Advances in biotechnology, computing, and laboratory automation are being coupled with design thinking approaches and engineer biological systems.
These may produce more sustainable products than traditional manufacturing. Examples include:
- the production of synthetic meat substitutes
- dairy-free milk
- adaptive building materials
- petroleum-replacement products
- designer antimicrobial compounds
- smart drug delivery systems
Our Biotechnology and Biodesign MRes:
- provides a foundation in design thinking approaches
- covers recent developments in applied biotechnology
- provides an opportunity to develop and refine your laboratory skills
- provides the opportunity to develop your own research project
The training forms an excellent foundation for students opting to follow a research-orientated career path. It also opens up opportunities for successful careers in the biotechnology industry
The course is interdisciplinary. You'll be suitable for this course if you are a science graduate and are looking to develop your knowledge and research skills.
You'll gain the skills to address critical global challenges in:
- food security
- the environment
We've highlighted important information about your course. Please take note of any deadlines.
Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the programmes, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption.
Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitments outlined are subject to guidelines that may be in place from time to time.
View our COVID-19 Study page, which gives information about your Newcastle University study experience for the academic year 2021-22.
See our terms and conditions and student complaints information
What you'll learn
Throughout the course, you'll gain an advanced understanding of:
- scientific concepts and practices that underpin industrial biotechnology
- principles of design thinking and project design
- scientific concepts of the role of recombinant DNA technology in both fundamental research and applied technology
- the role of microorganisms in the search and discovery of commercially significant natural products
- the role of biotechnology in agriculture and commercial enterprise
- control and modelling concepts and their application in bioprocessing systems
- statistical concepts and theory and their application in process engineering
- advanced practical skills in molecular biological techniques, handling microorganisms and data analysis
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.
Module information is intended to provide an example of what you will study.
Our teaching is informed by research. Course content changes periodically to reflect developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback.
Full details of the modules on offer will be published through the Programme Regulations and Specifications ahead of each academic year. This usually happens in May.
Optional modules availability
Some course have optional modules. Student demand for optional modules may affect availability.
To find out more please see our terms and conditions.
How you'll learn
The course is delivered through a variety of teaching methods including:
- computer workshops
- computer-based and problem-solving exercises
You'll complete the 12-month long course between September and August the following year. It consists of two strands:
- a taught component, which runs from late September until the end of March
- a project, for which a dissertation is submitted by the end of August
You'll develop and complete independent research within the framework of the Biodesign cycle of ‘Design, Build, Test, Learn’.
You'll be assessed through a combination of:
- Case study
- Lab exercise
- Professional skills assessments
- Oral examination
- Oral presentation
- Practical lab report
- Problem-solving exercises
- Research proposal
- Written examination
- Written exercise
Our mission is to help you:
- stay healthy, positive and feeling well
- overcome any challenges you may face during your degree – academic or personal
- get the most out of your postgraduate research experience
- carry out admin and activities essential to progressing through your degree
- understand postgraduate research processes, standards and rules
We can offer you tailored wellbeing support, courses and activities.
You can also access a broad range of workshops covering:
- research and professional skills
- careers support
- health and safety
- public engagement
- academic development
You'll be taught and mentored by academics from both the:
- Plant and Microbial Biology research group in the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
- Experimental Architecture Group in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
Our research interests range from:
- natural product and antimicrobial discovery
- cell-free synthetic biology
- molecular diagnostics
- protein and enzyme engineering
- bioinspired materials and living buildings
- plant productivity improvement
Our researchers regularly publish in high-impact general science and specialised journals. They also hold research funding from the main UK research councils, including:
Our research groups have strong industrial links and global research collaborations.
You'll cover the foundational principles of design thinking in the context of biodesign. You'll also develop skills in:
- handling microorganisms and plants
- molecular biology techniques
- data analysis
- preparation of research proposals and product pitches
- laboratory automation
During the MRes, you’ll participate in research group meetings and the seminar programme within the school. You'll join a large cohort of PhD students, allowing you to experience a research-intensive study environment.
Newcastle University has long-standing and successful participation in the iGEM competition, dating from 2008. Team members are drawn from a range of undergraduate and master’s programmes.
Our Careers Service
Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.
Quality and ranking
All professional accreditations are reviewed regularly by their professional body
From 1 January 2020 there is an update to the way professional qualifications are recognised by countries outside of the UK
The School of Natural and Environmental Sciences has an outstanding range of facilities to support our research and teaching including:
- fully equipped teaching and research laboratories
- lab scale fermentation of novel biological compounds
- mini bio-foundry with commercial and open-source laboratory robotics
- fabrication laboratory with 3D printers, electronics, and laser cutters
- access to bioinformatics software, GPU computing, and literature resources
Fees and funding
Tuition fees for 2021 entry (per year)
If your studies last longer than one year, your tuition fee may increase in line with inflation.
For courses commencing from September 2021 and beyond, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fees or Student Finance England support.
If you are from the EU you will pay international tuition fees.
What you're paying for
Tuition fees include the costs of:
- tuition (or supervision)
- library access
Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.
Find out more about:
- additional costs
- living costs
- tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts
If you're applying for funding, always check the funding application deadline. This deadline may be earlier than the application deadline for your course.
For some funding schemes, you need to have received an offer of a place on a course before you can apply for the funding.
Search for funding
Find funding available for your course
The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.
Qualifications from outside the UK
English Language requirements
How to apply
Using the application portal
The applicant portal has instructions to guide you through your application. It will tell you what documents you need and how to upload them.
You can choose to start your application, save your details and come back to complete it later.
If you’re ready, you can select Apply Online and you’ll be taken directly to the applicant portal.
Alternatively you can find out more about applying on our applications and offers pages.
Applications for 2022/23
You'll be able to apply for 2022/23 entry from September 2021
Open days and events
The situation with Covid-19 means that we're unable to hold open days on campus. However, you don’t have to visit in person to experience Newcastle.
From the comfort of your sofa you'll be able to:
- explore our beautiful campus
- find out about our vibrant city
- discover what students think about studying at Newcastle
You'll also have the opportunity to speak to academic staff and find out more about the courses you're interested in.
We regularly travel overseas to meet with students interested in studying at Newcastle University.
We also hold various online and virtual events.
Get in touch
Questions about this course?
If you have specific questions about this course you can contact:
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5498
For more general enquiries you could also complete our online enquiry form.
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You'll find our Ncl chatbot in the bottom right of this page.
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