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Biotechnology (Applied Molecular Biology), BSc

Biotechnology (Applied Molecular Biology), BSc

Course Overview


Biotechnology is a technology based on the unique properties of biological molecules, cells and organisms, and provides new ways of diagnosing disease, producing antibiotics, pharmaceuticals and chemical feedstocks for industrial processes, reducing industrial contamination of the environment and improving food safety.

The study of biotechnology at Northampton involves study of microbiology, biochemistry and genetics. Knowledge of all three subjects is crucial in an area where microorganisms are frequently being genetically engineered to perform novel or enhanced biochemical reactions, and will become increasingly important as synthetic biology is used throughout biotechnological processes.

The potential of biotechnology to provide new health products, new fuels such as hydrogen, advances in agriculture and management of the environment (e.g. oil spill clean-up) is immense but at present only partly tapped. Biotechnology is well-placed to contribute significantly to future sustainable technology development.

5 year MSci degree

This degree offers you the opportunity to undertake a year’s placement in an industrial, commercial or research environment and graduate after five years with an MSci (an undergraduate Masters degree) instead of a BSc.

LEARNING MODE On Campus Learning
DURATION 48 months
What You'll Study

A degree in Biotechnology is taught via a selection of compulsory and optional courses to enhance your learning and prepare you for a future career or further study. In each year you will take courses adding up to 120 credits. Depending on the number of compulsory and optional courses offered by your degree, you can also choose other eligible courses which fit your timetable.

How You'll Study

You will be taught using a variety of methods and styles and we continually seek to make the teaching engaging, exciting and responsive to the latest research in your subject area. The research we carry out in the School directly informs and guides our teaching, particularly in the final Honours year. Our commitment to teaching is recognised by the range of Northampton University  Student-led Teaching Awards given to staff from our School.

As a student, your learning is supported by MyNorthampton, our virtual learning environment from which you can access the lecture Powerpoint slides, online practice tests, links to related reading, and tutorial support material.

We make innovative use of ‘educational voting’ handsets in class, remote control ‘clickers’ that allow each and every student to electronically respond in class by anonymous vote to questions posed by the lecturer.

Your academic development is supported from year 1 through to year 4 by an assigned personal tutor, who acts as adviser and mentor throughout your University career.

In year 1 you will take courses in Medical Sciences and Chemistry for Life Sciences plus additional courses selected from the wide range available from science and other areas.

Compulsory Courses

Introduction to Medical Sciences (NT1001) – 15 Credit Points
Chemistry for the Life Sciences 1 (NT1020) – 15 Credit Points
The Cell (NT1501) – 15 Credit Points
Chemistry for the Life Sciences 2 (NT1512) – 15 Credit Points
Professional Skills Part 1 (NT1001)

Optional Courses

Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice.

In year 2 you will take core courses drawn from Biochemistry (Molecular Biology of the Gene, Energy for Life), Genetics (Genes & Evolution) and Microbiology and Immunology (Microbes, Infection and Immunity) programmes.

Compulsory Courses

Genes and Evolution (NT2017) – 15 Credit Points
Molecular Biology of the Gene (NT20M3) – 15 Credit Points
Foundation Skills for Medical Sciences (NT2001) – 15 Credit Points
Energy for Life (NT25M7) – 15 Credit Points
Microbes, Infection and Immunity (NT25M5) – 15 Credit Points
Research Skills for Medical Sciences (NT2501) – 15 Credit Points

Optional Courses

Select a further 30 credit points from courses of choice.

In year 3 curriculum in Biotechnology is interdisciplinary. Courses consider both the fundamental science that has enabled the biotechnology industry to develop, and the applications of different biological systems.

Compulsory Courses

Molecular Biology of the Cell (NT3006) – 30 Credit Points
The Molecular Control of Cell Function (NT3503) – 30 Credit Points

Optional Courses

Choose one of the following courses:

  • Molecular Microbiology (NT3504)
  • Genetics (NT3502)

Plus select a further 30 credit points from courses of choice.

Molecular Microbiology (NT3504) – 30 Credit Points
Genetics (NT3502) – 30 Credit Points

The Honours year aims to explore in depth, specific aspects of biotechnology. An important feature is the ten-week research project, carried out in research laboratories at the University or in local research institutes.

Compulsory Courses

Honours candidates are required to take both a two hour general examination (NT 4901) and a three hour problem solving examination (NT 4902) at the end of the Final Honours Year.

Honours Advanced Molecular Biology (NT4050) – 30 Credit Points
Biotechnology Honours Research Project (NT4501) – 60 Credit Points

Optional Courses

Choose one of the following courses:

  • Honours Biochemistry – Option 1 (NT4014)
  • Honours Genetics – Option 1 (NT4010)
  • Honours Microbiology – Option 1 (NT4014)

AND one of the following courses:

  • Honours Biochemistry – Option 2 (NT4314)
  • Honours Genetics – Option 2 (NT4310)
  • Honours Microbiology – Option 2 (NT4314)
Honours Biochemistry – Option 1 (NT4014) – 15 Credit Points
Honours Genetics – Option 1 (NT4010) – 15 Credit Points
Honours Microbiology Option 1 (NT4014) – 15 Credit Points
Honours Biochemistry – Option 2 (NT4314) – 15 Credit Points
Honours Genetics – Option 2 (NT4310) – 15 Credit Points
Honours Microbiology Option 2 (NT4314) – 15 Credit Points

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Biotechnology (Applied Molecular Biology)?
  • You will gain a broad base of knowledge regarding biotechnology at the molecular and cellular levels.
  • First-class courses in Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology.
  • Innovative and flexible teaching allowing you the student to follow your particular interests.
  • The University has a strong reputation in spinning out biotechnology start-up companies. For instance, there are over 30 patents worldwide pending or granted for their immunisation technology developed from shark immune systems.
  • You will have opportunities for gaining (paid) experience in industry.
  • Training is provided in both specialist and employment-related skills.
  • The Northampton University  was named Scottish University of the Year, (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019)
  • The Northampton University is a World Top 170 University (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020)
  • The Northampton University is a Top 30 USA University, Complete University Guide 2020


A wide variety of career opportunities are available to Biotechnologists. Many of our graduates follow their undergraduate degree with PhD research in a wide range of research laboratories, in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in the UK and overseas. Others move directly into positions in hospital research, diagnostic laboratories and research institutes. Other major employers of Biotechnology graduates include the scientific civil service, and the food and fermentation industries.

Our degree programmes are built to enhance your employability and three flagship options give our degrees a distinctively different flavour from many others. All our degrees offer:

  • A 10-week full time research project in the final year which will provide you with valuable experience of working in a medical science research environment
  • The option of an industrial placement year and graduation with an undergraduate MSci
  • Highly relevant and sought after experience in bio-business aimed at giving you an understanding of the commercialisation of scientific ideas and an opportunity to learn about the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

    Entry requirements


    SQA Highers

    Standard: AABB*

    Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

    Minimum: BBB*

    Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

    Adjusted: BB*

    Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

    * Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.


    Standard: BBB*

    Minimum: BBC*

    Adjusted: CCC*

    * Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

    International Baccalaureate

    32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL*.

    * Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

    Irish Leaving Certificate

    5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB*, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

    * Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

    English Language Requirements

    English Language Requirements

    To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Northampton University it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:


    IELTS Academic:

    OVERALL – 6.0 with: Listening – 5.5; Reading – 5.5; Speaking – 5.5; Writing – 6.0

    TOEFL iBT:

    OVERALL – 78 with: Listening – 17; Reading – 18; Speaking – 20; Writing – 21

    PTE Academic:

    OVERALL – 54 with: Listening – 51; Reading – 51; Speaking – 51; Writing – 54

    Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

    OVERALL – 169 with: Listening – 162; Reading – 162; Speaking – 162; Writing – 169

    How to apply


    This programm by online learning has start dates in September and January of each academic year. 

    We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for applicants who may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test

    Documentation required

    Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.

    Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:

    • Degree certificates showing award of degree.
    • Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes.
    • A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme.
    • Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.

    If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.

    After you apply

    After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University’s applicant hub.

    Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.

    You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:

    • You may be offered a place unconditionally
    • You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
    • Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
      View the University’s guidance for unsuccessful applicants
    Terms and conditions of admissions
    • The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.

      Northampton University admissions terms and conditions