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Synthetic Biology, MSc

Newcastle University, the United Kingdom

Newcastle University

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About Synthetic Biology, MSc - at Newcastle University

This course provides you with a balance of molecular biology, engineering, computing and modelling skills necessary for a career in synthetic biology. Computational design of biological systems is important as the field of synthetic biology grows. This allows the construction of complex and large biological systems.

While laboratory approaches to engineering biological systems are a major focus, the course specialises in computational design. This provides you with essential computing and engineering skills to allow you to develop software to program biological systems.

Our course is designed for students from both biological and computational backgrounds. Prior experience with computers or computer programming is not required. Students with mathematical, engineering or other scientific backgrounds are also welcome to apply. It is ideal if you are aiming for careers in industry or academia.

We provide a unique, multidisciplinary experience that is essential for understanding synthetic biology. The programme draws together the highly-rated teaching and research expertise of our Schools of Computing Science, Mathematics and Statistics, and Biology, as well as the Medical Faculty and the Institute of Human Genetics.

Research is a large component of this course. The emphasis is on delivering the research training you will need in the future to meet the demands of industry and academia effectively. Newcastle's research in life sciences, computing and mathematics is internationally recognised.

The teaching staff are successful researchers in their field and publish regularly in highly-ranked systems synthetic biology journals.

Our experienced and friendly staff are on hand to help you. You gain the experience of working in a team in an environment with the help, support and friendship of fellow students.

Project work

Your five month research project gives you real research experience in Synthetic Biology. You will have the opportunity to work closely with a leading research team in the School and there are opportunities to work on industry led projects. You will have one-to-one supervision from an experienced member of the faculty, supported with supervision from associated senior researchers and industry partners as required.

The project can be carried out:

  • with a research group at Newcastle University
  • with an industrial sponsor
  • with a research institute
  • at your place of work

Student satisfaction

91% of our international students rate their experience as 'excellent' (International Student Barometer, 2013).

89% of our students surveyed in the PTES (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2013) said that their expectations had been met or exceeded.  

Delivery

This interdisciplinary programme is based in the School of Computing Science and taught jointly with the Schools of Mathematics and Statistics and Biology, and the Institute of Genetic Medicine.

We cater for students with a range of backgrounds, including Life Sciences, Computing Science, Mathematics and Engineering. Half of the course is taught and the remainder is dedicated to a research project.

Our programme structure is highly flexible. You can tailor your degree to your own skills and interests.

You take compulsory modules (70 credits) and optional modules (20 credits), followed by a six-month individual project that may be taken within the University or with a bioinformatics or pharmaceutical company (90 credits). Optional modules enable you to tailor your degree to either a computational/numerical theme or a more biologically oriented theme.  

Placements

Students have a unique opportunity to complete a work placement with one of our industrial partners as part of their projects.

Previous students have found placements with organisations including:

  • NHS Business Services Authority 
  • Waterstons
  • Metropolitan Police
  • Accenture  
  • IBM
  • Network Rail
  • Nissan
  • GSK

Accreditation

We have a policy of seeking British Computer Society (BCS) accreditation for all of our degrees, so you can be assured that you will graduate with a degree that meets the standards set out by the IT industry. Studying a BCS-accredited degree provides the foundation for professional membership of the BCS on graduation and is the first step to becoming a chartered IT professional.

The School of Computing Science at Newcastle University is an accredited and a recognised Partner in the Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science.

Facilities

You will have dedicated computing facilities in the School of Computing. You will have access to the latest tools for system analysis and development. For certain projects, special facilities for networking can be set up.

You will enjoy access to specialist IT facilities to support your studies, including:

  • a dedicated virtual Linux workstation
  • a dedicated virtual Windows workstation
  • high specification computers only for postgrduates
  • over 300 PC's running Windows, 120 just for postgraduates
  • over 300 Raspberry Pi devices 
  • high-performance supercomputers
  • the latest Windows operating system and development tools
  • 27" monitors with high resolution (2560X1440) display
  • high-capacity database servers
  • motion capture facilities
  • 3D printing facilities

You will have access to a Linux based website that you can customise with PHP hosting services.

We have moved to the new £58m purpose-built Urban Sciences Building. Our new building offers fantastic new facilities for our students and academic community. The building is part of Science Central, a £350 million project bringing together:

  • academia
  • the public sector
  • communities
  • business and industry.

Notes about fees for this course

See our course fees and funding webpage -  https://www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/degrees/synthetic-biology-msc/?utm_source=referral-study-link&utm_medium=course-listing&utm_content=synthetic-biology-msc&utm_campaign=PG3PL-study-link#fees&funding

Entry requirements

A 2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent, in computing science or a maths based subject.

Or a 2:2 honours degree, or international equivalent, in any biological science based subject, such as:

  • genetics
  • biochemistry
  • biology

We will also consider your application on an individual basis if you have a degree in a related subject not listed above or a lower/non-standard qualification with significant industrial or professional experience.

International Students

To study this course you need to meet our Band 2 English Language requirements:

Direct Entry : IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)

If you have lower English Language scores, you may be accepted onto a pre-sessional English course. 

Our typical English Language requirements are listed as IELTS scores but we also accept a wide range of English Language tests.

The equivalent academic qualifications that we accept are listed on our country pages.

Pre-sessional English Course Requirements

  • 6 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 6.0 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)
  • 10 week Pre-sessional entry:  IELTS 5.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.0 in all sub-skills)

You can study a pre-sessional English course at our INTO Newcastle Centre.

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