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MSc Microbial Biotechnology

1 year School of Life Sciences Lincoln Campus [L] Validated

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The MSc in Microbial Biotechnology provides students with the opportunity to develop specialist knowledge which draws from the expertise in Biotechnology and Microbiology that is applicable to many industrial and environmental sectors. Micro-organisms are the workhorses of many industrial processes and students who study for the MSc Microbial Biotechnology can gain a thorough understanding of these at a whole organism and molecular level.

Curriculum content will be research-engaged and, in particular, students will undertake a period of independent scientific research, in accordance with the University’s ‘Student as Producer’ project.

The MSc Microbial Biotechnology aims to equip graduates with the necessary theoretical understanding, practical, research, professional and transferable skills to enable them to undertake further postgraduate training (i.e. PhD level) and/or employment within academic research and in industrial, commercial, government and environmental-settings.

The degree course places a major emphasis on enhancing intellectual, professional and research skills, including communication, independent learning, critical analysis and thinking, problem solving, project and time management, report writing, teamwork, ethics, health and safety, intellectual property, information technology and career management.

How You Study

The programme includes a combination of lectures, workshops, laboratory practicals, IT classes, seminars, problem-based-learning group sessions, independent learning and research projects. The programme will also have an emphasis on the development of professional and research skills, which can enhance employability.

Term 1 features introductory modules and is designed to provide students with core theoretical knowledge on current biotechnology topics and practical training on molecular biology techniques used in modern biotechnology.


  • Introduction to Biotechnology (Option)
  • Current Topics in Biotechnology (Option)
  • Molecular Microbiology (Core)
  • The Microbial World (Core)
  • Professional and Research Skills in Biotechnology A (Core)

Term 2 looks to provide specialisms in the application of microbial biotechnology. It also aims to enhance practical skills with a focus on fermentation technologies.


  • Infection and Control (Core)
  • Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology (Option)
  • Industrial and Environmental Microbiology (Option)
  • Fermentation Biotechnology (Core)
  • Professional and Research Skills in Biotechnology B (Core)

Over the summer, students progress to an independent research project within a biotechnology and/or microbiology related discipline.

Weekly contact hours on this programme may vary depending on the individual module options chosen and the stage of study. Postgraduate level study involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in lectures and seminars. As a general guide, for every hour in class students are expected to spend at least two - three hours in independent study. For more detailed information please contact the programme leader.

How You Are Assessed

Assessment throughout the programme will be via a series of coursework exercises. The nature of the coursework will vary considerably in the style of exercise in order to develop and test a broad range of skills. These exercises will include laboratory exercises and reports, problem based learning exercises, literature reviews, poster and oral presentations, project reports and proposal preparation. Elements of some of these assessments will be both individual and group based whilst others will be solely based on individual work.

Assessment through coursework is designed in order to fully explore the acquired knowledge and skills imparted through the programme rather than through individual modules.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to you promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

Entry Requirements

A minimum 2:2 honours degree in a related discipline.

International Students will require English Language at IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in each element, or equivalent.

Key Contacts

Dr James Flint
01522 88 6804

+44(0)1522 886847

Master's Level

Current Topics in Biotechnology (Option)

This module will be offered as an alternative to 'Introduction to Biotechnology' in certain situations. Please contact the programme leaders for further details.

Fermentation Biotechnology (Core)

This module aims to provide specialised training in larger scale growth and utilisation of microbial and cell cultures. Lectures, practicals and workshops will focus on the analysis of growth kinetics and product yield optimisation with the aim of providing insight into historical and cutting-edge large-scale implementation of these biotechnologies. The practical component of this module provides students with the chance to propose and carry out their own fermentations.

Independent Research Project (Core)

The research projects run over the summer, although elements of them are likely to take place in the second term (research plan and literature review). Students are able to choose a research topic from a very broad spectrum of options, primarily linked to the research focuses of the teaching staff. Supervisors of the projects will provide outline projects but students will also have the opportunity to develop their research projects in specific directions relating to their individual interests.

Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology (Option)

This module covers “White” and “Green” Biotechnologies and there will be a focus on the application of biotechnologies from various origins to commercial and environmental problems. Students will have the opportunity to extend their knowledge of some of the relevant topics introduced in other modules. A combination of individual and group based work aims to provide a variety of assessment and seeks to utilise skills introduced and practised previously.

Industrial and Environmental Microbiology (Option)

This module aims to describe the applications of microbiology in industrial and environmental processes. The industrial aspect of the module will emphasise how microbiological knowledge and understanding can be used to improve commercial processes relevant to industries such as food production and water treatment. The environmental aspect of the module will consider the role of microbial communities, interactions and processes in the environment.

Infection and Control (Core)

This module aims to enable students to understand the microbiological and environmental factors that contribute to the incidence, prevalence, transmission and control of healthcare-associated and communicable infection. The theory underpinning this module will be supported by key current examples of infectious diseases. Some key theories discussed will be microbial pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of infectious disease, alongside case studies and consideration of the role of professional bodies.

Introduction to Biotechnology (Option)

This first term module looks to set the ground for the more specialised modules that follow during the second term. It aims to offer a broad and up-to-date overview of the most important aspects of biotechnology.

Molecular Microbiology (Core)

This module is designed to develop a sound basis in the theory and practical application of the molecular and microbiology techniques heavily used in modern biotechnology. The module will be substantially methods-orientated with the aim of providing students with the skills to be able to conduct and appraise experiments in microbial biotechnology or biotechnology related disciplines.

The module will introduce, and review, key laboratory analysis methods necessary for the students to be able to develop knowledge of the skills used in a number of microbial biotechnology applications. The module will also provide training in techniques which will support the research project in term 3.

Professional and Research Skills in Biosciences A (Core)

This module is designed to support students in developing the necessary skills to proficiently face the assessments on the other modules, and improve employability by developing transferable skills.

Professional and Research Skills in Biosciences B (Core)

This module is the follow up of the transferable skills module in the first term. It aims to support assessments performance and improve transferable skills.

The Microbial World (Core)

This module aims to introduce students to the more advanced concepts needed to develop their microbiological understanding to that expected at Master's level, building on their undergraduate experience. The module considers the diversity of microbial life, growth and reproduction alongside relevant areas of biochemistry, genetics, ecology and evolution.


The course makes use of specialist equipment within the laboratories of the School of Life Sciences and the Joseph Banks Laboratories.

Students will have access to molecular and cell biology facilities, Category II microbiology laboratories, fermentation equipment, advanced analytical and synthetic chemistry instruments and an imaging suite.

Career and Personal Development

The microbiology/biotechnology industry recruits qualified individuals for a broad range of roles, from sales and marketing, to research and development, manufacturing and quality control and assurance.

Research and diagnostic laboratories, either public or private, also recruit individuals with advanced knowledge on current biotechnology aspects and who are trained in modern biotechnology and microbiology techniques.

To improve employability, students will receive training and support to develop a broad range of professional and research skills, including science communication and dissemination, scientific writing, career planning.

Careers Services

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing your course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual and website resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities.
The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages here

Other Costs

For each course you may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required. Some courses provide opportunities for you to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for travel and accommodation will be covered by the University and so is included in your fee. Where these are optional, you will normally be required to pay your own transport, accommodation and general living costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that you are required to read. However, you may prefer to purchase some of these for yourself and you will be responsible for this cost.

Tuition Fees

  2018/19 Entry*
Home/EU £8,670
(including Alumni Scholarship 25% reduction)**
International £15,700
(Including International Alumni / Global Postgraduate Scholarship £2,000 reduction)**

* Academic year September- July
** Subject to eligibility


A new system of postgraduate loans for Master's courses has been introduced in the UK. Find out if you are eligible.


As a postgraduate student you may be eligible for scholarships in addition to those shown above.

Guidance for Postgraduate Fees

To complete a standard Master's Taught programme, you must complete 180 credit points.

Full time students will be invoiced for the programme in full upon initial enrolment.

For further information and for details about funding your study, scholarships and bursaries, please see our Postgraduate Fees & Funding pages [].

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.