is controlled, the pathways used by cells to signal to one another, trafficking between cells and the role of vesicles in this, the mechanisms of cell-cycle control, and the factors controlling the development of cells and of tissues. 

  • Molecular biology of disease: We consider the molecular biology of a range of diseases, including cancer, metabolic and autoimmune diseases, protein folding disorders and selected microbial pathogens. We will cover the genetic factors underpinning inherited cancers and inherited metabolic diseases. We also examine the molecular biology of protein folding and the effect of errors in it, both in the brain and in other tissues, together with microbial virulence factors in selected infectious diseases.   

  • Cell culture and antibody technology: Provides an understanding of the use of cultured mammalian, plant and bacterial cells for biotechnological applications. The production and uses of both polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies are also covered.

  • Genomes and DNA technology: Provides an understanding of modern genome science, looking at the techniques used and information gained in the analysis of genomes, transcriptomes and proteomes. The applications of molecular biotechnology in medicine and agriculture are considered with an emphasis on the production of recombinant protein products and the generation of genetically modified organisms.     

The course can be studied over three semesters and one year as a traditional full-time Master’s programme and two years part-time, starting in September and January. It can also be studied over 20 months as an extended full-time programme ‘With Professional Experience’. This incorporates two additional professional experience modules, in which you have the opportunity to gain experience throughout either an internship with an external organisation or with the University.

Internships, subject to competitive application and selection, will normally be undertaken for three to five days per week for 18-22 weeks over two semesters, though shorter internships are subject to approval. 

Teaching and learning incorporates lectures, workshops, tutorials, presentations, group and individual problem-based learning projects. In practical laboratory sessions, all supported by an extensive suite of analytical and biological laboratories staffed by experienced technicians, you will be exposed to the use of cutting-edge laboratory techniques and equipment. In addition, each module is supported by extensive online material to help prepare you for your taught sessions and to assist with your personal study. 

You will have the opportunity to receive a series of lectures and seminars on selected contemporary topics in molecular biology, delivered by University teaching, research staff and invited speakers from other universities’ research institutes.

The course uses a range of assessment techniques including laboratory reports, essays, oral and poster presentations designed to ensure that you have understood the underlying molecular sciences. The ability to apply your knowledge to solve problems and to produce scientifically rigorous material is important. There are no formal examinations used for assessment on this course.


On the successful completion of 180 level Masters credits, awards may be made with a ‘Distinction’ or ‘Merit’, based on the achievement of an average mark of at least 70% or 60% respectively. Students may be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) if they achieve 120 credits and a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) if they achieve 60 credits. Students may only progress to the final stage of Masters programmes after meeting the requirements for award of a Postgraduate Diploma.

On completion, you should have knowledge of:

  • The molecular biology of genomes and the implications for DNA technology.
  • The production, maintenance and applications of animal and microbial cell cultures, and the use of immunochemical techniques for analysis, in molecular biology.
  • The molecular biology of mammalian cells – the control of gene expression; cellular signalling pathways; cellular trafficking pathways; cell cycle control; and cell and tissue development
  • The molecular biology of microorganisms – their genetic diversity; their interactions with their environment; their virulence factors; and the key molecular techniques used to manipulate microorganisms and to study their epidemiology.
  • The molecular biology of selected diseases – inherited cancers; protein folding and prion disease; and the molecular biology of the virulence factors of selected microbial pathogens.
  • Research methodology, including design and management of scientific research.

 

On completion, you should be able to:

  • Critically analyse, evaluate and interpret knowledge and practice in molecular biology.
  • Collect, analyse and present data using appropriate methods.
  • Apply scientific methods to the critical analysis of literature, reflection, information searching, and research methodology in areas of molecular biology.
  • Apply scientific/clinical methods to conducting and management of research.
  • Formulate and present a critical argument using a variety of methods (eg. presentation, essay) that would stand up to critical review and scrutiny in academic and professional settings.
  • Work safely in a laboratory, establishing fundamental techniques and carry out progressively more advanced laboratory-based investigations based on competence in molecular biological technologies, including bioinformatics, PCR, RT-PCR, qPCR, gel-based analyses, molecular cloning and analytical techniques that are particularly relevant to contemporary molecular biology.
  • Operate, to lead and collaborate with others in order to solve problems of a practical nature and to provide appropriate solutions.
  • Design a research study, including demonstrating awareness of safety and ethical issues.
  • Conduct an independent research project, including collection, analysis and presentation of data.

In a typical teaching week, you will have on average 15-18 hours of teaching contact based on lecture, tutorial and practical based teaching sessions. 

In addition, you will be expected to undertake a further 20 hours of self-directed study each week e.g. working on coursework assignments.

The continuous evolution of molecular biology has changed the way diseases are being diagnosed and treated, producing a raft of new methods for detecting bacteria, genetic variations and infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis quickly and more precisely. The wide range of technologies that have resulted are fuelling the demand within the global molecular diagnostics market, which is currently segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America. 

Coventry University is committed to preparing our students for the challenges of the global employment market and to strengthen and develop their broader personal and professional skills, through the many initiatives offered within our award-winning Global Leaders Programme (GLP). 

On this course, we run an Online International Learning (OIL) project with students at the University of Seville, Spain, as part of the second semester ‘Mammalian Cell and Molecular Biology’ module. Students work together on joint presentation projects, which allow them to learn and interact from students from a different institution and culture. You will also benefit from teaching from a range of staff with international experience in countries like Malawi and Singapore, and some modules will feature external speakers who have an international research background.

Global ready

Did you know we help more students travel internationally than any other UK university according to data from the experts in higher education data and analysis, HESA?

In 2016/17, we were able to provide a total of 3,482 student experiences abroad that lasted at least five days.

Much of this travel is made possible through our Global Leaders Programme, which enables students to prepare for the challenges of the global employment market, as well as strengthening and developing their broader personal and professional skills.

Explore our international experiences

1st for

international experiences

Sending more students overseas than any other UK uni (HESA 2016/17)


3,482

Student experiences

The number of student trips abroad for at least 5 days in 2016/17



12,000

and counting

The number of students we’ve helped travel internationally so far

21

global programmes

As well as trips, we offer other opportunities like language courses


What our students say...

I have really gained an insight view of the business acumen that drives the research carried out by a company like InoCardia. I sensibly feel, to some degree, able to think about commercial questions behind my future research studies.

Mohammed Elhag, MSc Molecular Biology with Professional Experience, current student on placement in 2016/17

Entry Requirements

Applicants should hold the equivalent of a 2:2 undergraduate degree in Bioscience or Biological Chemistry. We would expect to see the study of one or more of the following modules in the final year of an undergraduate degree: molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, microbiology, genetics, molecular immunology or molecular virology.

Applicants should hold the equivalent of a 2:2 undergraduate degree in Bioscience or Biological Chemistry. We would expect to see the study of one or more of the following modules in the final year of an undergraduate degree: molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, microbiology, genetics, molecular immunology or molecular virology.

English as a Foreign Language an IELTS 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5. Pre-Sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

Applicants should hold the equivalent of a 2:2 undergraduate degree in Bioscience or Biological Chemistry. We would expect to see the study of one or more of the following modules in the final year of an undergraduate degree: molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, microbiology, genetics, molecular immunology or molecular virology.

English as a Foreign Language an IELTS 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5. Pre-Sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

What our students say...

I have really gained an insight view of the business acumen that drives the research carried out by a company like InoCardia. I sensibly feel, to some degree, able to think about commercial questions behind my future research studies.

Mohammed Elhag, MSc Molecular Biology with Professional Experience, current student on placement in 2016/17

Tuition Fees

We pride ourselves on offering competitive tuition fees which we review on an annual basis and offer a wide range of scholarships to support students with their studies. Course fees are calculated on the basis of what it costs to teach each course and we aim for total financial transparency.

Starts

Fee


January 2019

£10,650
£11,600 (with prof. experience) (per year)


Scholarships

If you're a truly outstanding undergraduate candidate we may be able to offer you a Coventry University Scholarship. Coventry University Scholarships are awarded to recognise truly exceptional sports achievement and academic excellence.

Starts

Fee


January 2019

£10,650
£11,600 (with prof. experience) (per year)


Scholarships

For the September 2017 and January 2018 intakes, we're investing £1 million into scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students.

Our scholarships are worth up to £10,000 and every student that applies will be considered. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!

Starts

Fee


January 2019

£15,050
£15,900 (with prof. experience) (per year)


Scholarships

For the September 2017 and January 2018 intakes, we're investing £1 million into scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students.

Our scholarships are worth up to £10,000 and every student that applies will be considered. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!

What our students say...

I have really gained an insight view of the business acumen that drives the research carried out by a company like InoCardia. I sensibly feel, to some degree, able to think about commercial questions behind my future research studies.

Mohammed Elhag, MSc Molecular Biology with Professional Experience, current student on placement in 2016/17

Career prospects

Molecular biology is one of the most buoyant sectors of the biosciences jobs market with above average growth in the employment market in this decade.

Few fields are so interesting, challenging and potentially so rewarding. You could develop and produce life-saving vaccines and drugs, design new tools to diagnose and detect disease or create genetically engineered crops that are more resistant to frost, drought, spoilage, diseases and pests.

The scientific knowledge and skills you acquire during the course can be a useful basis for a career in: teaching; technical and scientific writing (such as medical writing or writing for the media); clinical trials; drug registration, patenting or monitoring; medical publishing or other information services; regulatory affairs or sales and marketing. Opportunities also exist for further study upon completion of the course at PhD level. 

If you choose the ‘With Professional Experience’ route, you will have the opportunity to gain practical knowledge in a host organisation, not only increasing your awareness of current developments in the sector, but also experiencing the working environment and gaining valuable interpersonal skills, such as team working, all of which are important to your future career.

Coventry University is committed to preparing you for your future career and giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The University’s Careers and Employability team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.

What our students say...

I have really gained an insight view of the business acumen that drives the research carried out by a company like InoCardia. I sensibly feel, to some degree, able to think about commercial questions behind my future research studies.

Mohammed Elhag, MSc Molecular Biology with Professional Experience, current student on placement in 2016/17
Disclaimer

By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the University. The Contract will detail your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and will contain the obligations that the University will owe to you. The 18/19 PG Contract will be published shortly.