Postgraduate

Synthetic Biology MSc

Synthetic Biology MSc

Full time: 12 months

Profile

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 and taught jointly with the Schools of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics and Natural and Environmental Sciences, 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.  

Student profile

I enjoy the practical focus of my course because this makes it more interesting and more interactive.

Richard's student profile

A sample of job titles our graduates now hold

Software Engineer, IT Consultant, Bioinformatics Technician

A sample of employers our graduates now work for

European Space Agency, IBM UK, HTC Corporation

Data based on responses from 125 UK, EU and International postgraduate leavers (2011/12, 2012/13) studying Computer Science. See more about what our graduates do.

Related Degrees

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    This course provides specialist skills in core systems biology with a focus on the development of computational and mathematical research skills. It specialises in computational design, providing essential computing and engineering skills that allow you to develop software to program biological systems.

All related programmes

Module changes

Module changes

Modules change annually to take account of:

  • changing staff expertise
  • developments in the discipline
  • the requirements of external bodies and partners
  • student feedback.

Most module information for 2018 entry will be available from mid-May 2018.

Fees & Funding

2017-2018 fees

The fees displayed here are per course.

MSc

UK/EU

Full time: £6,750

International

Full time: £17,935

You can read more about our tuition fees and discounts available.

Tuition fees for 2018-19 have not yet been confirmed.

EU students starting at Newcastle in 2017 and 2018 will pay the UK (Home) tuition fee for the full duration of their course.

Funding opportunities

Funding for UK/EU students Number of awards Value of awards
Postgraduate Master’s Loan Scheme (students from England and non-UK countries)

Maximum of £10,280 (2017 entry)

Non EU students Number of awards Value of awards
Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP)

Not specified.

The scholarship covers tuition fees and living expenses.

Vice-Chancellor's International Scholarships
Our students/graduates Number of awards Value of awards
20% Alumni Tuition Fee Discount

Discount varies by level of tuition fee.

All Students Number of awards Value of awards
MastersCompare Postgraduate Scholarship

1

£5,000

Our students/graduates Number of awards Value of awards
20% Alumni Tuition Fee Discount

Discount varies by level of tuition fee.

UK/EU students Number of awards Value of awards
PhD Studentship in Epidemiology and Public Health using Population-based Cohorts of Ageing in the UK and USA

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual stipend of £14,553. Additional funding is available for research costs and national and international travel (conferences and exchanges)

PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: Next generation of composite molten salt-ceramic membranes for selective separation of NOx, SO2 and CO2

1

Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, a full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for the duration of your PhD and an annual stipend £14,553 (2017/18).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: The Use of Perovskite-type Oxygen-carriers for Hydrogen Production via Chemical Looping

1

Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, a full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for the duration of your PhD and an annual stipend £14,553 (2017/18).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

PhD Studentship: Health monitoring for wide-bandgap power modules

1

£56,244 in total (over 3 years). Funding covers the cost of annual fees at £4,250 and provides annual maintenance of £14,553 (2017/18 figure). UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except where UK residency has been established for more than 3 years.

Postgraduate Master’s Loan Scheme (students from England and non-UK countries)

Maximum of £10,280 (2017 entry)

Two PhD Studentships in Environmental/Animal Science/Clean Technology - Assessment of Environmental Impact of European Pig Systems

2

100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for the duration of your PhD and an annual stipend of £14,533  

Disabled Students' Allowances

Varies

Professional and Career Development Loans

Varies

Industrial CASE PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: Data-driven modelling of glass durability and glass pouring rate in nuclear waste vitrification process

1

Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, a full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for the duration of your PhD and an annual stipend £14,296 (2016/17).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

PhD Studentship in Cell and Molecular Biosciences - Virulence factors of human and bird Trichomonad parasites targeting host proteoglycans: integrating evolutionary genomics and molecular cell biology

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,553 (full award). A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only. 

BBSRC CASE PhD Studentship in Cellular Medicine - Investigating the impact of insulin resistance on ageing, appearance and wellbeing using sleep as a model system

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,553 (full award).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: Development of novel proton – oxygen ion – electron conducting ceramics

1

Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, a full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for a three year duration of your PhD and an annual stipend £14,533 (2017/18).

The Elsie Jeffery Memorial Bursary

1

£1,000

Subsea UK Subsea Engineering MSc Scholarship

1

£8,000

PhD Studentship - Systems and Methods for Foot Drop Correction

1

The successful candidate will receive a generous studentship of £20,000 per annum for three years (tax-free). The student will also benefit from additional allowance for attendance at conferences and training workshops. 

PhD in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences - Investigating Cooperative - ITS to deliver Infrastructure as a Service

1

UK: 100% of tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,057pa. EPSRC full award, plus an Industrial Case top up from Siemens making a total allowance of £20,000 pa.

EU: students will receive a tuition fees only award.

PhD in Computer Science - Visualization of Heterogeneous Multi-Source Data

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £14.553 (full award)

PhD Studentship in Computing Science - Verification of Portable Synthetic Biocircuits (EPSRC Portabolomics)

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £14,553 (full award).

International (Non EU) students Number of awards Value of awards
School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape - Postgraduate International Scholarship Scheme (2017)

Not specified

£2,000 tuition fee scholarships

Vice-Chancellor's International Scholarships
International Family Discounts (IFD)

10% of the tuition fee per year.

Fulbright Scholarships

Varies

British Marshall Scholarships

40

Varies

Newcastle University Overseas Research Scholarship (NUORS)

Tuition fee scholarships of typically £7,800 - £11,700 per year. The award covers the difference between fees for UK/EU students and international students.

Chinese Business Excellence Scholarships

Tuition fees scholarships from £5,000 for a range of Business School postgraduate courses.

Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP)

Not specified.

The scholarship covers tuition fees and living expenses.

USA Athlete Scholarship

10

£5000- £8000 payable towards the first year of tuition fees and a comprehensive support package (see Overview for further details).

All students Number of awards Value of awards
PhD Studentship - Tracked Electric Vehicles

1

£56,244 in total (over 3 years). Funding covers the cost of fees and provides an annual maintenance of £14,553 (2017/18 figures).  UK, EU and international applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance.

PhD Studentship in Computing Science - A Computational Systems Biology Approach to Psoriasis Treatment (Rosetrees Trust)

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and an annual stipend of £14,553 (full award).  Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

MSc Funding - 1st Class Scholarship (Civil Engineering and Geosciences)

Not specified

£2,000

Clinical Research Funding - various

Varies

Health Education England Bursaries (Physician Associate Studies, PGDip)

20 awards for 2017 entry

£18,000 bursary (£9,000 per year) and a contribution towards travel costs. The Bursary is paid as a tuition fee discount direct to the University.

School and Research Institute Studentships, Bursaries and Scholarships

Varies

Postgraduate Tuition Fee Instalments
2% Tuition Fee Discount

2% off annual tuition fee

Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP)

Varies

Varies.

Sir Mark Waller Postgraduate Law Scholarships

6 for international students, 2 for home/EU students.

Full and partial (£2,500-£3,000) tuition fee scholarships.

Charities and Trusts

Varies

Allergy Module Funding

Varies

Employer Sponsorship

Varies

FindAMasters.com and FindAPhD.com Postgraduate Scholarships

Not specified.

FindAMasters.com and FindAPhD.com are offering £12,000 in scholarships for postgraduate study.

Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries

15

£500 payable towards tuition fees.

Teacher Training (PGCE programmes)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy PGDip Bursaries

£2,000

Sport Scholarships

Varies

£500 - £10,000

PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: Mathematical modelling studies of rhythmic hydrogels for medical applications

1

Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, 100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for the duration of your PhD and an annual stipend £14,296 (2016/17).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

Business Excellence Scholarships

Tuition fees scholarships from £2,000 - £5,000 for a range of Business School Master’s courses.

MBA Business Excellence Scholarships

Tuition fee scholarships of £6,000 will be awarded to high achieving MBA candidates.

MBA Leadership Scholarships

Tuition fee scholarships of £10,000 will be awarded to high achieving MBA candidates.

Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation MLitt/PhD Studentships for Studies Relating to Japan

Up to 3 (MLitt or PhD)

£10,000,contributing towards your MLitt/PhD tuition fees and living costs. 

MastersCompare Postgraduate Scholarship

1

£5,000

PhD studentship in Biochemistry and Structural Biology – The Molecular Structure of Meiotic Chromosomes

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expense of £14,553.  Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

PhD studentship - Long-term training load management and recovery strategies in elite rugby union players (Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club and Newcastle University)

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,533. Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

PhD Studentship in Computing Science - Data Driven Computer Modelling of Brain Injury Recovery

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and an annual stipend of £14,553 (full award).  Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

Hodcroft Larsen Postgraduate Scholarship

1

£3,000

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.

How to Apply

Use our Applicant Portal to apply for your course. We have a step-by-step guide to help you.

Start dates

The course starts in September. There is no application closing date for this course.

We suggest international students apply at least two months before the course starts. This is so that you have enough time to make the necessary arrangements.

Deposit

If you live outside the UK/EU you must:

  • pay a deposit of £1,500
  • or submit an official letter of sponsorship

The deposit is payable after you receive an offer to study at Newcastle University. The deposit is non-refundable, but is deducted from your tuition fees when you register.

Contact

Admissions Secretary
School of Computing
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8072
Email: cs.admissions@ncl.ac.uk