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.
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
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.
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 at Newcastle University is an accredited and a recognised Partner in the Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science.
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 postgraduates
- 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 Newcastle Helix, a £350 million project bringing together:
- the public sector
- business and industry.
In the news
Newcastle moves up 20 places into the top 150 in the QS World University Rankings 2019.
published on: 15 June 2018
We are pleased to be part of the UK government's pilot to streamline Tier 4 visa applications.
published on: 10 April 2018
Want to know more about postgraduate study? Come along to one of our PG Café Drop-in Sessions at our city campus.
published on: 12 December 2018
Unsure of whether a taught or research postgraduate degree is right for you?
published on: 30 November 2018
You will study modules on this course. A module is a unit of a course with its own approved aims and outcomes and assessment methods.
Modules for 2018 entry
Compulsory modulesCompulsory modules
Optional modulesOptional modules
You take optional modules to the value of 10 credits from the following list:
- BIO8009 Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology
- CSC8304 Computing Environments for Bioinformatics
You take further optional modules to the value of 10 credits from the following list:
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 2019 entry will be available from mid-May 2019.
Fees & Funding
The fees displayed here are per course.
Full time: £11,220
Full time: £11,220
Full time: £22,710
Find out more about our tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts.
EU students starting at Newcastle in 2018 and 2019 will pay the UK (Home) tuition fee for the full duration of their course.
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:
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.
Find out the equivalent qualifications for your country.
Use the drop down above to find your country. If your country isn't listed please email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
English Language Requirements
Select an English language test from the list to view our English language entry requirements.
Please email us at email@example.com for further information.
Pre-sessional English Course RequirementsPre-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 our Pre-sessional English course at the INTO Newcastle Centre.
How to Apply
You apply online, track your application and contact the admissions team via our applicant portal. Our step-by-step guide can help you on your way.
Apply online unavailable Tuesday 18 December
The postgraduate applicant portal is unavailable due to essential planned system maintenance on Tuesday 18 December between 17:00 - 19:00 (GMT).
All existing application information will be available when the systems reopens, so don't worry about any details you've added.
The University will close on Friday 21 December at 17.00 (GMT) and re-open on Wednesday 2 January at 09.00 (GMT). If you submit an application during this time we'll assess it in January.
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.
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.