Molecular Biology MSc

Study level: Postgraduate
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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.

Year of entry



Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode



1 year full-time
2 years part-time
18-20 months (with professional experience)

Course code

HLST176; HLST177(with professional experience)

Start date

September 2023

The information on this page is for 2022-23 entry and should be used as guidance for 2023-24 entry. Please keep checking back on this course page to see our latest updates.

Course 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 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.

  • You will have the opportunity to study a broad range of molecular biology at a theoretical and a practical level.
  • Opportunities to gain hands-on experience of molecular biology techniques, as well as develop a range of transferrable and research skills that will expand your knowledge and may enhance your employment potential.
  • Opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the molecular principles underlying the biology of selected diseases (including inherited cancers) and microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeasts. A core focus will be genome structure, regulation and transfer, and the implications for DNA technology.
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Why you should study this course

  • Research-inspired teaching with input from experts in our Sports, Life and Exercise Sciences research centre (CSELS), which focuses on the themes of cellular and molecular biosciences; biological systems, health and disease; and physical activity, exercise and obesity.
  • Our multi-million 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.
  • Guest lecturers from current practitioners in the pharmaceutical industry, laboratory research and other jobs in science (subject to availability).
  • Industrial links with local companies such as Inocardia, BioCote and Ovo Biomanufacturing.
  • Students enrolled onto MSc Molecular Biology with Professional Experience can undertake 6-8 months of professional experience, either externally or on campus2.

Accreditation and Professional Recognition

This course is accredited and recognised by the following bodies:

Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

The course currently includes the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) accredited1 module, Leading Strategic Change through Creativity and Innovation. Upon successful completion of the module, you will gain the CMI Global Professional Development Entrepreneurship at no additional cost.

Coventry University’s accreditation with CMI is currently ongoing for the relevant modules but is frequently reviewed and monitored by the CMI through their quality systems. If any changes occur with respect to our accreditation related to these modules, we will seek to notify applicants and students as soon as possible.

Our Award-winning Green Superlab

With space for over 250 students and packed full of industry-standard equipment, the Coventry University Superlab is an amazing place to learn, experiment and discover. Find out what we’re doing in our Superlab to make it greener and reduce our waste and carbon emissions.

What you'll study

Throughout the course you will investigate key areas of molecular biology at postgraduate level including synthetic biology and medical molecular biology and have the opportunity to further develop your laboratory skills. Core courses across Postgraduate Diploma and Master’s:


  • This module aims to ensure that you develop the necessary skills and competencies required for your course, and to enhance your employability after graduation. The content includes a comprehensive laboratory programme covering modern techniques used in molecular biology-based investigations, supported by workshops to discuss the underlying principles of these techniques and to analyse and interpret laboratory data. You will extend your knowledge of bioinformatics databases and their applications and learn and apply appropriate statistical analysis methods.


  • This module aims to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of current knowledge in cell and molecular biology. You will be guided to develop your understanding of core topic areas such as –omics, the regulation of gene expression in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, and the manipulation of genetic material to produce novel organisms, recombinant proteins, and gene expression control strategies. You will develop your critical analysis skills through the review of key primary literature, and your communication skills via regular workshop and seminar presentations, as well as blog-style reviews of current topics. This module provides a firm foundation for more specialised topic study.


  • This module will develop your skills as a critical reader of scientific literature. It will bring together an understanding of the current knowledge base in molecular biology together with the laboratory and data analysis methods that are commonly employed. You will be instructed on the critical review process. You will have opportunities to practice this skill through discussion groups with your peers and tutor, before embarking on your own critical evaluation of a published scientific research article in molecular biology.


  • This module aims to provide an overview of synthetic biology and apply aspects learned to a mini project. Synthetic biology uses the principles of engineering to design new biological entities. This is a multi-disciplined science with molecular biology as one of the central components. You will learn how molecular circuits are made from genes and promoters. These circuits can be constructed to re-engineer cells to carry out desirable processes. Examples will be drawn from biotechnology and medicine to demonstrate these principles. You will apply your learning to a mini laboratory project to build a series of novel synthetic promoters and assay their expression. You will develop team working and team leadership skills and progress to more independent laboratory scientists.


  • This module aims to provide you with in-depth knowledge of molecular mechanisms of disease and the use of molecular biology for development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. You will also be guided to continue to develop your confidence in oral presentation and your skills as critical readers.


  • You are asked to utilise your knowledge of contemporary challenges in disease diagnosis and therapy, and in synthetic biology, to design a creative solution to a problem. You will utilise your entrepreneurship skills gained in the CMI module to consider a suitable market. You will present your ideas in the form of a scientific poster at a School Symposium.


  • This module aims to provide you with a framework of knowledge and understanding of how to effectively lead and develop people in a strategic and entrepreneurial way whatever the Master’s degree of specialisation you elect to follow. You will explore, for example, the influence and impact of leadership theories, culture, wellbeing, the principles of entrepreneurial practice and understand the different contexts in which entrepreneurship can flourish as well as the characteristics of entrepreneurial leadership within different types of organisational scenarios.

    Ultimately, you will be given the opportunity to develop strategic priorities for entrepreneurial leadership.

    Finally, the module requires you to reflect critically on your personal learning and development needs and how you work with others, from an ethical and professional standpoint to encourage your continuing professional development.


  • This module provides a detailed consideration of the complex processes necessary to formulate, develop and test a scientific/clinical hypothesis. You will apply these to the design of an individual research experiment in a chosen area including the consideration of appropriate controls and replicates. You will also be instructed on the ethical and health and safety requirements for research at Coventry University.

    You will also be encouraged to consider and prepare for MSc graduation and your future career, through CV and application guidance and professional networking.


  • Research Project (60 credits)

    In this module you will carry out a series of investigative, analytical or experimental studies in your selected field within biomolecular sciences and present your findings in a scientific manner. Approval of ethical and health and safety aspects must be complete before data collection is permitted.

    You must demonstrate critical analysis of the literature, data collection and recording, data presentation, data analysis and data interpretation with reference to published literature. You are expected to work independently with limited supervision, be able to deal with complexity and uncertainty and identify and troubleshoot problems.


  • Professional Experience Preparation (10 credits)

    The module aims to prepare you for your forthcoming professional experience. It introduces expectations of you in the workplace, with reinforcement of the transferable skills, attitudes and competencies expected by the employer. You will continue to be supported by the Employability Support Team with further guidance on writing CVs, cover letters and interview skills. Thus you will be supported to make applications and secure suitable professional experience opportunities.

    Part of the Professional Experience will involve a research investigation. To support this element, the module will provide a detailed understanding of the complex processes necessary to formulate, develop and test a scientific/ clinical hypothesis in a realistic timeframe in a commercial environment.

    Professional Experience Preparation 1 and 2

    These modules aim to provide you with a substantive professional experience. This may take the form of a professional experience with a host organisation2, which may include the university, or a campus based professional experience. The module should help support the development of your personal and professional skills, including team working, communication, self-management and critical reflection, to enhance future employability.


MSc with Professional Experience

The MSc with Professional Experience2 provides you with the opportunity to undertake a six-month professional experience either on or off campus. Professional experience opportunities (whether within an external company or within the university) are subject to a competitive application and selection process. Such experiences may be paid or unpaid, and this will depend on what is being offered and agreed with the host organisation or university.

Professional experience opportunities are subject to competitive application and selection, will normally be undertaken for three to five days per week for 18-22 weeks over two semesters. If you are not successful in securing professional work experience outside the university, you will have the opportunity to undertake campus-based professional experience, which will deliver similar learning outcomes through supervised projects and activities designed to offer students the opportunity to integrate theory with an understanding of professional practice. Please note that fees for students on the Professional Experience route are higher than the standard fees payable by students on the MSc course without professional experience (see fees section for more information).

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

How you'll learn

Teaching can be taken over a standard one year full-time course, a two year part-time course, or over 18-20 months with professional experience included. This incorporates two additional non-credit bearing professional experience modules - Professional Experience in Life Science one and two - where you have the opportunity to gain experience through either an internship with an external organisation or with the university2.

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 across all versions can include:

  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Tutorials
  • Presentations
  • Group and individual problem-based learning projects
  • Practical laboratory sessions

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 (subject to availability).

The Molecular Biology MSc course can be offered on a part-time basis. The Molecular Biology with Professional Experience MSc is only available on a full-time basis.
Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our part-time offering here, it is tailored for each course each year depending on the number of part-time applicants. Therefore, the part-time teaching arrangements vary. Request further information about part-time study.

Teaching contact hours

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

The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the University may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the University may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2022/2023 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods include:

  • Laboratory reports
  • Essays
  • Oral and poster presentations

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

International experience opportunities

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) (subject to application and additional costs).

You may have the opportunity to present a poster in an international location as part of a Scientific Presentation module. You will work with other students on joint presentation projects, which allow you to learn from and interact with students from a different institution and culture.

Please note that all international experience opportunities may be subject to additional costs, competitive application, availability and meeting applicable visa and travel requirements are therefore not guaranteed2.

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.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

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 language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. 

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2023/24 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK £11,200 | £21,250 (with prof. experience) per year Request fee information
International £18,600 | £21,250 (with prof. experience) per year Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).
  • We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.

    If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.


Our multi-million-pound Alison Gingell Building features a range of mock healthcare settings, analytical labs and research labs, all equipped with top-of-the-range equipment you’ll need to succeed in this course. These include flow cytometry, mass spectrometry, high performance liquid chromatography, and confocal microscopy4.

Careers and opportunities

On successful completion of this course, you will 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 microorganisms and selected diseases

You will be able to:

  • Critically analyse, evaluate and interpret knowledge and practice in molecular biology
  • Collect, analyse and present data using appropriate methods
  • Apply scientific/clinical methods to conducting and management of research
  • Formulate and present a critical argument using a variety of methods (e.g. presentation, essay) that would stand up to critical review and scrutiny in academic and professional settings
  • Design a research study, including demonstrating awareness of safety and ethical issues
  • Conduct an independent research project, including collection, analysis and presentation of data.

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 at PhD level upon completion of the course.

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 Talent Team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.

Where our graduates work

Previous students have gone on to do related PhDs, work as genetic counsellors for the NHS and work for bioscience/biotechnology start-up companies.

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University. 


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Due to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. The 2023/24 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

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